New Jersey leaders need to study reparations over slavery, faith leaders and advocates say

The New Jersey Faith Allies for a Reparations Task Force is pushing its leaders to study the state’s history of slavery and look into issuing reparations.

On Thursday, the group organized a demonstration in Trenton outside of a courthouse, where dozens gathered to push politicians to make a move. The legislature is controlled by Democrats and is currently in a lame-duck session until January 11. In 2019, Black lawmakers in the state introduced S322, which has made little progress since. Demonstrators are hoping lawmakers take action during this session to pass the bill.

“We come here today to demand that a very simple thing take place,” said Rev. Darrell Armstrong, of Shiloh Baptist Church in Trenton. “It’s embarrassing that I’ve got to ask the state Legislature to study history in the Garden State.”

New Jersey was part of the Union during the Civil War. However, its leaders at the time were conflicted about their beliefs on the matter. Even with Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation in 1962, it took the state until 1966 to officially abolish the practice.

Contrary to popular belief, the bill wouldn’t be providing payments to anyone in the state who has descended from a former slave. Rather, it seeks to create a task force which would “research, write, and publish a report that will make the case for state-based reparations” and “outline policy recommendations that seek to repair the harm” that resulted from slavery.




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