California to Study Reparations for Black Americans

by Adam Beam


SACRAMENTO, California (AP) — California will develop a detailed plan for reparations under a new law signed on Wednesday by Gov. Gavin Newsom, making it the first state to mandate a study of how it can make amends for its role in the oppression of Black people.

The law creates a nine-member task force to come up with proposals for how the state could provide reparations to Black Americans, what form those reparations might take and who would be eligible to receive them.

“This is not just about California, this is about making an impact, and a dent, across the rest of the country,” Newsom said moments after signing the bill during a ceremony broadcast on his YouTube channel.

The law does not limit reparations to slavery, although it requires the task force to give special consideration for Black people who are descendants of slaves.

California never had a government-sanctioned system of slavery. It entered the Union in 1850 as a free state after gold was discovered in the Sierra Nevada mountains. But the state did let slave-owning whites bring their slaves to California. The Legislature even passed a law making it legal to arrest runaway slaves and return them to their owners.

“California has come to terms with many of these issues, but it has yet to come to terms with its role in slavery,” said Assemblywoman Shirley Weber, a Democrat from San Diego who authored the bill.

The law does not say the reparations must be cash payments. Other options could include forgiving student loans and paying for public works projects or job training. In July, the City Council in Asheville, North Carolina, approved reparations by pledging to make investments in areas where Black people face disparities.

Reparations are not without precedent in the United States. The U.S. government partially funded German reparations to Holocaust victims following World War II. And in 1988, the federal government set up a reparations program for Japanese-Americans who were held in concentration camps during World War II.

Reparations for slavery have been debated for decades in the United States. A similar proposal to study reparations for Black Americans was first introduced in Congress in 1989. It has never passed, but Congress held a hearing on the proposal last year.

Momentum has been building once again for similar proposals in state and local governments across the country after the May police killing of George Floyd in Minnesota reignited a national movement for racial justice. State legislatures in Texas, New York and Vermont have considered studying reparations, but none have passed measures.

Newsom would appoint five members of California’s task force. The other four would come from the Legislature, with two each appointed by the leaders of the state Senate and Assembly. The law says the task force must include at least two people from “major civil society and reparations organizations” and at least one person from academia who is an expert in civil rights.

The task force must have its first meeting no later than June 1. It must submit its recommendations to the state Legislature one year after its first meeting.

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Adam Beam is a reporter for The Associated Press. 

About the Headline Photo: This image made from video from the Office of the Governor shows California Gov. Gavin Newsom signing into law a bill that establishes a task force to come up with recommendations on how to give reparations to Black Americans on Wednesday, Sept. 30, 2020, in Sacramento, Calif. The law establishes a nine-member task force to come up with a plan for how the state could give reparations to Black Americans, what form those reparations might take and who would be eligible to receive them. (Office of the Governor via AP)






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4 Thoughts to “California to Study Reparations for Black Americans”

  1. Traditional Thinker

    It’s amazing how ignorant liberal/progressives can become when they gain a little power. In the mean time, there’s a huge bonfire burning up your state. How about the governor use his head for something other than a grease mop.

  2. William R. Delzell

    Good! All fifty states should do the same as this country relied on forced slave and convict labor to enrich the few. Getting rich off of poor people against their will is un-American. Let’s live up to the promise of a United States for ALL the people, not just the rich or the white! Let’s make America REALLY great!

    1. John

      William, you should exclusively sue the Democrat party because those are the people who have had you in chains for 200+ plus years. First it was by picking cotton in their fields, and next it was LBJ and his framework for The Great Society. Plus, your statement is pretty moronic when when compared to all the black millionaires in the MLB, NBA and NFL.

      It’s time you’ve accepted responsibility for your poor life choices because it sure as heck isn’t my fault. Poverty isn’t racist, you dimwit. I’m white and grew up in the projects. My family roots come from a long line of poverty. But I somehow worked my butt off to pay for my own college, the same college you could have went to for free on a minority scholarship. I then worked my butt off from the bottom the corporate ladder to near the top and was able to retire early. The only other person I credit with my success is God.

      None of this is my fault and I sure as heck aren’t going to pay for your laziness or stupidity or whatever it is that makes you think I had something to do with your circumstances.

  3. David S. Blackwell RN, BSN

    Amazing how stupid Californians really are. I had one ask me once “Is Arkansas near Mississippi?”