February 27, 2002

As if Americans have not thoroughly confused by the meteoric economic rise of the 1990's, the fall of the turn of the century, cultural divisions and the attack on America, black leaders and activists are relentlessly banging away for reparations for slavery.

The front page special report story in the February 23, 2002 issue of USA TODAY tells about efforts by "A powerhouse team of African-American legal and academic stars" who are preparing to sue well known finance, banking, insurance, transportation, manufacturing, publishing and other industries they say are linked to slavery.

Yet, "Many of these same companies are today among the most aggressive at hiring and promoting African-Americans, marketing to black consumers and giving to black causes. So far, the reparations legal team has publicly identified five companies it says have slave ties: insurers Aetna, New York Life and AIG and financial giants J.P. Morgan, Chase Manhattan Bank and FleetBoston Financial Group."

The report goes on to say, "Independently, USA TODAY has found documentation tying several others to slavery. Investment banks Brown Bros, Harriman and Lehman Bros. Railroads Norfolk Southern, CSX, Union Pacific and Canadian National. Textile maker WestPoint Stevens. Newspaper publishers Knight Ridder, Tribune, Media General, Advance Publications, E.W. Scripps and Gannett, parent and publisher of USA TODAY."

On the team of lawyers, scholars and activists who are part of the Reparations Coordinating Committee are: RCC co-chairman and Harvard law professor Charles Ogletree; RCC co-chairman Randall Robinson, founder of TransAfrica Forum and author of The Debt: What America Owes to Blacks, a book calling for reparations; high profile class-action lawsuit lawyers Randall Robinson, Alexander Pires, Willie Gary (general counsel to Jesse Jackson) and Dennis Sweet; civil rights lawyer J.L. Chestnut; Emory University professor Johnnetta Cole; Business lecturer Richard America; Trial lawyer Johnnie Cochran; Harvard professor of Afro-American studies and philosophy of religion Cornel West; Manning Marable from Columbia University; Psychiatrist James Comer from Yale University, and Ronald Walters from the University of Maryland.

According to USA TODAY, reparations researcher and activist Deadria Farmer-Paellmann has spent five years digging for evidence and she said that, "We're still living with the vestiges of slavery." But it doesn't seem to matter that black Americans have advanced in leaps and bounds since the civil rights era. Black leaders have convinced a majority of blacks that America owes them big time, regardless of the fact that the vast majority of Americans had little or nothing to do with slavery.

Nevertheless, black leaders like Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, Cornel West and many others have relentlessly pounded away at the idea that black people are and have always been victims. Unfortunately, most black Americans appear to believe that. Black lawyers and activists have already driven the point home with many hundreds of millions of dollars of intimidating jury verdicts against American corporations.

But they want more. Much, much more. Beyond corporate suits, RCC co-chairman Randall Robinson said in a recent interview on television that the United States owes slave descendants anywhere from $5 to $10 trillion in reparations. And they intend to get it.

The glaring question is, until angry black Americans realize that they are Americans just like every other American, regardless of race, how can they expect to be viewed as fellow Americans when they allow themselves to be manipulated into believing that white Americans are inherently bad and indebted to them forever? Life and human nature simply doesn't work that way.

In-depth information and argument against reparations can be found in David Horowitz's book, Uncivil Wars: The Controversy over Reparations for Slavery.

Daniel B. Jeffs, founder
The Direct Democracy Center