Durham City Council Pushes For Federal Reparations For Descendents Of Enslaved People

Oct 7, 2020

Demonstrators painted a 'Strike for Black Lives' mural in the middle of downtown Durham during a rally on July 20, 2020
Credit Staff Photo, NC Raise Up/Fight for $15

Council members voted unanimously Monday night to push for federal programs they say would reduce racial inequality. Those include payments to descendants of enslaved African people, a universal basic income, living wage jobs for all citizens, and increasing the federal minimum wage to at least $15 per hour.

After almost two years, the Racial Equity Task Force started by Mayor Pro Tempore Jillian Johnson determined the city does not have the legal or financial ability to fix the inequities.

A summary of the report says the city was, "born during Reconstruction, and reared under Jim Crow [and that] shocking inequities between white people and people of color are still evident in 21st century Durham."

Last year, a bill was introduced in Congress that could have led to the development of reparations proposals, but the measure has gone nowhere.

The council is sending the resolution to its federal congressional representatives, G.K. Butterfield, David Price, and Senators Richard Burr and Thom Tillis, and says it will take whatever efforts are needed to advocate for the racial equity programs. Members also said the council is dedicated to increasing racial equality in Durham.

A similar resolution was passed by the city of Asheville in July. The full resolution can be found here.