Reparations Is Dead: How To Resurrect It


By Jahi Issa for Black Agenda Report – “I want Negroes first to realize that every Negro is an African citizen. Before we were Americans or West Indians we were Africa citizens. Negroes were never born originally to America or the West Indies. Negroes were originally born to Africa, isn’t it so? Where did your forefathers come from? Georgia? No, they came from Sierra Leone, West Africa or they came from… [word omitted], West Africa. They were first African citizens before they were emancipated by Abraham Lincoln, who made Afro Americans and by Victoria, who made Afro West Indians. “Now if a Frenchman leaves France — say he has left France 50 years ago and came to America and never asked or applied for naturalization papers. If he lived for 50 years, what would he be? He would be a Frenchman. He would never be an American citizen until he went through the process of action and applied for naturalization. He has first of all, according to the law of the country, to apply for naturalization papers before he can become a naturalized American citizen. If he lived for a hundred years and never applied for naturalization papers he would always be a Frenchman. “Now, sirs, can you remember the time when your forefathers applied for naturalization papers in this country? Your grandfathers never got any naturalization papers. They were gotten from Africa against their will. They were citizens of Africa.

A Case For Reparations At The University Of Chicago


By Guest Poster for Black Perspectives – Julia Leakes yearned to be reunited with her family. In 1853, her two sisters showed up for sale along with her thirteen nieces and nephews in Lawrence County, Mississippi. Julia used all the political capital an enslaved woman could muster to negotiate the sale of her loved ones to her owner, Stephen A. Douglas. Douglas’s semi-literate white plantation manager told him “[y]our negros begs for you to b[u]y them.” Despite assurances that this would “be a good arrangement,” Douglas refused to shuffle any of his 140+ slaves to reunite this separated slave family. Instead, Julia’s siblings, nieces, and nephews were put on the auction block where they vanished from the historical record.1 Unfortunately, things went from bad to worse for Julia. By 1859, she had a 1 in 3 chance of being worked to death under Douglas’s new overseer in Washington County, Mississippi. Douglas’s mistreatment of his slaves became notorious. According to one report, slaves on the Douglas plantation were kept “not half fed and clothed.”2 In another, Dr. Dan Brainard from Rush Medical College stated that Douglas’s slaves were subjected to “inhuman and disgraceful treatment” deemed so abhorrent that even other slaveholders in Mississippi branded Douglas “a disgrace to all slave-holders and the system that they support.”3

How Chicago Became First City To Make Reparations To Victims Of Police Violence

By Yana Kunichoff for Yes! Magazine – He was among the first of at least 120 young, primarily Black men whom Chicago police officers would torture into false confessions. Yet while many who suffer at the hands of the police never get justice, Smith’s story ended differently. More than 40 years later, following the passage of historic reparations legislation, he became one of the first Black people in America to be granted reparations for racial violence. After receiving parole, Smith moved out of the city and attempted to rebuild his life. But his struggles were far from over. Given the conviction on his record, Smith faced difficulty in everything from finding work to accessing his car insurance benefits. He remained haunted by his experiences as a teen inside the interrogation room and never felt at ease in Chicago again—until May 6, 2015.

For Reparations: A Conversation With William A. Darity Jr.


By Adam Simpson, Carla Skandier and William A. Darity Jr. for Next System Project – William A. Darity Jr. is the Samuel DuBois Cook Professor of Public Policy, African and African American Studies, and Economics and the director of the Samuel DuBois Cook Center on Social Equity at Duke University. The focus of his work is on inequality based on race, class, and ethnicity. He has been published in The Atlantic, The New York Times, and most recently Jacobin Magazine. He is currently co-writing with Kristen Mullen a new book about reparations for African Americans, From Here to Equality, hoped to be released by Fall of 2017.

What Should Reparations For Slavery Entail?


