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Bernie Sanders Earns Applause As He Explains His Opposition to Reparations at NAACP Forum

Independent Vermont Senator and Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders was well-received at the NAACP convention, even earning applause as he explained his opposition to reparations for slavery.

Senator Sanders was the sixth candidate to appear at the NAACP Convention’s presidential candidate forum Wednesday, and received a warm welcome from the crowd, as well as moderator April Ryan.

The crowd laughed along with Ryan as Sanders insisted on rising to address the crowd after every question, and applauded frequently during his stint onstage, even when Ryan asked him to explain his opposition to reparations for slavery.

“Senator Sanders, you are not a supporter of reparations for descendants of African slaves,” Ryan said, and after describing the history of promised reparations, asked “ow do you correct this wrong, or do you think you have to?”

Sanders explained his support for Rep. James Clyburn’s (D-SC) 10/20/30 legislation,  and his willingness to sign HR 40, which would create a commission to study reparations.

“Here’s my fear about reparations, and I understand the issue, and I’m on board the legislation that will study the issue,” Sanders said. “Here’s my fear. The Congress gives African American community $20,000 check, and say ‘Thank you, that took care of slavery, we don’t have to worry about anything more.’ I think that’s wrong, I want to build, rebuild the distressed communities in America.”

The senator’s response tracks closely with what then-candidate Barack Obama wrote in response to an NAACP questionnaire in 2008.

The crowd responded positively to Sanders’ answer, and to the rest of his appearance. He earned several enthusiastic cheers during his closing statement, and a good portion of the crowd stood up and applauded as he exited.

Sanders has had a few rough outings in front of black audiences before. In April, Sanders was repeatedly jeered at a black women’s forum.

His appearance Wednesday was a significant improvement over those past difficulties.

Watch the full appearance above via Roland Martin.

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