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Civil Rights leaders, scholars, descendants of slaves speak out on reparations for Black Americans

The debate around reparations for Black Americans continues to rage across the country as some states and cities move forward on implementing the controversial policy. While polls show a majority of Americans are against reparations, proponents say it is time for the United States to pay for the harm caused by slavery and racial discrimination. 

Democrats in California pushed a legislation creating a task force to study reparations, the legislation was signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom in 2020. Earlier this month, the California Reparations Task Force recommended $1.2 million in payments to every qualifying Black state resident. And in our nation’s capitol, “Squad” member Rep. Cori Bush, D-Mo., introduced a resolution calling for the federal government to pay $14 trillion in reparations.

Fox News Digital spoke with civil rights leaders, professors, to descendants of slaves to get their perspective on reparations. Together, their views shed light on the varied contours of a national dialogue centered on reparations.

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“There were 3,700 free Blacks who owned 13,000 slaves. Well, do the descendants of those people pay?” Bob Woodson asked, asserting that attempts of a resolution are ‘more complicated’ than just identifying victims and those guilty. “You have Native Americans on the Trail of Tears going from Oklahoma. They had 3,000 slaves that they took on that journey to Oklahoma. Well, do the descendants of those Native Americans pay?”

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Congressional Candidate Gregg “Marcel” Dixon

Descendant of slaves running for Congress makes case for reparations Video

South Carolina congressional candidate Gregg “Marcel” Dixon told Fox News Digital that, “Reparations is about a debt that is due. It is not to fight against racism. It is not to punish White people. It is not race based, reparations is linear status based. So pretty much anyone who is identifying as Black, and they are a descendant of an American slave, or a person who was emancipated by the U.S. government, a freedman, they qualify for reparations.”

Rhodes highlighted that “the most common reason” among those who opposed reparations in the form of cash payments was that, “descendants of enslaved people did not deserve cash payments.” Adding that this perception might be due to Americans’s “difficulty understanding,” how slavery, “may continue to have consequences for African-Americans today.”

Former Princeton Professor Dr. Carol Swain & Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson

Black conservatives say Democratic politicians pushing for reparations as 'scheme to gain votes' Video

Former Princeton professor and “Black Eye for America” co-author Dr. Carol Swain called on supporters of Democrats’ reparations efforts to “look at history” and ask themselves, “Have they come through in the past.” 

Dr. Swain told Fox News Digital that current reparations efforts are simply a push “to gain votes from voters.”

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California’s Reparations Task Force vice-chair and reverend Dr. Amos C. Brown

Reparations task force member tells Californians to 'pay your sin bill' Video

California’s Reparations Task Force vice-chair Dr. Amos C. Brown told Fox News Digital that the founding of the Ku Klux Klan was San Francisco and called on the city and California to pay its debt, what he referred to as a “sin bill,” for the “enslavement, discrimination, intimidation, and terrorizing” of Black people.

“When you look at it deeply, the horrors, the hellishness and the harm that was done to African-Americans and their descendants, if you can’t pay all of that, say what you can pay, that’s the point. But you cannot put a dollar sign on what has been done to Black people,” Dr. Amos said. “I repeat again, our sin bill, in this nation has been so high, because of the long years, of doing nothing, the interest has grown.”

However, Brookings Institution senior fellow Andrew Perry labeled reparations a “suite of redress.”  He told Fox News Digital that reparations should occur, “because some of the injury was really resulted in a loss of income and wealth.”

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Perry also raised concerns of scammers if reparations occurred. “There’s going to be scamming in every program and every initiative. We’ve seen this during the pandemic,” Perry said.

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