Friday, January 19, 2018

Slavery to Reparations

Legal Issues and Reparations

Adjoa A. Aiyetoro

excerpted from: Adjoa A. Aiyetoro, Formulating Reparations Litigation Through the Eyes of The Movement , 58 New York University Annual Survey of American Law 457-474, 464-472 (2003) (76 Footnotes)

II. DEVELOPING LEGAL STRATEGIES TO ADVANCE THE DEMAND FOR REPARATIONS

Unless a variety of strategies to obtain reparations are investigated and implemented, as appropriate, the demand for reparations remains a rhetorical one. Following in the footsteps of the Ex-Slave Mutual Relief, Bounty and Pension Association, advocates for reparations have lobbied for and supported the passage of H.R. 40, obtaining support from local and state legislative bodies and social, civic and legal organizations. Although obtaining legislative support is critical, it became clear in the 1990s that a litigation strategy was needed to complement the legislative work, and have the Congress and others take the movement more seriously. In order to have a litigation strategy that speaks with integrity to the demands for reparations, there is a need to redefine terms associated with the procedural and substantive hurdles faced.

A. Definitions Critical to Sustaining Litigation Created Through Focus on the Movement

In order for people who have been shut out of the system to obtain meaningful remedies for violations of their human rights, redefinition of some ordinary and some uncommon terms must be accepted by the legal system. In a challenging and thought-provoking article, Mari Matsuda suggests that the Critical Legal Studies movement should develop approaches to human rights issues generally and to reparations particularly in a "looking to the bottom" approach. Ms. Matsuda aptly describes the source of the demand for reparations when she says "[r]eparations is a legal concept generated from the bottom. It arises not from abstraction but from experience." By "bottom," Matsuda refers to those individuals who are alleging the violation of rights rather than those who have traditionally defined the scope of legal relief--judges, the state bar associations and other groups ensconced in the halls of power in the United States. "Looking to the bottom--adopting the perspective of those who have seen and felt the falsity of the liberal promise--can assist . . . in the task of fathoming the phenomenology of law and defining the elements of justice."

Rather than simply a tool for critical legal studies scholars to broach issues of human rights, this methodology must be utilized by those who are developing reparations litigation. The definitions of victim and injuries discussed in any number of fora must comport with the experiences of those who are raising the demand for reparations. Such an approach requires, necessarily, a willingness to "think outside the box" of the legal system in which we have been trained. It also requires persuading a judge and jury that the manner in which the reparations advocates define the demand is judicially cognizable, that it states a claim for which relief can be granted.

In validating dismissal of the plaintiffs' claim for reparations from the United States government in Cato v. United States, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals went to some lengths to articulate the procedural standards that plaintiffs must meet. In the final analysis, the court held that the claim for reparations was a political and not a legal claim. The court appears to have reached this decision because it was looking at the claims through the eyes of the traditional legal system, and not through the eyes of the plaintiffs, as Matsuda suggests.

Utilizing Matsuda's thesis, the lawyer and non-lawyer members of N'COBRA's Litigation Committee and the Reparations Coordinating Committee are crafting litigation that clearly defines, from the perspective of the movement, the justiciability of their claims. The procedural hurdles of standing, statute of limitations and sovereign immunity must be successfully addressed *if we are to sustain an action; yet the historical and present day experiences of Africans and African descendants in the United States must inform our approach to overcoming these hurdles.

B. Standing

In order for a plaintiff to avoid dismissal of a lawsuit, he or she must have standing to bring the action. Standing means that the defendant violated a legal right of the plaintiff and that the plaintiff consequently suffered a concrete injury--frequently called an "injury in fact." In the one reported reparations case, Cato, the Ninth Circuit ruled that plaintiffs had not shown a particularized, concrete injury to themselves from actions that violated a constitutional or statutory right. The problem of showing a particularized, concrete injury frequently arises in legal analyses about reparations for the Trans Atlantic Slave Trade and chattel slavery. Many view some aspects of the status of African descendants in the United States as a continuing injury of chattel slavery. Yet, in order to proceed with some anticipation of success, this injury must be particularized and lodged in named plaintiffs representing a class of African descendants. Many argue that this is difficult, if not impossible, given the historical facts. The United States was legally barred from engaging in the forced importation of Africans from Africa after 1808. Chattel slavery was legally ended for all enslaved Africans after the passage of the 13th Amendment to the Constitution in 1865. The question is then, how can an individual be injured in the legal sense by institutions and practices abolished over a hundred years ago?

Thirteenth Amendment jurisprudence provides one answer to that question. African descendents may seek relief under the 13th Amendment when the United States government fails to eliminate the badges and indicia of slavery. Thirteenth Amendment jurisprudence and the legislation that was passed pursuant to the 13th Amendment are the starting points for identifying the particularized badges and indicia of slavery that Congress identified, and also for determining if and by whom these rights are being violated and, finally, who has consequently suffered a concrete and particularized injury. This approach may, by legal necessity, narrow the plaintiffs to a class smaller than all African descendants in the United States. However, successfully raising the issue for some subgroup of African descendants is in fact a win for all African descendants, since it will legitimize the claim that reparations are owed for injuries that continue to be sustained by African descendants, the origins of which can be traced to slavery. The focus of reparations litigation, therefore, is to obtain a court order for reparative remedies to as broadly defined a class of African descendants as possible, pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23.

The jurisprudence of the 13th Amendment, having been revitalized in Jones v. Alfred H. Mayer Co., provides one legal route for a successful legal claim for reparations. For example, in identifying the vestiges of slavery, the Court in Jones relied on legislation that was passed pursuant to the 13th Amendment, the Civil Rights Act of 1866, finding that the defendant had denied plaintiffs the right to purchase property that was protected by this Act. Surviving portions of the Civil Rights Act of 1866 seem also to identify dual punishment systems, one for Africans and African descendants and one for whites, as a badge and indicia of slavery, requiring that African peoples "shall be subject to like punishment, pains, [and] penalties." The Act thereby ended in theory the badges and indicia of slavery in the punishment system.

In examining whether the criminal punishment system can be one domain in which we seek reparations, we look to the history of the dual punishment system that existed during slavery. The work of a number of organizations, including the Sentencing Project and the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, supports the view that this dual system continues today. Thus, African descendants subjected to punishments that are proven to be harsher than those given to white persons in similar circumstances would have standing to challenge them as badges and indicia of slavery as a continuation of this dual punishment system that was created in slavery.

