SACRAMENTO – As part of California’s historic Assembly Bill 3121 (AB 3121), the California Task Force to Study and Develop Reparation Proposals for African Americans (Reparations Task Force) today released an interim report providing an in-depth overview of the harms inflicted on African Americans in California and across the nation due to the ongoing legacy of slavery and systemic discrimination.
On Aug. 6, 1845, Frederick Douglass set sail on a speaking tour of England and Ireland to promote the cause of antislavery. He had just published “The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass,” an instant best seller that, along with his powerful oratory, had made him a celebrity in the growing abolition movement. No sooner had he arrived in Britain, however, than Douglass began to realize that white abolitionists in Boston had been working to undermine him: Before he’d even left American shores, they had privately written his British hosts and impugned his motives and character.
In his 1935 book, Black Reconstruction in America, W. E. B. Du Bois wrote, “One cannot study Reconstruction without first frankly facing the facts of universal lying.” He denounced the Dunning School, the dominant approach to Reconstruction at the time, which denied Black achievements and celebrated white supremacy.
In 1938, a brilliant young Black scholar at Oxford University wrote a thesis on the economic history of British empire and challenged a claim about slavery that had been defining Britain’s role in the world for more than a century.