Re-introduced to Congress on Jan. 3, 2019, the H.R. 40 bill calls for a commission to study and develop reparation proposals for African-Americans. The act would examine slavery and discrimination in the colonies and the U.S. from 1619 to the present and recommend appropriate remedies.
“Among other requirements, the commission shall identify (1) the role of federal and state governments in supporting the institution of slavery, (2) forms of discrimination in the public and private sectors against freed slaves and their descendants, and (3) lingering negative effects of slavery on living African-Americans and society,” according to Congress.gov.
The bill has been debated for years and has yet to be passed.
“Lawmakers have been reckoning with this question to some degree for two decades. Members of the House have introduced the Commission to Study Reparation Proposals for African Americans Act in every Congress since 1989, albeit without much support,” the Chicago Reporter reported.
H.R. 40 was first introduced by Representatives John Conyers (who died in 2019) and was put forth every Congress since 1989. After Conyers’ retirement, Rep. Shelia Jackson Lee continued to introduce the bill in Congress.
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