What Reparations for Slavery Might Look Like in 2019

The idea of economic amends for past injustices and persistent disparities is getting renewed attention. Here are some formulas for achieving the aim.

 

If you’re surprised that the issue of reparations for black Americans has taken so long to resolve, blame the president. President Andrew Johnson.

As the Civil War wound down in 1865, Gen. William T. Sherman made the promise that would come to be known as “40 acres and a mule” — redistributing a huge tract of Atlantic coastline to black Americans recently freed from bondage. President Abraham Lincoln and Congress gave their approval, and soon 40,000 freedmen in the South had started to plant and build.

Within months of Lincoln’s assassination, though, President Johnson rescinded the order and returned the land to its former owners. Congress made another attempt at compensation, but Johnson vetoed it.

Now, in the early phase of the 2020 presidential campaign, the question of compensating black Americans for suffering under slavery and other forms of racial injustice has resurfaced. The current effort focuses on a congressional bill that would commission a study on reparations, a version of legislation first introduced in 1989. Several Democratic presidential hopefuls have declared their support, including Senators Kamala Harris of California, Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Cory Booker of New Jersey and former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro.

If this latest revival has excited supporters, it has worried some party moderates who fear that such an effort would alienate many voters. Polls have shown a big deficit in popular support. While a majority of black Americans in a 2016 Marist poll supported reparations, whites rejected it by an overwhelming margin.

SLaThe reparations issue raises profound moral, social and political considerations. Still, the economic nuts and bolts of such a program have gotten scant public attention: Who would be paid? How much? Where would the money come from?

Through the decades, a handful of scholars have taken a shot at creating a road map. Here’s what has to be reckoned with.

When James Forman, a civil rights pioneer who later served briefly as the Black Panther Party’s foreign minister, demanded $500 million in reparations in his 1969 Black Manifesto, he grounded his argument in an indisputable fact: Unpaid slave labor helped build the American economy, creating vast wealth that African-Americans were barred from sharing.

The manifesto called for white Christian churches and Jewish synagogues to pay for projects like a black university and a Southern land bank. “We have helped to build the most industrial country in the world,” it declared, at the same time that “racist white America has exploited our resources, our minds, our bodies, our labor.”

Another civil rights leader, Bayard Rustin, responded, “If my great-grandfather picked cotton for 50 years, then he may deserve some money, but he’s dead and gone and nobody owes me anything.”

The question of reparations, however, extends far beyond the roughly four million people who were enslaved when the Civil War started, as Ta-Nehisi Coates explained in an influential essay published in The Atlantic in 2014. Legalized discrimination and state-sanctioned brutality, murder, dispossession and disenfranchisement continued long after the war ended. That history profoundly handicapped black Americans’ ability to create and accumulate wealth as well as to gain access to jobs, housing, education and health care.

For every dollar a typical white household holds, a black one has 10 cents. It is this cumulative effect that justifies the payment of reparations to descendants of slaves long dead, supporters say.

“Equality is not likely to be obtained without some form of reparations,” David H. Swinton, an economist and former president of Benedict College, wrote in the 1990 collection “The Wealth of Races.”

 

Originally Posted by the NY Times

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The History of Black Women Championing Demands for Reparations

 

 

The American media has paid increasing attention to the legacies of slavery. The new National Museum of African American History and Culture features a huge exhibition on the history of slavery. Many US universities are studying their links with slavery and the slave trade. In several cases, schools decided to provide symbolic reparations by renaming buildings and/or creating memorials and monuments to honor enslaved men and women.

 

But these measures do not seem to suffice: several activists and ordinary citizens are calling for financial reparations. Students of Georgetown University recently voted to pay a fee to finance a reparations fund to benefit the descendants of the 1838 sale of enslaved people owned by the Society of Jesus. The Democratic presidential candidates are routinely asked if they would support studies to provide financial reparations for slavery to African Americans. What is often missed is that these calls started long ago. Writers and readers also forget that black women championed demands of reparations for slavery.

 

Belinda Sutton is among the first black women to demand reparations for slavery in North America. Her owner, Isaac Royall Junior, fled North America in 1775, during the American Revolutionary War. He left behind his assets but his will included provisions to pay Belinda a pension for three years.

 

After Royall Junior’s death, we assume Sutton received the pension determined in his will. When three years passed, the payments stopped. Belinda petitioned the Massachusetts legislature and requested her pension continue. Emphasizing she lived in poverty and had contributed to the wealth of the Royalls, Sutton successfully obtained an annual pension. Belinda’s story is memorialized at the Royall House and Slave Quarters in Medford, Massachusetts.

 

Like today, the political context shaped these early demands for reparations and the responses petitioners received. Unlike other former slaves, Sutton’s odds to get restitutions were greater because her former owner was a British Loyalist. Moreover, he had already determined in his will to pay her a pension.

 

Freedwomen and their descendants continued fighting for reparations in later years. They knew more than anyone else the value of material resources because they lacked them. They were those providing hard work to maintain their households and to raise children and grandchildren.

 

Sojourner Truth also demanded reparations for slavery through land redistribution. Following the end of slavery, during Reconstruction, Truth argued that slaves helped to build the nation’s wealth and therefore should be compensated. In 1870, she circulated a petition requesting Congress to provide land to the “freed colored people in and about Washington” to allow them “to support themselves.” Yet, Truth’s efforts were not successful. US former slaves got no land or financial support after the end of slavery.

 

The context of the brutal end of Reconstruction that cut short the promises of equal access to education and voting rights for black Americans favored the rise of calls for reparations. And once again black women took the lead.

 

Ex-slave Callie House fought for reparations. A widow and a mother of five children, who worked as a washerwoman, she saw many former slaves old, sick, and unable to work to maintain themselves. House became one of the leaders of the National Ex-Slave Mutual Relief, Bounty and Pension Association that gathered dozens of thousands of former slaves to press the US Congress to pass legislation to award pensions to freedpeople.

 

Soon the federal government started accusing the association of using mail to lead a fraud scheme. Callie House responded that the association’s goal was to obtain redress for a historical wrong. She reminded federal authorities that former slaves were left with no resources and had the right to organize themselves to demand restitutions. She bravely denounced that government hostility against the pensions movement was motivated by racism.

 

In 1916, the Post Office Department charged Callie House for using the US mail to defraud. She spent one year in prison.

 

Black women had good reasons to fight for reparations. Until the 1920s, black women were deprived of voting rights. More than black men, they were socially and economically excluded. With less access to education, even in an old age they were those running the households. To most former enslaved women, expectations of social mobility were impracticable. In contrast, pensions and land were tangible resources that could supply them with autonomy and possible social mobility.

