The first government-conducted study in the United States to consider the legacy of slavery has called for scholarships in California for all black students by way of reparations for historical injustices.
California’s state task force found that government, private sector and the judiciary “created a widespread exclusion of black people that has not been sufficiently addressed”.
California’s Democratic governor Gavin Newsom, signed legislation creating the task force in 2020. To date, California is the only US state to investigate the question of reparations.
The 500-page report argued that California actively participated in the disenfranchisement of black citizens, supporting the oppression of black residents resulting from the effects of discriminatory laws and practices in education, housing, jobs and in the courts.
Scholarships for Black High-School Graduates
The reported recommended that California “provide scholarships for black high-school graduates to cover four years of undergraduate education to address specific and ongoing discrimination faced in California schools”.
Ideology of Black Liberation
The report contains a further proposal to ensure that the primary school curriculum “accurately depicts historic racial inequalities” and “advances the ideology of black liberation”.
Another suggestion is to create a special office that helps African-Americans who are descended from free or enslaved black people to seek “financial restitution”.
One problem yet to be addressed is how to prove the lineage of black people. Suggestions have included the use of DNA, census records and ‘ancestry tests’.
Kamilah Moore, a lawyer and reparatory justice scholar who headed the task force said that some 80 percent of California’s 2.6 million black residents could be legible for reparation payments.
“I hope that is report is used not only as an educational tool but an organizing tool for people not only in California but across the US to educate their communities”, Kamillah Moore said.