Pass H.R.40: Begin The Study of Reparations for African Americans
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In January 1989, United States Congressman John Conyers Jr introduced the bill H.R. 40 (Commission to Study Reparation Proposals for African Americans Act) to Congress. The bill is a request for the federal government to conduct an official study of the impact slavery has had on the social, political and economic life of the United States. The purpose of H.R.40 is not compensation for slavery. It is to determine the effects slavery has had, and continue to have on African-Americans from the time of emancipation until now.
H.R. 40 does four things:
- It acknowledges the fundamental injustice and inhumanity of slavery
- It establishes a commission to study slavery, along with its subsequent racial and economic discrimination against freed slaves
- It studies the impact of those forces on today's living African Americans
- The commission would then make recommendations on appropriate reparations and remedies to begin healing the harm inflicted on living African Americans
In April of 1968, Congressman Conyers introduced the Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday bill. It took 15 years but it was finally passed in 1983, not only because of Congressman Conyer’s persistence, but also because of the people who supported him and his idea of a federal holiday honoring Dr. King. It has now been 26 years since Congressman Conyers first introduced H.R.40 to Congress. We are long overdue to begin taking a stand on this matter.
We are requesting for the United States Congress to accept H.R.40 and immediately establish a committee to study the impact slavery and racial discrimination has had on African Americans from emancipation until now. Failure to comply will result in a nationwide boycott of every company and it’s affiliates that has benefited from slavery which includes, but is not limited to:
AIG – bought American General Financial, which owns US Life Insurance Company that used to insure the lives of Slaves
Aetna – insured the lives of Slaves
Bank of America – began in part as the Bank of Metropolis that accepted Slaves as collateral.
Brooks Brothers – profited making clothing for Slaves
Brown Brothers Harriman – owned hundreds of Slaves and loaned millions to southern planters, merchants and cotton traders.
Brown University – named for the Brown brothers who gave money to the university. Two brothers were Slave traders; another ran a factory that used Slave-grown cotton and Brown’s University Hall was built in part by Slave labor
CSX – rented Slaves to build rail lines
Fleet Boston – grew from Providence Bank, founded by one of the Brown brothers - a Slave trader who owned Slave ships
Harvard Law School – was endowed with money from Isaac Royall, an Antiguan Slave owner and sugar grower
JP Morgan Chase – grew from Citizens Bank and Canal Bank in Louisiana. Both accepted Slaves as collateral, and repossessed 1,250 Slaves from owners who defaulted on loans
New York Life – insured Slaves
Norfolk Southern –merged with the Mobile & Girard that rented Slaves to work on the railroad. They also merged with Central of Georgia that owned Slaves.
The following Universities raised money and recruited students from rich, Slave-owning families. These Universities not only sought and accepted money from slave owners and traders, they also helped create scientific racism:
- University of Delaware
Tiffany’s – founded with profits from a cotton mill in Connecticut that processed Slave-grown cotton
USA Today – grew from Gannett, which had links to Slavery
Wells Fargo – merged with Georgia Railroad & Banking Company and the Bank of Charleston, both of which owned or accepted Slaves as collateral. (In the 2000s Wells Fargo targeted African Americans for predatory lending)
If Congress does not accept H.R.40 within it’s next three assemblies after this request has been received, our nationwide boycott will begin. Please do not underestimate the well over 1 trillion dollars in buying power of African Americans alone. We will break this nation one dollar at a time if we must in order to accomplish our goal.
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