HAGERSTOWN Md. (WDVM)–The discussion about paying descendants of African slaves reparations is now being discussed in Congress for the first time in over a decade. Dr. Taylor Perry, with the Berkeley County NAACP, says it’s long overdue for descendants of slaves to receive compensation.
“We should be paid now for our services rendered for all those years we were promised 40 acres and a mule. I don’t see any 40 acres and mule anywhere,” said Dr. Perry.
Dr. Perry says he would like to see African Americans receive financial compensation, so they can get ahead in life.
“Yes, money. Money, so they can start their own business, they can educate their children, they can do other things, money would be one of the things instead of trying to give us land,” said Dr. Perry.
In 2019, the wealth gap between families of color and whites is prevalent. According to the Economics Policy Institute, the white American family has twelve times the wealth that black families have. Tekesha Martinez, a community activist in Hagerstown, says that gap can largely be attributed to slavery.
“So, it went generation after generation after generation, so a lot of the poverty level that we see in the African American community comes from, not starting at the same place, so to speak,” said Martinez
Going forward Martinez believes the reparations would be the first step to reconciliation.
“I don’t think that we can unify a country until we reconcile what has happened to the people,” said Martinez.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has voiced opposition to reparations saying, “No one alive was currently was responsible for that.”