Audley Eloise Moore from Louisiana also became an important reparations’ activist. Influenced by Marcus Garvey she became a prominent, black nationalist, Pan-Africanist, and civil rights activist.

 

In 1962, Moore saw the approach of the one hundredth anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation of 1863 as an occasion to discuss the legacies of slavery. To this end, she created the Reparations Committee for the Descendants of American Slaves (RCDAS) that filed a claim demanding reparations for slavery in a court of the state of California. She also authored a booklet underscoring that slaves provided dozens of years of unpaid work to slave owners. She emphasized the horrors of lynching, segregation, disfranchisement, raping, and police brutality. Yet, the litigation was not successful.

 

Moore defended payment of financial reparations to all African Americans and their descendants and that each individual and group should decide what to do with the funds. She contended that the unpaid work provided by enslaved Africans and their descendants led to the wealth accumulation that made the United States the richest “the richest country in the world.”

 

 

In later years, Moore continued participating in organizations defending reparations for slavery. In 1968, she joined the Republic of New Africa and later supported the efforts of the National Coalition of Blacks for Reparations in America (N’COBRA). She made her last public appearance at her late nineties during the Million Man March held in Washington DC in October 1995, when she still called for reparations.

 

In 2002, Edward Fagan filled a class-action lawsuit in the name of Deadria Farmer-Paellmann and other persons in similar situations. An African American activist and lawyer, Farmer-Paellmann founded the Reparations Study Group. Fagan’s lawsuit requested a formal apology and financial reparations from three US companies that profited from slavery. Among these corporations was Aetna Insurance Company that held an insurance policy in the name of Abel Hines, Farmer-Paellman’s enslaved great-grandfather. Although the case was dismissed in 2004, the US Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit later allowed the plaintiffs to engage in consumer protection claims exposing the companies named in the lawsuit for misleading their customers about their role in slavery.

 

Years marking commemorative dates associated with slavery favor the rise of demands of reparations. This year marks the fourth hundredth anniversary of the landing of the first enslaved Africans in Virginia. In addition, it’s also the kick off of the 2020 presidential campaign.

 

For black groups and organizations that now fully engage in social media it’s time to renew calls for reparations that have been around for several decades. For potential presidential candidates, the debate on reparations is an opportunity to gain the black vote.

 

But for black women, no matter the commemorative and elections calendars, the fight for reparations is not a new opportunity, it is rather a long-lasting battle for social justice.

 

Ana Lucia Araujo is a historian and professor at Howard University. Her latest book Reparations for Slavery and the Atlantic Slave Trade: A Transnational and Comparative Historywas published in 2017.

 

Original Post by History News Network

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Georgetown Students Agree to Create Reparations Fund

Students at Georgetown University voted on Thursday to increase their tuition to benefit descendants of the 272 enslaved Africans that the Jesuits who ran the school sold nearly two centuries ago to secure its financial future.

The fund they voted to create would represent the first instance of reparations for slavery by a prominent American organization.

The proposal passed with two-thirds of the vote, but the student-led referendum was nonbinding, and the university’s board of directors must approve the measure before it can take effect.

“We value the engagement of our students and appreciate that they are making their voices heard and contributing to an important national conversation,” Todd Olson, vice president for student affairs, said in a statement on Thursday.

The undergraduate student body voted to add a new fee of $27.20 per student per semester to their tuition bill, with the proceeds devoted to supporting education and health care programs in Louisiana and Maryland, where many of 4,000 known living descendants of the 272 enslaved people now reside.

A 2016 article in The New York Times described the 1838 sale by what was then Georgetown College, the premier Catholic institution of higher learning in America at the time.

The college relied on Jesuit-owned plantations in Maryland that were no longer producing a reliable income to support it, so the Jesuit priests who founded and ran Georgetown decided to raise cash by selling virtually all its slaves, receiving the equivalent of about $3.3 million in today’s money.

“The school wouldn’t be here without them,” said Shepard Thomas, a junior from New Orleans who is part of the campus group, Students for the GU272, that worked to hold the referendum. Mr. Thomas, a psychology major, is descended from slaves who were part of the 1838 sale.

“Students here always talk about changing the world after they graduate,” he said. “Why not change the world when you’re here?”

Mr. Thomas said the amount of the fee, $27.20, was chosen to evoke the number of people sold but not be too onerous for students. Tuition and fees for a full-time student per semester is $27,720.00.

Georgetown University agreed in 2016 to give admissions preference to descendants of the 272 slaves; Mr. Thomas was one of the first to be admitted under the policy. The school also formally apologized for its role in slavery, and has renamed two buildings on its campus to acknowledge the lives of slaves; one is now named for Isaac Hawkins, the first person listed in the 1838 sale.

The university has about 7,000 undergraduates, so the fee would raise about $380,000 a year for the fund.

“It makes me feel happy that we, as students, decided to set a precedent for the betterment of people’s lives,” Mr. Thomas said.

 

Originally posted by Adeel Hassan at The New York Times

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Reparations: A Conversation Worth Having

The debate on when it is relevant to apologize and pay reparations for misdeeds and human rights violations tells us that the past is never dead.

 

Supporters of American slavery reparations in Washington in 2002.CreditCreditManny Ceneta/Getty Images

MEXICO CITY — Three weeks ago and 500 years after the arrival of Hernán Cortés in Veracruz, President Andrés Manuel López Obrador of Mexico sent a letter to the king of Spain. In it, he demanded an apology for the abuses inflicted on the indigenous peoples of Mexico by Spain, in view of what the Spaniards now consider “human rights violations.”

And last week the prime minister of Belgium apologized in Parliament for the kidnapping, deportation and forced adoption of thousands of children born to mixed-race couples in its former African colonies.

National apologies for misdeeds, crimes and odious behavior are not new. The West German government of Konrad Adenauer paid billionsin reparations to the state of Israel and Jewish people for Nazi crimes. Former President Jacques Chirac of France apologized for deporting thousands of Jews to Nazi death camps.

The reparations debate in the United States continues. A bill known as H.R. 40 was introduced in the House of Representatives by Representative John Conyers every year from 1989 until his resignation in 2017. It called for a formal study of the impact of slavery on African-Americans living today and the development of a proposal for reparations, among other things. The bill was reintroduced this year by Representative Sheila Jackson Lee. Most recently, several contenders for the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination, most notably Elizabeth Warren, have expressed some level of support for reparations for the descendants of enslaved men and women.

