Congress held its first hearing on reparations for slavery since Black Lives Matter activists began rioting last year, and now just needs to find some former slaves to give them to.
Members of the Judiciary subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties met over Zoom on Feb. 16 to discuss H.R. 40, which aims to “establish a commission to study and consider a national apology and proposal for reparations for the institution of slavery,” according to coverage at Dailymail.com.
Former slaves can be difficult to locate in the United States, as slavery was ended by Abraham Lincoln in 1865 and the injured parties would have to be at least about 160 years old.
Democratic Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, who’s spearheading the effort, argued her case with images, holding up pictures of a beaten slave and lynched black Americans who could really use the money.
Freshman Democratic Rep. Cori Bush was pro-reparations, pointing to how the government treated her black grandfathers, who were not given the same GI benefits as white veterans, and to whom she would almost certainly give the money.
“This was our life, the back of a beaten slave,” said Bush, who somehow rose from slavery to being in a U.S Congresswoman. “This was our life in to the 20th century, hangings of African-Americans, men and women. This was our life, when we were in public display, brutalized.”
The resolution to study reparations was first introduced by the now late Rep. John Conyers — who also rose from slavery into the political elite — in 1989.
Lest it seem “all about the money,” a number of Democratic witnesses argued that the term “reparations” stands for more than just financial hand-outs. They also wanted to transform political, economic and social institutions.
Kathy Masaoka, co-chair of the Nikkei for Civil Rights & Redress, spoke of the reparations given to interned Japanese Americans, but those people had actually been interned in actual camps by actual Democratic president Franklin Roosevelt.