Minister Bernice King – the youngest daughter of civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. – says there cannot be reconciliation in America without making reparations to Black Americans.
“Reparations is a real, pressing need. And it is right and just,” King tweeted on Friday, Dec. 3. “How can any leader in this nation earnestly call for unity and reconciliation concerning America and Black people without urgently committing to economic reparations?”
King wrote the tweet in response to the demands for retroactive reparative justice from the former residents of a Black town in Georgia that was destroyed more than 50 years ago to make way for a university.
According to NBC News, Linnentown was a 22-acre, self-sustained, thriving Black town in Athens, Georgia, prior to integration. It was destroyed in the 1960s through an urban renewal contract to make way for the University of Georgia.
Now, former residents like Hattie Thomas Whitehead, who lived in Linnentown when she was a child, have formed the Athens Justice and Memory Project to focus “on addressing the history and impact of Urban Renewal in Athens-Clarke County.”
“We were happy children,” Whitehead said. “It was a close-knit community in the Deep South before integration. We had a play area that the teenagers built for us. We had family Easter egg hunts. We had community baseball games. We played all over the community. Until urban renewal hit.”
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This isn’t the first time King has spoken out about her belief that it is necessary to give reparations to Black Americans. Like her legendary father, she believes economic justice is necessary to right the wrongs of systemic racism and white supremacy which are interwoven in the fabric of America.
The executive director of The King Center, Minister King expressed her pro-reparations sentiments in a video she posted on Twitter in October after learning that President Joe Biden and his administration were considering paying $450,000 to immigrant families separated at the border.
“My heart is extremely heavy right now,” King said in the video. “While I, like so many of you, care deeply for the families separated at our borders and believe that assisting them is the just thing to do, I question how the president of this nation has it in his heart to consider this without expressing and working to fulfill the need for reparations for Black people who have endured generations of physical and relational, psychological and legislative, and yes, economic trauma.”
King reiterated her stance on Dec. 8, tweeting a video of her father speaking on how Congress has passed acts to help other groups by giving away land but refused to deliver on providing the land it promised Black people.
She asked some very relevant questions about people’s opposition to delivering reparations to Black Americans in the accompanying tweet.
“Why is it that when we start discussing reparations for the descendants of Africans enslaved on this land to build wealth for this nation, people become very inquisitive?” King asked. “‘Where will the money come from?’ Why is it needed?’ Google how slavery still impacts resources today.”