Unjust enrichment is another legal theory that may serve as the basis of a reparations claim. Persons who are direct descendants of those whose labor and ideas were stolen may have a claim for unjust enrichment. Their families were denied the right to the benefits of their labor and creative ideas while others were, and continue to be, enriched by this appropriation. In defining injury through the eyes of those who are making the claim, African descendants who disproportionately live in poverty yet whose ancestors provided the base for the creation of modern-day industry, are injured in fact when corporations who exploited the system of chattel slavery thereby amassed many millions of dollars.

C. Statute of Limitations

The second obstacle to reparations claims is the statute of limitations. In the case of reparations for African descendants, the analysis suggested for overcoming the standing obstacle is helpful in overcoming this obstacle. If an African descendant plaintiff alleges an injury in fact that is occurring to him or her today because of a continuing badge and indicia of slavery, the statute of limitations poses little problem. Indeed, the Court in Cato recognized the "continuing violations doctrine" as a viable means to overcome a statute of limitations problem if the defendant is responsible for the continuing violation and can be sued for this violation.

Another possibility for addressing the statute of limitations is to establish that the Trans Atlantic Slave Trade and chattel slavery were crimes against humanity and that there are continuing injuries from these crimes. There is no statute of limitations for such crimes under international law. Of course, the United States has not admitted that these were crimes against humanity, and the international community has been quite unclear on this matter. The World Conference Against Racism's Declaration and Program of Action, accepted by the United Nations General Assembly in January 2002, were not signed by the United States. In the Declaration adopted by the conference, the international community regarded the Trans Atlantic Slave Trade as a specific occurrence in history for condemnation:

We acknowledge that slavery and the slave trade, including the transatlantic slave trade, were appalling tragedies in the history of humanity not only because of their abhorrent barbarism but also in terms of their magnitude, organized nature and especially their negation of the essence of the victims, and further acknowledge that slavery and the slave trade are a crime against humanity and should always have been so, especially the Transatlantic Slave Trade and are among the major sources and manifestations of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance, and that Africans and people of African descent, Asians and people of Asian descent and indigenous peoples were victims of these acts and continue to be victims of their consequences.

Countries throughout the western world preceded the United States in ending this institution, suggesting that the international community knew that chattel slavery was an inhumane institution. Litigators speaking through the voices of those who seek reparations, as with injury in fact, must present their claims in a manner that enables the courts to recognize the fundamental unfairness of using a time bar to prevent fair and just adjudication of crimes against humanity for which there are continuing injuries that are ripe for redress. Indeed, as Frederick Douglass expressed in his famous Fourth of July speech, prior to the end of chattel slavery in the United States, chattel slavery is a crime against God and man.

D. Sovereign Immunity

The third obstacle that must be overcome is that of sovereign immunity. Many African descendants identify the United States (and its predecessor colonies) as playing a significant role in the Trans Atlantic Slave Trade, chattel slavery and the continuing badges and indicia of slavery to which they are subjected. However, as demonstrated by Cato, it is difficult to articulate a reparative claim against the United States as an entity. The United States has waived sovereign immunity in lawsuits seeking non-monetary relief, but the voices of the Reparations Movement must agree to seek non-monetary relief for the litigation to be reflective of them. Although this movement has strongly urged that "reparations is more than a check," through the voice of N'COBRA, it does include a check.

Seeking monetary reparations from federal government agencies may also be difficult based on the Cato Court's refusal to extend the Bivens rationale for damages against individual employees to federal agencies. The problem may be less difficult if an action is against a state agency since 42 U.S.C. 1983 has allowed for lawsuits against state agencies for violations of constitutional rights. Again, however, this would require a restatement by African descendants articulating their reparations claims--changing the focus from the federal government to state actions.

The work of reparations litigators, therefore, becomes two- fold: locating a specific waiver of sovereign immunity that meets the demands and concerns of the Reparations Movement and articulating the claims for reparative remedies in a manner that satisfies both the Reparations Movement and the demands of the legal system.

[a1]. Legal Consultant, National Coalition of Blacks for Reparations in America (N'COBRA); Adjunct Professor, Washington College of Law, American University; Visiting Scholar, University of California, Santa Barbara.

Uncivil Wars and Reparation

David Boyle

excerpted from:  Unsavory White Omissions: A Review of Uncivil Wars , 105 West Virginia Law Review 655 (Spring 2003) (165 Footnotes Omitted) Book Review: Uncivil Wars: The Controversy Over Reparations for Slavery. By David Horowitz. San Francisco: Encounter Books, 2002. Pp. 147. $21.95.



"Some might regard this book as an act of literary masochism. In the spring of 2001, I attempted to place an ad in college newspapers opposing the idea of paying reparations for slavery . . . (b)ut when my ad appeared on college campuses, the reactions were volcanic and the attacks on me were savage." With this opening passage of Uncivil Wars, author David Horowitz has taken the obvious trouble to position himself as a martyr; whether he is truly a martyr or not is another question. Uncivil Wars relates the story, from the point of view of Horowitz, of his placing in campusnewspapers an advertisement opposing payment of reparations, whether by the United States government or by anyone else, to African Americans for the slavery that their ancestors endured in this country and in the colonies which existed before the Declaration of Independencein 1776. The title of the book refers to the rancor and debate which surrounded the publication of the advertisement, including massive public criticism of Horowitz, and actions such as those of university students who destroyed, en masse, copies of the newspapers containing the advertisement. In an ironic fashion which counterposes "uncivil" to "civil," the title also refers to the American Civil War which led to the freeing of the slaves--though the war did not lead to the restitution which could or should have been theirs, or their descendants,' for the slaves' hundreds of years of unpaid or badly paid labor.

Perhaps the most significant contribution that Horowitz makes in Uncivil Wars is his demonstration that the arguments supporting reparations are not above challenge. He makes some case that reparations may be unnecessary, racially divisive, burdensome on modern taxpayers who never held slaves in the first place, and altogether inappropriate. Furthermore, Horowitz adds to the discussion of "race-and-law" or, "law-and-race," as one might - drawing on the term "law-and-economics" - term that field of legal academic inquiry which meshes the legal and the racial and includes such subfields as Critical Race Theory. The meaning of the American Constitution - including its clausethat slaves were considered each to be 3/5 of a human being - and of other legal documents or aspects of the law is discussed extensively in Horowitz's book, especially as such meaning relates to race. However, Horowitz's analysis is both insensitive towards its topic of reparations (and to African Americans), and unfairly selective in its understanding or presentation of history. Horowitz ignores or discounts, when discussing race, slavery, and reparations, the unsavory omissions of whites, including himself, in the field of justice towards African Americans. His failure fully to deal with or take account of such omissions creates the unintentional irony that in Uncivil Wars, he himself is promulgating conflicts, or even "wars" of a sort, of an arguably less-than-polite nature. Horowitz's "uncivil" take on the issue of reparations taints his analysis and his image, as will be seen below.

