The ACLU of Louisiana’s Truth and Reconciliation (T&R) Project creates a template for transferring economic power from the descendants of enslavers to those impacted by the oppressive vestiges of slavery, across the American South. The program’s goal is to address historical injustices and empower marginalized communities through a guaranteed income pilot program.
The guaranteed income program utilizes a unique funding model, distinct from traditional taxpayer dollars or private donations. Over the course of three years, the ACLU of Louisiana has cultivated a family whose wealth was inherited from ancestors who were enslavers and prominent figures in the trade of enslaved people. Later, the family founded several cotton mills in Fort Mill, SC, and their company became the largest manufacturer of various cotton products in the world, for a century. In 2022, we launched the Truth and Reconciliation Project with Buck and Gracie Close, two siblings who descend from the Springs and White families in Fort Mill and have longed to participate in a reparative justice program that empowers them to transfer their wealth to Black people.
Together, we studied the arc of slavery to mass incarceration in this country, researched and documented their ancestors’ legacy as enslavers, and developed this guaranteed income pilot program to transfer their resources to those who have been directly affected by ongoing systemic oppression. This transformative program endeavors to shed light on the vestiges of slavery, including issues such as racist policing, mass incarceration, and criminalizing poverty. Through a guaranteed income pilot, it aims to create a sustainable, transformative and scalable model that empowers communities by providing tangible support to individuals and families who have faced systemic oppression.
Read our blog post about the Truth and Reconciliation Project: Early Lessons From Our Guaranteed Income Program
Read the Close Family's op-ed, "Learning the Truth and Reconciling the Past in the Deep South," in Newsweek.