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Black Americans Speak Out About What Reparations Would Mean For Them


A large majority of Black Americans (77 percent) say the descendants of slaves should be repaid in some way, according to Pew Research.

On Nov. 5. Tariq Nasheed’s Foundational Black American held the “Rally 4 Reparations” in Washington, DC.

Nasheed is a film producer and social media personality. He is best known for his Hidden Colors film series, as well as his social commentary. He is currently building the Hidden History Museum in Los Angeles’ historically Black Leimert Park neighborhood.

Nasheed is also the founder of the Foundational Black Americans organization. Foundational Black Americans are the descendants of the Black people who survived “one of the greatest atrocities” in recorded history–American slavery, according to the website.

The “Rally 4 Reparations” event attracted social media Influencers, community activists, professionals, and pro-Black American leaders of the reparations movement for Black Americans. “Rally 4 Reparations” was held on the Washington Mall.

The event outlined the reparations debt owed to Foundational Black Americans, based on government sanction slavery, ancestry, and lineage, EUR reported.

Featured speakers included Rizza Islam of the Nation of Islam; political consultant Tezlyn Figaro; political analyst Dr. Boyce Watkins; Professor James Small, an Associate Professor of Art History and Theory at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County; Dr. Ma’at E. Lewis, a licensed counseling psychologist and an Associate Professor of Counseling at John Jay College of Criminal Justice; historian Dr. Kaba Kamene; Congressional Candidate Marcel Dixon of South Carolina; Connie Collins and other guests.

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Nation Public Radio photographer Dee Dwyer attended the “Rally 4 Reparations” and photographed and interviewed several attendees.

“Reparations mean acknowledgment. It’s acknowledgment and proof of everything that I’ve been learning, everything that I’ve been teaching my children. That we are the builders and the creators of everything and just that we’ve been taught lies and to get reparations, like I said, it’s acknowledgment of truth,” Rally attendee Ishia House of Oakland, Calif., told NPR’s Dwyer.

When asked by reparations are needed, Imrah Knotti of Baton Rouge, La., answered, “That’s the first time I’ve been asked this question. But if I had to sum up and make it short, of course, is to try to correct a wrong that was done to my people, my ancestors. But it’s also a debt that needs to be paid that can help further the generations that come out.”

For Kevin Belnavis, from New Brunswick, New Jersey, reparations is about paying off a debt to the descendants of slaves. He said, “What reparations means to me is the payback for 400 years of slavery, Jim Crow and non-stop brutality that has been going on ever since. We need some kind of reparations to take care of future generations. It may not be around for me, but the future, our future, is in the hands of our youth. And that’s what’s most important.”

Photo: Ray “Two Hawks” Watson stands in front of a home once owned by his grandmother where he lived in Providence, R.I. He is a member of Providence’s recently formed reparations commission. (AP / Steve Senne)

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