Part I of this review summarizes Uncivil Wars, and includes a discussion of First Amendment issues relating to the book and to Horowitz's campaign against reparations. Part II analyzes the tendency of Horowitz in the book to focus on his own supposed victimization at the expense of more accurately discussing either his efforts to fight reparations to African Americans, or the victimization of African Americans over the centuries under the regimes of slavery, segregation, and racism in the United States of America. Part III catalogs and investigates the various ways in which Horowitzwrites and acts in uncivil or abusive ways when discussing his campaign against reparations. Part IV goes beyond the issue of Horowitz's media campaign, in order to explore his arguments against reparations, and then presents counterarguments to his contentions. Finally, Part V suggests that reparations could be a sound alternative to things possibly worse than financial expense, such as social division or unrest caused by the lack of reparations. Part V also offers some parting comments on the role of Horowitz himself in the debate over reparations.

Since there is less law concerning, or directly apposite to, reparations for slavery than about other racially related topics, e.g., affirmative action (a program which actually exists, unlike reparations for slavery, and therefore has a body of statute and case law, including challenges to affirmative action), much of this book review will comment on policy, moral, or other issues rather than employ strictly legal analysis. However, the law will be referred to if possible, especially after the initial summary of the book; although Uncivil Wars does not present a "casebook" on reparations, despite the promises of the book's dust jacket to that effect, this review will try in some wise to compensate for that lacuna, in exposition both legal and non-legal.

. . .

Calling on the genius of James Baldwin one last time, one will note that his book ends with the quote that gave it its name, a quote from an old African- American hymn: "God gave Noah the rainbow sign, No more water, the fire next time!" This apocalyptic scenario, bringing to mind the Biblical Book of Revelation and the end of the world, is what Baldwin suggests will happen if African Americans do not boldly rise to the demands and dynamics of their history and stand up for their dignity and their civil rights. Better, perhaps, that there be a "fine" next time America carefully considers race relations, that is, that there be a fair and adequate "taxation" of all the wealth of America, and the unearned wealth of whites in particular, stolenfrom the slaves and their descendants over the centuries, and that that "fine," that justly "punitive" (or is it really so "punitive"?) sum be returned to African Americans--better that there be a "fine," which would be fair and remedial, than that there be a "fire," which could hurt or even potentially destroy many people, not only in America but elsewhere as well. Horowitz suggests that paying reparations will bring on a disaster. But if justice is denied to African Americans, it is possible that such failure, such insult, could itself bring on disaster or exacerbate current problems of racial tension, poverty, and discrimination.

In conclusion, while David Horowitz raises some provocative and interesting questions in his book, the omissions, or easily avoidable mistakes, in Uncivil Wars are unsavory, just as the omissions of decency by whites, and the injustices, whether deliberate or reckless, of whites toward blacks in America, have been unsavory for centuries now, from Jamestown to the present. Horowitz repeatedly offers relatively valid commentary, whether on the American Civil War, or welfare programs, or slavery on the African continent, but then omits showing either a truly fair range of counterarguments to his assertions, or the wide extent of possible outcomes to the scenarios he describes. His omissions greatly lower the value of his observations, as do his omissions of mannerliness and of coolness and fair- mindedness of appraisal.

Although this review questions the extent and nature of Horowitz's focus on his own unpleasant experiences instead of on those of others, no attempt is made here to belittle any real pain or discomfort Horowitz himself has suffered throughout his advertisement campaign, or earlier in his life as an activist, even if some of his pain came from people whom he goaded or belittled, and who attempted to defend themselves or reacted aggressively to his advertisement. Still, Uncivil Wars, true to its name, literally adds insult to injury, and while some might consider it disrespectful to Horowitz to say that any eventual reparations to African Americans should be larger because of what Horowitz has said in his advertisements and in his book, it would be inaccurate for a review of his work to omit his part in distorting the debate over reparations, and in distorting his own role in that debate.

. B.A. 1989 Yale College; J.D. 2002, University of Michigan Law School.

The Race-Skewed Notion of Victimhood

Charles J. Ogletree

excerpted from: The Current Reparations Debate , 36 U.C. Davis Law Review 1051-1072, 1058-1060 (June, 2003)(62 Footnotes omitted)

There is, then, a certain irony to the charge of "victimology." To the extent that it is a critique of an essentialist strain in civil rights discourse that imputes harm to African Americans as a group, it may have some bite. But where African Americans remain the uncompensated victims of criminal violence, victimology not only turns reality on its head, but also buys into what might be called the aesthetics of criminal justice.

First, victims of crime deserve to be compensated. As Attorney General Janet Reno stated during her address to a victims' rights conference on August 12, 1996:

I draw most of my strength from victims, for they represent America to me:people who will not be put down, people who will not be defeated, people who will rise again and again for what is right . . . . You are my heroes and heroines. You are but little lower than angels.

Professor David Garland of NYU Law School echoes this sentiment: "the centre of contemporary penal discourse is . . . the individual victim and his or her feelings." A central tenet of the modern penal revolution is the payment of restitution to victims for the crimes committed against them. Victims' groups use "closure" to justify the involvement of the relatives and descendants of the deceased in criminal cases many years after the crime was committed. In fact, one of the remarkable things about the victims-of-crime movement has been its extension of the definition of victim from the person attacked, robbed, or murdered, to that person's family, descendants, and community as well.

It is clear that the surviving victims of the Tulsa Race Riot of 1921 have not had the closure so earnestly demanded by other victims. Time is not the obstacle here. While other victims may wait decades for a criminal on death row to be executed, few conservatives deny their right to closure at the end of the waiting period. Now, I am far from endorsing the death penalty, and am not a particular fan of the "closure" argument. So rather than accept this view wholeheartedly I would suggest that conservatives be estopped from using the "get over it" argument when the victims of racialdiscrimination are tangible and identifiable. Citizens of the United States who have suffered harm have a right to seek justice.

