H. R. 40 - To acknowledge the fundamental injustice, cruelty, brutality, and inhumanity of slavery in the United States and the 13 American colonies between 1619 and 1865 and to establish a commission to examine the institution of slavery, subsequently de jure and de facto racial and economic discrimination against African-Americans, and the impact of these forces on living African-Americans, to make recommendations to the Congress on appropriate remedies, and for other purposes.
This bill was introduced in 1999 by Mr. CONYERS, Mr. FATTAH, Mr. HASTINGS of Florida, Mr. HILLIARD, Mr. JEFFERSON, Ms. EDDIE BERNICE JOHNSON of Texas, Mrs. MEEK of Florida, Mr. OWENS, Mr. RUSH, and Mr. TOWNS.
This bill has been introduced as a study designed for the purpose of determining what can and should be done about the effects of slavery on African Americans who are descendants of slaves. The bill is not a proposal for reparations. We need to be clear about what the bill is for and what benefits or disadvantages it could have on New Africans in the States and in the Islands.
The bill would research the true history of slavery (dehumanization) and the effects of its psychological outcome on generations that followed once slavery itself had been outlawed. The bill is also asking that an apology be made from the government for its involvement in slavery. The greatest benefit from this research will be the findings on the physiological effects of slavery on African Americans who are still in this country. This research will help us as a community and people to explain why our communities and our youth are in the conditions they are in. The youth in African American communities are portrayed all over the media as gang bangers, drug dealers and murderers etc. The African American community is often questioned on why we are not able to do what other minority groups are doing in this country when it comes to building our communities into productive societies. Answers to such a question are hidden in such little known & scarcely taught historical facts as the black Wall Street, the great wealthy communities we had in the south like the black business district of Auburn Avenue in Atlanta, which was described as the richest African American community in America before integration. This is just one of the many detrimental consequences of the oppressions and aftermath of slavery. The sources, true understanding and the making of gangs is never considered. The black gangs that were started were created out of the need for protection against white gangs.
The disadvantage of this bill is that it doesn’t include a provision for what the Government responsibility should be given in consideration of such on point and in dept research as aforementioned.
We need to have a study like this to start to put together the pieces of the puzzle. We also need to devise a study to assess the effects on Africans after Jim Crowe, Integration and the Civil rights movement. But just like we shouldn’t wait on the government for a check we shouldn’t wait on them to do this psychological study for us. We need to create think tanks that study and monitor the conditions of our people from past to present treatments that stem from this racist system and the ignorance as well as covert and overt affects of slavery which remain at play among the descendants of both the oppressed and the oppressors still at play today.
I grew up with my father and I had the opportunity to know my grandfather and great grandfather so I can see the history of these men and see where I need to make corrections to be a better father. This is why recording of history and improving on past mistakes is very important. My great grandfather and great grandmother were very fair skinned and were known as blacks who could pass. This meant they looked white enough to be mistaken for being white and therefore were able to enjoy the privileges of white power. My grandfather, their only son, was effected by this because as a man he couldn’t respect his father as much as he wanted to because he had to watch him pretend to be something and someone he wasn’t. He was drafted into the air force as a young man and was never able to except the treatment he received because he wasn’t as fair skinned as his parents. He struggled with this as a man and passed down his issues to my father who was constantly angry about the fact he knew his father and he didn’t do anything for him financially. What my father was not taught were the laws that kept his father out the house. These laws allowed African American women to receive government assistance if no man was in the house. The frustration my father felt from not knowing this history caused him to hate his father as a youth. When I was a child there were times I hated my father because I couldn’t understand his frustration and his anger. Misdirected emotional issues were perpetually passed down from one generation to another. The effects of slavery caused a long line of anger from men in my family that led to me being angry and having to address a history I was not taught about. Like my fathers before me I was forced to participate in the same corporate slave system in the form of a job working for some one else for less than the value of the exchange of my time, skills and services in order to survive within a biased and racist capitalistic system, designed much like slavery that so many of us despise.
The learning of my history from The Most Honored Elijah Muhammad helped me to understand my father, grandfather and great grandfather. I am no longer angry and I have done a better job of showing love to my children and being able to understand some of the frustrations they have in being forced to still deal with the back draft of slavery in this country, including issues they recognize, such as other people running business in their community while abusing and never giving back to community residents and patrons to other people teaching them a false understanding of their history. I once read in the opening of a book by Aristotle where he said “ you can’t know or judge a man unless you know the time in which he lived”. Some people say we are living in the last days. People like myself believe we are living in new days and the last days of this wicked system are over. All the old ignorance of the past will be exploited for what it is and no matter what bill is introduced into law the righteous will be the winners living or dead. Until Truth Prevails my Eyes will be watching.