Research on Reparations

In 2021 and 2022, the Diocese of Washington sponsored two research projects related to reparations. In addition, the Archives of the Episcopal Church developed and published a guide on archival research for use by parishes and other organizations.

Theological Seminary of Virginia Aspinwall Hall 1859
The African American Episcopal Historical Collection at VTS
Home of the Oppressed, image of the Capitol of the United States "Hail Columbia"

An Analysis of Current Reparations Programs in the United States

The Episcopal Diocese of Washington sponsored research to evaluate reparations program strategies and identify best practices. This survey was conducted between November 2021 and April 2022, and the results were delivered to the diocese in September 2022:

The qualitative analysis evaluates ongoing and previous race-based reparations programs in the United States. The approximately 50 programs have reached or are nearing the stage in which material reparations are being returned to historically harmed communities and individuals.

The survey includes a range of reparations programs, from those led by private individuals to congregations to municipalities to large corporations. The evaluated programs range in size from direct-cash payments in the hundreds of dollars to designated permanent funds surpassing millions of dollars in equity.

Historical Involvement with Chattel Slavery in the Diocese of Washington

The Episcopal Diocese of Washington sponsored research to investigate the legacy of slavery in its historical antecedent, the Church of Maryland, from its founding through the end of the Civil War.

The final report will be available in 2024.

Researching the Impact of Slavery on Church Life and African Americans

The Episcopal Church is engaged in the historical process of reclaiming its theological and moral compass after years of institutional advantage, ignorance, and complacency in the treatment of African Americans.

General Convention Resolutions 2006-A123 and 2009-A143 asked Church institutions to take the next step in this journey by initiating a comprehensive program to collect, document, and analyze information relative to the complicity and benefit the Church and its members have derived from slavery and its aftermath. This guide offers some direction in approaching how to gather and research the documentation for this task.

Consulting the Past Through the Archival Record: A Guide for Researching the Impact of Slavery on Church Life and African Americans