‘Time to pay the debt:’ Bill could get Black Georgians reparations for slavery

ATLANTA — The Georgia Legislative Black Caucus, along with the Georgia NAACP and the Urban League of Greater Atlanta, called for a special commission to discuss reparative justice for the descendants of slavery.

“[It] repairs the damage that was done to Black people in this state,” said Georgia NAACP President Gerald Griggs. “It’s time to pay the debt. It’s time to listen to the children of the people who were enslaved in Georgia.”

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State Representative Roger Bruce told Channel 2′s Audrey Washington that he wants action behind House Bill 955, otherwise known as the Georgia Equity and Fairness Commission Act.

“We’re pushing to have a study commission developed that will look at the impact slavery has had and is still having on the citizens of Georgia and recommended remedies for the damage that’s been done,” said Rep. Bruce. “We’re not asking the government to give us anything. This payment is for services rendered.”

Last year, the Fulton County Board of Commissioners approved a similar commission called the Fulton County Reparations Task Force.

Members began looking into ways to provide reparative justice to descendants of slaves within the county.


In 2023, Fulton County Board of Commissioners Chair Robb Pitts said though he was interested in the findings, he was still fundamentally against reparations.

“Anything that goes from a personal point of view that would deal with a financial contribution, I would have serious issues with that,” Pitts told Washington.

However, Rep. Bruce said reparations are not just about money, they are about at least trying to right, a wrong.

“Ways to level the playing field. We’re in a situation where the average white household has 80 times the wealth of the average Black household and that’s because they were able to pass the money from generation to generation,” said Rep. Bruce.

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