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Reparations Resonate

The issue of reparations has always been a revealing one for those seeking to understand the psyche of Black America. In private discussions among Blacks there is usually very little disagreement over whether Blacks are owed some form of back payment for the years of free labor rendered and pain and suffering endured under the institution of slavery. But whenever such discussion went public, in front of white audiences, many of the same Blacks who agree with reparations in private would suddenly embrace a "let by-gones be by-gones" and "we have to get over the past" approach to the subject. Now, such flip-flops in private and public discussions are becoming less common.

In just the last year, Blacks have become more vocal about their support of reparations. These public sentiments have been emboldened by a state-established panel in Oklahoma that determined reparations were due in response to a race-riot in Tulsa Oklahoma that left numerous Blacks dead and their property destroyed; a new book The Debt by TransAfricaForum's Randall Robinson that articulately makes the case for reparations; Rep. John Conyers' continued efforts to have the U.S. Congress examine the issue of reparations and the strengthening of grassroots movements dedicated solely to the reparations issue.

The most recent manifestation of the turning tide in the issue of reparations are hearings being held in Chicago City Council dealing with reparations and the participation of U.S. Congressman Bobby Rush (D-Ill.). The Chicago Tribune, as a result of the hearings, commissioned an Internet poll on whether Blacks should receive reparations or not. Thus far, after over 135,000 responses those in favor of reparations register a whopping 93%!

Here is a link to the article and poll. The story and corresponding links provide the most comprehensive coverage of the issue of reparations to be found in the mainstream media - maybe the most ever. Take your time and read as many as you can and cast your vote against or in favor of the issue. will continue to follow the issue and the poll results.

Cedric Muhammad

Monday, May 8, 2000

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