'Never had slavery': Lauren Boebert lashes out at San Francisco over reparations proposal
Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-CO), speaks at the 2023 Conservative Political Action Conference. (Shutterstock.com)

Responding to a draft reparations proposal in San Francisco that would give $5 million to each eligible Black person, Colorado GOP Rep. Lauren Boebert slammed the plan, claiming that California never had slavery.

"The fact that supposedly serious people in San Francisco are considering a plan that would give $5,000,000 in reparations to every Black resident in their city in a state that never had slavery is a joke," Boebert wrote on Twitter.

"If they want to make the racial divide in this country worse than ever before, they’ll certainly achieve that goal!" she added.

As Newsweek points out, the question of whether California had slavery is debated by historians.

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While slavery was always prohibited by California law, historians have said evidence shows slaves were still brought to the state.

"What Lauren Boebert doesn't know about American history could fill the Library of Congress. So it's not surprising to see her repeat the myth that California never had slavery," political historian Dr. Kevin Waite told Newsweek.

According to the California Historical Society, "California’s constitution proclaimed that 'neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, unless for punishment of a crime, shall ever be tolerated.' Yet archives statewide contain evidence that slavery was practiced out in the open. One newspaper ad in the Sacramento Transcript offered 'A valuable Negro girl, aged eighteen…of amiable disposition, a good washer, ironer and cook' for sale."

The $5 million San Francisco proposal is one of dozens of suggestions, along with a guaranteed annual income of nearly $100,000, a house for $1 and the cancellation of debts, which came from a committee tasked with finding ways to atone for the city's racist policies of the past.

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The notion gained ground with the swelling of the Black Lives Matter movement in 2020, and the following year the Chicago suburb of Evanston said it would give Black residents money for home repairs.

Other municipalities have launched study groups.

But the San Francisco proposals are by far the most wide-ranging.

Even so, some in the city, whose African American population numbers in the tens of thousands, said they did not go far enough.

Amos Brown of the NAACP, a body that campaigns for racial justice, said headline figures were not helpful.

"Relegating this issue to a fight over $5 million is wrong and dishonest," he told AFP.

"It doesn't demonstrate all the terror and pain we have suffered. My position is that for all we've been through it's about $5 million plus specific programs" to bolster economic development, housing, health and education, he said.

A boisterous meeting on Tuesday heard contributions from several supporters including Yulanda Williams, a Black police officer who campaigns for reform of law enforcement.

"It is time for you to do the right thing and provide us with reparations. Make us whole, make us important in your lives," she told the Board of Supervisors.

"Black lives matter. You have an opportunity to demonstrate this today. Do so with reparations."

The plan, which did not include details on exactly who would be eligible for payments, will be finalized in June.

Elected lawmakers will have the ultimate say on drafting legislation that would put it into action.

With additional reporting by AFP