to create a commission to study the history and impact of slavery and to advise on slavery reparations was
in the House of Represenative in January. Here it is:
Commission to Study Reparation Proposals for African-Americans Act (Introduced in House)
HR 40 IH
IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
January 6, 2009
Mr. CONYERS (for himself and Mr. SCOTT of Virginia) introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on the Judiciary
To acknowledge the fundamental injustice, cruelty, brutality, and inhumanity of slavery in the United States and the 13 American colonies between 1619 and 1865 and to establish a commission to examine the institution of slavery, subsequently de jure and de facto racial and economic discrimination against African-Americans, and the impact of these forces on living African-Americans, to make recommendations to the Congress on appropriate remedies, and for other purposes.
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,
SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.
This Act may be cited as the `Commission to Study Reparation Proposals for African-Americans Act’.
SEC. 2. FINDINGS AND PURPOSE.
(a) Findings- The Congress finds that—
(1) approximately 4,000,000 Africans and their descendants were enslaved in the United States and colonies that became the United States from 1619 to 1865;
(2) the institution of slavery was constitutionally and statutorily sanctioned by the Government of the United States from 1789 through 1865;
(3) the slavery that flourished in the United States constituted an immoral and inhumane deprivation of Africans’ life, liberty, African citizenship rights, and cultural heritage, and denied them the fruits of their own labor; and
(4) sufficient inquiry has not been made into the effects of the institution of slavery on living African-Americans and society in the United States.
(b) Purpose- The purpose of this Act is to establish a commission to—
(1) examine the institution of slavery which existed from 1619 through 1865 within the United States and the colonies that became the United States, including the extent to which the Federal and State Governments constitutionally and statutorily supported the institution of slavery;
(2) examine de jure and de facto discrimination against freed slaves and their descendants from the end of the Civil War to the present, including economic, political, and social discrimination;
(3) examine the lingering negative effects of the institution of slavery and the discrimination described in paragraph (2) on living African-Americans and on society in the United States;
(4) recommend appropriate ways to educate the American public of the Commission’s findings;
(5) recommend appropriate remedies in consideration of the Commission’s findings on the matters described in paragraphs (1) and (2); and
(6) submit to the Congress the results of such examination, together with such recommendations.
SEC. 3. ESTABLISHMENT AND DUTIES.
(a) Establishment- There is established the Commission to Study Reparation Proposals for African-Americans (hereinafter in this Act referred to as the `Commission’).
(b) Duties- The Commission shall perform the following duties:
(1) Examine the institution of slavery which existed within the United States and the colonies that became the United States from 1619 through 1865. The Commission’s examination shall include an examination of—
(A) the capture and procurement of Africans;
(B) the transport of Africans to the United States and the colonies that became the United States for the purpose of enslavement, including their treatment during transport;
(C) the sale and acquisition of Africans as chattel property in interstate and instrastate commerce; and
(D) the treatment of African slaves in the colonies and the United States, including the deprivation of their freedom, exploitation of their labor, and destruction of their culture, language, religion, and families.
(2) Examine the extent to which the Federal and State governments of the United States supported the institution of slavery in constitutional and statutory provisions, including the extent to which such governments prevented, opposed, or restricted efforts of freed African slaves to repatriate to their homeland.
(3) Examine Federal and State laws that discriminated against freed African slaves and their descendants during the period between the end of the Civil War and the present.
(4) Examine other forms of discrimination in the public and private sectors against freed African slaves and their descendants during the period between the end of the Civil War and the present.
(5) Examine the lingering negative effects of the institution of slavery and the matters described in paragraphs (1), (2), (3), and (4) on living African-Americans and on society in the United States.
(6) Recommend appropriate ways to educate the American public of the Commission’s findings.
(7) Recommend appropriate remedies in consideration of the Commission’s findings on the matters described in paragraphs (1), (2), (3), and (4). In making such recommendations, the Commission shall address among other issues, the following questions:
(A) Whether the Government of the United States should offer a formal apology on behalf of the people of the United States for the perpetration of gross human rights violations on African slaves and their descendants.
(B) Whether African-Americans still suffer from the lingering effects of the matters described in paragraphs (1), (2), (3), and (4).
(C) Whether, in consideration of the Commission’s findings, any form of compensation to the descendants of African slaves is warranted.
(D) If the Commission finds that such compensation is warranted, what should be the amount of compensation, what form of compensation should be awarded, and who should be eligible for such compensation.
(c) Report to Congress- The Commission shall submit a written report of its findings and recommendations to the Congress not later than the date which is one year after the date of the first meeting of the Commission held pursuant to section 4(c).
SEC. 4. MEMBERSHIP.
(a) Number and Appointment- (1) The Commission shall be composed of 7 members, who shall be appointed, within 90 days after the date of enactment of this Act, as follows:
(A) Three members shall be appointed by the President.
(B) Three members shall be appointed by the Speaker of the House of Representatives.
(C) One member shall be appointed by the President pro tempore of the Senate.
(2) All members of the Commission shall be persons who are especially qualified to serve on the Commission by virtue of their education, training, or experience, particularly in the field of African-American studies. [Emphasis added.]
SEC. 5. POWERS OF THE COMMISSION.
(a) Hearings and Sessions- The Commission may, for the purpose of carrying out the provisions of this Act, hold such hearings and sit and act at such times and at such places in the United States, and request the attendance and testimony of such witnesses and the production of such books, records, correspondence, memoranda, papers, and documents, as the Commission considers appropriate. The Commission may request the Attorney General to invoke the aid of an appropriate United States district court to require, by subpoena or otherwise, such attendance, testimony, or production. [LA comments: This is where they will start looking into, e.g., how existing corporations in today’s America profited by slavery. The main project of organized black America is maintaining and finding ever new ways of carrying out the expropriation of white America.]
SEC. 8. AUTHORIZATION OF APPROPRIATIONS.
To carry out the provisions of this Act, there are authorized to be appropriated $8,000,000.