Jun. 21, 2019

Why Reparations? Trenton, Tennessee, August 26, 1874

This is something I wrote 2 years ago. It was directed at the ability of people of color, Americans of African Descent to overcome barriers that were created specifically to derail our progress. These barriers, obstacles were initially overtly developed by American institutions clearly delineated to force our ancestors into corners of darkness, corners of despair, corners of hopelessness, corners of silence, and corners where it seemed death was a far better option than life. We as a community of dark souls have been confronted with the treacherous pathway of American injustice for 400 years now.

You have people who will say that we as people's whose ancestors survived the Middle Passage have constantly faced these insurmountable odds. Odds, that should have made it damn near impossible for us to drive the needle forward towards having any success in this system. This system was created, and laws were written that actually identified our black ancestors as 60% human and 40% beast, 100% chattel. It was even judged by the highest court in the land that our ancestors had absolutely no rights that a white person had to honor. The nation survived a massive civil war that should have repelled those forces that created this atmosphere of bigotry, hatred, and human deprivation. Yet, it seemed to only embolden those whites who perceived our ancestors as peoples whose envisioned that the only status in this country was having its neck constantly under the boot of the whites who controlled power.

Well, I today I say that’s the devil speaking. It is that same devil that has driven enough nails into the coffin of our people’s quest for self-determination. If that devil couldn't kill all the hopes that our ancestors held, then you know within each of us houses those powerful forces of defiance and self-belief that will recharge our energies in times of struggle. Ask yourself this, what can this current system do today that is worst than what our black ancestors faced in yesterday's past? My feeling is not a damn thing. The judicial system of the United States openly withheld justice, our ancestors faced this injustice yet maintained hope, we can as well. The institutions of this nation openly withheld opportunities to our ancestors, yet they maintained hope, we can as well. Our ancestors were openly denied the opportunity to receive anything close to quality education, the educational system was tailor to oppress our ancestors but our ancestors never lost hope in educating themselves in these oppressive conditions. Financial institutions created open oppressive policies that intentionally deterred economic independence for our ancestors. Yet, our ancestors never lost the drive to reach for levels of independence financially nevertheless. They have shackled our ancestors, killed our ancestors by reasons unknown other than skin color. Yet our ancestors never gave in to hopelessness. There always existed an element of our communities who refused to relent or to give into oppression.

Now we face another battle that some will say is the greatest battle we will ever face. Our community is demanding that the wrongs were done to our ancestors be repaired. We are asking the powers that control the ability to make those repairs own up to the wrongs of a society hellbent on our destruction. It will be easy for some in our community to say no to demanding these repairs due us. It, however, must be our job to inform those of us who say no to change that thought to a resounding yes. You see we all owe it to each and every one of our ancestors who faced oppression for no other reason than the color of their skin. Those of our ancestors who were brutalized for no other reason than their skin. Those ancestors who were denied the opportunity to live out the truest life simply because of the color of their skin. Those of our ancestors who were forced to live in squalor and filth simply because of the color of their skin. Those who were treated with injustice in a system supposedly created around the creed of justice for all simply because of the color of their skin. You see each and every one of our ancestors who maintained hope is standing at the gates of justice asking us to remember their struggles. Also, asking us to remember that they kept hope alive. If you remember their struggles and the inner quest for hope, it will make the barriers that well arise easier to cross.