Second, Attorney General Reno's comments make clear that the demand for reparations--or restitution--is precisely the end of victimhood. It represents the moment at which we assert our independence, personal integrity, and humanity. By asserting our right to reparations, we assert the right to be respected as individuals and as equals, and treated accordingly. We assert the right to receive the compensation due to anyone who has suffered a deprivation, whether through crime or other wrongdoing. So what differentiates the claims of reparations advocates from the claims for restitution advanced by victims' rights advocates?

I think, as a criminal lawyer, that a cursory examination of the political culture that emerged since the late 1970s is helpful. In the 1950s and 1960s, blacks' demands for equal treatment under law and social equality were regarded as justified and meritorious. However, as formerly poor and under-educated populations began integrating into mainstream society, the liberal consensus that had previously dominated the political landscape began to break down. Politicians, whose power was limited by the institutional nature of the New Deal regulatory state, saw that their ability to directly effectuate social change was now limited.

But one area they could make an immediate impact on was penal policy. AsProfessor Jonathan Simon of the University of Miami Law School suggests, the "severity revolution" ushered in during the 1980s used crime as a codeword to target poor and predominantly minority populations. At the same time, this pressure group used victims' rights as a means of representing the supposedly threatened white community. In modern jargon, the undeserving poor-- "welfare kings and queens"--suffer from victimology. Nice middle class folks have victims' rights. This is represented aesthetically by, on the one hand, television commercials of Willie Horton used to scare white voters during the 1988 presidential campaign, and on the other hand by the presence of white victims' rights advocates on political platforms.

Certainly, some essentialist arguments about race and social justice mistakenly assume that all descendents of slaves are oppressed or deserve some kind of special treatment. I agree that there may be individuals who have made it just fine through the stigma of slavery. Part of the purpose of the reparations movement is to open up a discussion of economic justice that takes race into account, and poses questions of responsibility and accountability that are hard for both blacks and whites. Reparations also ask us to account for our behavior towards all communities of color and to explore the moral consequences of our interactions with them.

. Professor Ogletree is the Jesse Climenko Professor of Law at Harvard Law School and the Associate Dean of the Clinical Programs.

Failure to Enforce the 13th, 14th and 15th Amendments

 Edieth Y. Wu

excerpted from: Edieth Y. Wu, REPARATIONS TO AFRICAN-AMERICANS: THE ONLY REMEDY FOR THE U.S. GOVERNMENT'S FAILURE TO ENFORCE THE 13TH, 14TH, AND 15TH AMENDMENTS , 3 Connecticut Public Interest Law Journal 403 -429 (Spring, 2004) (187 Footnotes)


Edieth Y WuThis article takes a hard look at U.S. history: the political, the social, and the legal landscape after the passage of the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments. The author wholeheartedly believes that the Reparations dialogue must continue. Many, including well-educated Americans, are solidly divided on this important issue and have taken the position that Reparations should be buried because American slaves are buried. In spite of the difficulties, wemust study and question the societal norms that led to major changes in the United States and forge ahead to find a solution to the issues that adversely affect a major portion of America's citizenry. Reparations have been used internationally as well as domestically and are not novel theories.

The U.S. has not realized the great society that so many projected was possible for this nation. Like the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in South Africa after Apartheid, the U.S. must come to grips with its failures and shortcomings as they relate to a major sector of its population. Therefore, this article first examines the 13th Amendment, its purposes, and failures. Next, the 14th Amendment's purposes and failures are analyzed. Third, the 15th Amendment is analyzed. Finally, the article concludes that Reparations is the only remedy for the federal government's egregious breach of the protections that are guaranteed by the Amendments.

African slaves were subjected to extreme conditions, as well as continued acts of violence long after they were freed and in spite of major legal advances. Today, "when African Americans [descendants of the African slaves] say the word 'reparations,' you'd think they had suggested something completely outrageous." To the chagrin of many, "the concept is legitimate." Fifty billion dollars in restitution was paid by Germany to the Jews after WWII, and Japanese Americans received twenty thousand dollarsfrom the U.S. government as a result of their confinement in camps during WWII. The request for "reparations aren't some extralegal remedy that belongs to the past, but a process that is the usual means to resolve harms done by a nation against a people. The penumbras of the post slavery Amendments and the Government's failure to enforce the Amendments support such a process.




Two years before the ratification of the 13th Amendment, African slaves in many parts of the U.S. had learned about The Emancipation Proclamation, which freed slaves in designated parts of the United States. "Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction." Congress had the power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation. "Emancipation, while it may have ended slavery - did not bring freedom to the African [slaves]. It was after slavery that you get some of the most barbaric, uncivilized manifestations of hate and of the sense of white superiority." This unfortunately continues in modern times. As recently as December 2003, the FBI investigated a situation where threatening letters were sent to prominent black men in sports and other prominentcareers. These letters included threats of being shot, castrated, or set on fire if Black men refused to stop having relationships with Whites.

After freedom, Blacks were brutally segregated and relegated to hard times and conditions. Due to many changes in America, "Black rights became vulnerable to compromise and sacrifice. By the late 1800's Whites began to insist on formal racial segregation, which had long been practiced in fact; segregation was given official status to show whites that they were indeed superior to blacks." The Black Codes were a constant reminder to Blacks that "freedom was not as they had anticipated." The Codes were used to inhibit freedom by dictating all aspects of the ex-slaves' lives, from work hours and duties to behavior, especially when Blacks had to deal with Whites or when they were in the presence of Whites. Blacks were often arrested when they solicited services from restaurants that were open to the general public. States usually had statutes that made it a misdemeanor to refuse to leave the premises of establishments when requested by the owner to do so. These statutes were used to protect Whites from the inferior Blacks. In Georgia v. Rachel, the defendants argued that "their arrests were effected for the sole purpose of aiding, abetting, and perpetuating customs, and usages which have deep historical and psychological roots in the mores and attitudes ...." These were common types of prosecutions that were unfolding throughout the country. Blacks were barred from towns after certain hours and could not reside in certain towns and cities. Under Jim Crow, many "Black males were expected to tip their hats in the presence of whites, even if they were walking on the opposite side of the street." The Codes were implemented in the late nineteenth century and, unfortunately, lasted until the 1960s. Neither Blacks nor Whites could easily disregard this 'Code Mentality'; thus, the 'Code Mentality' had a profound effect well beyond the 1960s because people who had lived under that system refused to relinquish what they had come to know as the 'norm.' "[L]egalized segregation could not achieve its purpose without imposing inequality," and grave inequity. "The purposeful creation and maintenance of inequality" was sanctioned and upheld by the U.S. government to the detriment of the freed African slaves. The judicial branch of the U.S. Government put its stamp of approval on separate but equal when it made it the law of the land.The Court, in Plessy v. Ferguson, put its stamp of approval on the "superiority" of Whites. After the Plessy decision, Whites had a "legal right" to a separate lifestyle. Though many services and amenities were financially supported by the federal government, it nevertheless decided to enforce white rights at the freed African slaves' expense. "De jure segregation in the Southconstituted one of the material benefits of racial exclusion and subjugation which functioned to stifle class tensions among whites." This government sanctioned exclusion highlights the government's failure to treat its new citizens equally by providing protection only to the majority Whites.

