California Task Force Will Consider Paying Reparations for Slavery

Whatever rocks your world!

I don’t care what they do in California…. As long as they ain’t gettin’ a dime of my tax money to do it!

source: Los Angeles Times


With Gov. Gavin Newsom’s signature, California became the first state government in the country on Wednesday to adopt a law to study and develop proposals for potential reparations to descendants of enslaved people and those impacted by slavery.

Newsom said the new law and bipartisan support for its passage are proving “a paradigm that we hope will be resonant all across the United States.”

In a year of national protests against racial injustice, state lawmakers approved Assembly Bill 3121 to force the state to begin to confront its racist history and systemic disparities that persist today. Although California entered the Union as a “free state” in 1850, slavery continued there after the state Constitution outlawed it the previous year. Slavery was abolished by the 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution in 1865.

The new law creates a task force to recommend appropriate remedies to the state Legislature and determine who should be eligible to receive compensation, which advocates hope will become a model in a country where movements to make amends for centuries of slavery have failed to gain traction at the federal level.

“California has come to terms with many of its issues, but it has yet to come to terms with its role in slavery……..We’re talking about really addressing the issues of justice and fairness in this country that we have to address.”

Assemblywoman Shirley Weber (D-San Diego)

The task force, which comprises nine members to be appointed by the governor and legislative leaders, will conduct a sweeping examination of slavery in California and the United States and the lasting consequences of discrimination against freed slaves and their descendants. The group is expected to consider the ways in which slavery has benefitted private and public institutions and led to lasting disparities related to wealth, education, employment, health and incarceration.

The bill states that 4 million African people and their descendants were enslaved in the United States from 1619 to 1865, and the practice was constitutionally approved for more than 75 years.

California has a long history of allowing slavery and discrimination, dating back to before it gained statehood.

Southerners brought slaves to California in 1848 to work in the gold mines during the gold rush, according to the California Historical Society. Though California banned slavery in its constitution in 1849 ahead of joining the Union the following year, loopholes in its legal system allowed slavery and discrimination against freed slaves to continue.

California’s first governor, in his inaugural address, recommended the Legislature ban freed slaves from the state.

“Had they been born here, and had acquired rights in consequence, I should not recommend any measure to expel them….They are not now here, except a few in comparison with the numbers that would be here; and the object is to keep them out.”

Gov. Peter Burnett to CA Legislature

Federal fugitive slave laws compelled citizens and governments to help return those who had escaped slavery to the South. California passed its own fugitive slave law in 1852, which stated that all enslaved people who escaped to or were brought into California before it became a state were considered fugitives and the property of the slave owner from whom they fled or who brought them there to work.

The law was interpreted to allow slaveowners to bring enslaved people to California to work and eventually return with them to the South, according to an article published in the Journal of Negro History in 1918. Slave owners also sold those they enslaved if they didn’t want to pay for their return travel, or charged them for their freedom.

California task force will consider paying reparations for slavery

Calamity Jane