Reparations for Black Americans gains momentum as more cities explore policies

Asheville, North Carolina, was one of the first U.S. cities to approve reparations. Resident Libby Kyles said the city’s initial appropriation isn't enough and is calling for more transparency.
8:18 | 06/23/21

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Transcript for Reparations for Black Americans gains momentum as more cities explore policies
There's something about living in the mountains. It's a sense of serenity. Almost feels like a post What doesn't come to mind when people think of Ashfield. You don't think of black folk, African-Americans being in Asheville . I don't think people know of the rich, black history here. They don't know because pretty much the history has been erased. Urban renewal forced my family along with others to move out. It was urban removal, the removal of black people from their land. Reparation is owed. My family has been here now six generations. This box has Asheville 'S black history, mainly the history of my community south side. A whole community filed away. In this box. Rich history. Filed away. Closed until I decide to open it and talk about it. I grew up in the 60s, at the time I was growing up larger Asheville was seg regated. We had everything we needed from the cradle to the grave, black-owned homes and businesses, it gave me a sense of pride. I lived in the apartment where nine other people. Just where that pole is is where I lived. So you had all of the homes that were up and down this street. And, hmm, as you can see, it's empty. Urban renewal was implemented and so that forced us to have to move out. WWE relocated to we relocated to public housing. People were told this was all temporary. Looking at four, five, six generations of people have living in it. This didn't come out of nowhere. This came out of explicit policy designed to confine the descendents of those who had been enslaved. We must make sure that every family in America lives in a home of dignity. The intent was meant to improve the living conditions of African-Americans, the actual outcome of urban renewal was another story. With the city, county, state and federal government not keeping its word to rebuild neighborhoods. What's here? Just the grass. When urban renewal took place we saw the decline of living standards for African-Americans, higher unemployment, poorer health and academic achievement. My grandparents house, Vivian Jesse Smith at 13 velvet street. Would have been in this area. Behind us is the public works building, prior to being the public works building it was the backyard that we played in. So in 1984 this is the paperwork where my grand parents granted -- um -- um -- our land to the city. When I say granted because on this document it said grantor but I don't think my grandparents had a choice that's the whole point of imimment domain. It wasn't just the loss of their home but the loss of what could have been generational wealth for our family. Since World War II the primary source of wealth for middle class American is wealth of your home. Well, if your home is destroyed you lost a primary pillar for middle-class standing. It is enraging and I almost get a little bit of fuel from it as well. Because I do believe that the day of reckoning is coming. Say his name George Floyd black lives matter! George Floyd helped to can'talize a new civil rights movement not only you seen federal monuments come down but also reparations for black Americans and our city Zens local -- citizens locally. The city apologized and looks to make amends to carry our urban renewal program. Our black residents need to be made whole in so many areas. When you say you're signing for reparations we don't want to just see words on a paper. I hear people say that's something our forefathers did. That's not the point. Forefathers may have done it but you in some cases reap the benefits. I know that the city of Asheville knows that it cannot claim reparations with $2.1 million. That's just a drop in the bucket. I'm not sure where the number came from. I'm not sure who was at the table when the discussion was being had. There's no transparency and there should be a lot of community in the room when those discussions are happening. We have seen reparations move from the margins to the center of the conversation because of the racial reckoning this country has under gone over the last year. So many things that were off the table or on the table. There's a way when it comes time to pay what they owe. My message to the people fighting for reparations keep fighting, we've been waiting 400 years. So we can wait a few more. Growing up as a little girl, I had no sense that that would one day all be gone, that I would walk in my neighborhood and see it completely gone. I have the memories. And that's part of why I tell my story to preserve that history. I'm preserving that pride. I will preserve it until I die.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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