California has rolled a 500-page report detailing the long-lasting effect slavery has had on Black Americans and the numerous misdeeds of the state and federal government that warrant recourse.
The report released on June 1 was published by the civil rights division of the California Department of Justice with input from California’s Task Force to Study and Develop Reparations Proposals for African Americans. It was commissioned by the General Assembly in September 2020. The nine-member task force includes a diverse group of Californians.
The task force said the report is the most comprehensive look at the structural barriers Black Americans face since the 1968 Kerner Commission report.
It finds that slavery has had an undying effect “on the political, economic, social, physical, mental and cultural well-being of Black people, particularly those descended from the formerly enslaved.”
The task force is proposing that the state compensate direct descendants of the enslaved residing in California and those living outside of the state who were harmed by its polices. Reports show there were 1,500 enslaved Africans in California in 1852.
“Without a remedy specifically targeted to dismantle our country’s racist foundations and heal the injuries inflicted by colonial and American governments, the ‘badges and incidents of slavery’ will continue to harm African Americans in almost all aspects of life,” the authors of the report said.
Here are the 12 areas of systemic discrimination the report says the government needs to address to rectify the harm.
America profited off the free labor of enslaved Africans, the report says, noting that the enslavers made $159 million between 1820 and 1860 just by trafficking Africans. It also cites the violence by slave drivers used to increase production and “deplorable living conditions.” The last Census before the Civil War (1860) shows that four million people were enslaved, according to the report.
Read full story at Atlanta Black Star here.