Since 1909, the NAACP has been pushing for the advancement of Black people in the U.S., and the organization came out in 2014 for the H.R. 40 reparations bill.
Recently there have been renewed discussions about reparations, but for now, it seems to be just talk. One chapter of the NAACP did something to try and help politicians learn about the need for reparations.
The NAACP Mystic Valley Area Branch in Massachusetts recently sent every member of Congress a copy of the book “From Here to Equality: Reparations for Black Americans in the 21st Century.” Written by reparations scholars William Sandy Darity and A. Kristen Mullen, “From Here to Equality” is considered the preeminent book and argument for reparations.
“It is our hope by sending this really important book to our congress it would give us the opportunity to educate them and engage them,” said Schiffon Wong, chair of the Reparations Committee of the Mystic Valley chapter of the NAACP, in a Neighborhood View interview. “We want all of us to have a shared understanding anchored in history, also anchored in economics as a basis in order to advance this policy conversation.”
Twitter had positive feedback about the NAACP effort.
“Now that’s doing the work! Respect!,” one person tweeted. Others agreed.
The plan to send the book to Congress came about after the book’s authors held a virtual discussion with the Mystic Valley NAACP Reparations Committee in the summer of 2020.
“So, after the event, I said to myself, you know, I felt that the book worked on people’s hearts and minds,” Wong said. “If people in their private space can read the book, it gives them an opportunity to digest it, reflect and maybe come back and have some conversation.”
The University of North Carolina Press offered Mystic Valley NAACP a below-market rate for the copies for Congress.
Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX) re-introduced legislation in 2019 to create a formal commission to explore reparations. The late Rep. John Conyers first introduced the H.R. 40 bill in January 1989.
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The NAACP supported Conyers’ efforts and continues to do so, according to NAACP CEO and President Derrick Johnson.
“At the NAACP we supported that effort then, we continue to support the effort, it’s something that’s needed and necessary in order for many many individuals who have been harmed as a result of strict structural barriers to be made whole,” Johnson said during a CNBC interview.