Topic

black and african american rights

33 petitions

Update posted 2 months ago

Petition to President Trump

WE DEMAND Reparations for Black America

Reparations for slavery is a proposal that some type of compensation should be provided to the descendants of enslaved people in the United States, in consideration of the coerced and uncompensated labor their ancestors performed over centuries. This compensation has been proposed in a variety of forms, from individual monetary payments to land-based compensation related to independence. In 1865, after the Confederate States of America were defeated in the American Civil War, General William Tecumseh Sherman issued Special Field Orders, No. 15 to both "assure the harmony of action in the area of operations" and to solve problems caused by the masses of freed slaves, a temporary plan granting each freed family forty acres of tillable land in the sea islands and around Charleston, South Carolina for the exclusive use of black people who had been enslaved. The army also had a number of unneeded mules which were given to settlers. Around 40,000 freed slaves were settled on 400,000 acres (1,600 km²) in Georgia and South Carolina. However, President Andrew Johnson reversed the order after Lincoln was assassinated, and the land was returned to its previous owners. In 1867, Thaddeus Stevens sponsored a bill for the redistribution of land to African Americans, but it was not passed. Reconstruction came to an end in 1877 without the issue of reparations having been addressed. Thereafter, a deliberate movement of segregation and oppression arose in southern states. Jim Crow laws passed in some southeastern states to reinforce the existing inequality that slavery had produced. In addition white extremist organizations such as the Ku Klux Klan engaged in a massive campaign of terrorism throughout the Southeast in order to keep African Americans in their prescribed social place. For decades this assumed inequality and injustice was ruled on in court decisions and debated in public discourse. Reparation for slavery in what is now the United States is a complicated issue. Any proposal for reparations must take into account the role of the newly formed United States government in the importation and enslavement of Africans, as well as that of the older and established European countries that created the colonies in which slavery was legal. Also relevant are their efforts to stop the trade in slaves. It must also consider if and how much modern Americans have benefited from the importation and enslavement of Africans since the end of the slave trade in 1865. Profit from slavery was not limited to the South: New England merchants profited from the slave trade. In a 2007 column in The New York Times, historian Eric Foner writes: [In] the Colonial era, Southern planters regularly purchased imported slaves, and merchants in New York and New England profited handsomely from the trade. The American Revolution threw the slave trade and slavery itself into crisis. In the run-up to war, Congress banned the importation of slaves as part of a broader nonimportation policy. During the War of Independence, tens of thousands of slaves escaped to British lines. Many accompanied the British out of the country when peace arrived. Inspired by the ideals of the Revolution, most of the newly independent American states banned the slave trade. But importation resumed to South Carolina and Georgia, which had been occupied by the British during the war and lost the largest number of slaves. The slave trade was a major source of disagreement at the Constitutional Convention of 1787. South Carolina’s delegates were determined to protect slavery, and they had a powerful impact on the final document. They originated the three-fifths clause (giving the South extra representation in Congress by counting part of its slave population) and threatened disunion if the slave trade were banned, as other states demanded. The result was a compromise barring Congress from prohibiting the importation of slaves until 1808. Some Anti-Federalists, as opponents of ratification were called, cited the slave trade clause as a reason why the Constitution should be rejected, claiming it brought shame upon the new nation.... As slavery expanded into the Deep South, a flourishing internal slave trade replaced importation from Africa. Between 1808 and 1860, the economies of older states like Virginia came increasingly to rely on the sale of slaves to the cotton fields of Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana. But demand far outstripped supply, and the price of slaves rose inexorably, placing ownership outside the reach of poorer Southerners. COST ESTIMATE Various estimates have been given if such payments were to be made. Harper's Magazine has created an estimate that the total of reparations due is over 100 trillion dollars, based on 222,505,049 hours of forced labor between 1619 and 1865, with a compounded interest of 6%. Should all or part of this amount be paid to the descendants of slaves in the United States, the current U.S. government would only pay a fraction of that cost, over 40 trillion dollars, since it has been in existence only since 1789. APOLOGIES RENDERED BUT NO COMPENSATION  On July 30, 2008, the United States House of Representatives passed a resolution apologizing for American slavery and subsequent discriminatory laws. Some states have also apologized for slavery, including Maryland, Virginia and North Carolina. Duke University public policy professor William "Sandy" Darity said such apologies are a first step, but compensation is also necessary. PRIVATE INSTITUTIONS Private institutions and corporations were also involved in slavery. On March 8, 2000, Reuters News Service reported that Deadria Farmer-Paellmann, a law school graduate, initiated a one-woman campaign making a historic demand for restitution and apologies from modern companies that played a direct role in enslaving Africans. Aetna Inc. was her first target because of their practice of writing life insurance policies on the lives of enslaved Africans with slave owners as the beneficiaries. In response to Farmer-Paellmann's demand, Aetna Inc. issued a public apology, and the "corporate restitution movement" was born.