When Alderman Dorothy Tillman proposed an ordinance to begin hearings on reparations for the descendents of enslaved Africans, critics dismissed it as just another eccentric gesture by the voluble city legislator. But this was no random gesture.
Tillman’s ordinance was the product of serious research and resembles similar measures that have passed in the cities of Detroit, Dallas, Cleveland and Washington, D.C. What’s more, it’s part of an unprecedented national movement to push the issue of reparations to the front burner of U.S. policy discussion.
This movement is a venerable one, going back to Reconstruction when the rallying call of “40 acres and a mule” signified the U.S.’s commitment to the formerly enslaved. But seldom has it been stronger than it is at the dawn of the 21st century. Strategists for two of the more promising approaches recently came to town.
Oklahoma representative Don Ross came through to explain why his state will pay reparations to survivors of a 1921 racial riot in which a white mob decimated a black section of Tulsa, killing hundreds and injuring thousands.
Read more at the Chicago Tribune.