Reparations for slavery is a proposal that some type of compensation should be provided to the descendants of slaves from the Atlantic slave trade. The idea remains highly controversial and no broad consensus exists as to how it could be implemented. There have been similar calls for reparations from some Caribbean countries  and elsewhere in the African diaspora , and some African countries have called for reparations to their states for the loss of their population. The arguments surrounding reparations are based on the formal discussion about many different reparations, and actual land reparations received by African Americans which were later taken away. The army also had a number of unneeded mules which were given to settlers.
Profit from slavery was not limited to the South: New England merchants profited from the slave trade. BBC News news. Slavery is the crucible from which these claims were formed, but black Reperations for racial slavery encompass even wider and more far-reaching harms. It was extended by the provision of substantial land grants to newly arrived white immigrants in the late 19th century under the Homestead Acts and sustained by the destruction of black lives and accumulated property through a wave of dozens of massacres and terror campaigns stretching from Wilmington, North Carolina, to Tulsa, Oklahoma, to Chicago to Detroit between and Most Americans oppose monetary reparations. Sign Up. Moreover, from the perspective of international law, it Victoria secrets topless disputed [ by whom?
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He was against the idea, he said, in part for practical reasons—for how would the recipients of compensation be selected?
- Today, even after the success of the civil rights movement, the black American population on average has higher infant-mortality rates, lower life expectancy, higher rates of unemployment, lower income, and higher rates of imprisonment than the white population.
- Reparations for slavery is a political justice concept that argues that reparations should be paid to the descendants of Africans trafficked to and enslaved in the Americas as a consequence of the Atlantic slave trade.
- While white Americans overwhelmingly oppose restitution, a majority of African Americans favor redress.
- On June 19, activists and lawmakers gathered for a House Judiciary subcommittee hearing on the topic of reparations — whether the United States government should provide compensation to the descendants of slaves.
- Now progressive Democrats, or at least some of the ones running for their party's presidential nomination, are going through another such phase.
- The United States government launched its reparations program to African Americans in autumn of
Reparations for slavery is a proposal that some type of compensation should be provided to the descendants of slaves from the Atlantic slave trade. The idea remains highly controversial and no broad consensus exists as to how it could be implemented. There have been similar calls for reparations from some Caribbean countries  and elsewhere in the African diaspora , and some African countries have called for reparations to their states for the loss of their population.
The arguments surrounding reparations are based on the formal discussion about many different reparations, and actual land reparations received by African Americans which were later taken away. The army also had a number of unneeded mules which were given to settlers.
However, President Andrew Johnson reversed the order after Lincoln was assassinated, and the land was returned to its previous owners. In , Thaddeus Stevens sponsored a bill for the redistribution of land to African Americans, but it was not passed. Reconstruction came to an end in without the issue of reparations having been addressed. Thereafter, a deliberate movement of segregation and oppression arose in southern states. Jim Crow laws passed in some southeastern states to reinforce the existing inequality that slavery had produced.
In addition white extremist organizations such as the Ku Klux Klan engaged in a massive campaign of terrorism throughout the Southeast in order to keep African Americans in their prescribed social place.
For decades this assumed inequality and injustice was ruled on in court decisions and debated in public discourse. In one anomalous case, a former slave named Henrietta Wood successfully sued for compensation after having been kidnapped from the free state of Ohio and sold into slavery in Mississippi.
Though the verdict was a national news story, it did not prompt any trend toward additional similar cases. Profit from slavery was not limited to the South: New England merchants profited from the slave trade. The American Revolution threw the slave trade and slavery itself into crisis. In the run-up to war, Congress banned the importation of slaves as part of a broader nonimportation policy.
During the War of Independence , tens of thousands of slaves escaped to British lines. Many accompanied the British out of the country when peace arrived. Inspired by the ideals of the Revolution, most of the newly independent American states banned the slave trade.
But importation resumed to South Carolina and Georgia, which had been occupied by the British during the war and lost the largest number of slaves. The slave trade was a major source of disagreement at the Constitutional Convention of South Carolina's delegates were determined to protect slavery, and they had a powerful impact on the final document. They originated the three-fifths clause giving the South extra representation in Congress by counting part of its slave population and threatened disunion if the slave trade were banned, as other states demanded.