The past five centuries of world history have featured conquests, plunder, torture, genocide, slavery, occupation and worse. The trend toward asking forgiveness and making reparations is overall a good thing. It acknowledges history while pointing a way forward, whether it be consolidating a national identity in Mexico, apologizing for atrocious colonial misdeeds in Africa or addressing inequality between blacks and whites in America.

The debate over the Spanish and Portuguese conquests of what is now called Latin America took on a new meaning after 1992, when the former colonial powers and former colonies met to revisit and discuss Columbus’s arrival in the New World.

The Mexican case is especially complicated. Several polls showed Mexicans disagreed on Mr. López Obrador’s call for an apology as well as the issue’s relevance. Historians also made several points against his stance.

First, the historians stated that Tenochtitlán, the Aztec capital, was captured thanks as much to Cortés’s allies among the other indigenous peoples of the time as to the Spaniards themselves. Then they recalled that the Aztecs were no choir children: They resorted to cannibalism, human sacrifice, local wars to subjugate other peoples and violent repression of their enemies. Finally, and most important, they noted that Mexicans have always held an ambivalent position on their own national identity.

During the past decades, children’s textbooks have implied that today’s inhabitants of Mexico are descended from indigenous people and not from the Spanish. The official narrative for more than a century now in Mexico is that it is the mestizo country par excellence. As the nameplate at the National Anthropology Museum and Tlatelolco Square, where the final defeat of the Aztecs occurred, proclaims, “Neither a victory nor a defeat, here took place the painful birth of the mestizo people that today is Mexico.”

There can be no “mestizaje” without both civilizations — the Spanish and the original peoples — taking part in it. However violent their encounter may have been, and acknowledging the brutal nature of the conquest, Mexicans seem to prefer to let sleeping dogs lie. While racism against indigenous minorities in Mexico is undeniable, and the country’s European-origin tiny minority frequently resorts to racist attitudes toward mestizos, an overwhelming majority of the people of Mexico are mestizos today. There are myriad things to fix in Mexico, but discrimination by mestizos against mestizos is not one of them.

Mr. López Obrador said in his letter to King Philip VI that he was not requesting reparations; the conquest cannot be repaired. The apology he demanded was immediately rejected by the government in Madrid, and in all likelihood, the entire affair will fade away. The Mexican president’s ploy was almost certainly demagogic in intent and motivation, invoking an anti-Spanish sentiment that he believes exists in Mexico, though polls suggest otherwise.

Mexico does not need an apology, because it has no conflict with Spain today. But beyond the Mexican populist gesture, and the debates in the United States, Europe and Canada, however, lies a conversation waiting to be held. There are challenges for other peoples and groups that require atonement or forgiveness in order to be addressed. In some cases, it can make an enormous difference, as with African-Americans, race and slavery in the United States. In others, it can disentangle complicated questions of national identity and victimization, as in Mexico. Reparations may be ultimately relevant only in some cases. But history is always relevant.

Originally post by Jorge G. Castañeda at the New York Times

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The United Methodist Church Support Reparations for African Americans

WHEREAS, the General Conference acknowledges and profoundly regrets the massive human suffering and the tragic plight of millions of men, women, and children caused by slavery and the transatlantic slave trade; and

WHEREAS, at the conclusion of the Civil War, the plan for the economic redistribution of land and resources on behalf of the former slaves of the Confederacy was never enacted; and

WHEREAS, the failure to distribute land prevented newly freed Blacks from achieving true autonomy and made their civil and political rights all but meaningless; and

WHEREAS, conditions comparable to “economic depression” continue for millions of African Americans in communities where unemployment often exceeds 50 percent; and

WHEREAS, justice requires that African American descendants of the transatlantic slave trade be assured of having access to effective and appropriate protection and remedies, including the right to seek just and adequate reparation or satisfaction for the legacy of damages, consequent structures of racism and racial discrimination suffered as a result of the slave trade; and

WHEREAS, Isaiah 61:1-3 provides a model for reparations: “He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives, . . . to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor,&ellipsis; and provide for those who grieve in Zion-to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair.”; and,

WHEREAS, January 5, 1993, Congressman John Conyers Jr. (D-Mich.) introduced H.R. 40 to the House of Representatives, calling for the establishment of the Commission to Study Reparation Proposals for African Americans, “acknowledging the fundamental injustice, cruelty, brutality and inhumanity of slavery in the United States from 1619 to the present day,” for the purpose of submitting a report to Congress for further action and consideration with respect to slavery’s effects on African American lives, economics, and politics;

Therefore, be it resolved:

  1. that we support the discussion and study of reparation for African Americans;
  2. that we petition the President, the Vice President, and the United States House of Representatives to support the passage and signing of H.R. 40;
  3. that a written copy of this petition be delivered to the President and Vice President of the United States, the United States Senate Majority Leader, the House Speaker, and House Member John Conyers Jr.
  4. that the General Commission on Religion and Race and the General Board of Church and Society develop a strategy for interpretation and support of passage of H.R. 40;
  5. That the appropriate general boards and agencies of The United Methodist Church develop and make available to its members data on the history of slavery and the role of theology in validating and supporting both the institution and the abolition of the slave trade; and
  6. That we call upon The United Methodist Church to acknowledge the memory of the victims of past tragedies and affirm that, wherever and whenever these tragedies occur, they must be condemned and their recurrence prevented

adopted 1996
amended and Adopted 2004
resolution #62, 2004 book of resolutions
resolution #56, 2000 book of resolutions

See Social Principles, ¶ 162A.

From The Book of Resolutions of The United Methodist Church – 2008. Copyright © 2008 by The United Methodist Publishing House. Used by permission.

 

Originally posted by UMC.org

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Southern Baptist Convention’s flagship seminary details its racist, slave-owning past in stark report

The Rev. R. Albert Mohler Jr., president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, on Oct. 5, 2015. (Bruce Schreiner/AP)

December 12, 2018

More than two decades after the Southern Baptist Convention — the country’s second-largest faith group — apologized to African Americans for its active defense of slavery in the 1800s, its flagship seminary on Wednesday released a stark report further delineating its ties to institutionalized racism.

The year-long study by the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary found that all four founding faculty members owned slaves and “were deeply complicit in the defense of slavery,” R. Albert Mohler Jr., president of the seminary, wrote in his introduction to the 72-page report he commissioned.

The report also noted that the seminary’s most important donor and chairman of its Board of Trustees in the late 1800s, Joseph E. Brown, “earned much of his fortune by the exploitation of mostly black convict lease laborers,” employing in his coal mines and iron furnaces “the same brutal punishments and tortures formerly employed by slave drivers.”

