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 A “tremendous opportunity.” Northeastern researchers dig into Boston’s past in support of Boston’s Reparations Task Force

Molly Brown, Northeastern reference and outreach archivist, looks through photos of the Saint Marks Freedom School Stay-out in 1964 from the Phyllis Ryan papers which are now part of the Snell Library archives on Thursday, Feb. 15, 2024. Photo by Alyssa Stone/Northeastern University

The idea of reparations has a long history in Massachusetts — dating to at least 1773 when an Essex County court found Richard Greenleaf liable for £18 for trespassing to enslave Caesar Hendrick.  Next Tuesday, June 25, reparations will be taken up once again, as the City of Boston Reparations Task Force meets. A research team from Northeastern University is playing a key supporting role. 

“There is a lot of movement around the country as relates to the issue of reparations,” says Deborah Jackson, managing director of Northeastern Law’s Center for Law, Equity and Race and project manager of the Northeastern research team. “To be on the ground floor of the city of Boston’s effort to understand, address and reconcile with its past is a great and tremendous opportunity.”  

Boston established the Reparations Task Force in accordance with a city ordinanceMembers of the task force were announced in 2023 and the city announced this year that two research teams would “study and document that city’s role in, and historical ties to the transatlantic slave trade and the institution and legacies of slavery.”

Continue reading at NGN Magazine.

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