The result was a compromise barring Congress from prohibiting the importation of slaves until Some Anti-Federalists , as opponents of ratification were called, cited the slave trade clause as a reason why the Constitution should be rejected, claiming it brought shame upon the new nation.
As slavery expanded into the Deep South , a flourishing internal slave trade replaced importation from Africa. Between and , the economies of older states like Virginia came increasingly to rely on the sale of slaves to the cotton fields of Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana.
But demand far outstripped supply , and the price of slaves rose inexorably, placing ownership outside the reach of poorer Southerners. Some proposals have called for direct payments from the U. Various estimates have been given if such payments were to be made.
The Rev. Divine, better known as Father Divine , was one of the earliest leaders to argue clearly for "retroactive compensation" and the message was spread via International Peace Mission publications. On July 28, , Father Divine issued a "peace stamp" bearing the text: "Peace!
All nations and peoples who have suppressed and oppressed the under-privileged, they will be obliged to pay the African slaves and their descendants for all uncompensated servitude and for all unjust compensation, whereby they have been unjustly deprived of compensation on the account of previous condition of servitude and the present condition of servitude. This is to be accomplished in the defense of all other under-privileged subjects and must be paid retroactive up-to-date".
At the first National Reparations Convention in Chicago in , a proposal by Howshua Amariel , a Chicago social activist, would require the federal government to make reparations to proven descendants of slaves.
In addition, Amariel stated "For those blacks who wish to remain in America, they should receive reparations in the form of free education, free medical, free legal and free financial aid for 50 years with no taxes levied," and "For those desiring to leave America, every black person would receive a million dollars or more, backed by gold, in reparation. On July 30, , the United States House of Representatives passed a resolution apologizing for American slavery and subsequent discriminatory laws.
There have been 7 states that have officially apologized for their involvement in the enslavement of Africans. Those states are:. In April , Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates in a New York Times editorial advised reparations activists to consider the African role in the slave trade in regard to who should shoulder the cost of reparations.
Private institutions and corporations were also involved in slavery. On March 8, , Reuters News Service reported that Deadria Farmer-Paellmann, a law school graduate, initiated a one-woman campaign making a historic demand for restitution and apologies from modern companies that played a direct role in enslaving Africans.
Aetna Inc. In response to Farmer-Paellmann's demand, Aetna Inc. By , nine lawsuits were filed around the country coordinated by Farmer-Paellmann and the Restitution Study Group—a New York non-profit.
The litigation included 20 plaintiffs demanding restitution from 20 companies from the banking, insurance, textile, railroad, and tobacco industries. The cases were consolidated under 28 U.
The district court dismissed the lawsuits with prejudice , and the claimants appealed to the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit. On December 13, , that court, in an opinion written by Judge Richard Posner , modified the district court's judgment to be a dismissal without prejudice, affirmed the majority of the district court's judgment, and reversed the portion of the district court's judgment dismissing the plaintiffs' consumer protection claims, remanding the case for further proceedings consistent with its opinion.
If one or more of the defendants violated a state law by transporting slaves in , and the plaintiffs can establish standing to sue, prove the violation despite its antiquity, establish that the law was intended to provide a remedy either directly or by providing the basis for a common law action for conspiracy, conversion, or restitution to lawfully enslaved persons or their descendants, identify their ancestors, quantify damages incurred, and persuade the court to toll the statute of limitations, there would be no further obstacle to the grant of relief.
In October , California passed the Slavery Era Disclosure Law requiring insurance companies doing business there to report on their role in slavery. The disclosure legislation, introduced by Senator Tom Hayden , is the prototype for similar laws passed in 12 states around the United States.
It quotes Dennis C. Hayes, CEO of the NAACP, as saying, "Absolutely, we will be pursuing reparations from companies that have historical ties to slavery and engaging all parties to come to the table. In December , a boycott was called by a coalition of reparations groups under the sponsorship of the Restitution Study Group.
The boycott targets the student loan products of banks deemed complicit in slavery—particularly those identified in the Farmer-Paellmann litigation. As part of the boycott, students are asked to choose from other banks to finance their student loans. Pro-reparations groups such as The National Coalition of Blacks for Reparations in America advocate for compensation to be in the form of community rehabilitation and not payments to individual descendants. In the American Humanist Association published an article which argued that if emancipated slaves had been allowed to possess and retain the profits of their labor, their descendants might now control a much larger share of American social and monetary wealth.
