Reparations for the enslavement of Black people in America has been a heated topic for decades, but in Louisville, Ky., the descendant of a slave-owning family has chosen to donate a six-figure amount as restitution for the people that their family enslaved.
Change Today, Change Tomorrow, an African American non-profit organization that helps marginalized communities, announced the donation on Monday, the Louisville Courier-Journal reported. The exact dollar amount was not disclosed.
"It is a blessing for us but also definitely owed," said executive director, Taylor Ryan.
Officials with Change Today, Change Tomorrow did not name the donor, but said in a press release that the person had come into a significant amount of money on their 25th birthday.
That person learned that their great-grandfather had held six people in slavery in Bourbon County, Ky., but the names of those people were never recorded so their descendants could not be identified.
"Being aware of how hoarding wealth is a huge contributing factor of inequality in this country they decided that they should give most of it away," the nonprofit said in the press release. According to the statement, the donor told them their ancestor “inflicted the trauma and violence of slavery on six people for his own monetary gain and did not even bother to record their names. Although no amount of money could ever right that wrong, their descendants deserve repayment for what was taken.”
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Ryan said that the nonprofit is planning to put 40 percent of the funds toward support for its staff, another 40 percent will go toward sustaining community outreach efforts and 20 percent will be placed on reserve.
"I think that this is just the start. I thank this donor for beginning this cycle that is going to continue to lead to more reparations," she said Monday. "But also, with this reparations coming in, we're going to continue to do the work and continue to show up,” said Nannie Grace Croney Change Today, Change Tomorrow’s deputy director.
The donation, while generous, is not without precedent. In 2018, an anonymous donor gave $200,000 to the Denver non-profit Soul2Soul Sisters. That donor turned out to be a graduate student who found out her family had once enslaved a Black person.
In March, Evanston, Ill., reported that it approved payments of up to $25,000 in reparations payments to its Black citizens. Also the city council in Asheville, N.C., voted in favor of reparations payments.
In April, a U.S. House of Representatives panel advanced a resolution on creating a commission to study payment of reparations to descendants of enslaved Black people.
Photo: Ira L. Black/Corbis via Getty Images
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