Early in American society and especially after the abolition of slavery, "white privilege" became an expectation. Whiteness became the quintessential property of personhood. The societal sentiment of the day, which was legally supported by the Codes, elevated "whiteness" to an "object" over which continued control was expected and, in reality, obtained. Whites were expected to use this privilege, and they did - it was accepted as a right because they were "White" and that had value, which brought benefits. The "law recognized, either implicitly or explicitly, the settled expectations of whites built on the privileges and benefits produced by white supremacy, it acknowledge[d] and reinforce[d] a property interest in whiteness that reproduces Black subordination." With this type of support for White supremacy and domination, the freed African slaves' path was severely jeopardized.

As a result of the passage of the 13th Amendment, additional legislation was passed. Unfortunately, progress was further hampered because the judicial system failed in the art of genuine interpretation, which is to uncover the rule the lawmaker intended to establish. Notwithstandingpositive laws, slow progress was recorded for ex-slaves after their emancipation. Additional amendments were adopted, but bias continued in the courts immediately after Emancipation and that bias still exists today. Thus, "it takes legislative [and judicial] support and public concern to bring about changes," not only in the judicial system but also throughout the fabric of America. In spite of setbacks, ex-slaves remained optimistic that they would soon be accepted by White society, and they continued to work toward that end.




In 1865, African slaves were finally made citizens of the U.S. They could finally drop

the 'slave label' and accept themselves as American African citizens or African Americans citizens.

All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the law.

Congress had the "power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article." The 14th Amendment and subsequent legislation were intended to impose a new political and economic view on a country that had, prior to the Amendment, conducted itself without much restraint. During the early periods after the 13th and 14th Amendments were passed, courts offered little assistance; thus, oppression and violations of civil rights continued. These results were not part of the Amendments' vision of the new order. This "spurious interpretation" and disregard for the Amendments' purposes continued up to, through, and beyond the passage of the 15th Amendment. As a result, the law was brought into disrepute, the Court was placed under extreme political pressure, and the personal element was highly visible in the judiciary.

The courts' refusal to uphold the intent of the legislation reinforced the African Americans' view that courts make and unmake the law at will. Many courts buckled under pressure and "adjusted[ed] constitutional provisions to the exigencies of [the] current policy." Public sentiment that was not always favorable to the African American was, nonetheless, often interspersed into final decisions. White supremacy and "white privilege serve[d] several functions ... it provide[d] white people with 'perks' that [they did] not earn and that [African Americans did] not enjoy" and still do not enjoy to date. "Whiteness as property hascarried and produced a heavy legacy .... It has warped efforts to remediate racial exploitation."

This "legacy" also affected the new African American citizens' hope that expanded educational opportunities would be available now that they were citizens. In spite of roadblocks that were set up to thwart educational opportunities, the Court determined that mandating equality of education could rectify past denials. The Supreme Court affirmed the constitutionality of such programs in higher education in Regents of the University of California v. Bakke. In upholding the University's position, the Court specifically stated "that race can be used to remedy disadvantages cast on minorities by past racial prejudices." Since 1980, the demise of affirmative action became more evident as decisions to enforce the equal protection clause came under attack. Many middle-class Whites summarily reject all types of affirmative action programs for African Americans while selectively forgetting the reality that they did not get where they are today based on the virtues of "[m]erit-hard work, intelligence, pluck, and maybe a little luck. And while we [whites] may be sympathetic to the plight of others, we close down when we hear the words 'affirmative action' or 'racial preferences."' We worked hard, we made it on our own, the thinking goes, why don't they? After all, the Civil Rights Act was enacted almost 40 years ago." This view led to an all-out attack against affirmative action.

As a result, projections are made that affirmative action programs may not be upheld if a compelling interest is not shown. For example, a Texas law school's attempt to "remedy past discrimination (through affirmative action) in the Texas school system and to increase the diversity of the law school" was assaulted because it exemplified affirmative action. Specifically, in Hopwood v. Texas, white plaintiffs argued that the University of Texas Law School's admissions policy was using an impermissible quota system. This decision came in spite of the knowledge that the American Bar Association's "academic standards create a system that without affirmative action, would have allowed only 22 percent of the 8,375 blacks who applied to law school to be accepted at even the least selective school. The remaining 6,554 blacks would not have qualified for admission at any school." "The underrepresentation in the legal profession oppresses blacks in pervasive, insidious ways." The Court agreed that race was being used impermissibly. Fortunately, a positive change in African Americans' struggle to obtain equality in education came with the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in Grutter v. Bollinger, where it held that "The Law School's narrowly tailored use of race in admissions decisions to further a compelling interest in obtaining the educational benefits that flow from a diverse student body is not prohibited bythe Equal Protection Clause, Title VI, or 1981." As a result, the Court definitively clarified the rule concerning the use of race, which was not uniform in the circuit courts. Race can be used to correct past harms as well as to provide educational benefits to minorities.

