THE REPARATIONS MOVEMENT INTENSIFIES

By Dr. Conrad W. Worrill (June 28, 2001)

Throughout this country, and other parts of the African World Community, African people, on a daily basis, are discussing the demand for reparations. In the stores I shop in, the gas stations, the street corners, and in my daily activities, the discussion of reparations is constantly brought up. It is my observation that most African people in America, and other parts of the world, are clear that some form of reparations is due to African people for what historically happened to us and continues to happen to us in all of its manifestations today.

The spirit of our ancestors has instilled in African people a profound sense of not forgetting what they endured by the assaults of the Europeans on Africa. African people seem to be clear that our ancestors became prisoners of war and "were placed in detention camps and then transported to the Americas to be enslaved by the benefactors of their captors." Further, African people understand that "no African began his or her ordeal as a slave. Africans were reduced to slavery by conquest."

Deep down in the spirit of African people a river flows, it flows through our veins causing a stirring in our souls. This stirring in our souls stimulates us to want to vindicate the capture and enslavement of our ancestors. This spirit penetrates our connection to all of our African ancestors who perished in the African Holocaust of Enslavement that we refer to as the Maafa. The term Maafa is a Ki-Swahili word for indescribable disaster that we are now using to tell our own story.

Our ancestors "were innocent victims of these heinous systems of forced labor. They were never able to comprehend being seized in early morning attacks on their villages by vicious raiding parties. They were never able to understand why they were being sold by the avaricious African middleman. They could never fathom why they were being marched in fetters and chains to the coast of Africa where they were bartered for European merchandise, especially rum and guns. They could never appreciate why they were being warehoused in hell-like dungeons in Elmina and Goreé."

The vindication of the African Holocaust of Enslavement or the Maafa, and the continued assaults on African people by the white supremacy forces, through the former slave trading nations of England, France, Germany, Spain, Portugal, and the United States, have inspired African people worldwide to join the ranks of the Reparations Movement, thus causing this movement to intensify.

This intensity was felt at the recent 12th Annual Convention of the National Coalition of Blacks for Reparations in America (N`COBRA) on June 22-24, 2001 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. This convention was held on the beautiful campus of Southern University, one of the historical Black colleges. More than 500 hundred brothers and sisters from over thirty states participated with great enthusiasm during this three-day convention. The work of N`COBRA, since its founding in 1988, has helped spark the mass character of the Reparations Movement, and its intensification, that we are witnessing today.

One of the significant highlights of the convention was the Saturday morning Sunrise Tour to the plantation corridor several miles outside of Baton Rouge. On one of the plantations, Sister Kathie Hambrick has established the River Road African / American Museum. On this plantation we were able to feel the spirits of our ancestors as we participated in the libation ritual.

In part, the leader of this libation ritual led us in the ceremony with the following:

This was a profoundly moving ceremony that greatly touched all of us.

The intensity of the Reparations Movement was felt on Tuesday, June 19, 2001 at Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney’s Black Caucus Roundtable discussion on the upcoming United Nations World Conference Against Racism that will be held in Durban, South Africa from August 31st through September 7, 2001. The testimonies and presentations from Atty. Adjoa Aiyetoro of N`COBRA, Atty. Nkechi Taifa of Howard University School of Law, Viola Plummer and Atty. Roger Wareham of the December 12th Movement, Dr. Raymond Winbush of Fisk University and myself, put into perspective the spirit of our ancestors by affirming the position of the Africa Group Resolution that:

    1. The Trans Atlantic Slave Trade and Slavery was a Crime Against Humanity;
    2. The Economic Roots of Racism;
    3. Reparations for Africans in the Diaspora and on the African Continent.

The intensity of the Reparations Movement will continue to flourish at the Twenty-

second Annual National Black United Front Convention that will be held in San Francisco, California, July 12-15, 2001. The theme of this year’s convention is, Reparations: The Key to the African Struggle— Building a Black Mass Movement Through Block-By-Block Organizing.

There is no question about it— the Reparations Movement is intensifying as we organize and mobilize to vindicate the spirit of our ancestors!

 
National Chairman
National Black United Front (NBUF)


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