The N.Y. Times launches the 1619 Project, “observing the 400th anniversary of the beginning of American slavery.”
- Late August of 1619 “was when a ship arrived at Point Comfort in the British colony of Virginia, bearing a cargo of 20 to 30 enslaved Africans.”
- Why it matters: The project “aims to reframe the country’s history, understanding 1619 as our true founding, and placing the consequences of slavery and the contributions of black Americans at the very center of the story we tell ourselves about who we are.”
[NYTimes prescription needed to view full article…Dayle’s Community Cafe does not subscribe to for-profit/elitist journalism.]
The reparations plan.
Race Relations, Reconciliation and Reparations
At the time when slaves were first emancipated at the end of the Civil War, there are estimated to have been between 4 to 5 million enslaved persons in the American South. General Tecumseh Sherman promised to every former slave family of four, forty acres and a mule. While this would have provided a way to make a living and feed one’s family, integrating economically into life as a freed citizen, only a few actually received the acreage and among those who received it most had it then taken away.
As Martin Luther King, Jr. would ask a hundred years later, “They were freed, but what were they freed to?” It was a full hundred years after the end of the Civil War before the Civil Rights Act was passed in 1964 to dismantle segregation, and only in 1965 did the Voting Rights Act insure equal access to black people at the polls.
The issue of the economic gap that existed at the end of the Civil War, however, was never addressed beyond Sherman’s promise. And the gap has never been closed.
I have advocated for broad scale reparations for slavery since the 1990’s, and was the first candidate in this presidential primary season to make it a pillar of my campaign.
The issue of reparations is not a fringe notion. Germany has paid over $89 Billion to Jewish organizations since the end of WW2 and, while they do not erase the horror of the Holocaust, reparations have gone far towards establishing reconciliation between Germany and the Jews of Europe. Similarly, in 1988 Ronald Reagan signed the American Civil Liberties Act assigning between $20,000 to $22,000 to surviving prisoners of the Japanese internment camps during WW2. The idea that a people which has wronged another people should then pay economic restitution as payment for that wrong, is a civilized notion long considered reasonable.