Fact Check

Texas Residents Forced to Pay Slavery Reparations?

An unreliable web site falsely claimed that Texans were being forced to pay slavery reparations to black Americans.

Published Mar 14, 2016

A resolution passed in March 2016 forces residents of a Texas county to pay reparations to black citizens.

On 12 March 2016, the unreliable web site American News published article claiming that recently passed resolution required residents of a Texas county to pay slavery reparations to African-Americans:

Last week, a group of Dallas County commissioners decided to pass a Juneteenth resolution, in commemoration of the day that slaves in Texas earned their freedom. What many didn't realize, however, was that the resolution was also a declaration that African Americans should receive reparations for slavery.

According to the Daily Morning News, Commissioner John Wiley Price authored the resolution, which "included a long list of injustices endured by blacks, from slavery to Jim Crow to predatory lending practices." Then, in its final paragraph, it declared that the suffering of African-Americans should be 'satisfied with monetary and substantial reparations.'

The article was also picked up a few days later by verbatim by the web site Defund.com, which claimed that the measure in question has passed "last week."

The only truth to either article was that, as noted in an item published by The Dallas Morning News back in June 2014, Dallas County has passed a non-binding "Juneteenth Resolution" (largely voted for by country commissioners who hadn't bothered reading it first) that did not result in any tax money changing hands or the mandatory payment of reparations:

The issue arose in a resolution written by John Wiley Price, the county's only black commissioner. Described only as a "Juneteenth Resolution," it was approved unanimously.

Other commissioners admitted after their meeting that they hadn't read the document before voting for it.

Commissioner Mike Cantrell, the court's lone Republican, later changed his vote to an abstention.

"The reason why I didn't abstain this morning is that I had not received a copy of the resolution," he said.

None of the other commissioners changed their votes, meaning the resolution remains the county's official position.It is, however, a nonbinding resolution, and no tax money will change hands as a result of its passage.

While American News isn't a standard fake news site, it primarily trafficks in recycling misleading, satire-based, or years-old information under clickbait headlines. Among the many less-than-credible items published by that site are claims about after-birth abortions, America opening its "first" FEMA camp, Sadie Robertson's being gravely injured in a car wreck, Beyonce's being was banned from Canada over her Super Bowl 2016 performance, President Obama's personally banning an admiral from distributing Bibles, and new evidence casting doubt on the veracity of President Obama's birth certificate. In June 2015, American News attracted traffic by falsely claiming that the President had announced he was forcing all Americans to pay reparations.

Kim LaCapria is a former writer for Snopes.

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