Marianne Williamson for President

August 7, 2019
Patricia Ewing
Communications Director

Williamson Releases Reparations Plan

Her plan is workable, will pay a debt owed, and stimulate the economy

Marianne Williamson believes the time for examination of the issue of reparations is over. It is time for action. In her landmark book, Healing the Soul of America, which was first published in 1997, she discussed why reparations made economic sense, was an act of healing systemic racism and was a debt owed to the families of former slaves.

Reparations were key to her platform when she announced for the presidency in January 2019 and led the discussion on the idea in the presidential contest. 

In June, Marianne also talked about reparations on CBS’ The Takeout with Major Garrett saying, “There is an inherent mea culpa, there is an inherent acknowledgment of a wrong that has been done by one people to another and of a debt owed.”

Williamson says “Yes, we ended slavery. Yes, we passed Civil Rights legislation – including the Voting Rights Act – in the 1960’s. But no, we have not yet fully done all that it is morally incumbent upon us to do in order to heal this ugly wound. The forty acres and a mule promised to every former slave after the Civil War was not a joke; it was a means by which a formerly enslaved population would have had a chance to integrate economically into life as a freed citizen. While a few were, in fact, given their acreage, the vast majority were not – and most who received them would see the land given back to previous owners over time.”

 “In life, there are situations where talk without action not only fails to heal a wound, but exacerbates it. Since World War II, Germany paid $89 billion in reparations to Jewish organizations and America should do the same after centuries of racial oppression, in large part stemming from our history with slavery. While nothing can undo the terror of the Holocaust or the slave trade, reparations can push a new frontier in racial reconciliation in America,” said Williamson.

Williamson has proposed a “Reparations Commission” to guide the way. Black leaders in culture, academia, and politics comprising the commission would disperse $200-500 billion over ten years to promote education, infrastructure, and projects dedicated to black communities.

“When it comes to paying reparations for slavery, on an emotional, psychological and spiritual level, we cannot afford not to,” says Williamson. “Until we do, this cycle of violence that began in the 1600s and continues to this day will continue to haunt our psyche.”

Read the entire Reparations Plan here:


Race Relations, Reconciliation and Reparations 


Race relations remains one of the greatest problems facing our country today. In this as with every other issue, a core principle of a Williamson presidency will be solving problems by addressing their underlying causes. America cannot have the future we would wish for ourselves, and for our children, unless we’re willing to clean up issues left over from the past.

I do not believe the average American is a racist, but I believe the average American is undereducated about the history of race in America.  When our history is viewed through a clear lens - historically, economically and morally - white America is seen owing a debt to the descendants of slaves. That is why I support, and have a plan for, a program of reparations to the descendants of American slaves.

Slavery existed in America from 1619 until 1865. That was followed by another 100 years of institutional violence against blacks in the form of Black Code Laws, segregation, lynching, Ku Klux Klan and other forms of private and public horror. All in all, there were 350 years of institutional violence committed against a people who had been brought to this country against their will, then sold as slaves for purposes of building the American economy.

At the time when slaves were first emancipated at the end of the Civil War, there are estimated to have been between 4 to 5 million enslaved persons in the American South. General Tecumseh Sherman promised to every former slave family of four, forty acres and a mule. While this would have provided a way to make a living and feed one’s family, integrating economically into life as a freed citizen, only a few actually received the acreage and among those who received it most had it then taken away.

As Martin Luther King, Jr. would ask a hundred years later, “They were freed, but what were they freed to?” It was a full hundred years after the end of the Civil War before the Civil Rights Act was passed in 1964 to dismantle segregation, and only in 1965 did the Voting Rights Act insure equal access to black people at the polls.

The issue of the economic gap that existed at the end of the Civil War, however, was never addressed beyond Sherman’s promise. And the gap has never been closed.

I have advocated for broad scale reparations for slavery since the 1990’s, and was the first candidate in this presidential primary season to make it a pillar of my campaign.

The issue of reparations is not a fringe notion. Germany has paid over $89 Billion to Jewish organizations since the end of WW2 and, while they do not erase the horror of the Holocaust, reparations have gone far towards establishing reconciliation between Germany and the Jews of Europe. Similarly, in 1988 Ronald Reagan signed the American Civil Liberties Act assigning between $20,000 to $22,000 to surviving prisoners of the Japanese internment camps during WW2. The idea that a people which has wronged another people should then pay economic restitution as payment for that wrong, is a civilized notion long considered reasonable.

While America has moved forward in many ways since the days of slavery and Jim Crow, in other ways as a nation we are slipping backwards. Mass incarceration, racial disparity in criminal sentencing, lost voting rights, outright voter suppression, and police brutality often focused on black populations, display legacies of the emotional dehumanization of black people that was at the core of slavery. Employment and housing discrimination, unequal access to quality education in underserved communities, environmental injustice within black neighborhoods, and higher rates of poverty still plague communities of color and represent prejudice that has severe economic consequences. Moreover, the gap in earning potential between blacks and whites is a left-over of a profound economic injustice that has never been fully addressed and in many ways continues to exist.

Race-based policies alone are helpful, but only on a temporary basis. That is because, while they address the external symptoms of racial prejudice, they carry no moral weight and therefore have no fundamental transformative power. Of themselves, they leave open the question of whose fault it is that the economic gap exists.

The main power of a reparations plan is that it carries moral weight that goes beyond mere economic restitution. This is because it implies an inherent mea culpa – the acknowledgement on the part of one people of a wrong that has been done, a debt that is owed, and a willingness to pay it. Reparations are not “financial assistance;” they are payment of a debt that has never been paid. They thus pave the way for an emotional and psychological healing between blacks and whites much needed in the United States.


I propose a reparations amount of $200-$500 Billion. This payment is to be made over a period of twenty years, to a Reparations Council made up of black leaders from across the spectrum of American academic, cultural and political leaders. The Council would be made up of 30-50 members, all descendants of slaves with some scholarly, cultural or political connection to the issue of reparations. It would be for this council, not for the American government, to determine how the money is to be disbursed. The only stipulation on the part of the American government is the following: that the money be applied for purposes of economic and educational renewal.
The Reparations Plan will not erase the history of slavery in America, nor of its ugly aftermath. It is only one part of a multi-dimensional healing process. But it will go far toward ending a painful, horrific chapter in American history, and will give future generations of Americans a chance to begin again on the higher ground of true reconciliation.