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Is Now the Time for Reparations for African Americans? Essay

Reparations for African Americans was a projected idea that would help African Americans get a form of earnings that would make up for the severe punishing and sufferings they all faced as a culture, and as slaves. Robert L. Allen and The Economist both argue on reparations for African Americans and strongly oppose based on their views. Robert L. Allen, a professor strongly believes that reparations for African Americans is necessary in order to achieve economically in society within the United States, while opposing, the staff writers of The Economist question if the reparations policy for African Americans is appropriate. The Economist argues that it is pointless for African Americans to receive reparations because of the difficulty finding the past African American victims of slavery, as well as the past racial harassment’s are no longer with today’s society, so they say.

Shortly after the Civil War ended, an anti-slavery activist, Sojourner Truth organized a petition campaign for slaves. Truths’ petition campaign was primarily focused on seeking free public land for the former slaves. To support her campaign, she stated, “America owes to my people some of the dividends. She can afford to pay and she must pay. I shall make them understand that there is a debt to the Negro people which they can never repay. At least, then, they must make amends.” Unfortunately, Truths’ petition campaign was unsuccessful. Truth felt as if giving former slaves dividends would still be the fair thing to do; she wanted America to be considerate of the situation and understand that it was only right to pay back for the pain and suffering they caused African Americans and the past slaves to face for countless years.

In the 1890’s, another black woman, Callie House, filed lawsuits and petitioned the Congress for reparations payments to African Americans, just as Sojourner Truth tried. Luckily, House was assisted by Frederick Douglas, but no success was awarded to African Americans. After the many failed attempts, religious leaders became involved; Bishop Henry McNeal Turner stated “We have worked, enriched the country and helped give it a standing among the powers of the earth…” Bishop Henry McNeal Turner felt that African Americans should be paid at least 40 billion dollars for the labor they put in to help enrich the country and give America standing powers among the earth.

Robert L. Allen supports reparations for African Americans for this exact reason, African Americans going through consecutive problems throughout history involving the United States. Robert argues that “Reparations provide a framework for the redistribution of wealth within the existing political economy, and thereby moving towards economic equality between whites and blacks. Robert also provided information on the Republic of New Africa (RNA), which was founded in 1968. The purpose of the RNA was to establish an independent Black Republic in 5 southern states with large African American populations. The RNA shortly developed the Anti-Depression Program which called for $300 billion in reparations from the United States.

The Economist oppose against reparations for African Americans. The Economist feels that if you weren’t physically active during the times of slavery, then you should not receive any benefits by getting rewards. Edward Fagan, a New York lawyer, launched a war against firms that profited from slavery. He argued that there should not be any limitations for crime against humanity. Fagan understood that by rebelling against reparations for African Americans that shareholder lawsuits, boycotts, and race riots would possibly occur.

In conclusion, both Robert L. Allen and the staff writers from The Economist had influential arguments, but I would have to agree with Robert Allen’s point of view. I believe that reparations are indeed a necessity to African Americans in today’s society. Robert Allen’s arguments state that these reparations helps the world, benefiting the social and economic lives of African Americans while The Economist sees it as being something that is worthless for the society, having no effect on the African American society.

The Economist thinks that reparations for African Americans are not needed anymore because everyone can help themselves. Opposing, Robert thinks that people who oppose reparations for African Americans are just ignorant because they know that it’s a positive policy they are just petrified of the fact that the outcome will really benefit many lives influentially. I agree with Robert, because he mentioned that reparations are a policy that gives equal opportunity to everyone. Equality and equivalence is an asset that improves many things; for a nation to be equal and all on one page, with the reparations of African Americans, would be astonishing.

[ 1 ]. Mary Frances Berry and John W. Blassingame, Long Memory: The Black Experience in America (New York: Oxford University Press, 1982), p. 406; Neil Irvin Painter, Sojourner Truth: A Life, A Symbol (New York: W.W. Norton & Co., 1996), p.244. [ 2 ]. Quoted in Jeanette Davis-Adeshote, Black Survival in White America (Orange, NJ: Bryant and Dillon Publishers, 1995), p.87. [ 3 ]. Berry and Blassingame, Long Memory, p. 406

[ 4 ]. Ibid, p.405
[ 5 ]. Imari Abubakari Obadele I, Foundations of the Black Nation (Detroit: House of Songhay, 1975), p.68

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