The wealth of the United States was greatly enhanced by the exploitation of African American slave labor. In , VICE magazine published an article that argued racial health disparities, from slavery through Jim Crow until today, have cost Black Americans a significant amount of money in health care expenses and lost wages, and should be paid back. Advocates have used other examples of reparations to argue that victims of institutional slavery should be similarly compensated.
In several cases the federal government has formally apologized to or compensated minority groups for past actions:. The principal argument against reparations is that their cost would not be imposed upon the perpetrators of slavery, nor confined to those who can be shown to be the specific indirect beneficiaries of slavery, but would simply be indiscriminately borne by taxpayers per se. Those making this argument often add that the descendants of white abolitionists and soldiers in the Union Army might be taxed to fund reparations despite the sacrifices their ancestors already made to end slavery.
One argument against reparations is that in assigning public lands to African-Americans for the enslavement of their ancestors, a greater and further wrong would be committed against the Southeastern Native Americans  who have ancestral claims and treaty rights to that same land.
Curto, have made important contributions to the global understanding of the African side of the Atlantic slave trade. By arguing that African merchants determined the assemblage of trade goods accepted in exchange for slaves, many historians argue for African agency: that Africans were not just enslaved by whites, because some Africans were willing participants in the slave trade.
This implies a shared responsibility. It has been argued that reparations for slavery cannot be justified on the basis that slave descendants are worse off as a result of slavery, because it has been suggested that they are better off than they would have been in Africa if the slave trade had never happened.
Washington wrote,. Conservative commentator David Horowitz writes,. Many legal experts point to the fact that slavery was not illegal in the United States  prior to the Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution ratified in Thus, there is no legal foundation for compensating the descendants of slaves for the crime against their ancestors when, in strictly legal terms, no crime was committed.
Chattel slavery is now considered to be highly immoral, though it was perfectly legal at the time. However, opponents of this legal argument contend that such was the case in Nazi Germany, whereby the activities of the Nazis were legal under German law; however, unlike slavery, the German activities were precedented by the Allied Powers following World War I, which could not rule against the German government then due to lack of precedent, but could do so afterward following World War II on the basis of this established World War I precedent.
Some areas of the South had communities of freedman, such as existed in Savannah, Charleston and New Orleans, while in the North, for example, former slaves lived as freedman both before and after the creation of the United States in For example, in Dutch colonists freed some of their slaves and gave them property in what is now Manhattan. In , the British, then in control of New York, prohibited blacks from inheriting land, effectively ending property ownership for this family.
While this is only one example out of thousands of enslaved persons, it does mean that not all slavery reparations can be determined by racial self-identification alone; reparations would have to include a determination of the free or slave status of one's African-American ancestors, as well as when and by whom they were enslaved and denied rights such as property ownership. Because of slavery, the original African heritage has been blended with the American experience, the same as it has been for generations of immigrants from other countries.
For this reason, determining a "fair share" of reparations would be an impossible task. Another legal argument against reparations for slavery from a legal standpoint as opposed to a moral standpoint is that the statute of limitations for filing lawsuits has long since passed.
Thus, courts are prohibited from granting relief. This has been used effectively in several suits, including "In re African American Slave Descendants", which dismissed a high-profile suit against a number of businesses with ties to slavery.
Scholars have proposed a variety of ideas for implementing reparations. These reparations are designed to supply some sense of closure, with full recognition that the country can never compensate for slavery. After the reparations, in an effort to move on, African Americans bringing lawsuits claiming discrimination would not be able to base their cases on statistics i.
A suggested anti-reparations argument is that reparations payments based on race alone could be perceived by nearly everyone as an injustice, embittering many, and inevitably setting back race relations. In this view, apologetic feelings some whites may hold because of slavery and past civil rights injustices would, to a significant extent, be replaced by anger. The Libertarian Party , among other groups and individuals, has suggested that reparations would make racism worse.
One member of Congress, Mitch McConnell stated on TV that he was against reparations because they involve taking money from those who never benefitted from slavery to pay those who were never slaves. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. This article has multiple issues. Please help improve it or discuss these issues on the talk page. Learn how and when to remove these template messages. This article needs additional citations for verification.
The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not represent the views of Townhall. My Reparations Bill — HR This is to be accomplished in the defense of all other under-privileged subjects and must be paid retroactive up-to-date". To realize their full potential, those kids must watch less TV. Kingsley Dr.
