About the Commission
The Commission to Study Slavery and Subsequent De Jure and De Facto Racial and Economic Discrimination Against African Americans was established by the Virginia General Assembly in July of 2020. The Commission was formed to study the current impact and long-term inequities of slavery and the subsequent state-sanctioned de jure and de facto racial and economic discrimination practiced against African Americans.
In addition to its research mandate, the Commission is tasked with developing recommendations to address these inequities. The Commission comprises eleven members, including three legislative members and eight citizen appointees. The Commission will report its findings and recommendations to the Governor and the General Assembly no later than July 1, 2024.
The Commission to Study Slavery was tasked with researching the following objectives
- To study the history of slavery in America and the Commonwealth of Virginia
- To study the impact and long-term inequities of slavery and racial and economic discrimination
The Commission's work is divided into three phases. The first phase focuses on gathering historical data and consulting primary and secondary resources related to the study of slavery in America. The second phase involves interviews with subject matter experts and communities across the Commonwealth to learn about their experiences and perspectives.
The third and final phase of the Commission's work will develop recommendations to promote educational awareness and identify ways to address the systematic and historical implications affecting the quality of life of a significant population of African American families in the Commonwealth. The Commission is expected to release its findings and recommendations in late 2024.
Powers and Duties
The Commission shall have the power and duty to:
Identify and compile documentation of:
The institution of slavery that existed within the United States and Virginia from 1619 through 1865
The role that the federal and state governments played in supporting the institution of slavery through constitutional and statutory provisions
Federal and state laws that discriminated against formerly enslaved Africans and their descendants who were deemed United States citizens from 1868 to the present
State-sanctioned efforts to deny equal rights to African Americans, including the Black Codes, Jim Crow laws, and the campaign to avoid implementing public school integration in Virginia known as massive resistance
Other forms of discrimination in the public and private sectors against formerly enslaved Africans and their descendants who were deemed United States citizens from 1868 to the present, including redlining, educational funding discrepancies, and predatory financial practices
The lingering negative effects of the institution of slavery.
Examine the pervasive institutional system of maintaining inequities in housing, employment, education, economic opportunities, generational wealth, voting rights, and criminal justice.
Recommend methods to promote educational awareness and identify ways to address the systematic and historical implications affecting the quality of life of a significant population of African American families in the Commonwealth.
Recommend appropriate ways to educate the public regarding the Commission's findings.
Submit to the Governor and the General Assembly an annual report for publication as a report document as provided in the procedures of the Division of Legislative Automated Systems for the processing of legislative documents and reports. The chairman shall submit to the Governor and the General Assembly an annual executive summary of the interim activity and work of the Commission no later than the first day of each regular session of the General Assembly. The executive summary shall be submitted for publication as a report document as provided in the procedures of the Division of Legislative Automated Systems for the processing of legislative documents and reports and shall be posted on the General Assembly's website.