The topic that I am addressing is reparations for African Americans. If you don’t know what reparations is, it’s making amends for a wrong done, by paying money to or otherwise helping those who have been wronged. As you might know, slavery lasted about 246 years. In these years, Black people were treated like animals with brutal punishments and toture, in some cases causing death. Slaves were beaten, whipped, branded, raped, separarted from families, had limbs amputated, had to go through brutal work in the sun, awful housing conditions, and just a dreadful life. When slavery was ambolished and slaves were released, June 19, 1865, slaves had no where to go, nothing they could call their own. The United States gave former slaves 40 acres and mule for the hardship they faced. Well, after Abraham Lincoln was assassinated; no longer the president, the new president (Andrew Jackson) reversed that law and paid former slave owners reparations for their lost property (slaves).
Till this day, the United States has not given African Americans reparations for slavery. You might say, that was a long time ago, well the past affects the future. White slave owners got a lot of profit off of slaves and that money was passed down to their descendants. That money (slave money) fueled the country’s economy while suppressing wealth for the enslaved. In Brookings. Edu: Why we need reparations for Black Americans. It says, “ Today, the average white family has roughly 10 times the amount of wealth as the average Black Family. White college graduates have over seven times more wealth than Black college graduates”. Caucasian have benefited a lot from Black people’ s pain and struggle. Slaves even built famous architectural buildings like the White House and the United States Capitol. The main thing slaves did was gather cotton, that value placed on cotton produced by enslaved Black people was $250 million.
Reparations are common in the U.S, that’s what makes it more shocking. Native Americans have received land and billions of dollars for various benefits and programs because European Americans stole over their land and called it their own. For Japanese Americans, $1.5 billion was paid to those who were interned during World War I. The United States even helped Holocuast victims get their reparations when this country wasn’t the cause of their suffering. But the United States did toture Black people yet they have not gotten a single drop of money or compensation.
Regarding who would get reparations, it would be descendents of enslaved people. It would most likely take time, knowing the population of African Americans but it is time worth taking. To clarify who would not, if you are not a Black American and your ancestors weren’t enslaved you would not get reparations. Reparations can be in any form: business grants, housing grants, money, etc.
In conclusion, it is immoral that Black Americans have yet to get any compensation or an apology at that. So, the United States needs to take that step and give us the reparations that we deserve.
Gioy Smart – Trinity High School – DMSF Class of 2026