Affirmative action helps alleviate segregation in higher education. In public elementary and high schools around the nation, segregation continues to be a major issue. Sub-standard public schools contribute to ill preparedness for those students who want to attend institutions of higher learning. "Minority students in high poverty areas are not getting a quality education." Thus, a strong argument has been waged that merit should not be equated with performance on standardized tests because they are unreliable in determining who will succeed in college. Likewise, they not only prevent capable students from attending college but they also fail to accurately predict persons who will perform well in future jobs. One study has shown that Blacks' social disadvantages are reflected in low SAT scores and high school grades but do not hinder their success if they are admitted to good schools. The graduates, more often than not, take active roles in society and become important leaders both within the Black community and in society at large. Usually, the affirmative action argument normalizes and legitimizes procedures for selection that are not fair or functional. This is done in spite of the education thatBlacks receive or fail to receive in the public school systems. Blacks and other ethnic minorities are expected to compete with students who are afforded educational opportunities that were envisioned for the freed slaves, but which have not been realized to date. "Every passing day denies these children their constitutional right to a substantially equal educational opportunity" and perpetuates the imbalance in education and economic advancement.

A recent study has shown a deeper problem in the education system that creates a labeling bias which usually only affects African Americans. For example, Black boys living in wealthier communities with a majority White student body are found to be at a greater risk of having schools label them as mentally retarded and, as a result, Black boys are often sent to special education classes. After being placed in special education, African American children are far less likely to be part of the regular classes than similarly situated White children. These decisions have long-term effects that affect the employability and economic potential of Black males.

The assault on affirmative action is analogous to the government's passing laws that have the pretext of providing opportunity, yet in actuality fail to protect the pretextual opportunities. Studies have shown that "Actual performance often correlates best with on-the job training." Thepeople who do well usually learn on the job; the ones who are given the opportunity to learn on the job usually do well. Opportunity is so often what has been denied to descendents of ex-slaves. If Black students are labeled as mentally retarded, they are denied opportunities on several levels. "Assessment through opportunity to perform works better than testing for performance." Blacks have been excluded and marginalized in the workplace and in schools. This marginalization is insidious and affects all aspects of life; it prevents Blacks from becoming integral links in society, especially economically. African Americans do not enjoy equal opportunity in the U.S., which is undeniably reflected in the unemployment rate. The jobless rate for African Americans in 1998 for 20-24 year-olds was 16.8%. Although down from 24.5 percent in 198l, the prospects for employment are grim for African Americans. Even though the jobless rate has gone down, that means little to Travon Netherly, a student at L.A. Southwest College. Recently, says Travon, four of his brothers applied for a job at an Orange County amusement park. Despite the help-wanted ad in the window, all were turned away. My brothers were willing to take anything, even wear one of those Snoopy costumes, says Netherly, who bitterly adds, it don't take skills to be Snoopy.

This type of blatant rejection of young African Americans sends a clear signal that the time has come to bury the property interest in "whiteness" because it profoundly affects Blacks. Affirmative action is a "must tool" in that task. Affirmative action is consistent with equality and is essential to ridding America of the legacy of oppression against African Americans and the elimination of "whiteness as property." The U.S. government played a major role in discriminating against African Americans. Not only did the Government neglect issues that affected African Americans, it also inconsistently enforced the laws in favor of private citizens who developed elaborate plans to prevent Blacks from exercising their rights. For example, the Department of Agriculture agreed to compensate Black farmers for discrimination that the Department inflicted on them. The settlement was a result of a lawsuit that alleged that the government used more restrictive terms for loans to Black farmers than to White farmers with similar credit histories. This treatment impacted the farmers' economic situation. As a result of this discrimination, to which the government admits, the percentage of Black farmers has dropped to 1%. In the 1920's, however, 14% of the nation's farmers were Black. In spite of the settlement and its admitted discriminatory behavior, the Government is allowing its past to repeat itself as a result of the Agriculture Secretary's refusal to terminate high officials who allowed the discrimination against Black farmers to take place in the first place. Such decisions fuel antagonism and send signals to the nation's employers and private citizens thatit may be worth taking a chance on discrimination. If the Government can do it, so can others. This complacency "is going to cost taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars. It seems that somebody should be held accountable." This failure to fully accept responsibility and dismantle the problem from its roots is analogous to what the U.S. Government is doing in its failure to address the Reparations issue in a meaningful way.

Blacks are discriminated against by both the federal and state governments, the educational system, and employers, especially in the legal arena which continues to exclude blacks en masse. Blacks are so underrepresented in the legal system today that Black lawyers are sometimes mistaken for defendants and restrained by bailiffs when they attempt to approach the bench. This is degrading to the Black lawyer and his, oftentimes, Black clients as well because it highlights the ill-treatment that highly educated, professional Blacks are also subjected to. When Black clients witness this, they have little confidence in the judges. Moreover, Blacks usually receive unequal sentences to similarly situated Whites, and bail is also granted inequitably. Judges are also part of the racism that is so overtly reflected in the courtroom: judges oftentimes "overrule juries' imposition of life sentences in favor of death sentences for Blacks who kill Whites and credit White witnesses while discrediting similar Black witnesses." In 1996, the ABA's Commission on Opportunitiesfor Minorities in the Profession stated that minorities are "experiencing legal setbacks that remind them of Plessy." "The Supreme Court of 1996 seems very similar to the court of Plessy v. Ferguson." For about thirty years, statutory protection was afforded to African Americans. "After 40 years of constitutional rulings ... in the courts, we now see a sense of fatigue. Currently, the Supreme Court is ignoring the vestiges of widespread racism in society. As a result, a trend toward re-segregation is developing. "The Country is witnessing resegregation without ever having achieved the goal of a completely desegregated society. Schools across the nation are being resegregated. "The resegregation trend picked up momentum as a result of a 1991 Supreme Court decision that authorized a return to neighborhood schools instead of busing, even if such a step would lead to segregation." This segregation or "resegregation" extends to all areas of the society: social, employment, education, and especially the legal system, which is the last of the citadels.

Perceptions of bias, especially in the legal system, are not viewed the same by Black and White Americans; a major divide exists. As late as 1999, many African Americans, especially African American lawyers, continue to believe that racial bias currently exists in the judicial system.Fifty-two percent of the Black lawyers, as opposed to six-and-one-half percentof the White lawyers believe very much that bias exists. Additionally, "[t]wo-thirds of the black lawyers, about 92 %, said that, compared to other segments of society, the justice system has the same amount of racial bias or more. Nearly half the White lawyers believe there is less." The Association of American Law Schools (AALS) Equal Justice Project (EJP) highlights the importance of law schools working with the equal justice community in order to provide needed services to minorities, especially Blacks. The public interest and grassroots organizations provide a range of services to the poor and working class, many of whom are African Americans with limited resources and education. Programs like the Law School Consortium Project, the famed Innocence Project, which provides services to people that claim unjust convictions, the Equal Justice Centers at the University of California at Berkeley, Santa Clara Law School, and the University of Seattle have also created centers to help with equal justice activities in their schools and communities to provide services and support for African Americans who have been denied adequate legal representation based on economic and other factors. These programs indictate that major problems persist in America, and that they are inextricably tied to race. They are not only based on economic inequality but also based on inequality in the justice system and lack of representation therein. Many African Americans are profiled based on race. Skin color has been amajor issue in recent police shootings and other profiling related cases. African American arrests resulting from profiling cases are usually drug related. Black and White drug arrests are comparable; nonetheless, Blacks are more often jailed than their White counterparts for the same offense.