Reperations for racial slavery. Home of the Marist Poll
Reparations for slavery debate in the United States - Wikipedia
In April, Democratic lawmakers in Texas introduced a bill urging the passage of a federal reparations bill introduced by U. Sheila Jackson-Lee, also a Democrat, that same month. Sponsors did not return Stateline calls for comment. Meanwhile, Pennsylvania state Rep. Chris Rabb announced plans to introduce a reparations bill this legislative session that would entitle African Americans in the Keystone State to remuneration.
He proposes a statewide reparations plan for Pennsylvania that would involve multiple tiers of compensation, with the greatest awards going to residents who can prove they descended from generations of black Pennsylvanians.
To be sure, except for one California resolution that passed with bipartisan support, none of the state bills has yet made it past committee. All were introduced by Democrats. Critics of state reparations, meanwhile, argue the issue should be handled at the federal level, and they wonder how the proposals would be paid for and who would qualify to receive the money. The state bills seem designed to ignite conversation about systemic racial injustices at a time when the nation is sharply divided over issues of race.
Like the federal bill currently being considered in the U. House, the state measures would create commissions to study reparations and propose solutions. For example, New York Democrats in January introduced bills in both the General Assembly and the state Senate that would create a commission to study reparations and racial and economic discrimination against African Americans.
James Sanders Jr. California Democrats introduced two measures this year. That resolution is currently in committee. But reparations is the wrong approach, he said. Brooks and a team of researchers at the Kennedy School have been asked by a New Jersey advocacy organization to craft a reparations bill for that state. If successful, the team hopes to replicate those efforts in other states, Brooks said.
It makes sense for states, in addition to the federal government, to address reparations because even non-slave-states benefitted from the institution, said Vermont state Rep. Brian Cina, a member of the Progressive Party who sponsored the Vermont bill. The partial ban applied to adults over Cina said he introduced the legislation at the prodding of a local racial justice group.
His bill, which is in committee, would create a task force to consider a state apology for slavery and develop a proposal for reparations. Talk of reparations has cropped up again and again since the Emancipation Proclamation.
As the Civil War was nearing an end, Union leader Gen. Several Chicago suburbs are exceptions to the national trend. Most Americans oppose monetary reparations. A national poll this summer from Gallup found two-thirds of adult U. In , journalist and author Ta-Nehesi Coates, in a landmark essay in The Atlantic , demonstrated how the legacy of slavery, along with state-sanctioned discrimination in the form of post-slavery Jim Crow laws, real estate redlining and mass incarceration, served to handicap black Americans, creating a stubbornly persistent racial wealth gap.
Over the years, both federal and state governments awarded reparations for past historical atrocities. Beginning in , North Carolina awarded reparations to the survivors of the state-led campaign of forced sterilization, which happened between and Many of those forcibly sterilized were poor, black or disabled. In June, California Gov. Opponents of reparations argue that awarding monetary compensation to black Americans will only further ignite tensions in a nation already riven by racial differences.
State-based measures could work if they address specific atrocities, such as what Florida did for the survivors of the Rosewood riots, he said. Rabb is a descendant of those who were enslaved and those who did the enslaving, a not uncommon occurrence among African Americans, most of whom are mixed-race thanks to a legacy of rape. I represent the best and worst of this country.
He plans to introduce the bill this legislative session, after his team has compiled enough research. This is fact. Sign up for our daily update — original reporting on state policy, plus the day's five top reads from around the web. Sign up for our weekly newsletter—our best original reporting and analysis every Monday. All Stateline stories and graphics may be republished in print or online for free.
All we ask is that you follow a few rules:. Read Mode. Table of Contents. Pennsylvania state Rep. Chris Rabb, a Democrat, announced plans last month to introduce sweeping legislation that would award reparations to African American state residents. As the nation debates the merits of reparations, lawmakers in California, New York, Texas and Vermont have introduced legislation exploring compensation to the descendants of slaves.
Courtesy of Democratic Pennsylvania state Rep. Chris Rabb. This article has been updated to clarify Rep. Chris Rabb's position on reparations. Stateline Story March 29, Quick View. Stateline Story August 15, An excerpt of an Pennsylvania law restricting African American entry into the state. Podcasts May 24, Please provide a valid email address. Use our stories and graphics All Stateline stories and graphics may be republished in print or online for free. Any use online should include a link back to our website.
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