Atlanta reparations task force calls Fulton County ‘complicit’ in stealing land from Black residents

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A reparations task force appointed by Fulton County, Georgia, officials says the county was “complicit” in stealing land from Black residents in the decades after slavery.

The Fulton County Reparations Task Force is currently in its research phase and will soon present its findings and recommendations to Fulton County leaders, FOX 5 Atlanta reported. Chair Dr. Karcheik Sims-Alvarado said the panel has collected a mountain of evidence showing the county benefited from slavery and the disenfranchisement of Black people during Jim Crow. 

“We believe that we are creating the blueprint to make a very strong argument for reparations,” Sims-Alvarado told FOX 5 Atlanta.

Fulton County commissioners approved the creation of the task force with a $250,000 budget to research the county’s ties to slavery, what properties the county may have confiscated illegally from Black owners and the use of illegal prison labor from the county’s confinement facilities.

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Los Angeles long-time resident, Walter Foster, age 80, holds up a sign as the Reparations Task Force meets to hear public input on reparations at the California Science Center in Los Angeles on Sept. 22, 2022. Officials in Fulton County, Georgia, are researching the possibility of reparations in their county. (Carolyn Cole/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

Over the course of two years, the task force gathered documents like land leases, prison records and relied on private citizens coming forward with family documents to build their case for reparations to the Black community.

“What we found was that Fulton County was complicit in declaring eminent domain on its residents, particularly within the Buckhead area,” Sims-Alvarado told FOX 5 Atlanta. “Some individuals moved to — if they were fortunate — they were able to buy another home in Dixie Hill, but some individuals wind up becoming residents in housing projects.”

Elon Butts-Osby, a task force member and resident of Bagley Park, said land belonging to her grandparents was forcibly taken from them by the county.

“Forced out of Forsyth County during the racial cleansing, somewhere between 60 and 84 acres were stolen from my grandfather,” Butts-Osby told FOX 5 Atlanta.

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Reparations hat on a person

A person wears a Reparations Rally hat during a rally for reparations at the African Burial Ground National Monument on July 23, 2021, in New York City. (Getty Images)

She said her grandfather was able to purchase land and resettle the family in northwest Atlanta, but the property value is not nearly worth what the land they used to own in Bagley Park is worth today. 

“The real value was shocking compared to what my grandfather paid for the six lots that he purchased,” Butts-Osby said.

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Atlanta skyline

The downtown skyline of Atlanta. Fulton County leaders appointed a task force to investigate historical injustices directed at Black residents and make recommendations on possible reparations. (Dustin Chambers/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Her family’s story is one of three case studies the reparations task force is using to justify payments to Fulton County’s Black residents.  

“People need to pay … the city and the county … they need to pay,” Butts-Osby said.

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The task force meets on the first Thursday of each month and members of the public are encouraged to share their opinions, concerns or requests during public comment. The next meeting is scheduled for Thursday, March 7, 2024.

A final report with recommendations to Fulton County leaders is expected in October 2024.

Fox News Digital’s Nikolas Lanum contributed to this report.

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