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Wednesday's hearing comes at a pivotal time for the reparations movement.
This summer, the Moravian Church and the Episcopal Church apologized for their roles in the slave trade and a North Carolina commission urged the state to repay descendants of a violent 1898 white supremacist campaign in Wilmington, N.C.
And corporations have begun to acknowledge their ties to slavery, in part because of a series of state laws requiring companies to do so. Several cities - including Chicago, Detroit and Oakland - also have laws requiring businesses to make such disclosures.
Lawyers pushing for the compensation said Wednesday the current day "market value" of the company-owned slaves would be at least $850 million.
Originally posted by FlyersFan
I hate that term - 'reparations'. It's a fallicy
Originally posted by forestlady
I have to agree with Nygdan on this one. The thing is, slavery created an entire class of Blacks that have never recovered from slavery. I lived in Mississippi for 3 years back in the mid-70's. Almost every Black person there was poor, owned next to nothing and couldn't afford to even feed their kids properly.
History of Slavery in the United States
From about 1619 until 1865, people of African descent were legally enslaved within the boundaries of the present United States. The economy of the early country was made possible in large part by the free labor afforded by slavery. Around half a million Africans were brought over from Africa during the slave trade, but due to laws claiming the offspring of slaves as slaves, the slave population in the United States grew to 4 million by the 1860 Census.
The transformation had begun, but it wouldn't be until the Slave Codes of 1705 that the status of African Americans would be sealed.
Originally in the American colonies, 1600 to 1800, American Indians (Native Americans) and other groups, mostly white Europeans such as captured soldiers, minor criminals, etc., were used as slaves (indentured servants, see Bound Over by John Van Der Zee), but by the 19th century almost all slaves were blacks. During the British colonial period, slaves were used mostly in the Southern colonies and to a lesser degree in the Northern colonies as well. Early on, slaves (indentured servants) were most useful in the growing of indigo, rice, and tobacco; cotton was only a side crop. Nevertheless, it was clear that slaves were most economically viable in plantation-style agriculture. Many landowners began to grow increasingly dependent on slave labor for their livelihood, and legislatures responded accordingly by increasingly stricter regulations on forced labor practices, known as the Slave codes.
Slavery in the United States
By the end of the seventeenth century, the status of blacks -- slave or free -- tended to follow the status of their mothers. Generally, "white" persons were not slaves but Native and African Americans could be. One odd case was the offspring of a free white woman and a slave: the law often bound these people to servitude for thirty-one years. Conversion to Christianity could set a slave free in the early colonial period, but this practice quickly disappeared.
Southern law largely identified skin color with status. Those who appeared African or of African descent were generally presumed to be slaves. Virginia was the only state to pass a statute that actually classified people by race: essentially, it considered those with one quarter or more black ancestry as black. Other states used informal tests in addition to visual inspection: one-quarter, one-eighth, or one-sixteenth black ancestry might categorize a person as black.
Even if blacks proved their freedom, they enjoyed little higher status than slaves except, to some extent, in Louisiana. Many Southern states forbade free persons of color from becoming preachers, selling certain goods, tending bar, staying out past a certain time of night, or owning dogs, among other things. Federal law denied black persons citizenship under the Dred Scott decision (1857). In this case, Chief Justice Roger Taney also determined that visiting a free state did not free a slave who returned to a slave state, nor did traveling to a free territory ensure emancipation.
Slaves were freely bought and sold across the antebellum South. Southern law offered greater protection to slave buyers than to buyers of other goods, in part because slaves were complex commodities with characteristics not easily ascertained by inspection. Slave sellers were responsible for their representations, required to disclose known defects, and often liable for unknown defects, as well as bound by explicit contractual language. These rules stand in stark contrast to the caveat emptor doctrine applied in antebellum commodity sales cases. In fact, they more closely resemble certain provisions of the modern Uniform Commercial Code. Sales law in two states stands out. South Carolina was extremely pro-buyer, presuming that any slave sold at full price was sound. Louisiana buyers enjoyed extensive legal protection as well. A sold slave who later manifested an incurable disease or vice -- such as a tendency to escape frequently -- could generate a lawsuit that entitled the purchaser to nullify the sale.
posted by Keyhole
Slave descendants are trying to revive a lawsuit where 17 insurers and banks would have to pay reparations . . the companies loaned money to slave owners and insured and transported slaves for profit. The lawsuit has been dismissed by a federal judge, calls for the companies to give up the profits earned from slavery in the past. "We were left in poverty. My family's hardship and free labor was not in vain" said Antoinette Harrell, a genealogist from Kentwood, LA who clutched raw cotton as she spoke inside federal court Wednesday.
Lawyers for slave descendants asked a federal appeals court Wednesday to revive a landmark reparations case that demands 17 of the nation's insurers and banks publicize and pay for their roles in the country's slave trade. The case names JP Morgan Chase & Co., Aetna Inc., Bank of America, Lehman Brothers and others, says the companies' predecessors issued loans to slave owners and in some cases, owned, insured and transported slaves - all at a financial profit that helped ensure their success today. [Edited by Don W]
Everything those companies did was done when slavery was legal. This is the first time I have ever heard of a case like this. Isn't there a statute of limitations or something to prevent this sort of thing can hardly believe that cases like this are still being heard. How can you sue a company for doing something that was legal at the time?
Apparently there is a reason for the timing of this lawsuit . . last summer two churches apologized for their roles in slavery and has "urged the state to repay descendants of a violent 1898 white supremacist campaign in Wilmington, NC"
Wednesday's hearing comes at a pivotal time for the reparations movement. The Moravian Church and Episcopal Church have apologized for their roles in the slave trade and a NC commission urged the state to repay descendants of a violent 1898 white supremacist campaign in Wilmington, N.C. Lawyers for the compensation claims said Wednesday the current "market value" of the company-owned slaves would be at least $850 million. [Edited by Don W]