Posted on July 10, 2023

Raleigh Council Passes Resolution to Apologize for City’s Racist Past

Shelle Jackson, WRAL, July 5, 2023

The Raleigh City Council is taking a step toward reparative justice for the city’s African-American community.

On Wednesday, the city council voted unanimously to approve a resolution that acknowledges the lingering effects of slavery and Jim Crow on Black families. Raleigh joins other cities in North Carolina, like Durham and Asheville, which have passed reparative justice resolutions in the past few years.

Proponents of reparations say it’s needed to narrow the wealth and opportunity gap between the African-American and white community that exist largely due to slavery.

The Raleigh City Council’s resolution states African American residents have been unjustly enslaved, lynched, segregated and incarcerated. As a result of this, their descendants have been subjected to:

  • Housing discrimination by banks, governments and real estate markets
  • Harm by environmental racism
  • Educational marginalization
  • Targeting by the criminal justice system

The resolution also said that governments have a “moral and practical obligation to adopt policies, develop programs and allocate funding.”


The resolution falls short of forming a Racial Equity and Reparative Justice Commission as was in the original version of the resolution. Interim City Attorney Dottie Kibler advised the council lacked the authority to establish such a commission.


Community activist Kara Sanders said the Raleigh City Council fell short in their apology for slavery.


The resolution does call for governments to start reparative justice projects and address racial inequities. However, the resolution stops short of offering any concrete plans of action.


Sanders said the apology felt like lip service.

“Why are historically black neighborhoods being completely decimated, destroyed [and] people of color being displaced?” Sanders said. {snip}

On Wednesday, Duke University public policy professor William Darity Jr. said the resolution shouldn’t be called “reparations” because only the federal government can really do that.