We’ve been running around the issue of reparations for well over a hundred years at this point. (Where’s our 40 acres and a mule folks?) But in Boston, they just got one tiny step closer to making reparations a reality.
On Wednesday, the Boston City Council unanimously voted to form a task force to study how to provide reparations to the Black Bostonians as a way to atone for the city’s legacy of slavery, according to the AP.
Let’s be real, cold hard cash would definitely be better than a study over a century after the civil war, but at least it’s a start.
The city has started the difficult process of making amends for its less than stellar reputation and history regarding race, including segregation and its participation in the trans-Atlantic slave trade.
The city council previously voted on a resolution condemning and apologizing for Boston’s participation in slavery. Part of that resolution included the removal of anti-Black statues and symbols and a commitment to better educating Bostonians about the city’s history in the slave trade. (Quiet as it’s kept the South is not the only place where slavery happened.)
Supporters of reparations told the AP that the racial divide caused by segregation in the city helped created a massive wealth gap between white and Black families in the city that persists today.
Not so fun fact, the median net worth for Black Bostonian households in 2015 was $8 compared to $247,500 for white households. So, yeah it looks like they might have a point.
Other localities including Providence, Rhode Island and California have also begun exploring reparations.
It’s way too soon to start celebrating the flood of new money into the hands of Black Bostonians. It’s still just a study. But the move is a major step forward in addressing the persistent legacy and reality of racism in one of America’s founding cities.