Talk of reparations for slavery moves to state capitolsBreaking News
tags: slavery, reparations, states
Four centuries after the first African slaves landed on Virginia shores, state lawmakers across the country are taking up the debate over how to atone for what's been called "America's Original Sin."
This year, Democratic lawmakers in California, New York and Vermont states that either outlawed slavery before the Civil War or never allowed it have introduced legislation that would apologize for their state's role in slavery; recognize the lasting, negative impact of slavery on current generations of African Americans; and explore monetary reparations.
In April, Democratic lawmakers in Texas introduced a bill urging the passage of a federal reparations bill introduced by U.S. Rep. Sheila Jackson-Lee, also a Democrat, that same month. (Sponsors did not return Stateline calls for comment.) And in September, Florida lawmakers introduced a $10 million reparations bill for the descendants of victims of a specific, 1920 racial atrocity, the Ocoee massacre.
Meanwhile, Pennsylvania state Rep. Chris Rabb announced plans to introduce a reparations bill this legislative session that would entitle African Americans in the Keystone State to remuneration. But first, the Democrat said, he's organized a team of researchers to identify every state law since 1776 that's had a "racist impact" on the state's African American population.
He proposes a statewide reparations plan for Pennsylvania that would involve multiple tiers of compensation, with the greatest awards going to residents who can prove they descended from generations of black Pennsylvanians. To qualify for reparations, residents would have to prove they've lived as African Americans through government records such as census records or birth certificates.
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