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100 Facts On Reparations For Native Black Americans

100 Facts On Reparations For Native Black Americans


81. Former slave Henrietta Wood sued for reparations and won

In 1853, Henrietta Wood was a free Black woman working as a domestic servant in Cincinnati when she was kidnapped by a white man named Zebulon Ward and sold as a slave. Taken to Mississippi and then to Texas, she remained a slave through the Civil War.

Wood eventually returned to Cincinnati, and in 1870 sued Ward for $20,000 in damages and lost wages. In 1878, an all-white jury ordered Ward to pay her $2,500, possibly the largest amount ever awarded by a U.S. court for slavery restitution. That $2,500 in 1870 has the equivalent purchasing power in 2020 of close to $50,000, according to the CPI Inflation Calculator.

The money Woods got was a lot less than she wanted, but it enabled her son to buy a house in Chicago and attend law school there. “Those assets and his long career as a lawyer made a material difference for him and his descendants,” New York Times reported.


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