The House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Civil Liberties held a hearing on H.R. 40 legislation that would commission studies to research reparation proposals for African-Americans.

Actor Danny Glover and writer Ta-Nehisi Coates headlined the hearing, which took place on Juneteenth, one day after Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell dismissed the proposal, claiming it would be impossible because "reparations for something that happened 150 years ago for whom none of us currently living are responsible" is not something that can be done.




Coates addressed the Kentucky senator's comments, saying American society pays for, and adheres to, decisions made by previous generations all the time.



"We honor treaties that date back some 200 years, despite no one being alive who signed those treaties," Coates said in his opening remarks. "Many of us would love to be taxed for the things we are solely and individually responsible for, but we are American citizens and, thus, bound to a collective enterprise that extends beyond our individual and personal reach."

At one point in the hearing, Rep. Louie Gohmert discussed racist acts done by the Democratic party before the parties switched following the Voting Rights and Civil Rights act in accordance with the "Southern Strategy." During Gohmert's list, one member of the audience shouted, "You lie," a moment reminiscent of when a Republican House member did the same to former President Obama during his health care reform speech.



The hearing included numerous emotional moments from panelists of both sides explaining their points, but one of the most pointed moments came from Glover, who explained how his great-grandmother was freed with the Emancipation Proclamation and how America must do right by the people done wrong for so long.

"This hearing is yet another important step in the long and heroic struggle of African Americans," Glover said. "White America must recognize that justice for black people can not be achieved without radical change to the structure of our society."