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Slave Descendants Try to Revive Lawsuit

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posted on Sep, 28 2006 @ 01:47 AM
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Slave descendants are trying to revive a lawsuit where 17 insurers and banks would have to pay reparations for their role in the slave trade when slavery was legal. The companies in question loaned money to slave owners, and insured and transported slaves for profit. The lawsuit, which has previously been dismissed by a federal judge, calls for the companies to give up the profits earned from slavery in the past.
 



hosted.ap.org
CHICAGO (AP) -- 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, which names Wall Street behemoths 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.

"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.




Please visit the link provided for the complete story.


Everything these companies did that had to do with slavery was done when slavery was legal. This is the first time I have ever heard of a case like this in this day and age. Isn't there a statute of limitations or something to prevent this sort of thing?I 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?

[edit on 28/9/06 by Keyhole]



[edit on 2006-9-28 by wecomeinpeace]




posted on Sep, 28 2006 @ 09:57 AM
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Has anybody ever heard of any lawsuit like this one being heard before?

How can you sue somebody for something that happened over 100 years ago?

Apparently there is a reason for the timing of this lawsuit, last summer two churches apologized for their roles in slavery in North Carolina and has "urged the state to repay descendants of a violent 1898 white supremacist campaign in Wilmington, N.C."

Source

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.


Quite a nice bit of money, over 3/4 of a billion dollars.



posted on Sep, 28 2006 @ 10:00 AM
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As a descendant of slaves I find this ridiculous. If the people working in those banks and insurance companies are over 200 years old, I'd say go for it.



posted on Sep, 28 2006 @ 10:18 AM
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Agreed. Hey, I wonder if I can sue Whitey and get the whole Great Lakes area back for my tribe? Technically, if black people today can sue Whitey for something that happened hundreds of years ago, us red people should be able to sue as well.

Hmmm... I'll have to watch the result of this case. If they win and the legal precedent is set, I think I'm gonna sue to have the whole northwestern section of the Great Lakes area restore to my tribe's posession. It's only fair, and it's not like the white man was making good use of Wisconsin, Michigan, Minnesota, or Ontario anyway.

Of course I could be swayed if the tribe was just given the estimated dollar value of those lands in lieu of the lands themselves.



posted on Sep, 28 2006 @ 10:24 AM
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Some articles on 'reparations' for those who are interested in this subject.

www.adversity.net...
www.frontpagemag.com...
www.sierratimes.com...

I hate that term - 'reparations'. It's a fallicy

[edit on 9/28/2006 by FlyersFan]



posted on Sep, 28 2006 @ 10:28 AM
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Whats it matter if it was legal at the time? In germany in the 40's, it was legal to turn jews into piles of corpses, that doesn't mean that one can't sue for reparations.
It was also 'legal' for the japanese to turn american POWs into slave labour, but even FOX News has supportive broadcasts about their getting reparations from the japanese.



posted on Sep, 28 2006 @ 10:39 AM
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Originally posted by FlyersFan
I hate that term - 'reparations'. It's a fallicy


How so? I believe what they are asking for is amends for the years that their ancestors were slaves, wouldn't the term for that be "reparation"?

I don't agree with their case either, but I certainly don't see a reason not to call what they are asking for "reparations".

By the way, I have a question, has there ever been a congressional resolution in the US that apologized for the government's role in sustaining slavery for over a century?



posted on Sep, 28 2006 @ 10:52 AM
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I am sorry, but this is a good show of the decline in society. Why are you asking for something that has no bearing now?

If you are the relative of a slave, and you have a good job, you are showing that you overcame the heinous acts against your forefathers (whose own people often sold them into slavery) or maybe you were one of the numerous descendants whose ancestors were treated well and given land by their 'owners'. This happened quite often, but most stories are of lynching and killing.

innercity.org...


I do not agree with slavery but this is history, not to be repeated in this country. Let old ghosts lie, and go get a job. I mean, you do watch Dave Chappelle, right? I would think that relatives of these people must be rolling in the grave.