The report provided largely harsh assessments of the seminary’s past actions, even as it at times lauded the institution for racial strides.

Many of the founding faculty members’ “throughout the period of Reconstruction and well into the twentieth century, advocated segregation, the inferiority of African-Americans, and openly embraced the ideology of the Lost Cause of southern slavery,” that recast the South as an idyllic place for both slaves and masters and the Civil War as a battle fought over Southern honor, not slavery, Mohler wrote in his introduction.

The faculty opposed racial equality after Emancipation and advocated for the maintenance of white political control and against extending suffrage to African Americans, the report said. In the 19th and early 20th centuries, the seminary faculty relied on pseudoscience to justify its white-supremacist positions, concluding that “supposed black moral inferiority was connected to biological inferiority,” according to the report. And decades later, the seminary was slow to offer full support for the civil rights movement, advocating a “moderate approach.”

The seminary’s public reckoning comes as universities grapple with the darker corners of their pasts amid passionate challenges from students and faculty. At colleges across the country, protesters have toppled some Confederate monuments, while other statues remain the subjects of fierce debate.

“It is past time that The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary — the first and oldest institution of the Southern Baptist Convention, must face a reckoning of our own,” Mohler wrote.

Colby Adams, a spokesman for Mohler, said the theologian launched the historical investigation because people asked him specific questions “he didn’t know the answer to. We knew there was involvement. We didn’t know the full history.”

The report has elicited a lukewarm reaction from experts who said while the seminary should be commended for admitting its racist history in writing, the revelations don’t come as a surprise, especially given the fact that the Southern Baptist Convention was formed in 1845 after a split with northern Baptists over slavery. The SBC is now the largest Protestant denomination in the country, with over 15 million members.

What does matter, the experts said, are the actions the seminary takes from here and whether it makes reparations.

Jemar Tisby, a historian who writes about race and Christianity, said he expects many white Evangelicals will push back on the report by saying the seminary is being divisive and re-litigating its past. The school’s leadership needs to sit down with racial and ethnic minorities and “let themselves be led” to racial reconciliation, Tisby said. “They are at the very beginning of the journey,” he said. “What this document does is open up a new phase of the seminary on racial justice.”

Critics and other observers said the Southern Baptist Convention for too long has been hesitant to take full ownership of its past, for decades framing its split with northern Baptists as one over theological differences, not slavery.

By commissioning the seminary’s report, Mohler may have been trying to change that., said Lawrence Ware, a professor at Oklahoma State University who studies race and religion. “I think that what he’s trying to do is he’s trying to force the Convention to have a conversation on race and racism that the Convention has really not wanted to have,” Ware told The Washington Post.

Ware said that while the report is “a step in the right direction,” some sections seem to soften the severity of the seminary’s racist actions. He called the report’s description of faculty’s mixed record on the civil rights movement “double-handed” and said the document fails to account for the seminary’s lack of diversity among top leadership.

The seminary’s progress in the area of civil rights was slow. The Louisville school began admitting black students to degree programs in 1940 and fully integrated 11 years later. The report said that the seminary was skeptical of the civil rights movement’s direct-action tactics, but noted that faculty in the 1960s urged support for civil rights in general and invited the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. to speak at the seminary in 1961.

In 1995, the Southern Baptist Convention adopted a resolution stating its explicit connection to slavery:

“Our relationship to African-Americans has been hindered from the beginning by the role that slavery played in the formation of the Southern Baptist Convention; many of our Southern Baptist forbears defended the right to own slaves, and either participated in, supported, or acquiesced in the particularly inhumane nature of American slavery; and in later years Southern Baptists failed, in many cases, to support, and in some cases opposed, legitimate initiatives to secure the civil rights of African-Americans.”

Many Southern Baptists hoped the resolution would be the last time they would have to confront the denomination’s racist past, Mohler wrote in the report.

“At that time, I think it is safe to say that most Southern Baptists, having made this painful acknowledgment and lamenting this history, hoped to dwell no longer on the painful aspects of our legacy. That is not possible, nor is it right,” he wrote. “We have been guilty of a sinful absence of historical curiosity. We knew, and we could not fail to know, that slavery and deep racism were in the story.”

“[T]he moral burden of history requires a more direct and far more candid acknowledgment of the legacy of this school in the horrifying realities of American slavery, Jim Crow segregation, racism and even the avowal of white racial supremacy,” Mohler wrote in the report. “The fact that these horrors of history are shared with the region, the nation, and with so many prominent institutions does not excuse our failure to expose our own history, our own story, our own cherished heroes, to an honest accounting — to ourselves and to the watching world.”

The denomination has focused in recent years on efforts toward racial reconciliation and progress. In 2012, it elected its first African American president, Fred Luter. And in April, on the 50th anniversary of King’s death, the SBC’s public policy arm — the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission — organized what it thought would be a small conference in Memphis about efforts to end racism. About 3,500 pastors and lay leaders showed up.

“Father, Lord, would you have mercy on us sinners?” ERLC Commission President Russell Moore prayed at the Memphis event.

There have also been notable stumbles.

The group voted at its annual meeting in 2017 to condemn the known as the alt-right — which seeks a whites-only state — but only after it faced backlash to an earlier decision not to vote on the issue.

The same year, a professor at a different Southern Baptist seminary posted to Twitter a photo appearing to show five white professors posing in hoodies and gold chains, with some pointing their fingers like guns. Barry McCarty, a professor of preaching and rhetoric at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Texas, later posted that the photo was meant to be a send-off for a professor who occasionally raps.

Originally posted via The Washington Post

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In Some Churches, Talk of Reparations Draws a Hearing

Drake University ethicist Jennifer Harvey, signs her book "Dear White Christians," during the Race & Faith Dialogue series at Duke University. Photo courtesy of Duke UniversityDURHAM, N.C. (RNS) A white scholar touring churches across the nation is trying to convince Christians that racial reconciliation is not enough — it’s time to start talking about reparations for descendants of slaves.

And among mostly white, mainline Protestants this controversial — some would say unrealistic — notion is getting a hearing.

What divides the races in America, says Drake University ethicist Jennifer Harvey, is not the failure to embrace differences but the failure of white Americans to repent and repair the sins of the past.

“Our differences are not only skin deep,” the 44-year-old scholar told a lecture hall packed with Duke Divinity School students recently. “Our differences are the deepest and most complex manifestations of genealogies of harm done to some and perpetrated by others.”

“All over the Hebrew Bible, this is what it says to do when you steal — you give it back sevenfold,” she said.

