Dallas Votes for Slavery Reparations

Commissioners didn't quite read resolution before approving it

By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff

Posted Jun 19, 2014 12:18 AM CDT

(Newser) – Dallas County now officially backs paying reparations for slavery—not out of a thirst to right historical wrongs, but because commissioners weren't paying attention at a meeting. John Wiley Price, the only black commissioner on the Dallas County Commissioners Court, declared that African Americans should be "satisfied with monetary and substantial reparations" in a resolution unanimously approved by the court on Tuesday, reports the Dallas Morning News. Price's "Juneteenth Resolution" appeared to be an ordinary resolution marking the day Texas slaves learned they were free, and although it was read aloud in court, commissioners later complained that they hadn't received the text in advance.

Price, whose resolution listed many injustices against blacks, says he included the call for reparations after reading an article making the case for it. The court's only Republican changed his vote to an abstention, but the other commissioners left their votes the way they were. "I am leaving my vote the way it is," said County Judge Clay Jenkins. "This is the body’s expression of support for unity towards people, a recognition of Juneteenth." He added: "I want to encourage staff to make sure that all of the commissioners have the opportunity to actually read what they are voting on before that vote in the future." The resolution was non-binding, meaning nobody will actually pay anything, the Houston Chronicle notes.

Nineteenth century bilboes for a child, front, and an adult, typically found on slave ships, are displayed at a Smithsonian slavery exhibit.
Nineteenth century bilboes for a child, front, and an adult, typically found on slave ships, are displayed at a Smithsonian slavery exhibit.   (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)
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