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Experts: Reparations Are Workable and Should Be Provided

NNPA NEWSWIRE — “With the racial divide stoked by President Donald Trump’s racial bias, the need for some healing among the races is a progressive and necessary policy and redress and reparations promote this healing so that we can move toward a less factionalized, less racially divided country,” Minami said.

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“The odds against success are great but given the meager gains to date, it’s just as fruitful to argue for reparations as anything else and besides it is a just cause,” said Dr. Mary Frances Berry, a Geraldine R. Segal Professor of American Social Thought and the author of numerous books including “My Face is Black Is True: Callie House and the Struggle for Ex-Slave Reparations.

By Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Correspondent
@StacyBrownMedia

As Joe Biden prepares to enter the crowded Democratic field for the 2020 presidential election, it wouldn’t be surprising if the former vice president will join the other 19 declared candidates in using reparations for the Transatlantic Slave Trade as a political platform.

Candidates including New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker, California Sen. Kamala Harris, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, and former HUD Secretary Julian Castro have said they intend to seek reparations for African Americans.

Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren has asked for reparations for both African Americans and Native Americans.

Just three years ago, a United Nations working group jumped into the fray.

Following 14 years and 20 days of speaking with U.S. officials, activists, and families of people killed by police in major American cities, the U.N. working group issued its conclusion that the slave trade was a crime against humanity and the American government should pay reparations.

The experts traveled to major cities including Washington, D.C.; Jackson, Mississippi; Baltimore; Chicago and New York.

“Contemporary police killings and the trauma it creates are reminiscent of the racial terror lynching in the past,” a French member of the working group of U.N. experts Mireille Fanon-Mendes-France, told CBS News.

Dr. Mary Frances Berry, a Geraldine R. Segal Professor of American Social Thought and the author of numerous books including “My Face is Black Is True: Callie House and the Struggle for Ex-Slave Reparations,” told NNPA Newswire that, “as matter of justice and no matter how long it takes, there should be a full-throated demand for reparations for slavery echoing the demand of the thousands of ex-slaves in the 19th century and reasserted time and again since.”

“The odds against success are great but given the meager gains to date, it’s just as fruitful to argue for reparations as anything else and besides it is a just cause,” Dr. Berry said.

“Whatever we do, we should remind ourselves, as Frederick Douglass said, ‘Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never has. It never will,’” she said.

Berry, who once served as chair of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights and as Assistant Secretary for Education in the U.S. Department of Health, Education and Welfare, scoffed at the idea that reparations are “unworkable.”

Precedent has already been set, she said.

“The country has lots of experience with reparations. The federal government gave compensation to slave owners in the border states who let their slaves enlist in the Union Army,” Dr. Berry said.

“Also, during the Civil War, compensation was given to slave owners in the District of Columbia when slaves there were freed in 1862 and, more recently, compensation for Holocaust victims and the victims of Japanese Internment are examples of reparations,” she said.

Dr. Berry continued:

“In the 19th century after the Civil War, Callie House, a former slave, led a movement to demand pensions for old ex-slaves as reparations for their poverty and unrequited labor during slavery.

“Her organization collected petitions including the names of former owners of ex-slaves and succeeded in having bills introduced in Congress and sued the federal government, losing on technical grounds.”

San Francisco-based attorney Dale Minami, who was involved in significant litigation involving the civil rights of Asian Pacific Americans and other minorities, said he believes the African American vote is critical to a successful reparations campaign.

“With the racial divide stoked by President Donald Trump’s racial bias, the need for some healing among the races is a progressive and necessary policy and redress and reparations promote this healing so that we can move toward a less factionalized, less racially divided country,” Minami said.

For those who believe reparations are unworkable, Minami said they’re conflating two separate issues: the deserving claim to reparations and the difficulty in implementation.

“Reparations is a good idea and depending how you define implementation determines the ‘workability,’” he said.

“If reparations means individual payment, yes, there is a huge problem of allocation of money based on percentage of Black ancestry but if you define it as a Trust Fund to support Black institutions, community organizations, education, or other projects to improve the African American community, it’s bit easier to implement,” Minami said.

As an example, the Civil Liberties Public Education Fund of which Minami served as chairman, received $5 million as part of a Redress bill to give to projects that educate about the injustice of the incarcerations of Japanese Americans.

The original bill called for $50 million but so many were still alive when Redress was granted, the fund dwindled, Minami said.

“So, I think there are creative ways to help make up for the enormous cruelty of slavery and its long-term effects on the Black community,” he said.

A Little About Me: I'm the co-author of Blind Faith: The Miraculous Journey of Lula Hardaway and her son, Stevie Wonder (Simon & Schuster) and Michael Jackson: The Man Behind The Mask, An Insider's Account of the King of Pop (Select Books Publishing, Inc.) My work can often be found in the Washington Informer, Baltimore Times, Philadelphia Tribune, Pocono Record, the New York Post, and Black Press USA.

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1 Comment

  1. Clyde Dinkins

    April 27, 2019 at 6:54 pm

    Publisher Black Press USA:

    Reference above article, “Experts: Reparations Are Workable and Should Be Provided” by Author, Commentator Stacy M. Brown: Great Commentary! And I praise American Black Woman, Dr. Mary Frances Berry, a Geraldine R. Segal Professor of American Social Thought who told National Newspaper Publishers Association-NNPA Newswire that, “…as a matter of justice and no matter how long it takes, there should be a full-throated demand for reparations for slavery echoing the demand of the thousands of ex-slaves in the 19th century and reasserted time and again since.” Dr. Berry further said, “Whatever we do, we should remind ourselves, as Frederick Douglass said, ‘Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never has. It never will.'” I Agree!