Harvey’s 2014 book, “Dear White Christians: For Those Still Longing for Racial Reconciliation,” has led to speaking engagements at United Church of Christ gatherings, Presbyterian assemblies and college campuses such as Duke and Colgate University in New York.

Over the next year, she’ll address UCC statewide meetings in the Midwest, a Lutheran congregation in Arkansas, social justice conferences in Georgia and New Mexico, college students Michigan and in Pennsylvania, United Methodist and Disciples of Christ seminarians in New Jersey and Oklahoma.

The book, said the Rev. Cameron Trimble, executive director of the Center for Progressive Renewal, “touched a nerve with a lot of religious leaders who care about this particular issue and who want to be prophetic in this moment.

Trimble’s  center has published a video interview and a book-study guide to promote Harvey’s book to its 13,000 affiliated congregations in nine different denominations. 

“Jennifer is inviting a conversation that needs to be had among white people. In all of our mainline traditions, we have deeply institutionalized racism. We have to willingly give up power in order to equal the playing field.”

"Dear White Christians," by Jennifer Harvey. Photo courtesy of Jennifer Harvey

“Dear White Christians,” by Jennifer Harvey. Photo courtesy of Jennifer Harvey

On Saturday (Nov. 7), Harvey discussed the topic of reparations with members of the Episcopal Diocese of Maryland.

More than 20 churches in the diocese have investigated their connections to slavery and produced an online historical tour, “Trail of Souls,” as an act of truth-telling and confession.

“If we’re not reconciled with our history, then we can’t understand what the repair is that’s needed,” said the Rev. Angela Shepherd, the diocesan canon for mission.

Shepherd said it’s too late for the U.S. to consider any kind of direct reimbursement but welcomed Harvey’s stoking the reparations movement in churches. She hopes Harvey’s visit, along with the Baltimore protests in the spring, will help to motivate people in her diocese to support a bill first introduced by Michigan Congressman John Conyers’ in 1989 to create a federal commission to study reparations.

“It would not look like writing checks to individuals,” Shepherd said. “To me, it’s about figuring out a way in our country to bring up the playing field so that it is level.”

Harvey’s push for reparations comes on the heels of Ta-Nehisi Coates’ story in The Atlantic magazine, “The Case for Reparations.”

“White households are worth roughly 20 times as much as black households,” wrote Coates. “Effectively, the black family in America is working without a safety net.”

Coates traced some of the systemic injustices to “redlining,” the denial of home mortgages to black Americans, driving them toward predatory lenders outside the banking system.

Harvey said this history, beginning in slavery and Jim Crow and continuing with poor, underfunded pubic schools for minority children, has stalled well-intentioned efforts at reconciliation since the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination. This history also explains the energy around the “Black Lives Matter” response to recent acts of police brutality.

“I find myself surrounded by white Americans in a state of shock,” Harvey said. “We should not be shocked or surprised. We have no right to surprise.”

Harvey said she grew up attending mostly black schools in Denver, but it wasn’t until she met black students at Union Theological Seminary that she began to understand how being white gave her societal power that they didn’t have.

“Women and men of color said to me, ‘You need to figure out your whiteness,’” she said.

Harvey said demands for reparations drove white Christians out of the civil rights movement. They held onto King’s vision of the “beloved community” and kept talking about reconciliation but have never made the sort of recompense that’s needed.

With a Ph.D. in Christian social ethics from Union, Harvey has spent her career writing on white supremacy and the contemporary reparations movement.

Harvey was ordained in the liberal American Baptist Churches USA. She supports Conyers’ congressional bill and is trying to kindle the conversation in religious communities.

Harvey resists specifying what form reparations might take, saying that should come from the wounded parties. She points to the National Coalition of Blacks for Reparations in America, which calls for cash, land, economic development, scholarships and policy changes ensuring equitable treatment in criminal justice, health care and financial systems.

Harvey also suggests environmental reparations for Native American land taken and exploited; citizenship for underpaid immigrant workers; and political remedies for mass incarceration of black Americans.

“People who’ve been there, who lived through the civil rights movement, can look back and say, ‘Yes, our churches are just as segregated as they were before,’” said Michael DePue, director of Christian education at Chapel in the Pines, a white Presbyterian congregation in Chapel Hill, N.C., where Harvey’s book is being studied. “It’s been 40 or 50 years, and the things that the civil rights movement set out to do, they haven’t come to pass.”

Trimble agreed.

“There’s an awareness among progressive Christians that if you do what you’ve always done, you’re going to get what you’ve always gotten,” she said. “The challenge that remains before us is, will it move beyond talk? What we do very well in church is talk a thing to death.”

YS/AMB END DECONTO

Originally posted by ReligiousNews.com
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After Two White Colorado Women Unearthed The History Of Their Slave-Owning Ancestors, They Turned To Reparations

Audio: Why Two White Colorado Women Turned To Reparations

Rev. Dawn Riley Duval at the CPR studios Dec. 27, 2018.

Hart Van Denburg/CPR News

Reparations.

It’s the idea that white Americans should pay a moral debt to black Americans to compensate for slavery, Jim Crow and institutionalized racism.

Reparations has been a concept debated as far back as emancipation. But for some Denver women, it’s not a debate — it’s an obligation.

In late 2018, the Denver-based nonprofit Soul2Soul Sisters received a whopping $200,000 anonymous donation. Founders Rev. Dawn Riley Duval and Rev. Tawana Davis were “stunned,” and tried to learn more.

The mystery benefactor ended up being a graduate student. The donor asked Colorado Public Radio News not to use their name or identifying information in order to keep the focus on Soul2Soul and their racial injustice workshops for people of faith.

She had delved deep into her family tree for a class assignment. What she found was new information that caused her “deep sadness.” She had grown up believing that her family — which settled in Mississippi in the late 18th century — had never owned slaves.

But it turned out that wasn’t true.

She even dug up a cassette recording of her grandmother, and she learned about Alice.

Alice was an enslaved girl given to her “aristocratic” great-great grandmother when she left North Carolina for Mississippi. Even after emancipation, Alice stayed.

“It became true what I had thought was true,” she said. “It may have been just one person, perhaps there were other people, but to know that my family had benefited from the efforts of someone else.”

This revelation came four years after her father passed away, leaving her an inheritance that presented a challenge. She wanted to do some good with it.

The donor approached her teacher to talk out ways to use this money to atone for her family’s role in slavery and to honor Alice. Her teacher mentioned Soul2Soul, which clicked instantly — Revs. Riley Duval and Davis had not only spoken at her school, but they’d also preached at her church, and left an impression.

