DUDLEY THOMPSON AND REPARATIONS
By Dr. Conrad W. Worrill (January 5, 2000)
The National Black United Front (NBUF) in conjunction with the Black United Fund of Illinois (BUFI), State Senator Donne Trotter, the Kemetic Institute, N`COBRA, Northeastern Illinois University Center for Inner City Studies, Christ Apostolic Church, and MessiahSt. Bartholomew Church will feature renown expert on reparations, the Honorable Dudley J. Thompson from Jamaica.
Brother Thompson will present a lecture on the historical role of the Pan African Movement and its relationship to the growing worldwide reparations movement. The lecture will be held Saturday, January 27th at the MessiahSt. Bartholomew Church, 8255 South Dante. Doors will open at 3:00 p.m. and the program, which is free and open to the public, begins at 4:00 p.m.
A native of Jamaica, the Honorable Dudley J. Thompson is a longtime Pan Africanist leader in the worldwide African Liberation Movement. In 1945, he attended the famous 5th Pan African Congress in Manchester, England where he was an active participant along with his friends and colleagues, George Padmore, Kwamé Nkrumah, C. L. R. James, Julius Nyerre, and M. K. O. Abiola.
In 1946, the Honorable Dudley J. Thompson entered Oxford University as Jamaicas Rhodes Scholar. He graduated with an M. A. in Jurisprudence and later obtained a B.C.L. (Bachelor of Civil Law) degree.
Among numerous other honors Dudley was awarded the Order of Jamaica, one of Jamaicas most prestigious decorations, for distinguished service in the field of international affairs and for his contribution to legal developments in Jamaica.
In 1992, Brother Thompson was impaneled as a member of the Group of Eminent Persons (GEP), which is charged with implementing the Movement for Reparations to African and the Diaspora. This movement is under the auspices of the Organization of African Unity (OAU). At present, he is the Rapporteur of the GEP.
In a speech given at the Walter Rodney International Conference held at Binghamton University, State University of New York on November 6-8, 1998. Brother Thompson shared the following insights: "Once you accept that the mass kidnap and enslavement of Africans was the most wicked criminal enterprise in recorded human history and that no compensation has been paid to any of the suffers by the perpetrators, and that the consequences continue to be massive both in terms of the enrichment of the descendents of the perpetrators and in terms of the impoverishment of the Africans, then the justice claims for reparations is established beyond any reasonable doubt. Our claim, which is still outstanding, is supported in law and exemplified by several precedents. The law of unjust enrichment provides the basis on international law for claim against those who have gained by the unlawful oppression of another."
Continuing, Brother Dudley points out the efforts of the world wide system of white supremacy to "distort the history taught to us as Black people; having robbed us of our history. In the surgical operation, which we call the Atlantic Slave Trade, they cutoff not only a persons language, religion, family support and everything else that used to mean anything to him, and put him away in a foreign land the land of Babylon. They blotted out his past."
Following up on this point, he concludes by observing that "Forged in a foreign setting over several centuries they made him forget his own history in an entirely complete sense. And what did they put in its place? They put a myth."
Brother Dudley was very influential in shaping the Abuja Declaration, which was passed at the Pan African Conference on Reparations held in Abuja, Nigeria, April 27-29, 1993. This declaration states, in part that "Convinced that the issue of reparations is an important question requiring united action of Africa and its Diaspora and worthy of active support of the rest of the international community;
Fully persuaded that the damage sustained by the African peoples is not a thing of the past but is painfully manifest in the damaged lives of contemporary Africans from Harlem to Harare and in the damaged economics of Africa and the Black World from Guinea to Guyana, form Somalia to Surinam;
Convinced that numerous episodes of looting, theft, and larceny have been committed on African people, calls upon those in possession of their stolen goods, artifacts and other traditional treasures, to restore them to their rightful owners the African people."
As we prepare to participate in the United Nations World Conference Against Racism that will be held in Durban, South Africa, August 31st September 7th this year, it is important to arm ourselves with the best information from our best thinkers and activists.
It is in this spirit that we invite the community to come out and experience the wisdom and insights of the Honorable Dudley J. Thompson an elder and leader in the African struggle for reparations. Hope to see you on Saturday, January 27th!
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