Dear Congressman Rush:
I am one of your constituents of the 1st Congressional District. I was your neighbor in Bronzeville. I remember well your days with Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and the Black Panthers. You were a firebrand and I mean that in a very positive way.
It is said that age mellows us. You may well be an example. You decided on politics, working within the system. Now I, and many of your constituents, am asking you to work within that system to right a terrible wrong.
Historically slavery lasted from 1619 to 1865. Reconstruction, as it has been labeled lasted from 1865 to 1870. But who benefitted from the Reconstruction? Whites were paid for the loss of their property, the slaves. Even though General William T. Sherman issued Special Field Order No.15 which called for the setting aside of land along the Georgia and South Carolina coasts for newly liberated slaves few were able to take advantage of the promised 40 acres and the promised loan of army mules. Newly elected President Andrew Johnson repealed the order and whites reclaimed the property. Of course you are aware of all of this.
In a newly published article 40 Acres and a Mule Would be at Least 64Trillion Today (http://www.yesmagazine.org/issues/make-it-right/infographic-40-acres-and-a-mule-would-be-at-least-64-trillion-today) the economic impact of slavery is well outlined. Perhaps you had not thought of slavery in this exact way or maybe you have.
I distinctly recall the objections to not only why reparations should be paid but how could we even prove we were eligible? Now DNA and gene studies can answer that question. So what now?
The objections raised to slavery reparations are many but have a common thread:
Why now? Why us? Alfred L. Brophy has written recently about the “cultural war”
over slavery reparations; he cites polls that indicate approximately 70% of blacks and
5% of whites in Alabama support reparations. The divide is less severe nationally, but
still it is significant, bearing witness to the very legacy we are discussing. It is my sense
that a closer look at human rights law is needed to provide the political will and the legal
framework for realistically resolving the concerns of the unconvinced and to heal the soul
of a conflicted nation. By Michael F. Blevins, J.D., M. Div., L.L.M.-IHR (2005)3 St. Thomas University School of Law ©May 9, 2005
The question now should be how do we make reparations, not if. That is a job for you and other black legislators and concerned others who know this wrong needs to be made right. Perhaps start by taxing the rich appropriately, fight Citizens United. Provide tax deductions for African Americans. I don’t know the answer but I do know many of us elected people we thought would find an answer and work to make it so!
Filed under: Uncategorized