Action Alert

NAACP Supports Slavery Reparations Study Legislation, H.R. 40,  Now Pending In The 113th Congress

May 28, 2014

NAACP Supports Slavery Reparations Study Legislation, H.R. 40, Now Pending In The 113th Congress

Congressman John Conyers (D-MI) has again re-introduced H.R. 40; the formal title of this bill is to establish a “Commission to Study the Reparation Proposals for African-Americans Act”.  Specifically, this legislation, also known as the “Reparations Act” would establish a federal commission to review the institution of slavery, the resulting racial and economic discrimination against African Americans, and the impact of these forces on African Americans who are living today.  The bill would also acknowledge the fundamental injustice, cruelty, brutality and inhumanity of slavery in the United States and the 13 colonies between 1619 and 1865 and make recommendations to help correct the residual effects of these acts. 

The call for reparations received a boost earlier this year when an article appeared in the May 21, 2014, edition of the Atlantic written by Ta-Nehisi Coates entitled, “The Case for Reparations.”    This article made an extremely effective case in support of reparations legislation.

While this legislation has consistently been a priority of the NAACP, it was, unfortunately, not acted upon by the 112th Congress (which ended in December, 2012).  Not to be deterred, however, Congressman Conyers reintroduced H.R. 40 (he asks for, and is given, the same number every Congress) on January 3, 2013, the first day of the 113th Congress. 

In our continuing effort to advocate for this legislation, the NAACP Washington Bureau is currently working with a few key members of the United States Senate to see a companion bill introduced in the Senate.  If we are successful, this would be the first time reparations legislation has been introduced in the Senate and would represent a major step forward in our struggle to help pass this important legislation and for recognition and equality.


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