The U.S. government has a despicable history of down playing and outright dismissing the issue of reparations. To grant compensation to millions of descendants of African slaves would expose the institutionalized racism that African Americans and other people of color still suffer today.
The disproportionate number of African Americans populating U.S. prisons is just one glaring example of the legacy of slavery.
Former Congressional Black Caucus member John Conyers Michigan back in 1989 introduced bill HR 40, called Commission to study Reparation Proposals for African American Act.Conyer said that
African slaves were not compensated for their labor. More unclear, however , is what the effects and remnants of this relationship have had on African Americans and our nation from the time of emancipation through today. I chose the number of bill, 40 as a symbol of the 40 acres and a mule that the United States initially promised freed slaves.
Conyers cited a number of objectives of the bill including setting up a commission that would then make recommendations to Congress on appropriate remedies to redress the harm inflected on living freed slaves.
Malcolm X also raised the question of reparations in a speech on Nov.23, 1964, in Paris. If you are the son of a man who had a wealthy estate and you inherit your father's estate, he said you have to pay off the debts that your father incurred before he died. The only reason that the present generation
of white Americans are in a position of economic strength is because their fathers worked our fathers for over 400 years with no pay.
The reparations struggle intensified with the military defeat of the Confederacy at the hands of the Union Army at the end of the Civil War. The victorious Northern government promised the newly freed slaves in the South 40 acres and a mule in effect acknowledging that brutal slaves labor had not only greatly enriched the coffers of the former slaves master but also the emerging U.S. capitalist economy.
This just compensation for the freed people never came to fruition due to the counter revolution that destroyed Reconstruction. In the Compromised of 1877 , the Union Army abandoned the freed slaves ,who had tried to bring about real social equality in the South by establishing their own institutions for political empowerment and elevation of their living and educational standards. For 10 years, the Union Army had played the role` of a buffer between this progressive , democratic process and the former confederate forces, who regrouped during Reconstruction.
The counter revolution then evolved into a bloody terrorist campaign that drove the freed slaves to accept semi- slavery conditions. Under sharecropping which still exists today, the former slaves went back to tilling the land of their former owners. They weren't owned outright anymore, but had to work on the plantation for slave wages.
In 1896 , the U.S. Supreme Court legally sanction segregation as separate but equal. amazing