Official apologies given by the federal, state or local governments are an effective method of recognizing and commemorating past injustice. Apologies, though not tangible, concede to a moral acknowledgment of injustice. An admission that an action was wrong is often difficult to come by for both individuals and governments. However, apologies can be meaningful moments to victims of historical wrongs and an important step toward validating an unpleasant moment in history.
In the case of civil rights activism, government bodies in the South and North were complicit in the violence that befell civil rights activists. Government at every level can reflect and recognize the role played during the civil rights era and formally voice apologies for the harms that have never been acknowledged.