Read a PDF of our statement here.

The NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund (LDF) supports the Commission to Study and Develop Reparation Proposals for African-Americans Act (H.R. 40 and Senate Bill S.1083) – bills that would establish a commission to study the effects of slavery in the United States and the subsequent actions taken by federal, state, and local governments to perpetuate economic and racial discrimination against African Americans.

Under the leadership of Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-NY) and the bill’s author, Rep. Sheila Jackson-Lee (D-TX) the House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Civil Liberties’ hearing on H.R. 40 is the first congressional hearing on reparations in more than a decade. The issues raised by the witnesses at this hearing, make it abundantly clear that the issue of reparations for slavery, Jim Crow and the effects of white supremacy on African Americans, requires fact-finding, study and deliberation by a Commission empowered to undertake this work.

“I encourage Americans to read or watch the testimony from today and to make a commitment to educating ourselves about reparations. The formation of a Commission will aid in helping Americans discuss this important issue based on facts rather than fear and misinformation,” said Sherrilyn Ifill, President and Director-Counsel at LDF.

H.R. 40-styled commissions have been formed globally to chronicle the harms to groups who have faced unjust and racist treatment and have served as a prerequisite to conversations on reparations. African Americans and the history of slavery should be no exception to this norm. We cannot move forward – as a country – until we address this history, directly tied to present inequities and very much alive today.

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Founded in 1940, the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF) is the nation’s first civil and human rights law organization and has been completely separate from the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) since 1957—although LDF was originally founded by the NAACP and shares its commitment to equal rights. LDF’s Thurgood Marshall Institute is a multi-disciplinary and collaborative hub within LDF that launches targeted campaigns and undertakes innovative research to shape the civil rights narrative. In media attributions, please refer to us as the NAACP Legal Defense Fund or LDF.

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