A call to look into slavery reparations in New Jersey

David Madden
November 17, 2019 - 4:00 am
New Jersey capitol.

Aneese/Getty Images


TRENTON, N.J. (KYW Newsradio) — Legislators in New Jersey are being asked to consider a move to form a task force to look into reparations to be paid for the state’s role in slavery. 

The state’s Legislative Black Caucus introduced a bill (S4261/A5968) that would set up a panel comprised of appointees representing the governor and legislature, as well as four citizens recommended by civil rights organizations. 


One of the sponsors, Assemblywoman Shavonda Turner, said the proposed New Jersey Reparations Task Force would be called on “to conduct research and develop reparatory proposals and recommendations that will address the generational harms caused by New Jersey’s role in America’s original sin with the institution of slavery and its legacy of systemic racial discrimination.”

What form any reparations might take is not clear. In fact, while the bill has been introduced, its specifics have not yet been posted on the legislative website.

"It is our hope that this task force will take that deep dive approach to examine where the disparities took place, what the impacts have been and come up with some recommendations that we can put in place today for restoration,” she added.

She says New Jersey has its own history on slavery, dating back to the early 1700s. And while it was abolished a century later, its effects lingered on — Turner contends it still affects African-Americans in the state today when it comes to issues ranging from public education to the environment.