have a historic responsibility to demand reparations from those forces
of white supremacy that continue to benefit from what they did to us
Day-by-day, African people in America are becoming more
familiar with the concept of reparations and what it means to our continued
struggle in America for self-determination, liberation, independence, and
freedom. Therefore, we must be clear
that reparations means “repair” for the damages inflicted on a people or a
nation. In pursuit of this repair, we
are conscious of the fact we must engage in the process and assume
responsibility for repairing ourselves, which
includes: changing the way we think, supporting
our own institutions (particularly financially), supporting
our families, supporting our own
Black business enterprises, cleaning
up our communities, and changing the
way we relate to and think of each other as a people. These are just a few of
the internal repairs we must constantly work on.
In this connection, part of our internal repair is to struggle, fight, mobilize, and organize to demand external reparations from
those governments, corporations, and institutions that are responsible for our
historical and continuing state of oppression. Just as Jewish people proclaim, “Never Forget,” African people should do no less!
We should “Never Forget”
that “They Owe Us!” Part of our internal repair is to consciously understand
that “We Are Owed” and that we have a historic responsibility to demand
reparations from those forces of white supremacy that continue to benefit from
what they did to us and that lingers on as part of the vestiges of our
As we continue to organize
around the issue of reparations, we
should be clear that “They Owe Us” for:
The Trans Atlantic Slave Trade and Slavery: The United Nations World Conference Against Racism declared that the Trans Atlantic Slave Trade
and Slavery were Crimes Against Humanity. Crimes against humanity have no
statute of limitations.
The Expropriation of Our Labor: For more than 250 years,
we were forced to work for free. Our free labor was a major
ingredient in the building of the United States and its wealth as a
nation. Also, the thousands of white
individuals and their families that accumulated wealth and continue to this day
to benefit from this free labor.
The Slave Code Laws: The slave owners developed their own codes of
what they could do to enslaved African people in America that permeated throughout
the emergence of this country. In many ways, informal
slave codes exist today (racial profiling).
The Destruction of the African Family: The Trans Atlantic Slave Trade and Slavery had a
devastating impact on destroying and dismantling African families.
The Raping of African Women: Our capture and enslavement provided white men
with the power to rape African women and girls by the thousands without
The Fugitive Slave Laws: When our enslaved
ancestors resisted their enslavement and fled plantations,
the government of this country sanctioned laws and policies
that supported the capture and return of so-called “runaway slaves,” enslaved
Africans. The Dred Scott Decision should be consulted
to fully understand the implications of the Fugitive Slave Laws.
The Colonizing of Our African Culture: Created systems by law and societal practices
that forbade African people, in our
captured state, to engage in our
traditional spiritual and cultural practices.
The KKK Night Riders and Lynchings: The Ku Klux Klan was established in the late
1860s as a secret society whose mission was to exterminate, by any means necessary, African
people in America.
They were known to have been responsible for the lynching,
and murdering of thousands of African men, women, and
The 13th and 14th Constitutional Amendments: The abolishment of slavery was really a
constitutional scam and the 14th Amendment that allegedly made African people
citizens of America
was imposed on us. We were never asked if we wanted to be citizens.
We Were Denied Our 40 Acres and Our Mule: We didn’t get it! We were sold down the river and
the land was given to white confederate soldiers.
The Jim Crow Laws: The Jim Crow Policies of the United States of America
became the fabric and foundation of American society after the period of
Reconstruction. Jim Crow Laws and Policies reinforced the foundation of white
supremacy and Black inferiority in every aspect of American society.
The Fighting and Dying in Imperialist and White
Supremacist Wars: We fought and
died and continue to fight and die for the freedoms of others and were / are
denied our own freedoms and civil rights.
The Assassination of Black Leaders: Malcolm X, Dr.
Martin Luther King, Jr., Fred Hampton, and
Mark Clark to name a few.
COINTELPRO: This was a government program, established
by the FBI under the direction of J. Edgar Hoover, designed
to destroy the Black Power Movement of the 1960s and 1970s.
The Crack Epidemic: Research reveals that the United States Government, through the CIA, targeted
Black communities for the dispensing of Crack Cocaine.
The Criminalizing of Our Youth: It should be obvious that the aim of the Prison
Industrial Complex is to Criminalize Our Youth to insure a young and viable
work force for this multibillion-dollar industry.
The Jailing of Our Freedom Fighters: The incarcerating of our Freedom Fighters, thus making them political prisoners.
and 19. Centuries of MisEducation
and Mental Atrocities: This has caused serious damage to our people, that continues to cause much mental confusion about
our true reality as an African people in America and around the world.
No matter how
controversial it may be in these economic times, we
as African people in the United
States of America are “Still Owed!”
Columnist, Conrad W. Worrill, PhD, is the
National Chairman Emeritus of the National Black United Front (NBUF). Click here to contact Dr. Worrill.