Overdue Reparations

by Pamela A. Hairston | 11/13/02 6:00am

To the Editor:

After reading the Nov. 6 article "Study: Slavery's effects lasted just 2 generations," I was compelled to write. Allow me, a descendant of slaves and survivor of Jim-Crow, one last word.

Reparations are long overdue for black Americans, not for slavery but for the 100 years after. I'm not quite 50, but I vividly remember the white-only signs of the south, saying, "You can't go here, you can't play there." These illegal laws hindered my parents from reaching the American dream, along with millions of other colored folk. They were not lazy; they worked hard everyday, yet they were denied first class citizenship.

Today, if one mentions an apology for slavery, most white folks' shorts get all knotted. I believe if the U.S. government ever considers monetary reparations for my people, there will surely be another civil war. If America had truly recognized our emancipation a century and a half ago, wouldn't there be a national holiday, say like the Fourth of July, commemorating this freedom?

I'll go to my grave believing that America has yet to pay for the 100 years after slavery. Peace and love, my fellow Americans; remember, we're all in this together.

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