The Montgomery Bus Boycott, $1.2 Trillion and Reparations

Rev. Curtis O. Robinson, Sr.

From 1955 to 1956, African Americans boycot­ting bus segregation in the city of Montgomery, Ala., sent a message to white Nationalists that said, “we used money to get your attention.”

The Montgomery Bus Boycott was a successful enterprise that put on full display the influence of the African American dollar. It has been suggested that the boycott cost the city of Montgomery $3,000 per day. At the time of the boycott, African Americans made up about 45% of the population. When we add that 75% of patrons who rode the buses were African Americans, not only were city coffers being hurt, but local businesses were being hurt because African Americans were finding other things to do with their money, which was a benefit to ev­ery individual Black family.

According to, 8% African Americans are consid­ered wealthy. If you want a num­ber, look at Goldman Sachs entry level, which is $5,000,000.00.

If you have a net worth of around that figure, you are probably con­sidered among America’s wealthi­est. However, if 8% of African Americans are considered wealthy, that leaves 92% of us outside of the construct of privilege.

In an essay from, a Nielsen report said, In the report “Black Dollars Matter: The Sales Impact of Black Consumers,” the message is clear: While African Americans make up just 14% of the population, we are responsible for some $1.2 trillion in purchases annually.” That is roughly 9% of all consumer spending in America.

So while 92% of us are not wealthy, we generate considerable wealth by our spending habits. In other words, we continue to contrib­ute to the U.S. economy at a very high rate and in a way that would not exist if we were not here.

So, when we talk about repara­tions, we are not talking about some­thing that is impossible. And just in case I have some Bible readers out there, Matthew records Jesus say­ing, “Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was quoted as saying, “Lightning makes no sound until it strikes.”

When it comes to reparations, lightning must strike! It will not be a logical discussion for white Nation­alist, because they feel that they are the targets of a new form of racism.

This is nothing more than a form of cognitive dissonance, because the guilt of slavery has scarred their souls. America needs to submit to the concept of reparations, and not the reparations that have not helped Na­tive Americans. No matter how you see it, $1.2 trillion dollars is a lot of money, isn’t it?


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