USA Today

Kim Hjelmgaard

July 10, 2020

Just weeks after Floyd died after a Minneapolis police officer kneeled on his neck for almost nine minutes, the California Assembly passed a bill to establish a task force to study and develop reparation proposals for African Americans.

But more than a year before, Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Texas, sponsored a bill in Congress known as H.R. 40, or the Commission to Study and Develop Reparation Proposals for African-Americans Act. And for more than two decades before her, Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich., introduced it year after year without success.

Now, it’s receiving greater attention, Jackson Lee said.

The Congressional Black Caucus met on it last week.

“There is no better time for H.R. 40 to be part of the national dialogue, and part of the national legislative response,” she said

The “40” is a reference to the 40 acres of land promised, but never fully delivered, to former slaves by another Union Army general, William Sherman, in 1865.

The full allotment under Sherman’s Special Order No. 15 was for 5.3 million acres of land to be distributed to newly freed Black families, according to a new book – “From Here to Equality: Reparations for Black Americans in the Twenty-First Century” – by Kirsten Mullen, a folklorist and historian, and William Darity, an economist at Duke University whose research is devoted to inequality in the context of race.

Read the full article here.