Posted on February 23, 2023

Tennessee’s Largest County to Study Reparations for Descendants of Enslaved People

Alicia Victoria Lozano, NBC News, February 22, 2023

Officials in Tennessee’s largest county, which includes Memphis, voted Wednesday to study reparations for descendants of enslaved people, adding to a growing list of local and state governments that are considering or are launching similar programs.

The Shelby County resolution will allocate $5 million to study and find “actionable items” addressing five key areas: increased access to affordable housing and homeownership, health care parity, criminal justice reform, enhanced career opportunities, and financial literacy and generational wealth.

The resolution was overwhelmingly approved with the support of all eight Black members of the 13-member Board of County Commissioners on the heels of widespread outrage over the beating death of Tyre Nichols, who was killed by Memphis police officers last month.


“Five million dollars won’t right the wrongs of the past,” Commissioner Miska Clay Bibbs said. “My people are dying on the daily. That’s why I support this.”

But Commissioner Mick Wright, who voted against the resolution, said the county is short the $5 million to pay for the study and to develop a framework to implement it.

“We don’t have $5 million available to us — we were actually in the negative in November,” he said.