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House Democrats To Start Moving Forward On Slavery Reparations

Jeff Katz
June 14, 2019 - 12:37 pm

A House Judiciary subcommittee will hold hearings on reparations next Wednesday, marking the first time in more than a decade that the House will discuss potentially compensating the descendants of slaves.

“The Case for Reparations” author Ta-Nehisi Coates and actor Danny Glover are reportedly set to testify before the House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, and the hearing’s purpose will be “to examine, through open and constructive discourse, the legacy of the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade, its continuing impact on the community and the path to restorative justice,” according to an Associated Press report.

The hearing also falls on June 19  also known as  Juneteenth, a cultural holiday commemorating the emancipation of enslaved blacks in America.

Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX), who sits on the subcommittee, introduced H.R. 40 earlier this year to create a reparations commission. Jackson Lee said her bill would create a commission “to study the impact of slavery and continuing discrimination against African-Americans, resulting directly and indirectly from slavery to segregation to the desegregation process and the present day.”

She added in January that the “commission would also make recommendations concerning any form of apology and compensation to begin the long delayed process of atonement for slavery.”

Jackson Lee also said that despite the progress of African-Americans in the private sector, education, and the government and the election of the first American President of African descent, "the legacy of slavery lingers heavily in this nation.”

Democratic presidential candidate Cory Booker (D-NJ) has also moved to create a reparations committee, and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and nearly every Democratic candidate for 2020 has endorsed Jackson Lee's bill.

It is not clear exactly how this bill would seek to make such reparations.