How the 1st US city to fund reparations pulled it off

Evanston, Illinois, has a rich Black history. Records show generations of insidious racism and redlining in the Chicago suburb.
9:02 | 03/03/21

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Transcript for How the 1st US city to fund reparations pulled it off
Forty acres and a new. Phrase passed through my grandparents in their grandparents. Probably you'll is as well. The promise to free black people in America was that after centuries of bondage that we get this finish. Since in the fight for reparations has continued. And to this today that promise remains on proof do. But then there's Evanston Illinois. A small community outside Chicago that has taken a bold and controversial step. Would rest of the country follow. Nightline anchor Byron Pitts has the story. An early end my childhood. I was invited to have a play day. How white friends never had a plate and at home. So I a went to Megan's house these streets are wide. The homes were bigger and brighter. Wrong. It was obvious that it was that barrier of race that kept us from that because this segregation was race based. Even these Evanston Illinois are probably liberals suburb of Chicago. That the area burden of race have a long way to have him. Like a winter storm. And this is Alderman for the fifth ward brother Bruce Ennis was born and raised in the historically black neighborhood she represents. This community was red line historically. And that has come along with damages that continue today. Three sources were stripped away from the black community along with wealth as well. The city's plan to change their path reparations. In idea long debate proposed over a 150 years ago first forty acres of land it later a mule. For formally enslave people to share the American dream built on their backs. For free food out their. Promise long broke. Until now this is a historic. Evanston is set to become the first US city to pay out reparations. A total of ten million dollars starting with increments of up to 25000. Dollars per person for housing. I didn't start my elected career even discussing reparations tornadic. I. Was looking at data I was looking at what we had done. And reparations was the only answer the only the only bans only be only it any more the same. Was gonna only at best help us sustain the oppressed date and the disparity that we have. Only so big word it'll only legislative. Recent times for us to reconcile the damages in the black community is reparations. We insist that litigation with the premise that you cannot use. Tax money from public to benefit eight quicker because people. Bucs thought history. Texans rookie to benefit a certain group of people while others were excluded from that. Gino Robinson is the founder of shore front and archive dedicated to chronicle against celebrating black life but Evanston. A wrist missed long undervalued. Kiss documentation going back to the late eighteen hundreds invaluable in measuring the cost of racism. And the need for preparation but when you've numbers were moving throughout Evanston and forming you know pockets in the city about Tristan and Nick Collison white which is so panicked like what we do about that. The response don't panic bread line. A federally sanctioned project. Citing market value to neighborhoods are grading system eight two. The this deliberately pushed Evans says black families into an area that became the fifth war segregating them from white families sought after property and ultimately. Well things in them sober now loan to black families will say agencies were not showing anything other than fifth ward. That Matt still is the map of our concentrated black community I disinvestment. Today white residents of evidence and have nearly doubled the income in home value of black residents this racial wealth gap is prevalent nationally. Black Americans possessing less than 15%. Of the wealth that white Americans had. I am 98 years old who. In the landlocked Afghanistan and nineteen cents. An island and this is. Black residents who lived through redlining in their descendants are eligible for reparations. This includes didn't gain senior and his son Dan junior this. Senior group in 1920s Dixon Kentucky part of the old south. The business end DeVon heiress most violent weapon against African Americans. Jim Crow. He landed in Evans. Here and Jim Crowe wore smiles. But still inflicted harm on black home by its main contractor. Lucid and not. And they were in Edison and no bill whatever you look. Well when he said that he'd. Men and in the black neighborhoods and we still have these same types of problems. Not been as a realist because like he sees younger members have been seniors spend. Houston grand nephew Jarrett and his children mic in my no more progressive Arab grown up and Evans have for me was definitely good despite the racism at a fixed where you apply. For reparations well it and why. Because so. Quote unquote wealthy African Americas and not be the equivalent of quote unquote wealthy white Americans in this country. The national reparations policy is the moral. Democratic. And economic competitive. House resolution forty is the latest national step toward reparations. Supporters have included Tallahassee coats and actor. Danny Glover. HR forty goods an opportunity. To have a commission to study reparations but also live further context in which we look at slavery and the impacted. So you think ever seem to be an example from an I think you can. Evanston Illinois is this something that they know of the city is. If we're able to use that as a platform may be of the city's might. Adopt the whole idea of this and other cities could take up Evanston sweetly ironic funding solution. A 3% tax on newly legal marijuana sales. It's the most appropriate use for that sales tax and in our city 70%. Of the marijuana arrests were in the black community and we have 16% of the community. Studies show that. Blacks and whites consume candidates at the same rate. This van debate over whether those taxes can sustain the fund long term and even those who proudly support reparations wonder aloud. It's toy 5000 dollars to look. Too late. There's a drop in the bucket. You have deny had. May all by denying he'd years. Hopefully. Before I had that. See the world change. Uncle Ben he's 98 so we can understand his skepticism what is your skepticism from for a I would say it's less like skepticism a more education people who are acting like they're ready for change. And my clothes or lot of things are happening right and we see that volatile politics what does it say that Montoya five year old has the feel like. You don't learn about these issues it turns. We are really taught black history outside of all you know slaves came from Africa so part of preparations occasions the money like you have to teach us. What we need to know. One could argue it's potentially more symbolic than is substances. I disagree that it's been about what that I understand that. Point 5000 dollars is lifesaving course some family but relatives of the injury is not nearly enough and I. This notion of reparations and Aniston isn't meant to be a drop in the bucket. But the beginning of a stream that becomes a river to become an ocean there's a lifetime of work ahead for us to get to justice. Fraud bureau work in this space what worries you still. That and a resource. Not quick enough. I do believe that we are committed as a city and I can't wait. To celebrate the family that receives their first reparation. Benefit act cannot wait for that day.

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

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