[not specific enough to verify] By 2002, nine lawsuits were filed around the country coordinated by Farmer-Paellmann and the Restitution Study Group—a New York non-profit. The litigation included 20 plaintiffs demanding restitution from 20 companies from the banking, insurance, textile, railroad, and tobacco industries. The cases were consolidated under 28 U.S.C. § 1407 to multidistrict litigation in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois. The district court dismissed the lawsuits with prejudice, and the claimants appealed to the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit. On December 13, 2006, that Court, in an opinion written by Judge Richard Posner, modified the district court's judgment to be a dismissal without prejudice, affirmed the majority of the district court's judgment, and reversed the portion of the district court's judgment dismissing the plaintiffs' consumer protection claims, remanding the case for further proceedings consistent with its opinion . Thus, the plaintiffs may bring the lawsuit again, but must clear considerable procedural and substantive hurdles first: If one or more of the defendants violated a state law by transporting slaves in 1850, and the plaintiffs can establish standing to sue, prove the violation despite its antiquity, establish that the law was intended to provide a remedy (either directly or by providing the basis for a common law action for conspiracy, conversion, or restitution) to lawfully enslaved persons or their descendants, identify their ancestors, quantify damages incurred, and persuade the court to toll the statute of limitations, there would be no further obstacle to the grant of relief. In October 2000, California passed a Slavery Era Disclosure Law requiring insurance companies doing business there to report on their role in slavery. The disclosure legislation, introduced by Senator Tom Hayden, is the prototype for similar laws passed in 12 states around the United States. The NAACP has called for more of such legislation at local and corporate levels. It quotes Dennis C. Hayes, CEO of the NAACP, as saying, "Absolutely, we will be pursuing reparations from companies that have historical ties to slavery and engaging all parties to come to the table." Brown University, whose namesake family was involved in the slave trade, has also established a committee to explore the issue of reparations. In February 2007, Brown University announced a set of responses to its Steering Committee on Slavery and Justice. While in 1995 the Southern Baptist Convention apologized for the "sins" of racism, including slavery. In December 2005, a boycott was called by a coalition of reparations groups under the sponsorship of the Restitution Study Group. The boycott targets the student loan products of banks deemed complicit in slavery—particularly those identified in the Farmer-Paellmann litigation. As part of the boycott students are asked to choose from other banks to finance their student loans." In 2005, JP Morgan Chase and Wachovia both apologized for their connections to slavery. ACCUMULATED WEALTH In 2008 the American Humanist Association published an article which argued that if emancipated slaves had been allowed to possess and retain the profits of their labor, their descendants might now control a much larger share of American social and monetary wealth. Not only did the freedmen and -women not receive a share of these profits, but they were stripped of the small amounts of compensation paid to some of them during Reconstruction. The wealth of the United States was greatly enhanced by the exploitation of African American slave labor. According to this view, reparations would be valuable primarily as a way of correcting modern economic imbalances. PRECEDENTS Under the Civil Liberties Act of 1988, signed into law by President Ronald Reagan, the U.S. government apologized for Japanese American internment during World War II and provided reparations of $20,000 to each survivor, to compensate for loss of property and liberty during that period. For many years, Native American tribes have received compensation for lands ceded to the United States by them in various treaties. In 2012, according to CNN, the federal government under President Obama settled with thousands of Native Americans as part of a $3.4 billion agreement over a class-action lawsuit claiming government mismanagement of tribal lands and accounts. Further, 40,000 Black farmers who claimed years of racial discrimination from the U.S. Department of Agriculture received $1.2 billion in 2013, as Black Enterprise reported. And in 2015, the Obama administration earmarked $12 million in assistance for European Holocaust survivors living in poverty in the U.S. Other countries have also opted to pay reparations for past sins. Britain compensated 46,000 slave owners when slavery was abolished in that country, and Haiti was forced to pay reparations to France as the price of independence from the European colonial power. Germany also has paid $89 billion in reparations for Nazi crimes against mostly Jewish victims, according to The New York Times. Several historians, such as João C. Curto, have made important contributions to the global understanding of the African side of the Atlantic slave trade. By arguing that African merchants determined the assemblage of trade goods accepted in exchange for slaves, many historians argue for African agency and ultimately a shared responsibility for the slave trade. Only Black people were brought to these shores in chains and only Black people continue to suffer from the protracted, inter-generational deprivation brought about by the badge of slavery. America cannot eradicate racism until it is willing to confront its legacy of enslavement and repair the damage done to people of African descent. As Germany considers paying for its genocide of 75,000 in Namibia and the CARICOM nations push for reparations from Britain and other European nations to compensate for the lingering effects of the Atlantic slave trade, this stance from America’s first Black president could have a profound impact on the worldwide movement for reparations. Black people still suffer immensely in the U.S. as institutional racism continues unabated and the wealth gap separating Blacks and whites further expands. THE MELANATED INDEPENDENCE MOVEMENT PROPOSAL We need to do like the American Indians have done and  (1.) declare ourselves a nation...New Nubia,  (2.) demand land equal to $1.5 million dollars per slave,  (3.) tax-free land status, and  (4.) sue every corporation and international country that was directly or indirectly involved in the North American slave trade of African people. With the monies raised, we build new self-sustaining Black society that build wealth through job creation and profit-sharing with each business that's allowed into the community zone. This sets up group economics and by default, Black Independence.