Rev. Tawana Davis and Rev. Dawn Riley Duval.

Ann Marie Awad/CPR News

She quietly made the donation, and figured that was that. But the reverends reached out, wanting to know more.

“I began to think, ‘What do I call this?’” she said. “A gift is something that’s yours that you give away, and I thought, ‘That’s not the right word.’ Because this, in my mind, wasn’t mine. It was something I had gotten through Alice, or partially through Alice.”

She tried to find a word to pin on it, but one word, even reparations, didn’t seem like enough.

“Reparations came to mind. I’ve heard that, I’m not an expert on it. But reparations to me is big, it’s societal changes, it’s something we need to do as a country,” she said. “So I thought it was more ‘personal reparations,’ and then I said it was ‘personal partial reparations,’ because I don’t know what the right number is, and I don’t know that money is all of it. I don’t think it is.”

Riley Duval said reparations are an important part of healing racial wounds in America.

“There has to be compensation. We understand economic justice and healing justice to be integral to racial justice,” she said. “So, there must be compensation towards conciliation.”

Rev. Riley Duval said the money has been a huge boon to Soul2Soul sisters, allowing them to beef up their staff.

“We have brought on other black women who are helping us to broaden the work of Soul2Soul sisters,” she said. “Soul2Soul Sisters is a fiercely faith-based racial justice organization that is lead by black women towards actualizing black healing and black liberation.”

Lotte Lieb Dula, a retired financial strategist, started down a similar path as Soul2Soul’s anonymous donor at the start of 2018.

Dula’s grandmother passed away in January, and Dula took up the task of sorting through her things. She found a small, old book that was still well-preserved. Dula opened it to find inventories of slaves, hundreds of them, with their individual monetary worths listed.

A page from the book Lotte Lieb Dula found in her grandmother’s belongings that inventoried hundred of slaves her ancestors had owned.

Courtesy of Lotte Lieb Dula

It was then Dula learned that much of her family’s ancestral wealth came from slavery. She did more research, and counted more than 400 enslaved people who were considered the property of her ancestors. She also unearthed an old Smith College yearbook that listed her grandmother as a KKK member.

“I want to skip the guilt and shame part, and I want to do something about this,” Dula recalled thinking at the time.

She joined a national group called Coming to the Table which connects descendents of enslaved people with descendents of slaveholders. Dula also established a scholarship fund for students who wish to study political science or law, restricted only to black applicants. She met a young black woman pursuing a career in politics and Dula agreed to help pay off her college debt, calling it a “direct reparation.”

“Since I used to do financial modeling for my career, of course I’ve modeled what I might be able to give,” Dula laughed. “I think over the course of my lifetime, my goal is to give half a million dollars through whatever means I can, and then at my death, the rest of it will go towards setting up a reparations fund.”

She’s also started building a website – a guide to reparations for white people, by white people.

“This is how I’ll spend the rest of my life,” Dula said. “If only my life could be extended 250 or 400 years, maybe I’d make a small dent.”

BY | ANN.AWAD@CPR.ORG

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National Expungement Week Aims To Provide Reparations From War On Drugs

In 2017, almost 660,000 people were arrested for cannabis-related charges in the U.S., the FBI reported recently. This means that, according to a recent open letter about equity and justice released by Equity First Alliance, even as legalization sweeps the nation, over half a million people are still losing their liberty, voting rights, and access to education, housing and future employment every year.

To make things worse, while many jurisdictions that have already legalized marijuana have promised to clean up the records of those convicted for non-violent cannabis offenses, most of them are still on the hook.

In Los Angeles, California, the largest recreational cannabis market in the world, hundreds of thousands of cannabis-related convictions have yet to be expunged. In Colorado, unfairness has also persisted and prevailed. “Young people of color have been arrested at higher rates for cannabis possession since legalization happened, while arrest rates for young white people have declined,” said Adam Vine of the Equity First Alliance. “Given the racial bias in the criminal justice system, all of these provisions continue to disproportionately harm people of color.”

“In Pennsylvania, prior cannabis convictions prevent people from joining the medical cannabis workforce,” he added. “And, in Illinois, those same convictions have been preventing people from becoming cannabis patients.”

Finally, the 2018 Senate Farm Bill contains language that would legalize hemp at the federal level. However, the new law would still bar people with felony drug convictions from participating in the hemp industry.

A Noble (H)Emprize

According to Sonia Erika of Massachusetts Recreational Consumer Council and a spokesperson for Equity First Alliance, who helped to organize N.E.W and its events, “Automatic expungement, post-conviction relief, and other aspects of criminal justice and policing reform must be a part of all cannabis legalization.” The problem, in her view, is raising awareness.

In an attempt to capture the attention of the American public, a coalition of more than 20 organizations working at the intersection of the cannabis industry, racial equity, and reparative justice, have joined local and community groups across the country for the inaugural National Expungement Week (N.E.W.) October 20-27, 2018.

Poster via www.offtherecord.us

N.E.W. will offer free clinics to help to remove, seal, or reclassify eligible convictions from criminal records. N.E.W. events will be held in:

Many of the N.E.W. events will also provide attendees with supportive services including employment resources, voter engagement, and health screenings. The N.E.W. website provides a link to an online toolkit for communities who want to host their own record change events now and in the future.

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Scotland’s Glasgow University received millions from slavery, now it plans to pay reparations

In a rare move by an institution of education, Scotland’s Glasgow University has admitted to receiving millions of dollars from slavery in Africa and the Caribbean.   It is now putting in place structures to pay reparations in a move that has been lauded as great across the world.

This information was made available in a report called Slavery, Abolition and the University of Glasgow, which was prepared by the History of Slavery Steering Committee put together to determine the university’s connection to people who benefited directly from slavery.

According to the report, although many of the staff in the University were against slavery and that the University neither had any enslaved person nor did it trade in goods produced by enslaved people, funds from people who had benefitted from proceeds of slavery were given to the university in the form of gifts and bequests and used in supporting academic activity by the students.

The University of Glasgow acknowledges that during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries it received some gifts and bequests from persons who may have benefitted from the proceeds of slavery. Income from such gifts and bequests has been used in supporting academic activity undertaken by the students and staff of the University

The report further listed some of the people who graduated from the university and went ahead to become slave-owners in the Caribbean. One of the adversely mentioned people is Robert Cunninghame Graham who graduated from the University and had become a rector in the 1780s.

