A reparations committee assembled a year ago by the City of St. Paul has finished its work to investigate the capital city’s connections to slavery, which could lay the groundwork for a long-term focus on reparations.
The Legislative Advisory Committee met over the past year with the goal of creating roles and responsibilities for a new city commission, known as the St. Paul’s Recovery Act Community Reparation Commission. On Wednesday, the proposed draft ordinance and a 31-page collaborative report were presented to the organizational committee of the city council.
The commission, in the eyes of the committee, will issue an annual report to “recommend action to address the creation of generational wealth for American descendants and promote economic mobility and opportunity in the black community.”
The report includes a 15-page bibliography, or resource list, with links to books, articles, and special reports on racial inequalities and possible ways to close the opportunity gap.
Council Chair Amy Brendmon said the council would review the draft ordinance with the mayor’s office, and consider where to obtain funding for the commission’s staff member. The report recommends housing the commission in conjunction with the city’s Department of Human Rights and Equal Economic Opportunity, but Brendmon said the Office of Financial Empowerment may be a better fit.
While Minnesota was never officially a slave state, slave owners visited Minnesota with their slaves, and historians have pointed to the infamous Dred Scott decision of the U.S. Supreme Court—that a soldier-owned slave rights, or lack thereof. Stationed at Fort Snelling – as an impetus for the Civil War.