Albert Wells
517 supporters
This petition won 4 months ago

Petition to Robert E. Lee High School, NEISD Board Trustees

Rename San Antonio's "Robert E. Lee" High School

Everyday when I walk into my high school in San Antonio, Texas, I'm entering an establishment named after a Confederate general who not only fought to preserve the enslavement of human beings but fought against the United States -- Robert E. Lee. In the wake of the Charleston shooting that took the lives of nine African Americans who were simply going to church, I can tell you that as a young black student, it's not easy or right to have learn in a place that honors a man like Robert E. Lee. We often forget that the Confederacy was doing an act of treason, an act of betrayal. It's not patriotic to celebrate a man who fought against his country and had he won, the owning, selling, raping, and lynching of black people would have prevailed. Such a thing should not be honored. We've rightfully started a conversation about honoring the people and symbols that drove Dylan Roof to commit such an atrocity. And even my high school has long removed the confederate flag from flying, though a mosaic confederate symbol is still paved into campus grounds. School names have been changed before. In fact, in 2013 a Change.org petition helped change the name of Nathan Bedford Forrest High School, named after a KKK leader and Confederate general, in Jacksonville, Florida. The Stonewall Jackson Davis middle school, was once named after Jefferson Davis but changed because many believed it condoned slavery. We could easily do the same with Robert E. Lee High School, only changing the first name of the school to honor someone like George W. Lee, a civil rights activist, or even someone like Cesar Chavez who was a Hispanic civil rights activist. Although we can not erase our past, we must not celebrate parts of our past that were most treacherous, and continuing to let the Robert E. Lee name live on is doing just that. This school is far overdue for a name change. Please sign and help try to make a change to this name.