If ANYONE should be pissed in this country, it is the NAtive Americans. I think they shouldget everything for free. They were here first...



posted on Sep, 28 2006 @ 11:37 AM
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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. There were no jobs for Blacks unless it was as a maid, janitor or picking cotton. There just weren't other opportunities. If a Black person did become a doctor or lawyer, there only recourse was to have other Blacks as clients, who of course couldn't afford to pay very much. This has now become a generational thing. I mean how many Black CEO's do you see? They're still considered sescond class citizens by alot of people. So, yes, I think reparations are in order. Besides that, slavery is just plain wrong, every bit as much as what happened to the Jews in Germany in WWII.



posted on Sep, 28 2006 @ 11:52 AM
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I'm not saying that they necessarily should be given reparations, but just pointing out that there are other instances of peopel getting these kinds of things.

I do have to wonder, where's it all stop though. Do the native americans get back the land they lost as a reparation? Can the muslims sue for reparations in loosing Al-Andalus? Or can the christians sue for reparations for loosing the middle east to the muslims? etc etc.



posted on Sep, 28 2006 @ 11:57 AM
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I wasn't aware that Bank of America was even created during the days when slavery was legal. Considering that it was founded in San Francisco in 1928.

Even though it has absorbed another bank that dates to that era, why should it be held liable for acts it had nothing to do with, just as surviving corporations are not liable for injuries sustained by workers for non-surviving corporations.



posted on Sep, 28 2006 @ 12:14 PM
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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.


I couldn't disagree more:

First, if you're poor and can't get a job, and own next to nothing, you have no business having kids. I don't care about people's right to breed, common sense should dictate that if you can't afford a baby, don't practice the art of making one.

Second, we don't live in Soviet-era Russia where you couldn't so much as move to another city without the authorization of the government.

Third, we have more social programs out there for people who want work than any other nation I can think of. If you are clean, show up on time, and are willing to do just about anything, you can get a job.

Fourth, poverty can be overcome by anyone with a job in a free-market economy. All you have to do is be willing to work, save a percentage of your pay, don't touch it unless it's to upgrade it to a higher interest rate, and let time do the rest. For those that whine it can't be done, I refer you to our local bank owner, who was a maid starting with nothing but a green card and living in an apartment with 20 other people and a job that paid less than minimum wage.

I have zero pity for anyone who can't be bothered to better themselves and think they need a handout for something that didn't even happen within their lifetime, by people who aren't even alive today. Zero. If I were to take a really over-nationalistic approach, I'd say they should actually be grateful because as a result of the horror their ancestors endured, they ended up getting to live in one of the best nations on Earth instead of some god-forsaken bloodbath like the NRC.

I love people of all races, creeds, colors, and ideologies (except extremists, but that should go without saying), but I have ZERO tolerance when it comes to lazy bastages what think the world owes them something.



posted on Sep, 28 2006 @ 12:21 PM
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Attorneys & clients who bring this kind of frivolous lawsuit ought to be seriously fined and made to pay for wasting society's time.



posted on Sep, 28 2006 @ 12:31 PM
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A cycle must be broken in order to better oneself, and a person can only do it if they want to and do not decide to bandwagon and blame it on something that happened over 100 years ago. Trust me, a black woman has a better chance of getting a job than a white OR black male, based on Affirmative Action, EEO and the ACLU.


There are black FEMALE CEO's. This is an accomplishment for anyone, not jsut someone of color. There are black doctors, lawyers, congressman, ambassadors... It irks me since I am 3rd generation Irish, and you don't even want to know what the US did to them. You see, the irish were considered lower than blacks, and lost jobs to the released slaves that Irish immigrants were used for to fight the Civil war.

I know that there is still racism in the workplace, but then again, there is plenty of reverse racism. Why is it that blacks can hire only blacks, but whites MUST hire blacks.

We are all born into this world a person, and we create the person we are to be, not history that preceedes us.



posted on Sep, 28 2006 @ 12:41 PM
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I say go ahead and give every living slave reparations, if your not a living slave then shut your mouth. I can understand Germany paying the Jews because many detention camp Jews were still living.



posted on Sep, 28 2006 @ 01:03 PM
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Fine I say someone should pay them. But now lets keep in mind that there is no race of man that has not been enslaved at some time or in some way that is a fact. Also I think that we should look at the FACT that many of these slaves were sold by their own people,a simple little fact that seems to be left out of history books. Please do not try to be so gullable to deny this because it is still going on in Africa to this day along with many other countries including our own. History is what it is and can not be changed for each agenda that come along.



posted on Sep, 28 2006 @ 01:45 PM
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It's not ridiculous if you all actually read what had happened to Black slaves during the Middle Passage, "seasoning", the auction block and finally slavery. To know that companies have sponsored or endorsed this terrible behavior in their own country make them as culpable as the people and companies that worked with Nazi Germany during WWII.



posted on Sep, 28 2006 @ 02:00 PM
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So what you appear to be saying, then, is that anyone, who ever had an ancestor wronged in the past, is entitled to money from the descendants, whom had zero choice in the matter of being born, much less what their ancestors did to someone else's ancestors... am I understanding that correctly?

