Dear Political Representative,
I would like to let you know that reparations for descendants of enslaved Black people in the U.S. is necessary to Make America Great, not Again, but for the first time.
As you know, the Portuguese set sail for the coasts of Africa in 1444 and negotiated the transportation of 235 Africans to Portugal. It was never expected that the total extraction would reach 5.8 million, and most of these Africans found their new place of labor in South America.
In contrast, a ‘mere’ 600,000 found their way to North America. So, when we look at the total number of Africans that made their way to the Americas, that number comes to 12.5 million.
In 1807, Britain outlawed the importation of Africans, and in 1808 so did the U.S., though slavery itself continued in the U.S and some British colonies.
It was just around that time, on the heels of the Industrial Revolution, that King Cotton catapulted America into an economic global powerhouse.
Had the U.S. had a stronger Navy, it may have been able to thwart international law and continue to import a labor force. But there was really no need. North America’s domestic slave trade, supported by U.S. law, created the work force King Cotton needed by forcing the enslaved people to breed, even further stripping them of their human dignity and deliberately robbing them of any sense of family or community when those children were sold away for profit.
In their book, “The American Slave Coast; A History of the Slave-Breeding Industry,” authors Ned and Constance Sublette, show that the economic benefits of slavery went well beyond the actual slaveowners. “To provide capital for those loans, the banks sold bonds to investors from around the globe — London, New York, Amsterdam, Paris. The bond buyers, many of whom lived in countries where slavery was illegal, didn’t own individual slaves — just bonds backed by their value.”
In other words, investors created an instrument that would allow slave owners to not only derive wealth from the labor of slaves, but harnessed a financial contract, called them bonds, and sold them to anyone who had the money.
According to an essay written by Brendan Wolfe for Virginia Humanities, “the estimated value of the labor performed by black slaves in America between 1619 and 1865, compounded at 6 percent interest through 1993 is $97 trillion dollars.”
So, please, Political Representative, accept the fact that African Americans are owed a certain store of value for the harm that slavery has caused.
I hope that this communication finds you in good health, and we look forward to hearing from you soon.
Curtis O. Robinson, Sr.
A concerned American citizen.