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Monday, July 22, 2019

H.R. 40 – The Study of Reparations: How America Remembers and Defines African American Enslavement

By Tolson Banner

African slaves

Nationwide — House Resolution Bill 40 (named for the 40 acres and a mule that Black people never got) introduced by Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, if passed, establishes the Commission to Study and Develop Reparation Proposals for African-Americans to examine slavery (enslavement) and discrimination in the colonies and the United States from 1619 to the present and recommend appropriate remedies. Former Congressman John Conyers had introduced a similar bill every year for over 30 years – and it laid dormant in the hallowed halls of Congress because America refused to remember she suffers from long-term amnesia when it comes to her involvement in the Christian/Atlantic enslavement trade.

Congresswoman Jackson timed her announcement to coincide with the celebration of Juneteenth. I guess this was an attempt to use historical facts to help America with her loss of memory and to help bring her up-to-date on the horrors of her past and present state of affairs when it comes to paying a debt long overdue:

REPARATION (repe’raSHen) – “work done” payments to enslaved African-Americans who were forced to work as free labor solely for converting the American economy into a SUPER ECONOMIC POWERHOUSE thus creating THE AMERICAN DREAM out of an AMERICAN NGHTMARE; to indemnify African-Americans who gave rise to America’s economic system – CAPITALISM – with the toil of their enslaved labor; with the sacrifice of their human bodies traded as capital; and with their knowledge of agriculture to work the land – making COTTON KING!; to make a people whole again as a result of the brutal, inhumane, and monstrous treatment by people of European (now Americans) descent inclusive of but not limited to: 250 years of enslavement; 90 years of Jim Crow; 60 years of separate but equal; 35 years of state-sanctioned redlining; restitution for using African-Americans as human raw material for the prison/military/industrial complex; recompense for psychological and physical harassment, as well as, unarmed killings by police for walking, running, driving, swimming, biking, drinking coffee, gardening, looking suspicious, and just breathing air.

SOURCE: Americana Crimes Against Humanity aka “We The People Who Are Darker Than Blue” (Curtis Mayfield) – (1619 – Present) African Holocaust Edition – Volumes I, II, & III.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell defined reparations as, “something that happened 150 years ago for whom none of us currently living are responsible.” McConnell added “We tried to deal with our original sin of slavery by fighting a Civil War, by passing civil rights legislation…I don’t think we should be trying to figure out how to compensate for it. First of all it would be hard to figure out whom to compensate.”

SOURCE: Americana Selective Amnesia (1619 – Present) White Founding Fathers’ Edition – Volumes I, II, & III.

Senator McConnell could get some help in this regard from Georgetown University who were able to identify the 272 enslaved African Americans who were sold to save the University and the Catholic Church. McConnell should also check with the Freedman’s Bureau Project. They have identified the 4 million enslaved African-Americans at the time of Emancipation Proclamation, documenting their respective “monetary value.” It’s not my job to teach white folks about their wrong doings but I’ll be sure to get the Senator some gingko biloba (for memory loss) to help jar his American-enslavement memory.

According to Senator McConnell, speaking before the press recently proudly proclaimed America’s reparation debt had been paid! Eureka! White folks can now announce the resolution of white guilt and shout it from sea to shining sea! McConnell stated the election of Barack Obama paid for the “sin of slavery.” I wished I had known during Barack’s eight years in office I would have stopped the brother on the street and asked him to “smash me off” and pull my “forty acres and a mule” out of his pocket!

Figuring out whom to compensate didn’t pose a problem when America paid slave holders restitution for their slaves following the Emancipation Proclamation in 1865. According to the National Archives and Record’s Administration, The District of Columbia (D.C.) Emancipation Act paved the way to compensate slave owners for their “loyalty to the Union” and for the loss of income incurred by freeing slaves. Each year, D.C. formerly known as “Chocolate City”, celebrates Emancipation Day with a parade and with the funky sounds of GO-GO music. As for the descendants of enslaved African-Americans, “ain’t no moolah” being passed around. The city still struggles with “Taxation Without Representation” and proudly upholds its white ethnocentric past by leading the nation in gentrification.

Despite what Senator McConnell suggested, America has demonstrated a continuity of inheritance for white folks. Author and writer Ta-Nehisi Coates reminds America, “…Well into this century, the United States was still paying out pensions to the heirs of the Civil War. We honor treaties that date back some 200 years, despite no one being alive who signed those treaties.”

The U.S. Government is an institution born in perpetuity. The inherited richness of this nation has been passed down from generation to generation directly from America’s “peculiar institutions” (American enslavement). Without a doubt, it primarily benefited white people who continue to enjoy “white entitlement” and white privilege” all under the guise of “implicit bias” and “unconscious discrimination.” For the descendants of enslaved African-Americans, their inheritance was psychological horror attributed to what the experts refer to as Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome.

America in her selected amnesia, remembers the sins of the father and mother shall be visited upon their sons and daughters ONLY when it comes to certain ethnicities. In the federal government contracting world, this remembrance is known as the Small Business Development 8(a) Program which targets socially and economically disadvantaged concerns. Participants in this program include Black Americans, Hispanic Americans, Native Americans, Asian Pacific Americans, and Subcontinent Asian Americans. For most participants, the duration of this program is nine years. But America only remembers brutalizing, killing and taking land from Hawaiians, Alaska Natives and Native Americans. These three specific groups are allowed to remain in the 8(a) program in perpetuity.

Although this remedy falls way short of the pain and suffering inflicted by America’s fathers and mothers, it nonetheless attempts to right the wrongs by their sons and daughters.

The African collective memory readily recalls when Sir Francis Hawkins captained the first slave ship named “Jesus” and brought the first lot of enslaved Africans to America. According to America, the African’s original sin was their dark hue; darker than blue. The noble words written by America’s Founding Fathers and memorialized in the Declaration of Independence setting forth examples of “unalienable rights” were not ascribed to the newly arrived enslaved African. Instead they were brutally coerced to subscribe to: NO LIFE; NO LIBERTY; NO PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS.

When it is all said and done it actually comes down to this: the idea of putting the runaway enslaved African-American Harriet Tubman’s face on the twenty dollar bill won’t get us closer to “getting paid.” However, if it comes into fruition it would be the first time two U.S. currencies are combined into one U.S. legal note: the currency of enslaved human capital and the currency of U.S. legal tender. Tubman sought and found freedom via the Underground Railroad. Under President Trump, release of the Tubman twenty dollar bill has been relegated to America’s “dark past” underground. Juxtaposing African- American enslavement atrocities with the U.S. dollar behooves black people to squeeze the dollar “till the eagle grins” – courtesy of ancestor Chuck Brown, father of D.C. GO-GO and taken from his hit song, “WE NEED MONEY.”

Aside from gingko biloba, I heard caffeine helps with memory loss too. One would think as much coffee white folks’ drink their amnesia would be a thing of the past. But that is exactly what they want to forget.

Tolson Banner is a writer and columnist.


Tolson Banner
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