John Wiley Price, Photo Credit: Dallasnews.com
In a recent piece for The Atlantic, writer Ta-Nehisi Coates made the case for reparations and just like that, one Texas county approved reparations for blacks. The problem, however, is that even though Dallas County Commissioners Court approved reparations, commissioners weren’t even aware of what they’d done.
A “Juneteenth” resolution written by John Wiley Price, the only black commissioner, was approved unanimously by the commission, but as it turns out, no one knew what they were voting for except Price. According to Dallasnews.com, commissioners admitted that they hadn’t read the resolution prior to voting.
The “Juneteenth” resolution, recognizing the day Texas slaves learned of their freedom, was thought by commissioners to be just another toothless resolution. Obviously, no one read the final paragraph which declared that the suffering of blacks should be “satisfied with monetary and substantial reparations.”
To make it even more embarrassing, Price read aloud the resolution prior to the vote, which is customary. Still, Price’s proclamation was approved by voice vote.
Commissioners complained after the vote that they hadn’t been given a copy of the resolution and it wasn’t posted on the website.
Price says he doesn’t know why the other commissioners weren’t given a copy of the resolution, but he decided to write it after reading Coates’ article.
“We are the only people who haven’t been compensated,” he said.
The commission’s sole Republican, Mike Cantrell, was the only member of the commission to change his vote. Although other commissioners complained about the process, they didn’t change their votes.
“I am leaving my vote the way it is,” County Judge Clay Jenkins said. “This is the body’s expression of support for unity towards people, a recognition of Juneteenth.”
The vote is non-binding so no tax dollars will be used to pay for reparations.