Almost 20 years ago, Prince Edward County, a southern Virginia farming community of 23,000 began to make amends for the way it blocked its Black children from enrolling in its entire school district between 1959 and 1964—a devastating act from which Black residents have yet to recover economically.
Books were written, tearful apologies were made, a statue was erected, and a museum was built. In a historic move, the state set aside $2 million to help the victims of those acts “receive an education that was stolen from them.” That fund stands today as one of only four state-backed reparations programs aimed at Black Americans. Today more than ever before, Americans believe that Black people are owed reparations to close the wealth gap created by a constellation of racist policies enacted in the 19th and 20th centuries. What does America’s public school system owe Black people?
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