Posted on May 26, 2024

Black Bostonians Demand More Than $15BILLION in Reparations From the City

Isabelle Stanley, Daily Mail, May 20, 2024

The Boston People’s Reparations Commission has demanded the city invest $15 billion in slavery reparations for the Black Bostonian community.

Over 200 members of the community gathered at a Commission meeting at the Bolling Building in Nubian Square on Saturday.

They discussed what reparations mean to them and reiterated their demand for $15billion to be invested ‘monetarily and through public policy that will be in effect for Black Bostonians for generations’.

Head of the Commission Reverend Kevin Peterson told WCVB even though the group is asking for $15billion, it is ‘not enough’ as ‘every life is incalculable.’

As well as the $15 billion requested from the City, the Commission is in talks with Boston’s white churches about a possible $50 million payout.

If $15 billion were to be granted and split up between the some 150,000 people living in Boston, this would mean each person would receive close to $99,998 – however it is not clear how the proposed reparation figure would be split up.

According to the Commission, the enslavement of Africans in Boston began in 1638 and started a ‘legacy of social, political, economic and cultural injustice’.

‘At one point during the city history 1 in 10 Boston residents were enslaved people who were linked to the trans-Atlantic slave trade,’ according to their website.

Now their descendants and members of the Black community in Boston are claiming reparations for the legacy of prejudice and disadvantage they have endured.

They say they are seeking to ‘effectively address the harm inflicted through the enslavement of Blacks in Boston and generations of systemic oppression.’

Peterson told WCVB: ‘We think about tens of thousands of slaves who died in the midst of slavery in Boston. How do you put a number on that?

‘They died in slavery while their white counterparts flourished.’

Speaking at the Commission event on Saturday, Charles Yancey, who served on the Boston City Council for three decades, said slaves were once promised their share of the wealth once the Civil War was over.

He said: ‘That has yet to happen. Let’s set the tone for the United States of America right here in the city of Boston.’

Boston Mayor Michelle Wu established a task force in January to research and document the city’s role in and historical ties to the transatlantic slave trade.

The group say the reparations are about more than money.

Boston resident Nick Johnson said: ‘Reparations is cash. It’s land. It’s education. It’s these other functions that are included. It’s not just money.’

They are also working with local white churches on a reparations payment and a statement which acknowledges their historic role in the slave trade and apologizes for it.

Peterson told WGBH: ‘Part of my vision has been about a statement of atonement from this part of our community and this part of our city’s culture.’