The belief that we all have an equal chance to earn the type of riches that gives meaning to the words "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness," boldly expressed in the Declaration of Independence, is central to the concept of the American Dream. The American Dream implies that through hard work, a person may buy a home, start a company, and build a nest egg for future generations. This concept, however, has been consistently rejected by the United States government's own regulations that denied African Americans wealth-building opportunities.
African Americans are the only minority that has not received reparations for state-sanctioned racial discrimination, despite the fact that slavery allowed certain white families to amass enormous riches. The justification for reparations can be made on economic, societal, and moral grounds. The United States has had several opportunities to atone for slavery, each one a squandered opportunity to make the American Dream a reality, but has failed to take major action.
The NAACP has long stood in favor of financial reparations to African Americans and those of African Descent in the United States who are descendants of slavery and the Jim Crow Era.
Established in 1991, the NAACP's original policy position, as embodied in H.R. 40, demands that the United States Government take immediate action to commence hearings and to establish a congressional commission to examine the issue of reparations for descendants of enslaved persons of African descent.
In 1997, 1999, 2001, 2003, 2007, 2016, 2019, and again in 2022, the Association reaffirmed and continues to stand in favor of financial reparations for African Americans and those of African descent in the United States who are descendants of slavery and the Jim Crow Era.
The NAACP demands the U.S. Congress and President utilize all available procedural options to immediately establish a commission to study and recommend a comprehensive program of compensatory reparations policies for Black American descendants of persons enslaved in the U.S. for harms originating in chattel slavery and ongoing through multifaceted institutional and structural forms of anti-Black racism and discrimination.
This is the official NAACP position on reparations. Any other position offered is in direct opposition to our aforesaid resolutions.
For more information on our proposed reparations resolutions, please visit our resolutions resources webpage here.