By Ama Biney for Pambazuka News – Former British Prime Minister David Cameron’s insulting dismissal of trans-Atlantic slavery and his opinion that Africans and people of African descent should “move on from this painful legacy, and continue to build for the future,” would never be audaciously uttered to Jewish people by this arrogant warmonger who bombed Libya and sought to bomb Syria, but the British House of Commons voted against such action. As the African American actor Danny Glover said, the Jamaican government should tell Britain to “keep your prison, give us schools, give us infrastructure, not prisons.”

Oakland Green Lights Drug War Reparations, Passes Marijuana Equity Program

War on Drugs is a war on us

By David Downs for East Bay Express – Oaklanders who’ve been jailed for pot in the last ten years will go to the front of the line for legal weed permits under a revolutionary new program enacted by the City Council Tuesday night. The first-in-the-nation idea promises to make international headlines, and redefine the terms of reparations in post-Drug War America. Council voted unanimously to pass the historic “Equity Permit Program,” which bucks national trends in legal pot policy. Normally, convicted drug felons are barred from entering the legal cannabis trade. Instead, Oakland will reward them.

U.N. Calls Out U.S. For Lack Of Reparations To African-American

(Scott Olson / Getty Images) The police killings of Laquan McDonald and Eric Garner have heightened calls for reparations.

By Salim Muwakkil for In These Times – The contemporary discussion on reparations for African Americans was instigated by Ta-Nehisi Coates in an award-winning essay in the June 2014 issue of The Atlantic. Reparations were also the most salient recommendation of a United Nations working group that recently toured the United States to assess the condition of black America. At the end of its fact-finding mission, the group concluded it was “extremely concerned about the human rights situation of African Americans.”

UN Experts Catalog Endless List Of Racial Discrimination In US

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By Andrea Germanos for Common Dreams – From being victims of police killings to facing barriers to educational and health equity, African Americans are facing “systemic racial discrimination” and deserve reparatory justice, a United Nations working group said Friday. Having just completed an 11-day mission with visits to Washington D.C., Baltimore, Jackson, Miss., Chicago and New York City, the five-member Working Group of Experts on People of African Descent say they are “extremely concerned about the human rights situation of African Americans.”

BYP100 Agenda To Build Black Futures, Economic Justice Plan

BYP 100 New Orleans Chapter 10 years after Katrina

By Staff for BYP100. As people across the world celebrate the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and take action to reclaim his legacy of radicalism, the Black Youth Project 100 (BYP100) announces its upcoming release of the Agenda to Build Black Futures. The Agenda to Build Black Futures, the organization’s second public policy agenda, is a platform for young activists seeking to create a new economy where young Black people can thrive. “For Black people living in America, there is no economic justice without racial justice. We live in a country that tells us that not all of us deserve to breathe, eat well or have access to water,” says BYP100 National Director Charlene Carruthers. We understand that Dr. King’s personal revolution sparked his commitment to economic justice. In doing so, a wider target was placed on his back. His last days were spent among street sanitation workers demanding dignity and fair pay for their work.

National AARC Sends Urgent Letter To Obama

A group of young women who joined protestors at the 95th Street Station after hearing organizers explain the reparations ordinance. (Photo: Kelly Hayes)

By National African-American Reparations Commission – “The National African-American Reparations Commission (NAARC) is comprised of eminent black leaders from the legal, academic, health and faith-based communities across the country. NAARC is requesting that President Obama name the Commission in honor of the esteemed historian and academic Dr. John Hope Franklin who had chaired President Bill Clinton’s Commission on Race some 22 years ago. “In honor of Dr. Franklin’s 100th birthday, we call upon you to have the vision to create a commission on reparatory justice in his name. This is only fitting as it also offers an opportunity to complete the unfinished work of President Clinton’s Commission on Race”, states the letter.

