Most Americans Oppose Reparations For Slavery: AP-NORC Poll

Written by Ann Brown
A new poll shows that very few Americans are in favor of reparations. Only 29 percent of Americans think the government should agree to cash reparations. Source L’Illustration (Paris), Vol. 14, 1849, p. 136 Description Captioned Caravane d’éclaves, illustration shows five enslaved men linked by poles in the so-called Goree, or Slave-Stick Goree; Arab slave trader in foreground. This illustration accompanies a lengthy eyewitness account by Loarer (no first name given) on slavery on the east coast of Africa (pp. 135-138).

Even though many of the Democratic presidential have openly discussed slave reparations, a new poll shows that very few Americans are in favor of giving reparations to descendants of enslaved Back people in the United States. In fact, only 29 percent of Americans think the government should agree to cash reparations, found the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research poll.

There is a large divide between Americans of different racial and ethnic backgrounds, according to the poll numbers.

Most Black Americans, 74 percent, favor reparations. Only 15 percent of white Americans thought reparations were a good idea. Some 44 percent of  Hispanics favor reparations.

Listen to GHOGH with Jamarlin Martin | Episode 68: Jamarlin Martin Jamarlin talks about the recent backlash against Lebron James for not speaking up for Joshua Wong and the violent Hong Kong protestors.

“Poll respondents also were sharply divided by race on whether the U.S. government should issue an apology for slavery: 64 percent of white Americans oppose a government apology, while 77 percent of Black Americans and 64 percent of Hispanics believe an apology is due. Overall, 46 percent of Americans favor and 52 percent oppose a national apology,” AP reported.

It was 400 years ago that the first slave ship sailed to what would become the United States in 1619. The ship arrived with about 20 slaves at the British colony at Jamestown, Virginia. During the next two centuries, more than 300,000 men, women, and children from Africa were forcibly brought to what is now the U.S., according to the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade Database.

Slavery in the U.S. officially ended in 1865. And since then there has been a debate about reparations.  There had been an offer by Union Army Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman to give freed slaves land and mules to farm it — hence the phrase “40 acres and a mule.” President Andrew Johnson, however, rescinded the offer, AP reported.

Then, more than 120 years later, then-Rep. John Conyers (Democrat) introduced legislation to set a commission to create reparations proposals. And he reintroduced the bill every congressional session until he resigned in 2017. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (Democrat) picked up where Conyers left off and re-introduced the bill last year. Also last year, Presidential candidate and Democratic Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey filed a Senate companion bill.