Reparations a must

William T. Robinson, Jr.

William T. Robinson, Jr.

When African Americans look at the overall economic status of many African Americans, it isn’t surprising that we are at a disadvantage. It can be traced to our tumultuous history here in America. While much progress has been made as to how African Americans are looked upon and treated, the repercussions from our past treatment continue to have a detrimental effect on our present economic condition. Literally 200 and plus years as slaves have left Blacks at an economic disadvantage with no economic base. We are ever dependent on those who formerly oppressed us for jobs, education, and even where we live. Because of our White counterparts’ economic advantage, people of African ancestry are (for the most part) dependent on them for practically every source for our wellbeing.

We have toiled with our blood, sweat, and tears laboring to increase the wealth of those who sought to oppress us. Our oppressors’ children and heirs continue to inherently reap the privileges and entitlements from ill-gotten gains from their forefathers. African Americans are basically operating from a disadvantage trying to play catch up from a deck that that has historically been stacked against them. We cannot erase our history, but we can learn from it and try to correct the wrongs if possible to make this a better country that honors and respects all its citizens. This can only be done when reparations are made to compensate for past horrendous wrongs against one of its children.

Demanding reparations is nothing new. The Indians, Jews, and American Japanese have received reparations from past injustices. As African Americans, we are no less equal as human beings and should be given the same consideration as those who sought and gained reparations before us. In fact, when compared to others being compensated, our injustice is more far reaching considering the length of time, the suffering, and the amount of wealth made from our free labor to those who oppressed us. Our labor has contributed to a network of old family run businesses and corporations that continue to offer financial stability to its children, controlling the economic climate.

Reparations should be a collaborative effort by all people interested in justice, especially African Americans seeking to eradicate a wrong by helping to provide an equal economic playing field. We, as African Americans, owe this to our children. We do not have to seek approval from those who are reaping the benefits of slavery using some of us to stifle our mission. Our biggest concern should not be whether we are due reparations, but how to be compensated in a way that will effectively balance the economic playing field.

There will be a Community Conference on Debt Relief and Reparations for HBCUs and the African American Community, April 24-25, at Tennessee State University (8 am-noon) at the Student Center, Forum Room 210. To extend this informative topic to more people in the community, your presence is needed at a Community Town Hall Meeting on April 24, 6 am, at Ray of Hope Community Church, 901 Meridian Street, Nashville, Tenn. The guest speaker will be U.S. Rep. John Conyers (D) Michigan.

During this conference, the general public will be educated on the victory of the Maryland HBCU legal decision and its impact on Meharry Medical College, Fisk University, Fisk University, American Baptist College, and others.

Fraternities, sororities, educators, and social clubs are asked to promote participation in this most vital endeavor for our community. Your attendance will validate whether African Americans here in Nashville are conscientious independent thinkers or conduits for those still seeking to oppress us and deny us our rightful position at the table. For more information, contact 615-668-9156 or 615-772-7669.