'Black Women & Girls Matter' Wave Of Protests To Sweep Country

Black Youth Project 100 with Freedom Side in New York City August 2014. (Photo courtesy of BYP100)

Mya Hall. Aiyana Jones. Rekia Boyd. These are a few of the names that will be held up in Thursday’s national day of action, slated to sweep at least 17 cities across the United States, demanding an end to “state violence against All Black Women and Girls,” including those who are transgender. Organized by Black Youth Project 100 (BYP100), Black Lives Matter, Ferguson Action, and numerous community organizations, the wave of protests come amid a growing nation-wide movement for racial justice that many are calling Black Spring. Organizers say now is a critical time to highlight the black women who are heavily impacted by police and vigilante violence—and who are at the forefront of organized resistance.

Reparations: A Blueprint To Address Systemic Police Violence

Police abuse protest in Portland Oregon on September 24, 2014. By  joyofresistance, Portland IndyMedia

The City of Chicago made history on Wednesday May 6 when it passed legislation providing reparations to survivors of racially motivated police torture committed between 1972 and 1991. Once implemented, it will offer a measure of hope to survivors, their family members and African American communities devastated by the legacy of torture committed by infamous former Chicago Police Commander Jon Burge and detectives under his command. It represents a bold break with the status quo, representing the first time that a municipality in the United States – – a nation with a long tradition of unanswered calls for redress for systemic race based violence, including slavery and lynchings – – will provide reparations to those harmed by law enforcement violence.

Chicago To Pay Reparations To People Police Tortured Decades Ago

Photo by M. Spencer Green/ AP

Chicago approved an unprecedented deal on Wednesday to compensate victims that were tortured while in police custody between the 1970s and 1980s under a former police commander. Along with a formal apology, the Chicago City Council unanimously agreed to award a total of $5.5 million to living survivors with abuse claims, up to $100,000 per person. Survivors and their family members may also receive counseling and free college tuition in city schools. More than 100 people experienced torture, many were African-Americans from the poverty-stricken South Side. Under former Chicago police commander Jon Burge’s regime, suspects in his custody experienced electric shocks, burns, and mock executions, along with other violent treatments. Mayor Rahm Emanuel said that the decision would “bring this dark chapter of Chicago’s history to a close,” highlighting that Burge’s actions are a disgrace.

Banking On Slavery

Photo: Antioch community reading of “The Case for Reparations”

The biggest “aha” for me after reading Edward E. Baptist’s The Half Has Never Been Told: Slavery and the Making of American Capitalism is the extent to which financial speculation is baked into the American economy. From Baptist I learned that 185 years ago, the acquisition of slaves, like any other property, could be financed by mortgages; that bonds were sold to investors based on the value of those mortgages; and, that securities based on enslaved human beings produced a “slave asset bubble” not unlike that produced by the rampant speculation in home mortgage derivatives that helped cause the financial crisis of 2008. In his elegant Atlantic magazine article, The Case for Reparations, Ta-Nehisi Coates works backwards from recent experiences in Chicago to the history that Baptist describes. I cannot recommend this article highly enough, because, as Coates and many others are deeply aware, it is impossible to make a case for reparations without bearing witness to our own shared history.

German Couple Pay Greece £630 ‘War Reparations’

The centre of the old town of Nafplio. The couple made calculations and said each German owed €875, the mayor said. Photograph by Alamy

A German couple visiting Greece walked into a town hall and handed over €875 (£630, approximately $1,000) in what they said were second world war reparations. Dimitris Kotsouros, the mayor of Nafplio, a seaport in the Peloponnese, said: “They came to my office yesterday morning, saying they wanted to make up for their government’s attitude. They made their calculations and said each German owed €875 for what Greece had to pay during world war two.” The mayor of the historic town where the tourists deposited their cheque said the money had since been donated to a local charity. The couple chose his town “because it was the first capital of Greece in the 19th century”, he added. Greek media reports named the pair as Ludwig Zacaro and Nina Lahge. They say Zacaro is retired and Lahge works a 30-hour week. They did not have enough money to pay for two, one paper said.