Closing abolition with reparations, restorative justice by Minister Ari S. Merretazon, M.S.CEDmerretazon@verizon.net (215) 850-1699
On Friday, September 25, 2009, Congressman John Conyers, Jr. convened a Brain Trust Forum entitled Apologies & H.R. 40: Creating a Dialogue on the Legacy of Slavery as part of the Annual Legislative Conference of the Congressional Black Caucus Weekend. Invitees were Representative Steve Cohen,. Ninth Congressional District of Tennessee , Council Member JoAnn Watson, Detroit City Council, Dr. Ron Daniels, Institute of the Black World, Dr. Ron Walters, African American Leadership Institute, Dr. Iva E. Carruthers, Samuel DeWitt Proctor Conference, Ms. Njeri Alghanee, N’COBRA National Co-Chair, and Professor Charles Ogletree,
The National Coalition of Blacks for Reparations in
In terms of accountability, N’COBRA Philadelphia Chapter and the Northeast Regional Working Group continues to go down its list of current institutions with predecessors who help establish, expand, maintain, enrich and refine America’s public policy that enslaved Africans/African-Americans. In fact, it was the prominent property owners and political elite who lead the way.
The Quakers, led by William Wilberforce (1759-1833) were among the few religious organizations that subsequently supported the abolition of slavery, not instantly, but gradually. It was the Black resistance and rebellions, and the case of Olaudah Equiano, aka, Gustavus Vassa (c.1745–1797,) the African who was kidnapped and sold into slavery in childhood and later to a Quaker merchant, that destroyed chattel slavery. Abolitionists facilitated and resourced the movement.
By 1775, the Quakers founded the first American anti-slavery group. Through the 1700s, Quakers led a strong-held prohibition against slavery. The Quakers’ fight inspired growing numbers of abolitionists, and by the 1830’s abolitionism was in full force and became a major engine for justice in the
The case for supporting a current day initiative to finish the work of abolitionists under the banner of corrective economic justice and reparations is, in brief, that European and American societies systemized the ‘peculiar’ institution of human enslavement, i.e., chattel property, which has no rival or historical precedent. Under the banner of truth and righteousness, these societies are obligated as matter of corrective justice, to help repair the damage done by the holocaust of enslavement, and the vestiges now up-loaded to African-Americans - the current-day recipients.
The Quaker community of today should engage N’COBRA in discussion on their inherited legacy of abolition and what role this community is willing to play in respect to the current day reparations movement for corrective economic justice. The engagement N’COBRA seeks is an effort to move the demand for corrective economic justice further to the center of society for open moral discussion about reparations for Blacks in the public domain.
The recent disingenuous apology of “profound regret” by Congress is only symbolism and can not take place of repairing the damage wrought by African enslavement.
Quakers and other religious organizations are expected to engage the reparations movement, at minimum, with support resources which will increase the capacity of the reparations movement as they did the abolition movement. History and the continuum of