Robert Cunningham Graham of Gartmore (1730-1798), Doughty Photo: Wiki CC

Graham owned and ran a plantation in Jamaica, where enslaved people worked extreme hours and at terrible conditions. He was also known to have sired many children with enslaved women, enslaving and even selling these children to be enslaved in other plantations.

“It is possible that there were some of the people that Graham sold were his own children… It is possible that Ardoch may have been one of Graham’s children, for the young enslaved man was named for a Scottish estate in Graham’s family, an estate which Graham later inherited. It seems likely that only Graham could have been the source for this unusual name for an enslaved child,” the report says.

Upon his return to Scotland, Graham was made the rector at the University until 1787.  As per the report:

A year after stepping down from the Rectorship Graham made a gift of £100 to the University of Glasgow to establish the Gartmore Gold Medal, to be awarded every two years for the best student work on ‘Political liberty’. By the time that Graham served as Rector and endowed a prize for the best student work on liberty he had been a slave-owner for nearly forty years, owning many people like Ardoch, Beniba and Martin, and he had made his fortune from their labour and from his trading and selling of the sugar they and other enslaved people produced.

Graham’s gift is among the 16 bursaries, endowments and mortifications donated between 1809 and 1937 that have a direct link to the profits from slavery, 11 of which generated subsequent income for the university until today. Some of these endowments were recived from former slave owners who had received compensation for losing slaved when slavery was abolished.

It is against this background that the University has laid out a series of activities as part of the reparative justice programme. It is also planning to  increase the “racial diversity of students and staff and to reduce the degree
attainment gap” as well as to create an “interdisciplinary centre for the study of historical slavery and its
legacies, including modern slavery and trafficking”.

Also part of the recommendation is the collaboration between the University and the University of West Indies (UWI).

The move has been welcomed by UWI vice-chancellor and chairman of the CARICOM Reparations Commission, Professor Hilary Beckles.

Photo: Caribbean Life

“I have looked closely at the report, reading it within the context of the University of Glasgow-University of the West Indies framework for mutual recognition and respect. The approach adopted by the University of Glasgow is commendable and is endorsed by the UWI as an excellent place to begin. Both universities are committed to excellent and ethical research, teaching and public service. I celebrate colleagues in Glasgow for taking these first steps and keenly anticipate working through next steps,” Beckles, one of the three external advisors to the report, said.

Sir Geoff Palmer, Scotland’s first black professor, not only welcomed the report but also called on institutions that had benefited from the slave trade to make amends.

Photo: What’s On Glasgow

“Now, I think the country faces a very uncomfortable question which the Glasgow University report has raised once more: to what extent did slavery make Scotland great? We can have all the equality laws and anti-racism legislation we like, but if no other institutions, firms or organisations which also benefited from slavery declare this and seek to make amends then it’s all meaningless,” he said to the Guardian.

The conversation about reparations for slavery has been ongoing for years. In 2016, Jamaica demanded Britain to start making reparations for slavery, stating that it is the duty of the previous colonial master to alleviate the continued suffering of the Caribbean people.

A regional body known as the Caribbean Reparation Commission was set up to establish the case for reparations by the governments of all the former colonial powers. It set up a ten-step plan for the same.

An American researcher, Thomas Craemer of the University of Connecticut calculated how much reparations could cost and he ended up with an estimate of between $5.9 trillion and $14.2 trillion in 2015. And this is just in the United States of America alone.

For Africa, reparations were at  $777 trillion in 1999 as per the recommendations of the African World Reparations and Repatriation Truth Commission.

While the move by Glasgow University is in the right direction, it is just a drop in the ocean as far as reparations for slavery is concerned.

 

Original Post

 

 

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After Rahm Emanuel’s Neoliberal Nightmare, the Next Chicago Mayor Must Embrace Reparations

 

This week, Chicagoans celebrated Rahm Emanuel’s announcement that he will not seek another term as mayor. But while Emanuel’s departure is welcome news to many, the next mayor of Chicago will have to come up with an aggressive plan to repair the damage that Emanuel’s financial policies have inflicted on the city’s Black and Latinx communities. Otherwise the devastation that Emanuel’s tenure in office wreaked on Chicago’s communities of color will be with us for decades to come.

Mayor Emanuel systematically monetized pain in communities of color to enrich his Wall Street backers. Since he took office in May 2011, Chicago has paid $346 million in police misconduct settlements and judgments. Emanuel paid a large portion of these costs by taking out bonds, which must be paid back with interest. The interest and fees on these bonds add up to hundreds of millions of dollars, which the city pays before ensuring there is funding for critical public services. When faced with a budget crunch, Emanuel closed mental health clinics, which could have played an important role in preventing people of color from having adverse contact with racist police officers.

In 2017, the mayor borrowed $225 million to pay for future police misconduct settlements and judgments. In other words, Emanuel gave his buddies on Wall Street an advance payment on the lives of Black and Latinx Chicagoans whom he knows his police department will brutalize or murder at some point in the future.

Similarly, the mayor and his appointees on the school board refused to take legal action against the banks that fraudulently sold the city and school district toxic swap deals. Chicago Public Schools paid banks such as Bank of America $36 million a year for these toxic swaps—enough money to reverse the 50 school closings Emanuel oversaw in 2013. But not only did Emanuel refuse to take legal action against the banks, he actually signed multiple agreements waiving Chicago’s right to recoup its losses through legal action.

Emanuel also used the city’s Tax Increment Financing (TIF) program as a slush fund that drained money from the city’s neighborhoods and schools in communities of color and funneled it into tax subsidies for developers and wealthy corporations in the richer, whiter parts of the city.

All of these financial shenanigans are part of the neoliberal regime that has dominated City Hall for the past few decades under Emanuel and his predecessor, Richard M. Daley. Like Donald Trump, they believed making Chicago great again meant bringing back the white people who had abandoned the city for the suburbs during white flight. In order to lure rich white folks back to the city, they ignored the needs of Chicago’s communities of color, whom they did not deem worthy of the city’s resources. While defending the closure of schools in Chicago’s Black neighborhoods, Emanuel reportedly told Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis, “25 percent of these kids are never going to be anything. They are never going to amount to anything. And I’m not going to throw resources at them.”

Daley and Emanuel repealed progressive corporate taxes and funneled tax money from the neighborhoods into downtown. They manufactured budget crises in order to justify the privatization of the city’s infrastructure, the charterization of its school district, and attacks on city and school district employees and their pensions. The perennial budget crises that resulted from these irresponsible decisions were then used to justify risky financial deals that were highly lucrative for Wall Street and ultimately cost taxpayers billions of dollars.

