One North Carolina City Council Approves Reparations – Sort Of

By Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Senior Correspondent

Lost in the aftermath of the demonstrations stemming from the police killing of George Floyd and the pandemic is the issue of reparations for African Americans.

Asheville, a North Carolina city where Black people make up just 11 percent of the more than 92,000 residents, may have set a precedent. The City Council formally apologized for its role in slavery and voted unanimously to provide reparations to African American residents and their descendants.

“Hundreds of years of Black blood spilled that fills the cup we drink from today,” said Councilman Keith Young, one of two African American members of the City Council that voted 7-0 in favor of reparations.

“It is simply not enough to remove statutes. Black people in this country are dealing with systemic issues,” Young declared.

While Black Americans have long been deprived of their 40 acres and a mule reparation promise for horrific centuries of slavery, the U.S. government has never honored that commitment and has mostly shied away from offering an official apology.

Asheville’s resolution doesn’t include monetary payments to African Americans but promises investments in areas where Black people face disparities.

The resolution states:

“The resulting budgetary and programmatic priorities may include but not be limited to increasing minority home ownership and access to other affordable housing, increasing minority business ownership and career opportunities, strategies to grow equity and generational wealth, closing the gaps in health care, education, employment and pay, neighborhood safety and fairness within criminal justice.”

Council has called on the city to create the Community Reparations Commission, inviting community groups and other local governments to join. It will be the commission’s job to make concrete recommendations for programs and resources to be used.

“Slavery is this institution that serves as the starting point for the building of the strong economic floor for White America while attempting to keep Blacks subordinate forever to its progress,” Councilwoman Sheneika Smith stated while responding to emails that asked why should the city pay today for what happened during slavery.

“This is a really good gesture as far as the foundation of what we can build,” stated Rob Thomas, a community liaison for the Racial Justice Coalition, which led to the push for reparations. “The potential of what can come out of this document is amazing,” Thomas noted.

To address racism in this country, White people need to dare to be uncomfortable by accepting their tacit complicity in the promotion of the historical condition of White supremacy, Dr. Brett Paice, the downtown coordinator of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at the St. Francis School in Louisville, Kentucky, told BlackPressUSA.

“Whiteness needs to be made visible, and race shouldn’t be made the burden of communities of color. Tactically, legislation needs to consider the undue impact on communities of color when it’s enacted,” Paice stated.

“Fiscally and psychologically, some manner of reparation needs to be instituted to balance the scales of time, whether through government subsidizing of education or land ownership.”

In early 2019, Rep. Sheila Jackson-Lee (D-Texas) convened a Congressional hearing on slavery reparations. Jackson-Lee stated the purpose was to begin serious legislative discussions that would examine “through open and constructive discourse, the legacy of the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade, it’s continuing impact on the community and the path to restorative justice.”

This summer, the U.S. House expects to take up H.R. 40, a bill introduced by Rep. Jackson-Lee.

The congresswoman noted that the designation of this legislation as H.R. 40 intends to memorialize the promise made by General William T. Sherman.

In his 1865 Special Field Order No. 15, Sherman pledged to redistribute 400,000 acres of formerly Confederate owned coastal land in South Carolina and Florida, subdivided into 40-acre plots.

In addition to the more well-known land redistribution, the Order also established autonomous governance for the region and provided protection by military authorities of the settlements.

Though Southern sympathizer and former slaveholder President Andrew Johnson would later overturn the Order, this plan represented the first systematic form of Freedmen reparations.

“The federal government has been slow to engage the issue of reparations, individuals, corporations, and other public institutions have engaged the discussion out of necessity and conscience,” Jackson-Lee said.

“Reparations are ultimately about respect and reconciliation — and the hope that all Americans can walk together toward a more just future one day.”

Jackson-Lee continued:

“We owe it to those who were ripped from their homes those many years ago an ocean away; we owe it to the millions of Americans- yes they were Americans – who were born into bondage, knew a life of servitude, and died anonymous deaths, as prisoners of this system.

“We owe it to the millions of descendants of these slaves, for they are the heirs to a society of inequities and indignities that naturally filled the vacuum after slavery was formally abolished [155] years ago.”