Massive changes have taken place since 1868, when citizenship brought hope of a better day and better treatment. This hope was fueled by the prospect of perhaps being able to vote now that citizenship had been bestowed on "ex-slaves."




"The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude." Congress has the "power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation." There is a basic connection among work, education, and citizenship [which] suggests that the screening process for employment and education has become the modern-day equivalent of eighteenth and nineteenth-century screening processes for voting. In the colonial period and the first decades of independence, the franchise was generally restricted by race and gender to landed white males .... In the last nineteenth century, voting was also conditioned on the capacity to pay and theability to read. Voting was not as easy as the "new citizen" thought it would be. For many years voter qualifications were tied to their ability to pay a poll tax, which was based on one's ability to find employment - a most difficult task for the ex-slave. African Americans struggled to pay because they realized, and believed, that voting was worth it.

In order to obtain finances to pay poll taxes, Blacks would often try to separate themselves from White society. Nonetheless, they were often met with serious racial violence. In 1921, one of the worst cases of racial violence was manifested when approximately 10,000 Whites invaded a prosperous Black neighborhood and killed 40 Blacks and destroyed 35 blocks of business and family homes. Unfortunately, Blacks were reminded that in spite of amassing financial wherewithal that would allow them to participation in the system, Whites could easily amass a myriad of roadblocks.

Finally, it was concluded that wealth was not germane to people's abilities to participate intelligently in the election process; thus, wealth-based credentials, especially ones with extreme race consequences, should not forge access to work and education but which they often do in American society.

Blacks continued to struggle for their civil liberties. By 1963, "the movement for racial equality was in full flower." African Americans'zeal and contributions to getting others to vote came under direct attack. Voter-fraud investigations were initiated against Black voter advocates in increased numbers. For instance, after African Americans began to win a number of offices in the Black Belt counties, local Whites complained of voter fraud and the federal government subsequently initiated a voter-fraud investigation against two local voting-rights activists.The two were convicted but the case was later overruled with the assistance of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund. In 1985, the federal government also launched an investigation against Albert Turner, his wife, Evelyn, and Spencer Houge Jr., or the "The Marion Three," all of whom were civil rights activists. The Government accused them of fraud in the absentee ballots and forgery of signatures. This suit ended in an acquittal for all three. Similar cases have also been pursued in Alabama, and many Blacks believe that the cases have had a profound impact on the Black vote in Alabama, which has caused a major reduction in voter turnout, and which benefits White Alabamans.

Perhaps even more egregious and appalling was when Republican North Carolina Senator Jesse Helms, trailing a black opponent in 1990, mailed out postcards to 125,000 black voters implicitly threatening them with jail if they went to the polls. Helms's campaign settled a complaint with the Justice Department in 1992, but not before he had won another term. Many activists believethat the U.S. government should put a stop to abusive prosecution in the voter area. They argue, "the rights that blacks have fought hard for may be in fundamental danger."

The U.S. government must protect the African American vote. "Voter-fraud investigations and other attempts to intimidate black voters [is] a stunning reversal of the goals of voting rights, aided by a willing Justice Department." Unfortunately, racial conflict, as a result of legal inroads and civil rights activity, continues to have a great impact in the South. Getting the vote was nice, but attitudinal vestiges continue not only in the ballot box but also in the White South's proud use of questionable symbols that remind Blacks, especially southern Blacks, of the old south - such as the display of the Confederate flag. Major discrimination in all areas continues to persist. The laws that were passed to protect African Americans were not vigorously enforced in the early years, and many people continue to circumvent these laws because punishment is often inconsequential. To date, "civil rights laws, even more than others, are radically flouted and underenforced."

Unfortunately, even after the passage of the Amendments, African Americans were deprived of life, liberty, education, and family ties, and vestiges of these deprivations are still pervasive. As a result of such demoralizing denials, a few Blacks tried to establish themselves in Americansociety by adopting the "whiteness as property" ideal. The so-called Black elite adopted the "white nice features" - i.e., sharp features - thin noses, thin lips, sharp jaws, and hazel, green, or blue eyes as standards for entry to Black "membership-by-invitation-only" social clubs. These Black elites only accepted "those who passed the 'brown paper bag and ruler test' - skin no darker than a paper bag, hair as straight as a ruler." In other words, like "whiteness," Black elite success was "a color thing and a class thing. And for generations of black people, color and class have been inexorably tied together" because the elite African Americans, like the White American majority, began to see what color could offer. As a result, America placed value on color, mostly "white"and in order to realize benefits, the African American elite bought into the "white" as property and set up its own system, which mirrored the White view.

In spite of the progress that a small Black elite may have accomplished, the masses of Blacks who have not been afforded opportunities are indicia that the basic principle of equality are still being denied to African Americans as a people.

Buying into "color," especially "white," was vividly displayed by Sally Hemings' heirs and other Blacks who unquestionably accepted the Sally Hemings-Thomas Jefferson story on its face, and Whites who unequivocally rejected it until DNA gave the final answer. Being part White translated intosomething tangible in the White world, and later in the Black elites' world. Who can really say why the Black side of the family so insisted that the story was true? The "whiteness as property" concept probably has major bearing on the why. "Perhaps a more historically responsible way to make a similar if slight different case is to suggest that advancing technology has at least allowed us to open a window into the covert and concealed [and often denied] interracial intimacies that have always been there but that many white Americans have preferred to deny."

