California Repair Eligibility Unboxing
Hollis Gentry, genealogy specialist at the National Museum of African American History and Culture Library, said information is sometimes relatively quick to find, while other times it can take a very long time. Gentry began examining her own family history in 1976 and is still uncovering connections today.
“Eligibility criteria is going to determine how you approach it,” she said. “If you’re looking at a lineage-only approach where they have to establish that they’re actually descended from someone who was enslaved, that’s going to take a lot of research.
“It’s not impossible.”
“From Here to Equality: Reparations for Black Americans in the Twenty-First Century,” a book by A. Kirsten Mullen and William A. Darity Jr., is frequently mentioned in task force meetings. The book suggests that requirements for federal reparations include two aspects of eligibility: tracing an ancestor back to chattel slavery and identifying as Black or African American on the census for 10 to 12 years before the repairs program comes into effect. effect.
“Their two-pronged system is very simplistic, in my opinion,” said Khansa T. Jones-Muhammad, co-chair of the National Assembly of Descendants of American Slavery.
Instead, she would like to have a system that recognizes the harms caused by certain laws.
“Were your ancestors subject to the Three-Fifths Compromise at the 1787 United States Constitutional Convention?” asked Jones-Muhammad. “Were your ancestors subject to the Casual Killing Act or the Fugitive Slave Act? Were your ancestors subject to convict tenancy laws and Jim Crow law? Were they subjected to the Great Migration?
The National Assembly of Descendants of American Slavery and the Coalition for a Fair and Just California, two organizations Jones-Muhammad worked with, helped Weber draft the bill.
In February, members seemed to agree that there should be special consideration for descendants of chattel slavery, as outlined in the bill, but seemed hesitant to make a final decision because of the potential impact on d other reparations laws, including HR 40, federal reparations. invoice.
The debate has repeatedly revolved around who would be eligible to receive cash payments. It is unclear how much money would be needed for such an undertaking. The task force hired a team of economists to do the calculations.
Others have suggested different forms of compensation, such as tax breaks, scholarships and tuition waivers for students. Reggie Jones-Sawyer, a member of the task force and member of the State Assembly, said the committee should have more in-depth discussions.
“We talk about who gets the money,” he said. “We should talk about how we are going to take care of our people from this day forward. And how are we going to fix all the bad? This should be the central question. We spend the money before we get it.
A version of this story was originally published on March 28.