With Reparations taking center stage at the 2020 debates one has to wonder where the sudden burst of energy came from. The fight for reparations is nothing new to the Black American community. We have seen the battle stemming from the days of emancipation where those who were formerly enslaved sought redress for Centuries of free labor and racial terror. The most notable instance in the fight is Special Field Order Number 15 more commonly known as ”40 Acres and A Mule” This piece of legislation was a collaborative effort between about 20 Black ministers led by Garrison Frazier and William Tecumseh Sherman visa vi the United States Government. Sherman asked the group what would be the best thing for Freedman moving forward. Frazier stated a need for land, land that was away from ”the white man” and a way to work the land. Land was granted in Georgia, South Carolina and Florida as well as mules and other items left behind from the Civil War that could be used. In a time before America purchased Lousiana this was huge, land ownership was and still is a key driver of wealth. With the end of slavery and the beginning of the Reconstruction period Black Americans had come the starting line to take off even with peers, who had a 200-year head start, competition could be seen coming over the horizon. The re-enslavement of Black Americans was basically instantaneous. Reversal of Field Order 15 came when Andrew Johnson pardoned Confederates and gave them the keys to the Senate and House. Abandoned Refugee Land was stripped and societal norms of blacks being disenfranchised gained steam as Union Soldiers left the South. Monetary gains we’re obliterated when Whit Bank Presidents mismanaged funds of Freedman Banks leaving depositors penniless.Southern Policy and States Rights where key issuance of policy in order to subjugate Blacks for centuries to come.
From the time of Reconstruction sisniter acts are taking place in the south. things such as Peyonage, Sharecropping and Convict Leasing become standard practice of the day. Racial Terror returns in the forms of the KKK, and other small independent white militia who seem to have a keen focus on Black Entrepreneurs, Politicians, and sometimes entire Black families at large. The effects of the Reconstruction period could be seen as the demise of Black America. As families scrambled through the Great Migration some were caught in well-known traps such as the Devils Punch Bowl. Black men who have fought in every war saw an uptick in violence. How dare a Descendant of Slavery to go off to fight for this country and consider himself better than a white man who sat at home. 1919 was the head and the banger for Black American soldiers who served their country in order to push Societal norms at home we’re met with Violence across the country later to be known as the Red Summer.
With Black Americans never catching that significant break needed as a community, one could only hope if something major was to come, surely it would help all. And as you can see Black Americans continued to be left out. Post Great Depression Black Americans saw again how Universal Policy excludes those who were previously excluded in the same practices as decades before. The new deal and GI Bill essentially created the middle class and set up certain Americans for generations, none of which were black.
With things basically the same as Slavery what is black America to do. We had been sold from our homeland by the people who should have protected us. We had been beaten and abused by those above us in a new land. We have been robbed for centuries of labor, intellectual property, and social capital. We have been redlined into food desserts and failing schools. We have been segregated and monetary warfare has been waged against us. The only thing that could be done is to continue to fight.
We applaud those figures of the Civil Rights Era and those before who put in the work necessary for Black Americans to still be standing today. But looking through the annuals of history I see that it was just us putting in the work. Now we know prior to the Civil Rights Act of 1964 the number of Black immigrants was to the right of the decimal and we didn’t see the boom in Black immigrant migration until the ’80s. It can only be speculated that those brought in, we’re brought in to mask out failure.
American Descendants of Slavery, is a movement that calls to reclaim our lineage, heritage, and identity. It is not a way to separate us from the diaspora, it is just a clearer viewpoint on what has happened to Black American through the slavery and hundreds of years of accrued systematic disadvantages that we have faced and has shaped millions of Blacks in America. The main thing that should be stressed is that ethnicity matters, culture matters, and appropriation comes in all forms.
ADOS has taken a process of stringing systematic oppression all the way to the cotton fields of the South, tobacco fields in the East, and cotton mills of the North in order to make a justice claim against America for it’s crime against a certain group of people with specificity. One thing to glean from this statement is that ADOS is not saying we are the only ones to face such oppression. The motive behind is that we all have faced oppression but the best way to galvanize the proper structure needed is to face those who have oppressed your community head-on. Pressure busts pipes… with Black Americans being hypervisible an independent and successful push of reparations will only cause a domino effect around the world that could sooner topple global supremacy than a scattered people fighting everywhere.