California to unveil groundbreaking slave reparations report

May 31, 2022, 3:49 PM | Updated: 6:43 pm
FILE - People line up to speak during a reparations task force meeting at Third Baptist Church in S...

FILE - People line up to speak during a reparations task force meeting at Third Baptist Church in San Francisco on April 13, 2022. A report by California's first in the nation task force on reparations Wednesday, June 1 will document in detail the harms perpetuated by the state against Black people and recommend ways to address those wrongs. (AP Photo/Janie Har, File)

(AP Photo/Janie Har, File)

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — California’s first-in-the-nation task force on reparations for African Americans will release a report Wednesday documenting in detail the harms perpetuated by the state and recommending steps to address those wrongs, including expanded voter registration, making it easier to hold violent police accountable and improving Black neighborhoods.

It also recommends the creation of a special office that would, in part, help African Americans descended from free or enslaved Black people in the country at the end of the 19th century document their eligibility for financial restitution.

The report, which runs 500 pages, will be the first government-commissioned study on harms against the African American community since the 1968 Kerner Commission report ordered by then-President Lyndon Johnson, task force Chair Kamilah Moore said.

“I hope that this report is used not only as an educational tool, but an organizing tool for people not only in California but across the U.S. to educate their communities,” she said, adding that the report also highlights “contributions of the African American community and how they made the United States what it is despite ongoing oppression and degradation.”

Gov. Gavin Newsom signed legislation creating the task force in 2020, making California the only state to move ahead with a study and plan. Cities and universities are taking up the cause with the Chicago suburb of Evanston, Illinois, becoming the first U.S. city to make reparations available to Black residents last year.

The task force voted in March to limit reparations to descendants, overruling reparations advocates who want to expand compensation to all Black people in the U.S.

The report, to be released by the state Department of Justice, marks the halfway point for the two-year task force’s work. The draft report does not provide a comprehensive reparations plan, which is due to lawmakers next year.

The report is expected to lay out how California supported slavery before it was technically abolished and oppressed Black residents through discriminatory laws and practices in education, home ownership, employment and the courts.

African Americans make up nearly 6% of California’s population yet they are overrepresented in jails and prisons. They were nearly 9% of people living below the poverty level and made up 30% of people experiencing homelessness in 2019, according to state figures.

Despite it being a “free” state, an estimated 1,500 enslaved African Americans lived in California in 1852, according to the draft report. The Ku Klux Klan flourished in California with members holding positions in law enforcement and city government. African American families were forced to live in segregated neighborhoods that were more likely to be polluted.

Moore said that a state Office of African American or American Freedmen Affairs could help African American residents file claims and trace their lineage to prove eligibility for individual restitution.

The task force in its draft report also recommends compensating people who were forced out of their homes for construction projects such as parks and highways and general renewal, as happened to San Francisco’s historically Black and once-thriving Fillmore neighborhood.

“Other groups that have suffered exclusion, oppression, and downright destruction of human existence have received reparations, and we should have no less,” said the Rev. Amos Brown, the committee’s vice chair and pastor of Third Baptist Church in the Fillmore District.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Associated Press

Turkey sends off new drill ship into eastern Mediterranean

ISTANBUL (AP) — Turkey’s president inaugurated the country’s newest and largest undersea hydrocarbon drill ship Tuesday that he said would head for a spot northwest of Cyprus in the eastern Mediterranean, which is not claimed by any other country. “Our exploration and drilling in the Mediterranean is within our own sovereign dominion,” President Recep Tayyip […]
8 hours ago
FILE - Lt. Gen. Michael Langley speaks during a Senate Armed Services hearing to examine the nomina...
Associated Press

Marine general takes over Africa Command, sees challenges

STUTTGART, Germany (AP) — Marine Gen. Michael Langley took over as the top U.S. commander for Africa on Tuesday, heading U.S. military operations on a continent with some of the most active and dangerous insurgent groups and a relatively small Pentagon footprint. Langley, who made history on Saturday when he became the first African American […]
8 hours ago
FILE - This photo combo of images provided by the Kent County Sheriff and Delaware Department of Ju...
Associated Press

Jury selection begins in 2nd trial in Whitmer kidnap plot

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) — Jury selection started Tuesday in the second trial of two men charged with conspiring to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer in 2020. Prosecutors are putting Adam Fox and Barry Croft Jr. on trial again after a jury in April couldn’t reach a verdict. Two co-defendants were acquitted and two more […]
8 hours ago
Associated Press

Kia recalls sedans because plates in ceiling can come loose

DETROIT (AP) — Kia is recalling nearly 260,000 older midsize cars in the U.S. because plates in the ceiling can come loose if the side curtain air bags inflate in a crash. The recall covers certain 2012 and 2013 Optima sedans. The automaker says headliner pates on both sides of the cars may not be […]
8 hours ago
Trade union and civil society activists led by leftists' People Liberation Front shout slogans deno...
Associated Press

Sri Lankans rally against crackdown on protesters

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) — Hundreds of Sri Lankans on Tuesday rallied against a government crackdown and the use of emergency laws against peaceful protesters demanding answers to the country’s worst economic crisis. Protesters led by religious and trade union leaders marched to the Independence Square in Colombo and made several demands to the government […]
8 hours ago
This booking photo provided by the Galveston Police Department on Sunday, Aug. 7, 2022, shows Migue...
Associated Press

Grandfather, grandkids among 4 dead in Texas golf cart crash

GALVESTON, Texas (AP) — The four people killed in a weekend golf cart collision in Texas were a grandfather, two of his grandchildren and a niece who were visiting Galveston for a quick vacation before school began, police said. The crash happened Saturday after a driver accused of being intoxicated ran a stop sign and […]
8 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...
Mayo Clinic Orthopedics and Sports Medicine

Why your student-athlete’s physical should be conducted by a sports medicine specialist

Dr. Anastasi from Mayo Clinic Orthopedics and Sports Medicine in Tempe answers some of the most common questions.
...
Dr. Richard Carmona

Great news: Children under 5 can now get COVID-19 vaccine

After more than two years of battle with an invisible killer, we can now vaccinate the youngest among us against COVID-19. This is great news.
...
Carla Berg, MHS, Deputy Director, Public Health Services, Arizona Department of Health Services

Vaccines are safe if you are pregnant or breastfeeding

Are you pregnant? Do you have a friend or loved one who’s expecting?
California to unveil groundbreaking slave reparations report