The IRS has already paid at least $30 million in refunds to taxpayers who, most often misled scams, claimed slavery reparations. Several low-level IRS employees were also involved, and some prosecutions have resulted.
A past not forgotten
Advocates who say black Americans should be compensated for slavery and its Jim Crow aftermath are quietly chalking up victories and gaining momentum.
Fueled by the work of scholars and lawyers, their campaign has morphed in recent years from a fringe-group rallying cry into a sophisticated, mainstream movement. A pair of churches apologized recently for their part in the slave trade, and one is studying ways to repay black church members.
The overall issue is hardly settled, even among black Americans: Some say focusing on slavery shouldn’t be a priority, or it doesn’t make sense to compensate people generations after a historical wrong.
Photo: Reparations advocate Katrina Browne, whose ancestors were the biggest slave traders in U.S. history, has been working for the past seven years on a documentary film about their trade, "Traces of the Trade: A Story of the Deep North".
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