Aug. 10, 2021

Viney Baker: North Carolina Slave Narratives: The Federal Writer's Project

I continue my journey as The Blackman Who Reads Aloud through The Federal Writer's Project. Today, I read the recollections of a 78-year-old former enslaved Blackman who as a child had his enslaved mother stole from him while he slept beside her all for the price dollars sold like cattle and treated like feral cats and dogs. Please join us this coming Sunday as we discuss "Reparations Towards Repatriation" with an International group of brothers and sisters dedicated to the cause of gaining what is rightfully ours to demand and have now, Reparations Now! Dammit!

Aug. 9, 2021

Campbell Armstrong, Age 85, Little Rock, Arkansas

Remembering the words of our enslaved ancestors recollect the oppression of slavery should keep us focused on delivering the reparations that our black communities are due. The Arkansas Slave Narrative delivers the recollection of Campbell Armstrong today.

Aug. 8, 2021


“Reparation (legal) ... In jurisprudence, reparation is the replenishment of a previously inflicted loss by the criminal to the victim. Monetary restitution is a common form of reparation.”

First off let's understand this in the definition of reparation the criminal in the case of black reparations is and has always been the white institutions in the United States that promoted the crimes of racist acts of injustice on Americans of African Descent. Those vaulted American institutions include but are not limited to federal, state, county and municipal governments from sea to shining sea from eastern borders to western borders from northern borders to southern borders; it includes educational institutions that intentionally deprived children of Americans of African of receiving comparable educational opportunities to children of white Americans; in includes the financial institutions that intentionally deprived Americans of African Descent of receiving equal opportunities to financial resources available to white Americans; to those same financial institutions that benefited from the depravation of Americans of African Descent including but not limited to the enslavement of Americans of African Descent but also the invisible illegal enslavement of Americans of African Descent that was instituted after the abolishment of slavery in 1865 by the 13th Amendment; it includes all private corporate entities that gained financial benefits from but not limited to the enslavement of Americans of African Descent because it is acknowledged that illegal enslavement of Americans of African Descent promoted financial gains by such corporate giants as US Steel, J.P. Morgan, and Standard Oil Company; it also includes but is not limited to many agricultural companies and private landowners which benefited from but not limited to the enslavement of Americans of African Descent; it also every major corporation that denied Americans of African Descent employment as well as economic opportunities simply due to the color of their skin; and finally but most importantly the entire justice system of the United States that placated and upheld the horrendous treatment of Americans of African Descent for nearly the entire period of the existence of the American Constitution.


So, reparations should not be considered a gift to Americans of African Descent. It is not a gift, nor is reparations in any form considered a gift. Reparation is the replenishment of previously inflicted losses by the American system to Americans of African Descent. You see in reality before the 13th Amendment was passed and ratified by the United States government and the majority of states a specific guarantee for reparations should have been part and parcel of that 13th Amendment, it should have included the logistics of Field Order #15 that would have provided acreage along with financial enumerations to every freed American of African Descent. If not the 13th Amendment then surely the 14th Amendment that granted full citizenship rights to Americans of African Descent should have included a set-aside modeled land grant directing each state in the Union to provide land and available financial support to Americans of African Descent. Thereby Americans of African Descent would have had the ability to live in any and all regions of the United States now just the former southern slaveholding states. That provision would have forced former slaveholding whites to ensure that any facet of re-enslavement or attempts to re-enslave  Americans of African Descent would have be met with a mass movement of our ancestors to lands in other regions of the United States.


Make this clear reparation to Americans of African Descent is not a gift, reparations to Americans of African Descent are and should always be considered a Civil Right. The elements of reparations to Americans of African Descent should have been replenished with the passage of the Civil War American of African Descent Constitutional Amendments. To those who are confused let that confusion end immediately the wrongs incurred due to the horrendous, malicious, and murderous treatment of American of African Descent deserves monetary restitution. It has been far too many years of inhumane treatment of Americans of African Descent to be ignored.   The movies Black Panther, Girl’s Trip, or Thurgood Marshall aren’t REPARATIONS. Especially considering the bulk of the dollars being pocketed are sent not to the black audiences that support these ventures. The National Football League, or the National Basketball League aren’t reparation especially considering the primary financial beneficiaries of the leagues aren’t the majority of black players who play the game but the white owners who run the teams and administer both leagues. Having a few black Hip Hop Moguls isn’t reparation especially considering the fact that these individuals are beholding to a white-controlled recording industry structure that commands and demands the ability to control content. Nor is the newly opened African American Museum on the Mall in Washington, DC, REPARATIONS. Nor is the Martin Luther King Monument on the Mall reparation. 