Latest Articles


Search our archive of past issues Receive our Latest Updates
* indicates required

October 16, 2023, HOUSTON, TX – Congressional Candidate Amanda Edwards has raised over $1 million in less than 4 months, a substantial sum that helps bolster the frontrunner status of the former At-Large Houston City Council Member in her bid for U.S. Congress. Edwards raised over $433,000 in Q3 of 2023. This strong Q3 report expands on a successful Q2 where Edwards announced just 11 days after declaring her candidacy that she had raised over $600,000. With over $829,000 in cash-on-hand at the end of the September 30th financial reporting period, Edwards proves again that she is the clear frontrunner in the race. “I am beyond grateful for the strong outpouring of support that will help me to win this race and serve the incredible people of the 18th Congressional District,” said Edwards. “We are at a critical juncture in our nation’s trajectory, and we need to send servant leaders to Congress who can deliver the results the community deserves. The strong support from our supporters will help us to cultivate an 18th Congressional District where everyone in it can thrive.” Edwards said. “Amanda understands the challenges that the hard-working folks of the 18th Congressional District face because she has never lost sight of who she is or where she comes from; she was born and raised right here in the 18th Congressional District of Houston,” said Kathryn McNiel, spokesperson for Edwards’ campaign. Edwards has been endorsed by Higher Heights PAC, Collective PAC, Krimson PAC, and the Brady PAC. She has also been supported by Beto O’Rourke, among many others. About Amanda: Amanda is a native Houstonian, attorney and former At-Large Houston City Council Member. Amanda is a graduate of Eisenhower High School in Aldine ISD. Edwards earned a B.A. from Emory University and a J.D. from Harvard Law School. Edwards practiced law at Vinson & Elkins LLP and Bracewell LLP before entering public service. Edwards is a life-long member of St. Monica Catholic Church in Acres Homes. For more information, please visit

As September 13th rolls around, we extend our warmest birthday wishes to the creative powerhouse, Tyler Perry, a man whose indomitable spirit and groundbreaking work have left an indelible mark on the world of entertainment. With his multifaceted talents as an actor, playwright, screenwriter, producer, and director, Tyler Perry has not only entertained but also inspired audiences worldwide, particularly within the African-American community, where his influence and role have been nothing short of powerful. Born in New Orleans, Louisiana, in 1969, Tyler Perry’s journey to stardom was a path riddled with adversity. Raised in a turbulent household, he found refuge in writing, using it as a therapeutic outlet. This period of introspection gave rise to one of his most iconic creations, Madea, a vivacious, no-nonsense grandmother who would later become a beloved figure in Perry’s works, offering a unique blend of humor and profound life lessons. Despite facing numerous challenges, including rejection and financial struggles, Perry’s determination and unwavering belief in his abilities propelled him forward. In 1992, he staged his first play, “I Know I’ve Been Changed,” which, although met with limited success, was a pivotal moment in his career. Unfazed by initial setbacks, Perry continued to hone his craft, and by 1998, he had successfully produced a string of stage plays that showcased his storytelling prowess.

Calling all teenage student-athletes! If you have dreams of playing college soccer and wish to represent an HBCU, the HBCU ID Camp is your golden opportunity. From 8 am to 5 pm on November 11-12, Houston Sports Park will transform into a hub for aspiring male and female soccer players. Coaches from HBCUs across the nation will be present to evaluate, scout, and offer valuable feedback. Moreover, they might even spot the next soccer prodigy to join their collegiate soccer programs. This camp is not just about honing your soccer skills but also a chance to connect with the HBCU soccer community. You’ll learn the ins and outs of what it takes to excel on the field and in the classroom, which is crucial for a college athlete. The HBCU ID Camp is an excellent platform to network with coaches, learn from experienced athletes, and take the first steps toward your college soccer journey. To secure your spot at this incredible event, don’t forget to register [here](insert registration link). Space is limited to 120 participants, so make sure to reserve your place before it’s too late. It’s time to turn your dreams of playing college soccer into a reality.

Scroll to Top