By: Leon Kwasi Kuntuo-Asare
“Reparations is defined as paying some type of monetary compensation for people who have been wronged.”
A United Nations panel of human rights activist asked the United States government to give reparations to the African-American community, who are the descendants of Black Slaves in America.
The reparation-payments would be intended to repair some of the damage done to the African-American community, through various forms of oppression, which includes:
2. Black Codes.
3. Jim Crow.
4. Sundown Towns.
7. The millions of dollars stolen from former Black slaves, by White bankers, and federal officials at the Freedman Bank, during the reconstruction era.
8. Race riots and the destruction of Black towns like Rosewood, and Greenwood, (popularly known as Black Wallstreet), which was a freedom colony in Tulsa.
9. Domestic White supremacy terrorism via the KKK and other White hate groups.
10. Police brutality and mass-incarceration, which disproportionately affect the African-American community, at a much higher rate the rest of the nation’s population. Even though most Black people are in jail and prison for non-violent drug offenses, White and Black people consume drugs at about the same rates, which means White drug addicts are more likely to get rehab and no jail time, while Blacks are more likely to go to prison.
11. The 13th amendment, which permitted prison inmates (who were and are disproportionately Black), to be used legally as slave labor.
12. Historical and present miseducation by a poorly built and broken school system.
13. Housing and mortgage discrimination.
14. The FBI’s (Counter-Intelligence Program) Cointelpro, using illegal tactics to sabotage the Civil Rights and Black Power Movements. Even going as far as assisting local police departments in assassinating their leaders, like Fred Hampton, who was the chairman of the Illinois chapter of the Black Panther Party.
Mireille Fanon Mendes-France, the chairwoman of the UN Working Group of Experts on People of African Descent Committee, compared the many incidents of police killings of unarmed Black men to racially motivated lynchings that occurred in the southern region of the United States, during the height of (racial segregation) Jim Crow.
Mendes-France, the daughter of (Martinican writer, revolutionary and philosopher) Frantz Fanon, did not believe individual checks should be given to the descendants of the victims of American slavery and Jim Crow. Rather, she recommended money be spent on programs that could improve the lives of Black Americans educationally, environmentally, and socioeconomically, something akin to a Marshall Plan for the Black community, which could be used economically rebuild the Black community, the same way the United States’ Marshall Plan rebuilt Western Europe after World War 2.
And for the naysayers who believe this could never happen, there is precedence for the United States giving reparations to American citizens:
1. In 1971 ,Alaskan Natives were given one billion dollars and over 40 million acres of land as reparations.
2. In 1980, the Klamath people of Oregon, received over $80 million dollars in reparations.
3. In 1985, the Sioux tribe of South Dakota, received over $100 million dollars in reparations.
4. In 1985, the Seminole people of Florida, received over $12 million dollars in reparations.
5. n 1985, the Chippewas of Wisconsin received over $30 million dollars in reparations.
6. 1986, the Ottawa people in Michigan, received over $30 million dollars in reparations.
Note: the 1866 Indian Treaty between the United states and the five Civilized Tribes-the Choctaw, Creek, Seminole, Cherokee and the Chickasaw: The Five Civilized Tribes, owned Black slaves and fought for the confederacy against the Union Army to maintain Black slavery in America. After the war, the Five civilized Tribes, continued to maintain Black slavery on their land, even after the South lost the Civil War. Eventually forcing the North to come into their Indian territory to free the Black slaves. The 1866 Indian Treaty, the United States signed with the tribes, required them to free their slaves, and stated the legal obligations the tribes had to their Black Freemen and Black Indians. Not surprisingly, when the tribes started to receive federal benefits, like money and casinos, they kicked many of the Black Indians and Freedmen out of their tribes.
7. In 1990, Japanese Americans, who were placed in internment camps during World War 2, received over one and a half billion dollars in reparations.
8. In 2015, President Barack Obama’s administration earmarked $12 million dollars in reparations to be distributed to elderly holocaust survivors.
9. The JUST ACT : Justice for Uncompensated Survivors Today (just) Act, which was passed Congress, requires money, property, land and other valuables stolen from Jewish people during the holocaust to be returned the people, their heirs, or Jewish organizations.
To this day, African-Americans still have not received one-single cent for the economic, political and social terrorism that has been inflicted on the African-American people through centuries of slavery, Jim Crow, etc. this is a absolute shame, when you think about the fact that many slave owners who stayed loyal to the Union received reparations for the slaves they freed.
Martin Luther King Jr. Quote on Reparations in 1968:
“At the very same time that America refused to give the Negro any land, through an act of Congress our government was giving away million of acres of land in the West and Midwest, which meant it was willing to undergird its White peasants from Europe with an economic floor.
But, not only did they give them land, they built land grant colleges with government money to teach them how to farm. Not only that, they provided county agents to further their expertise in farming. Not only that, they provided low interest rates in order that they could mechanize their farms. Not only that, today, many of these people are receiving federal subsidies not to farm, and they are the very people telling the Black man that he ought to lift himself by his own bootstraps.
And this is what we are faced with, and this is the reality. Now, when we come to Washington in this campaign, we are coming to get our check.”
For the people who slavery happened too long ago, Sylvester Magee, who was born around 1841 and died in 1971, was allegedly the last living former slave. Not only that, but the end of the Civil War (1865) and the beginning of the Holocaust (1941) were only about 76 years apart.
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