Reparation (legal) ... In jurisprudence, reparation is replenishment of a previously inflicted loss by the criminal to the victim. Monetary restitution is a common form of reparation.


Reparations are the direct act by this government or nation to drive the economic, educational, environmental, and judicial needle towards complete equality for the people of the darker hue. It is the actual payment due to darker-skinned people who have suffered through the torment of this nation. The act of REPARATIONS is to make RIGHT those actions that actively were deemed illegal and morally wrong simply due to the skin pigmentation of the wronged individual. The systematic denial of rights for the past five centuries which has caused this widening gap of promise and possibilities for people of color in America. Until this gap of promise and possibilities evaporate. Then and only then will this nation have paid its debt to those who were denied the basic rights due to every citizen. People of color built the essential fabric of wealth that allowed this nation to prosper. The recognition of that debt must be reconciled. You cannot do that with the release of a 120-minute film, or a couple of edifices on the Mall and say the debt has been paid.


So while I will support the symbolic memorials to our ancestors. I know that each of our ancestors would've wanted true economic reparation solutions, not symbolic ones.  Although these memorials, films, sports figures, and entertainers are quite visible. It is an illusion to think that any of these entities exhibit the concept of true REPARATIONS.  Former Congressman Conyers of Michigan has constantly introduced legislation that would research options of deciding the terms of economic reparations for people of color in this nation. He has been repelled by leaders of both political parties in getting the legislative body of government to seriously consider his legislation. They will indeed build a monument to quiet the crowd but the economic inequality produced by systematic institutional racism still remains intact. It is seemingly as strong as ever as reflected in the current disturbed racial atmosphere that exists in this nation.


Martin Luther King Jr., Nat Turner, Fannie Lou Hamer, Malcolm X and every other person who fought for true equality of black people's rights demand substantive payment.  That insufficient economic check of inequity cannot be satisfied by a few symbolic appeasements. The payment that has been due for centuries must be paid in order for America to become the true symbol of democracy and freedom. The United Nations has even dictated that REPARATIONS are due to black Americans. This issue has bounced around for almost a century and the people of color in this nation have paid a heavy price for America’s inaction. I believe the time has come for a serious discussion of REPARATIONS to come to the table of justice.  What better time than now? It is only fair.



Aug. 8, 2021

Susan Snow Meridian Mississippi Slave Narratives, The Federal Writer's Project

Susan Snow was born in 1850, which means she spend almost a quarter of her natural life in the bonds of slavery. Well, today I will read Susan Snow's recollection of those days as well as the days that followed her release from bondage. The Federal Writer's Project which included the Mississippi Slave Narratives houses these personal recollections. This is indeed difficult reading but I attempt to give honor to our ancestors words.

Aug. 6, 2021

Provoked Thoughts Revisited

60 Second Thought of the Day (2015)
Revisiting My Provoked Thoughts
South African Blacks and American Blacks

Please don’t come for Nelson Mandela or Martin Luther King on their choices to integrate rather than to separate

This morning’s USA Today posted an article that asked a question: Was Nelson Mandela a sellout? It based the question on the fact that since demolishing apartheid 25 years ago economic conditions in South Africa has actually worsened for black South Africans. In South Africa white households earn as much as six times the income of black households. That question can be asked but the blame doesn’t fall at the feet of Nelson Mandela for the current economic plight of blacks in South Africa.

