Slavery Reparations…huh?!

If you haven’t heard about this concept already, it’s once again making headlines. It’s the notion of giving monetary settlements to descendants of African slaves brought here to America way before anyone living today was around.

While my personal belief of slavery is that it was horrible in and of itself and I’m sure most Americans, at least those that I hang around would agree on….but why should those of us living today, regardless of race, religion or whatever, have to pay for the sins of those who were involved in slavery?

I learned in history class that a civil war erupted in America during that terrible period of time and that one of the major issues that caused this tension was a disagreement over the issue of slavery by many Americans. Many Federal soldiers fighting for the north lost their lives, both black and white, while fighting over this issue. The civil war claimed over 620,000 soldiers on both sides.

Slavery historically ended by the 13th Amendment being Passed by Congress on January 31, 1865, and ratified on December 6, 1865. That was a long, long time ago. The 13th amendment abolished slavery in the United States and provides that “Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.” The opponents to the 13th amendment were mostly Democrats. I just had to throw that fact in there, especially since slave owners were mostly Democrats.

As far as I can tell slavery began around 1619 when twenty Africans were brought to the English colony of Jamestown, Virginia. Historians are undecided if the legal practice of slavery began there, since at least some of them had the status of indentured servant.

Mauritania was the last country in the world to abolish slavery. That happened in 1981, nearly 120 years after Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation in the United States. Mauritania is a country in Northwest Africa which by the way is an Islamic Republic.

Hollywood actor and left-wing activist Danny Glover recently testified before Congress that instituting a national policy on reparations for descendants of Africans enslaved in the United States is a “moral, democratic, and economic imperative.”

Reparations for slavery is the idea that some form of compensatory payment needs to be made to the descendants of Africans trafficked to and enslaved in the Americas as part of the Atlantic slave trade. The most notable demands for reparations have been made in the United Kingdom and in the United States. The American, including the Caribbean, and also the African governments, from which the countries where they were taken, have been said to be owed these reparations.[citation needed]

These reparations are speculative; that is, they have never been paid. They can be contrasted with compensated emancipation, the money paid by some governments to some slave owners when slavery was abolished, as compensation for the loss of the property.

While I shared my opinion on this matter earlier, I would also like to add that if we were able to go back in time to the period when the victims of slavery were alive, we as a nation should certainly not only severely punish those involved in the slave trade but also compensate the victims it created. Unfortunately, being able to time travel isn’t possible which may be a blessing. For now that era remains a part of history that can’t be forgotten.

This is a sensitive subject and I would love to hear opinions on both sides of this issue.

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