Or do those who feel these people are entitled to their reparations mean that it only applies to this one class of people for this one incident in history? If so, I would be delighted to be educated as to why.

You see, lotsa really really bad things went on in this country in our past, to a lot of people, from a lot of people, from all over the world.

The slaves were freed by the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863. The measure of a generation is typically 30 years.

Now if someone wants to try and seriously make a case why this one terrible era in history had such an enormous effect on a population that they are completely incapable of bettering themselves over the course of almost five generations, I'm all ears.

But when I was homeless, if I'd sat on my ass and whined about how the white man took my people's land, killed most of our tribe, and then relocated us to some crappy dustbowl in the middle of Oklahoma, I'd have starved to death by now. At least the slaves were allowed to breed, teach their children their own tongues, and practice their own religion. Native Americans were usually outlawed from teaching any tribal customs, language, history, music, clothing, or even their cooking, even when on the reservations... how damning is that to a culture? Bring a people to the brink of extinction while relocating them across the country and erase their entire history by force. Yeah...

Like I said. Zero pity over here. Zero.



posted on Sep, 28 2006 @ 02:17 PM
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So that both sides can be portrayed here, I would like to post a few resources:


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.


This is an image of a slave severely beaten by his master:



This is an image of the Middle Passage from the Library of Congress:



Here is a page on Slave Narratives from the Library of Congress' Federal Writers Project:

Born in Slavery

This is a History of Slavery from Carelton College:


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.


What was most important from this excerpt was this:



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.


These are a few excerpts to balance the information out.





[edit on 28-9-2006 by ceci2006]



posted on Sep, 28 2006 @ 02:41 PM
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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?



You are right. Before any case can get into court, there must be what is called a “justiciable issue.” Which means an issue over which the court 1) has jurisdiction and which 2) can be litigated - meaning there is admissible evidence - and for which there is 3) a legal remedy. If the case fails on any of those grounds, then it is summarily dismissed. A good judge will set forth the reasons on which he based the dismissal. The losing party may appeal from the first court’s decision.

In most states a statute of limitations cuts off most cases usually after 15, 20 or 25 years . Sometimes those limits are tolled if the party to be sued has “secreted” or disguised himself or itself so that the injured party cannot find them to serve with suit papers. Some states say the statute does not begin to run until the injured party learns of who or how the injury was committed as in the case of medical malpractice. This suit is in Federal court where there are no specific limitations on bring an otherwise viable civil suit.

There is however, the equitable “doctrine of laches” which is found in both state and Federal courts. It is the idea that when a cause of action is too old - too stale - that it is impossible to bring forth all the facts, then it must be laid to rest. It may be that neither applies in this case. Ultimately, the US Supreme Court will decide the issue. If the SC agrees with the Court of Appeal’s decision, it may just decline to accept the case for review which endorses the lower court’s decision and makes it final.



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]



Of course. The plaintiff’s make no bones about what they are after. They want to be paid what their great-great-great grand parents were defrauded out of by slavery and all those who profited greatly at their expense. Three is nothing unreasonable about that. Whether the court can entertain their claims and then render a judgment that is collectable remains in great doubt. Frankly, it would be better to address the issue of reparations in the halls of our legislative bodies, that is, on the national level, the Congress.

However you feel about reparations, the slavery issue is not so simple as the Japanese Americans incarceration case of WW2. Even in that case where we knew we were doing wrong even as we were doing it - as I believe was also true in the case of slavery - it took more than 50 years for the issue to be addressed in a meaningful way. The great humanitarian President Bill Clinton achieved an appropriation from Congress and if my memory is correct, the surviving people were paid $35,000 each along with the President’s sincere apology on behalf of the American people. A decent end to an indecent incident. I cannot see Bush43 ever taking the cause of the descendants of this much abused group which did so much to make the physical assets of America. Bush43 does not impress me as having much empathy with the poor or dispossed. The Ken Lays and Saudi princes of our world yes, by all means. The Rodney Kings of our world? Not likely.



[edit on 9/28/2006 by donwhite]



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