These policies have left deep scars, both in the city’s neighborhoods and in its bank accounts. The next mayor will not be able to wave a magic wand and undo all the damage that decades of neoliberal rule have wrought. The city and school district’s structural budget deficits are all too real. Before the next mayor can even start to think about righting the wrongs, they will need to find money under the couch cushions just to keep the lights on.

There are only two ways forward: more taxes or more financial shenanigans. Under the Daley-Emanuel style of governance, both of these options would have hit communities of color. Tax increases would have been regressive, coming in the forms of red light and speeding cameras that are heavily concentrated in Black and Latinx neighborhoods. Financial shenanigans would have been used to justify more cuts to critical services.

The next mayor needs to flip the script. They need to aggressively raise revenue from the wealthy parts of the city in order to repair the damage to the South and West Sides. For decades, Black and Brown Chicago have been forced to shoulder the costs of Daley and Emanuel’s burning desire to revitalize White Chicago. The next mayor will have to target Black and Latinx communities for investment coming from progressive revenues sources that make rich residents in White Chicago and the major corporations downtown pay their fair share. These wealthy interests have benefited for nearly 30 years from policies that have prioritized the needs of corporations over those of poor communities of color. Chicago’s next mayor needs to make White Chicago pay reparations to Black and Brown Chicago to start to reverse these inequities and right these wrongs.

 

By SAQIB BHATTI

Originally posted on In These Times

 

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Duke Scholars Discuss: Should there be reparations for African Americans?

Reparations for African Americans are crucial to fight white supremacy and compensate for slavery’s consequences, scholars said at a town hall forum Monday, but they aren’t enough.

Racial inequality and discrimination are so engrained in diverse aspects of the American society that no single measure would solve all the problems, said Wahneema Lubiano—associate professor of African and African American studies—at the panel. Reparations are usually discussed in the form of monetary payments to individuals or land-based compensations to communities.

“Sometimes we talk in a way in which the word ‘reparation’ acts as a singularity,” Lubiano said. “Whereas in fact, it is a complicated set of multiple possibilities, multiple sites, multiple stages and multiple actors.”

Lubiano cited the history department’s recent requestto rename the Carr Building on East Campus, for example, as one way Americans could reflect on the history of slavery and redress its victims, aside from material compensation.

One projection for the cost of monetary reparations is between $5.9 and $14.2 trillion, according to a 2015 study at the University of Connecticut.

Racism is more profound than slavery and its legacy, said William “Sandy” Darity, panelist and Samuel DuBois Cook professor of public policy. It is most fundamentally manifested in the economic disparity between races, such as disparities in employment rate and educational opportunities, he argued. The median of white families’ incomes is still higher than that of black families overall, Darity said.

Darity notes that the movement to “Bank Black and Buy Black”—a movement that encourages African Americans to channel together their assets to create jobs and build businesses—will not address the ongoing wealth inequality.

Black firms and institutions are usually much smaller and less profitable than their counterparts owned by white Americans, he explained.

“This is not because black-owned institutions lack strong business models or lack wise leaders,” Darity said. “It’s because the inherited economic situations of the communities where they operate make it hard for start-ups to develop.”

For example, black families usually have minimal liquid assets, Darity explained.

African Americans’ appeal for reparations for slavery echo with similar appeals around the globe, said Laurent Dubois, professor of history, at the panel. In 2013, 5,000 Kenyans received a 20 million pounds in reparations from the British government as a compensation for the country’s brutal colonial rule in the 1950s.

From a legal standpoint, standing and redressability are issues that have prevented reparations from becoming reality, said Malik Edwards, panelist and law professor at the North Carolina Central University.

In this context, the African American community needs to demonstrate that the negative impact of slavery is ongoing and that there is a concrete form of remedy the court is able to offer, he said.

After the Civil War, Union General William Sherman infamously promised reparations for slavery in the form of “forty acres and a mule,” Edwards said. That never came true.

Economics and political science graduate student Amber Hendley has recently conducted a counterfactual study remapping the American landscape according to General Sherman’s original promise. She also calculated approximately how much African Americans would gain financially from the land.

“If we have been given what was stated,” Hendley said. “I do not believe we would have the problems we have today.”

As essential as reparations are, they cannot compensate for all the sufferings slaves and their descendants have undergone, said Joseph Winters, assistant professor of religious studies and African American studies.

Slaves suffered from psychological and mental hardship throughout the American history, which cannot be quantifiable, Winter said. And nowadays, African Americans still encounter stigma and lack a full recognition of citizenship and a sense of home, he added.

The event, called “Reparations Now? Looking at Racial Wealth Inequality in a Time of Authoritarianism,” was sponsored by the department of African and African American Studies.

Although Lubiano noted the limitations of reparations in narrowing the social and economic gaps between races, she also said that attempting to carry out reparations opens up valuable discussions and debates across social stratums.

“Reparations offer us opportunities to do things that we don’t usually do—which is to talk to each other horizontally despite the existing vertical hierarchy,” Lubiano said. “And it appears to me to be so important that it is worth the risk of failing.”

By Xinchen Li | 09/04/2018

 

Originally Posted by The Duke Chronicle

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Portland Non-Profit Hosts “Reparations Happy Hour”

With Reparations Happy Hour In Portland, People Of Color Receive $10 Just For Showing Up

An Oregon non-profit just did something the U.S. government refuses to do: it gave out reparations to people of color.
 
In the inaugural Reparations Happy Hour earlier this week, the hosts gave each person of color who attended $10 with no questions asked. With 40 people in attendance, Brown Hope, the non-profit gave out $400 that evening.
 
“It’s exactly what it sounds like,” Brown Hope founder Cameron Whitten told Raw Story. “What I want to do is end the cycle of exploitation. For Black, brown, indigenous people you face so many barriers, whether it’s tokenization or straight-up poverty.“
According to the News Tribune, Portland is one of the whitest major cities in the U.S. with census data showing that 78 percent of the population is white. As a result, it has a history of strained race relations that go back decades.
Indeed, white people were not allowed at the event, though they could donate money to the cause. Having raised more than $5000 so far, Whitten is planning to have more Reparation Happy Hours in the future.
 
“With the reparations happy hour, the whole idea is to how do we feel from this trauma of racism?” he told Newsweek. “We talked to folks, we engage folks. They said we want a space for our community, and we said we can do better than that. How about we do some reparations?” 
In 2016, the U.N. Working Group of Experts on People of African Descent urged the U.S. government to give reparations to African-American descendants of slavery. Nothing concrete ever came from that recommendation.

Originally posted on Essence.com

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