BLACK AND MEXICAN AMERICANS DISPLACED FROM PALM SPRINGS, CALIFORNIA, NEIGHBORHOOD SEEKING REPARATIONS
Lawrence W. McFarland grew up on a parcel of land on a Native American reservation in Palm Springs, California. One day, the family was told to leave their home. As a little boy, McFarland, his mother, and his brother packed their belongings and moved to Cabazon, California.
McFarland told The Associated Press that his childhood home had been burned down and destroyed.
“We thought they were just cleaning up some of the old houses,” McFarland said to The AP.
In 2021, Palm Springs City Council voted to apologize to former residents for the city’s decision to displace them during the 1960s. The Native American reservation known as Section 14 was the home of Black and Mexican families, the outlet reports.
Former residents of Section 14 say they are owed more than $2.3 billion, about $1.2 million per family, for being displaced. According to The AP, Cheryl Grills, a member of California’s reparation task force, helped study the families’ proposals.
Over the past few years, especially with Ta-Nehisi Coates’ engrossing essay, A Case for Reparations, Black families have been seeking payback for disparities in housing, education, and jobs and as descendants of slaves.
“California’s statewide reparations task force is evaluating how the state can atone for policies like an eminent domain that allowed governments to seize property from Black homeowners and redlining that restricted what neighborhoods Black families could live in,” The AP reported.
Renee Brown, associate curator and archivist at Palm Springs Historical Society told The AP that Section 14 is complicated because the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians owned the land. According to Brown, the Agua Caliente wanted to lease Section 14 to developers, and the city helped clear the land. With this, the city of Palm Springs seems to have had permission to clear Section 14.
Despite the complications mentioned by Brown, Lisa Middleton, former mayor of Palm Springs, said it was important that the city apologize for displacing families of Section 14.