    However, in the context of the Categorical Imperative, Clydec Philosophy, Logic, Common Sense, etc. the following:

    1. Money Payment Reparation! “I TOTALLY REJECT” the proposal of a Trust Fund to support Black institutions, community organizations, education, or other projects to improve the African American community, as proposed by San Francisco-based attorney Dale Minami.
    Respectfully, but “I opine:” HIs Is Not The Right Solution! And Sincerely wonder if Attorney Minami is a Government Operative? To wit: Just pay each American Black Reparation Money! And They Choose what They do with “Their Money!” This the Simplest, Easiest, Quickest Way! And the Least Corruptible Way! Not someone else or some Committee or Organization spending Their Money!
    2. It’s my hope that “The Black Gangs of America” in honor of recently slain Top Rapper Star Nipsey Hussle – They having instituted a “Truce” of not killing one another will continue this Good, by making “Reparation Money to them, their Family and American Blacks Their New Agenda!” This way: 1) They can give up a life of Crime, Jail, Being Murdered, etc.; 2) Legally acquire More Money than in crime, Because we’re talking Reparation Money in the Trillions of Dollars!

    It Can Be Done! Especially if the Black Gangs of America – The Bloods, Crips, Blackstone P. Nation and Others do their Part!

    So that my Clydec Philosophy is not misunderstood, I hereby state the following:
    1. I Advocate the Non-Violence Philosophy of our Great Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. And Civil Rights Activist Mother Rosa Parks.
    2. I Advocate Peaceful Protest.
    3. Integration of All Races.
    4. Making Rev. King’s Dream an American Reality in this “Promised Land” – The United States of America! That We American Blacks Made A Great Nation by Our Slave Labor! Ipso facto: Any one who says We American Blacks are not “Owed, Due Money Reparation” is Anti-God!
    5. A Statue of Nipsey Hussle erected this year in Los Angeles. And in conjunction: A Convention Meeting of All Gangs in Los Angeles and calling of a National Press Conference to Let America and The World know: 1) Nipsey Hussle Lives!; 2)The Black Gangs of America Want “The Money” They’re Owed and due for Reparation and Owed their Mothers, Sisters, Wives, Daughters, Aunts. Nieces, Cousins – Fathers, Brothers, Uncles and Cousins. “Justice Demands No Less!”
    Word Perpendicular! Four Square Straight!

    My Following Poem in Honor of Top Rapper Star Nipsey Hussle, His Mother and All Black Mothers and Black Women in this, April – Black Women’s History Month. Accordingly, I say to Each and Every American Black Person Including Our Youth and Children: Let this be “The Beginning of the New American Black!” Let Us Make History This Year of 2019! My Poem.

    NIPSEY HUSSLE, American Black Gangs AND WALL STREET
    I
    Till Wall Street Quivers and Shakes,
    American Blacks will get no Breaks!
    Till American Blacks Cause Wall Street to Fall!
    They will get no Reparation Money, None at All!
    Till American Blacks cause Wall Street to Collapse,
    Racism will continue Increasing Max!
    Some Racists call Reparation Black People, “Crazy Niggers!”
    Confident that Wall Street – Reparation Money will Never Deliver!

    II
    But, in California A New American Black Gang Philosophy is Arising!
    The Murder of Top Rap Star Nipsey Hussle Awakening and Inspiring –
    To Stop Killing One Another and Show America and the World;
    “A New American Black Gang Member” with Intelligence Unfurled!
    Saying, “Wall Street and White Christian Men Government Officials;
    “Pay Us The Reparation Money We Are Due” for you Anti-God Slavery,
    Murdering, Raping, Castrating, Lynching, Sadistic Knavery!”

    III
    Bloods, Crips, Almighty Black P. Stone Nation and Gangs Nationwide,
    This can be Your Finest Hour and Lasting Legacy of Great Stride!
    Street Crime is Penny Ante to Billions of Wall Street Dollars.
    “That Intelligent, Brave Gangs” will “Legally” Collar!

    IV
    Blacks Gangs Of America {BGOA} who instills More Fear than You?
    Even Blacks give you “The Respect, You are Due!”
    So will Rich Wall Street who Greatly Profited from Slavery!
    When You Show Them Your Courage and Bravery!
    Once You Show and Cause Them to Lose Billions of Dollars!
    And Cause Them to Collapse with Financial Cholera!

    V
    In This, American Black Gangs; “God is on Your Side!”
    Likewise, The Hegelian Dialectic! Let it be Your Guide!
    Great Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. And Our Dear Mother Rosa Parks!
    “Black Gangs of America” I Beseech You, to Their Words Hark!
    Make their “Dream” for Blacks a Reality for the World to See!
    The Promised Land, Rev. King Preached then Will Surely Be!
    To Every American Black Person, One Million Dollars, Plus Interest
    With Free Tuition for American Black University Students Addressed!
    “God’s Justice Demands No Less!”
    Otherwise, in the Context of God who Punishes the Wicked,
    And Hegelian Dialectic, Clydec Philosophy and Statistics;
    “Let Justice be done, Though Wall Street Perish!”

    Sincerely,
    Clyde Dinkins
    Senior Citizen
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    A New American Black Man
    Air Force Veteran (Personnel Specialist-I held a Secret Clearance)
    Government Supervisor Retiree

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