Our South African brothers and sisters must understand that Nelson Mandela utilized many of the same negotiating strategies for freedom from apartheid that American blacks used in wrestling away from ills of Jim Crow. The major and primary difference is that black South Africans held the majority count in terms of numbers of actual citizens. White South Africans comprise about 9% of the total population of the country. So when it came time to negotiate apartheid’s end 25 years ago the threat of civil war was a real dilemma facing both sides of the table. It could be said that had Nelson Mandela and the ANC wanted too they could have demanded that every white person immediately leave South Africa. This would have probably set off terroristic conditions that most likely would have rivaled any of the current situations we have presently in the war torn Middle Eastern nations. White South Africans aligning with international white supremacy powers to maintain economic control of wealth, military and judicial powers and black South Africans with the people numbers but not the military numbers taking on those powers to completely terminate whites in the country. It would have indeed been a bloody, gory, and animalistic mess which would have had incredible human loss on both sides.

The problem that confronted the ANC is similar to the problems that faced black Americans during the period know as the Civil Rights Movement. Black Americans could’ve decided that no marching would work against the evils of Jim and Jane Crow. Our leaders could’ve simply said the hell with attempting to work within this evil system. Let’s get whatever arms we have and strike out against those that strike at us. Well. we all know how that outcome would’ve ended up, right? Black Americans facing the full force of the strongest nation in the world with arms. Black would have been terminated, eliminated and silenced the voices of protest forever. So leaders like Martin Luther King Jr. called out for a moral war against injustice. That moral war ignited a movement and that movement proved victorious when in 1964 the Civil Rights Bill was passed quickly followed in 1965 by the Voting Rights Act. Black Americans chose integration over confrontation.

These black South African civil rights models that Nelson Mandela and the ANC utilized were many of the same strategies implemented by King and his followers. Mandela achieved victory at the bargaining table in Johannesburg in 1990. They allowed white South Africans to maintain economic powers while Mandela sought sought civil and judicial power. Mandela chose integration over physical confrontation. The major flaw in that decision is that the integration has failed to bring economic equality to black South Africans. Thomas Piety, noted economist stated at the recent Nelson Mandela lecture in Soweto; “Black economic empowerment has failed” and that 60-65% of the wealth in South Africa still lays in the hands of the white minority. You see those in power understood something in the 1990’s they learned that if black South Africans chose integration over physical confrontation like black Americans did in 1964. White South Africans still had the major trump card; economic control over all decisions related to the majority race. Hence, white South Africans learned from the best white Americans on how to maintain control when allowing someone new at the party.

While it took Martin Luther King Jr. only 3 years to understand he had indeed been snookered by agreeing to Civil Rights Legislation without Economic Reparations Legislation hence his statements: “redistribute the pain” and “integrating into a burning house of injustice”. It has taken black South Africans 25 years to understand that the dilemma facing the ANC and Nelson Mandela in 1990 to choose integration over confrontation was quite difficult because maybe just maybe Nelson wasn’t fully aware of Dr. King’s final days of struggle when he understood the peril he had thrusted his followers into.

So black South Africans, you cannot come after Nelson Mandela for his choice of integration over physical confrontation because the ANC were facing master manipulators who understood they were dealing from a stacked deck. Either choice made by the opposition seeking to be release from those chains of apartheid was essentially fine with them. Either choice made by the leaders of the ANC would be dealt with swiftly and decisively.

Now black South Africans don’t allow what happened to black Americans happen to you. The time is still available for the majority to adjudicate economic justice to those in need of equality in the marketplace. The most valuable commodity in the world I believe is land. So go back to the table of justice black South Africans and demand the land reparations model you seek. It is important that black South Africans base that decision on a renewed plan of land reform. You need not drag the memory of Nelson Mandela’s name in the mud. Mandela was simply thinking rationally that integration was the honorable choice. The problem is that honor is not the word the oppressor of economic injustice understands or works toward in any equitable sense.

Relating to my black American brothers and sisters if the majority race in South African got snookered by choosing integration over confrontation without any specific economic reparations in place. How do you think we as a community of people fared in that similar scenario in 1964? The only way we can recover our power economically is to build it together as one defined focused group. We can no sooner place the blame on our current condition on those in the civil rights movement as black South Africans can lay the blame at the footsteps of Nelson Mandela.