Americans' denial of racial injustice persists for inexplicable reasons. The recent revelation about Strom Thurmond's Black daughter, which is similar to the Sally Heming's story, illustrates that Blacks as well as Whites had to know about the daughter, but for inexplicable reasons decided not to divulge credible evidence. Essie Mae Washington-Williams also acknowledged in her statement to the press that "there are many stories like Sally Hemings' and mine." Ms. Washington-Williams was born in South Carolina in 1925; her mother was a maid to the Thurmond family. She admitted that she wanted to end "all the speculation and questions," the same types of questions that were raised in the Hemings story. The truth about the Senator's daughter and the questions raised were kept secret for more than seven decades. This revelation has ignited many dormant feelings for many African Americans. Someremembered that if a Black man looked at a White woman in those days, the Black man would have been severely harassed or hanged. This story brings many of the hard issues to the surface. Americans, both Black and White, made hard decisions during a very tumultuous time in American history; some of the decisions were detrimental to the African American, but not all were. Some Blacks reaped benefits from their ability to use "whiteness."

The 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments did not bestow exactly what the "new citizen" had envisioned, but at least they were starts. These Amendments inspired and allowed them to work zealously to correct past injustices. African Americans are demanding and uniting to pressure the U.S. Government to give its African American citizens, who are obviously deeply affected by the vestiges of post-slavery atrocities, the opportunity to at least air their grievances and receive an apology, as well as ultimately receive Reparations that would allow closure and reconciliation. Representative John Conyers introduced bill H.R. 40 in 1989, which urged Congress to establish a Commission to study the issues. One germane argument is that the judges allowed Holocaust victims to pursue restitution in a U.S. court. Even though the case was settled prior to litigation, opportunity was afforded to the litigants to have their day in court. The Reparations Assessment Group has launched an aggressive effort, though most lawsuits and legislation dating back to the mid-1800s have not beensuccessful, to get American Blacks compensated for more than 244 years of slavery. Most would agree that the Holocaust victims should have had access to the legal systems. Nonetheless, the U.S. should evaluate its approach to its other citizens, the African Americans, and concerns about Reparations. In recent years, victims of atrocities, many of whom are not American, have filed more than 100 lawsuits in U.S. courts in an attempt to obtain accountability for offenses against human dignity and rights. These suits are indicia that the world has started to recognize such atrocities as legitimate legal issues and also that victims should have recourse, yet some U.S. judges have refused to adopt this position. For example, the United Nations World Conference Against Racism recently "declared slavery a crime against humanity." The U.S. needs to embrace this position as well.

No nation can enslave a race of people for hundreds of years, set them free bedraggled and penniless, put them, without assistance in a hostile environment, against privileged victimizers, and then reasonably expect the gap between the heirs of the two groups to narrow. Lines, begun parallel and left alone, can never touch.

Reparations suits are being filed in U.S. courts, but the Supreme Court has not allowed them to proceed to trial.

Reparations supporters are not looking to place a check in the hands of everyAfrican American, but they "envision reparations being used to fund education, improve health care, create cultural facilities and buy and expand businesses in the [B]lack community. At the very least they hope the government will issue a formal apology for the institution of slavery."




Black organizations have been created to assist African Americans in realizing their dream to enjoy their rights as freed citizens, including the right to vote, the right to obtain justice, and ultimately, the right to achieve equality of opportunity. "Slavery's aftermath ... deserve[s] to be met with the same sense of public penance that the nation eventually applied to its wartime failures in having imprisoned Japanese-Americans and in ignoring evidence of the Holocaust in Germany." Unfortunately, "white" skin continues to open doors in the U.S. for Whites because dominance has been conferred on them. Whites continue to enjoy unearned skin privileges because

1. [They] can take a job with an affirmative action employer without having coworkers on the job suspect that [they] got it because of race.

2. [They] can choose public accommodation without fearing that people of [their] race cannot get in or will be mistreated in the places [they] have chosen.

3. Whether [they] issue checks, credit cards, or cash, [they] can count on [it that their] skin color will not work against the appearance of financial reliability.

Obliviousness about White advantage and Black disadvantage is kept strongly inculturated in the U.S. in order to maintain the meritocracy myth. They are constantly being challenged because they are used as a pretext for not opening doors of opportunity to African Americans. Like South Africa, America needs to unite the country and courageously accept the undeniable truth that cruel acts were committed against its former slaves, later its ex-slave citizens, and now the children and grandchildren of these ex-slave citizens. African Americans, the descendants of ex-slaves, may not have direct recollection of the specific cruelties, but they have faced severe limitations as a result of years of de facto practices and de jure laws that affected their liberties and unfortunately persisted for many, many years.

"The United States government is a continuous, living body that must be held accountable for all its previous actions and make amends for past mistakes." After the passage of the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments, the U.S. allowed its [White] citizens to continue to exploit and destroy a people; as a result, "it owes them" because the effects of this exploitation continue. As late as 1995, a UN report estimated that American Whites would lead the world in well-being if they were a separatenation, but African Americans would rank 27th worldwide. It is interesting to note that the report's measures were based on life expectancy, educational achievement, and income.

"Full equality still is a distant prospect in the United States." Nonetheless, some have decided to assist in the move toward equality. In 2000, Chicago became the fifth city to endorse national hearings on reparations, and in 2001, the California Legislative Assembly joined the list making California the forerunner of all the states. California's Resolution urges "Congress to apologize to Black Americans for the "fundamental injustice, cruelty, brutality and inhumanity of slavery."'

The reparations cry is definitely gathering momentum. "America will continue to be haunted by slavery [and its aftermath] until the government makes amends" and addresses the issue because "the truth is quite crucial to the process of reconciliation." This process would allow the U.S. to "shut the door on that past." This may be a past that we may not want to remember, but remember we must. An apology must come. The nation must send a message to its citizens that will lead to racial harmony. "The debate over slavery reparations should be viewed as a means toward improving race relations." We must resist allowing the public to turn the issue into "a shouting match about paychecks and forty acres." "America will continue to be haunted by slavery until the governmentmakes amends beginning with a formal apology."

[a1]. Interim Associate Dean and Associate Professor of Law, Thurgood Marshall School of Law at Texas Southern University.

Subcategories

Transatlantic Slave Trade
Article Count:
1
Slavery
Article Count:
23
Laws related to Slavery
Article Count:
9
Articles related to Slavery
Article Count:
14
Civil War and Reconstruction
Article Count:
10
13th Amendment
Article Count:
5
Legal Apartheid (Jim Crow)
Article Count:
6
Civil Rights Era
Article Count:
3
Racial reentrenchment
Article Count:
7
Reparations
Article Count:
32

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