For those who might be curious about why I’m writing on reparations, need to be assured about one thing; this is not entertainment! I am not a lawyer, however, since I can read and write, I choose to write to inform. On March 11, 1867, House Speaker, Thaddeus Stevens, introduced H.R. 29. I read where H.R.29 said, “Out of the lands thus seized and confiscated, the slaves who have been liberated by the operations of the war and the amendment of the Constitution or otherwise, who resided in said “confederate States” on the 4th day of March, A.D. 1861 or since, shall have distributed to them as follows namely: to each male person who is the head of a family, forty acres; to each adult male, whether the head of the family or not, forty acres; to each widow who is the head of a family, forty acres; to be held by them in fee simple, but to be inalienable for the next ten years after they become seized thereof.” In 2019, one hundred and fifty-two years later, Shelia Jackson Lee, has reiterated that this discussion be reignited.

The Ex-Slave Mutual Relief, Bounty & Pension Association, was one of many such associations that began to draw attention at the turn of the 20th century. It was an organized system of former slaves that made a valid proposition to receive pension checks from the U.S. Government. The most favorable outcome would be for ex-slaves 70 and older. Then from there, a tiered system was put into place that would seek benefits from the U.S. Government for any labor that was free, and any land that was given. Certificates were sold to former slaves and their beneficiaries as proof that they were seeking some form of reparations.

I cannot imagine that anyone who was an ex-slave at this moment in history, would voluntarily opt-out of this program. And the longer that America delays this process, the guilt grows daily. Until America faces up to its hand at slavery, white supremacists will never evolve, America’s consciousness will continue to have diminishing effects on its populous, and we will all have to keep telling lies that cover up the other lies. Those of us who can say something, but refuse to speak out about it, are similarly as conflicted as those whose trickery, wrapped in the shape of a cross, refused to believe that African Americans are owed anything. I have written enough about this subject now to have a deeper discussion. If you desire to give me feedback of any kind, please feel free to reach me at crobinson@hds.harvard.edu.