This House hearing transcript has been professionally converted for accurate flowing-text e-book format reproduction. A hearing before the Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties of the Committee on the Judiciary on the Legacy of the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade discussed H.R. 40, a commission to study reparation proposals for the African American Act. Chairman Conyers stated, " Essentially, this is a first-time historical examination of the circumstances surrounding the enslavement trade of Africans in the colonies in the United States. The purpose of the measure before us, House Resolution 40, is to create a commission to examine the institution of slavery, its lingering effects, and to make a series of recommendations to the Congress. So we do that through a commission that would consider a number of questions, and we would have a seven-person commission—three members appointed by the President of the United States, three appointed by the Speaker of the House of Representatives and one member appointed by the President Pro Tempore of the Senate. These persons would be especially qualified to serve on the commission by virtue of their education, training or experience, particularly in the field of cultural relations, sociological considerations, African American studies, and other things. The interesting thing about the way this Committee is designed is that we do not limit it to merely the commissioner's testimony. We would have field hearings where Americans across the country would be able to give their impressions and their views and opinions. We are delighted that this effort has now gone beyond the discussion stage, introduced in 1989, and we come to this hearing about 13 days from the 200th anniversary of the moment when the abolition of the trans-Atlantic slave trade took place, where the government decided that the kidnapping, purchase and commercial export of Africans would be no more; but it would take 57 years later to end the institution of slavery in 1865, the 13th amendment, then the 14th amendment and, following, the 15th amendment, which were to serve guarantees to Africans and African Americans of their equal rights and opportunities and protections. So we are here to not examine what your view is on reparations in particular, but more as to whether we should have a study and whether that would be useful and purposeful."
Individuals testifying included Professor Charles Ogletree, Director of the Charles Hamilton Houston Institute for Race and Justice, Harvard Law School; Kibibi Tyehimba, National Co-Chair, National Coalition of Blacks for Reparations In America (N'cobra), and Roger Clegg, President and General Counsel, Center for Equal Opportunity.