Reparations For Descendents of African Slaves in America

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Reparations For Descendents of African Slaves in America Slavery has been entwined with American history ever since Dutch traders brought twenty captive Africans to Jamestown, Virginia in 1619. Slavery in America is a subject with minimal truths and stories rarely told. The public school system excludes the fact that eight of the first twelve American presidents were major slaveholders. Emancipation brought freedom, but not approximation. The civil rights movement killed Jim Crow, but shadows remained. Affirmative Action created opportunities, but racism continues. So why shouldn't the great-great grandchildren of those who worked for free and were deprived of education and were kept in bondage not be compensated? Why should American taxpayers who never owned slaves pay for the sins of ancestors they don't even know? Ask one question and it leads to another. How would the economy be affected? How do you put a price tag on over two centuries of legalized inhumanity? In what form would reparations be paid? How would you establish who is a descendant? Questions start debates. The Merriam Webster dictionary defines reparations as the act of making amends for a wrong. Money paid by a defeated nation in compensation for damages caused during hostilities, is also included in the definition. It is essential to locate the claim for reparations within a framework of law and justice. The following four propositions are truths that attempt to conceptualize a legal framework for the formulation and prosecution of the claim for reparations. First, the evil enslavement of Africans was a crime against humanity. Secondly, domestic and international law recognizes that those who commit crimes against humanity mus... ... middle of paper ... ...ington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office. Gifford, A. (1993). Legal Arguments in Support of Reparations: First Pan-African Congress on Reparations. Federal Republic of Nigeria. Mazrui, A. (1998). Black Reparations in a Conservative World of Racial Aspirations and Political Realities. New York: Global Publications. Rhone, S. (2000, January 28). America?s debt to blacks. The Post Dispatch, pC1. Robinson, R. (1999). The Debt: What America Owes to Blacks. New York: Dutton. Ruble, R. (2000, February 4). Riot reparations sought. The Associated Press, p.B1. Saul, M. (1997, June 30). U.S. legislation could pay money to descendents. The Dallas Morning News, p.C2. Westley, R. (1998, December). Many Billions Gone. Boston College Law Review, XL, 11.

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