Baker College of Jackson
Reparation for African Americans
Anta Majigeen Njaay a thirteen year old African girl was awakened at the crack of dawn on a spring morning in 1806, to the sounds of screams and gunfire. As she looked outside to see what all the commotion was about, invaders were raiding her village slaughtering and kidnapping her countrymen and women in front of her eyes (Horton & Horton, 2005, p. 13). By the end of the raid her father, uncle, and other relatives were dead and she and her mother became prisoners of war. Her apprehenders were people from her own country, warrior slaves who invade rival villages and seized captives to trade “to European slave dealers in return for fine fabrics, wines, and weapons” (Horton & Horton, 2005, p. 13). Once traded she was branded with her master’s logo and shipped like cargo on vessels under intolerable conditions (Horton & Horton, 2005, p. 13). Such events occurred millions of times in Africa, resulting in millions of Africans being kidnapped from their homeland and relatives, and then sold and traded like cattle to foreigners. Anne Farrow, Joel Lang, and Jenifer Frank, veteran journalists for The Hartford Courant, indicate that “European ships transported nearly all the estimated 11.5 million Africans sold over three centuries into New World slavery, including the approximately 645,000 sent to the American colonies” (Farrow, Lang, & Frank 2005, p. 95). African slaves were brought to America in 1619 to help with the production of lucrative crops. In the article Slavery in America”, it is written that “In the early 17th century, European settlers in North America turned to African slaves as a cheaper, more plentiful labor source than indentured servants” ( 2011). By 1750, nearly a quarter million African slaves populated the mainland colonies of British North America, while 30,000 were held in the southern colonies (Horton & Horton, 2005, p. 41). In the article Slavery in America, it is reported that “Slavery was practiced throughout the American colonies in the 17th and 18th centuries, and African-American slaves helped build the economic foundations of the new nation” (“Slavery in America,” 2011). The African Americans who were enslaved by America deserve reparation. First they deserve reparation because America was built by slavery. African Americans were the primary force in the production of lucrative crops. Secondly, they deserve reparation because of all the horrific experiences they had to endure. Millions of Africans were kidnapped from their homes and land, tortured, brutalized and treated as less than human. Finally, they deserve reparation because other races of people who America enslaved and mistreated receive compensation. Native Americans were enslaved and mistreated to a lesser degree than African Americans and they receive reparation. Slavery played an extremely important role in the construction of the United States. James Oliver Horton, Professor of American Studies and History at George Washington University, and Lois E. Horton, Professor of History at George Mason University, indicated that “The slave trade and the products created by slaves’ labor, particularly cotton, provided the basis for America’s wealth as a nation, underwriting the country’s industrial revolution and enabling it to project its power into the rest of the world” (Horton & Horton, 2005, p. 7). Once the nation started expanding westward, so did slavery increasing the cotton kingdoms of Mississippi, Texas, Alabama, and Louisiana. These states soon became the center of importance for American Slavery (Foner, 2005). Eric Foner, a winner of the Bancroft Prize and Francis Parkman Prize, and Professor of History at Columbia University and a member of the American Academy of Arts confirmed that as a result of the increase in African American slaves “Cotton production grew from fewer than three...