A focus of the nine-member "Reparations Task Force," formed by Newsom in 2020, is to compensate black Californians who were affected by discriminatory housing discrimination practices utilized from 1933-1977, reports the New York Times.
The effort may turn out to be the largest restitution paid to American descendants of slaves in recent history.
"We are looking at reparations on a scale that is the largest since Reconstruction," said Jovan Scott Lewis, a professor at the University of California, Berkeley, and one of the task force members.
The reparations recommendation comes after the group toured the state, hosting meetings with members of black communities, and researching the financial impact of decades of discrimination post-slavery on the wealth of black Americans.
The task force found that several black neighborhoods and communities were bought out or unfairly seized through eminent domain to be bulldozed over for infrastructure.
One now-destroyed black town, Russell City, would be worth "a fortune" if they were allowed to stay there, said one former resident.
The community once stood near the San Francisco shoreline, and provided refuge to black families fleeing racial violence in the Deep South, reported the Daily Mail. The area, which has since been bulldozed, expelled the people that lived there to make room for an industrial park.
"Imagine if the houses were still here," former resident Monique Henderson-Ford told the Times. "We would all be sitting on a fortune."
She said she was only paid $2,200 for her home, which was less than a third of what she paid for it.
In the US, black households are significantly poorer than their white counterparts. The median wealth of a black family sits at $24,100, paling in comparison to the white family's $188,200, according to the most recent Federal Reserve Board Survey of Consumer Finances.
In addition to discriminatory housing practices, the panel is also reportedly looking into the racial implications of mass incarceration, unjust property seizures, devaluation of black businesses, and healthcare.
The task force is also looking into the form in which reparations could be distributed, whether it be via direct cash payments, tuition, or housing grants, reported the Times. While the panel can't pass legislation, they can make recommendations based on their findings.
A report with the final dollar amount is expected to be released next year.
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