Kayla Wilson
12,244 supporters
Update posted 4 months ago

Petition to James G. Bennett, Mark Hartley, Gordon Crews, Jimmy Anderson, James Croft, CJ Thompson, Florida Governor

Remove the painting in the Baker County Courthouse depicting the Ku Klux Klan and other divisive imagery

A mural in the Baker County, Florida Courthouse shows horse-backed, hooded members of the Ku Klux Klan as a part of the "Baker County historical perspective.” It stands larger than life as the first thing you see in the county's halls of justice. It even has its own “sign in” book, which includes supportive statements for the KKK.  We want it removed. There are depictions of blacks as naked and aboriginal with spears (imagery that never existed in Baker County), as well as demeaning stereotyped images of the Native American.  Most notoriously, there is the scene of the three hooded Klansmen on horseback. Even the artist’s own description of the scene shows his denial of the true horror inflicted by the KKK: "Lawlessness among ex-slaves and troublesome whites was the rule of the day. No relief was given by the carpetbag and scalawag government or by the Union troops. The result was the emergence of secret societies claiming to bring law and order to the county. One of these groups was the Ku Klux Klan, an organization that sometimes took vigilante justice to extremes but was sometimes the only control the county knew over those outside the law. The Klan faded from view at the end of Reconstruction. It had minor come-backs in the 1920’s and mid 1950’s. Since then it has become the subject of legend rather than a cause of fear.” Legend? No. Horror? Yes. This mural is not a historic relic -- it was only painted in 2001.  It only stands to fuel an "us" versus "them" story of whites versus non-whites in Baker County.  A story locals say still exists.  It's time to remove it. Baker County has a history of violence against blacks. On October 5, 1920, four black men were jailed as possible witnesses or suspects in the death of a prominent young white farmer named John Harvey. Instead of lawfulness and justice, the Klan and what was described as 50 white men overtook the jail and seized the men from their cells, dragging their bodies across the county, then shooting and lynching them.  And then there is the story of J.E. Fraser, a reported Grand Wizard from Baker County, who threatened that if a "fellow sells his house to a n-----," they will spread the word and that "boy better just get out of the state." The “Baxter Rebellion” is also heavily featured. According to the artist himself, it started in blacks boarded a train headed back home to Baker County. The whites "fingered their long bladed knives hoping for an opportunity to use them” resenting the blacks traveling by train. A black traveler was eventually taunted and a white man, "slashed his throat, almost decapitating him.” Then, "The violence mounted, becoming an orgy of blood as by-stander blacks and some members of the Macon team were indiscrimately (sic) slashed.” The violence didn’t stop on the train and the county erupted in violence with those who helped blacks on one side and those who didn't on the other. Even the Deputy was killed by the white mob while trying to restore the rule of law, and “there was not an unbroken bone in his body when it was dragged from beneath the building.”  When it came time for the trial of the men responsible, the (pro-white) Altman-Dowling-Harvey clans, "surround(ed) the courthouse on the day of the trial. All were armed." No jury would convict out of fear. This mural helps keep that mentality alive, which is entirely inappropriate in a courthouse. It is a hallmark of the past that contains many emotionally damaging, harmful and insulting images. Here are a few other parts of the mural: A young black child amongst Union soldiers next to injured Confederate whites, depicting the “us” versus “them"; The Confederate Battle Flag waves opposite the American flag as soldiers fight; A prominent woodpecker next to the KKK which was notoriously adopted by white supremacist groups; The Camellia flower, which is the official flower of the Klan; The Story of the Baxter Rebellion, which entails the gory slaughter of black men on a train, resulting lawlessness and an inability to get a conviction of the murderers because of intimidation by whites including armed family members standing on the courthouse lawn during trial; Many burned and burning houses; A man making alcohol from a still; and more either illegal or separatist images. This one-sided, insensitive history and lawlessness should not be condoned or memorialized in the very halls of justice which are supposed to hold all men equally accountable. The great people of Baker County are not honored by this mural. They are not lawless. And even their own judges and citizens have asked for this painting to be removed in the past.  It is time.

Florida Justice
8,562 supporters