Renowned scholar and Howard University Professor Nikole Hannah-Jones recently called on all nations that participated in the Transatlantic Slave Trade to pay reparations for the array of harms they caused Black people.
“It is time for the nations that engaged in and profited from the transatlantic slave trade to do what is right and what is just. It is time for them to make reparations to the descendants of chattel slavery in the Americas,” Hannah-Jones said. “This is our global truth, a truth we as human beings understand with stark clarity: There can be no atonement if there is no repair.”
The Pulitzer-Prize-winning creator of “The 1619 Project” made the comments in March during a speech she gave at the United Nations as its general assembly marked the International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade, which falls on March 25 annually.
Known for being direct about the atrocious and lingering effects of slavery, Hannah-Jones also shared her personal background as “the great-great-grandchild of enslaved men and women born here in the United States of America, part of the millions who lived and died under the brutal, immoral and inhumane system of chattel slavery that existed for the first 250 years of the land that would come to think of itself as the freest nation in the history of the world.”
She spoke about how strongly Black people resisted as well as what an insult it is to try and “justify slavery by stripping us of our collective humanity.” She went on to detail a variety of examples of Black people across the African Diaspora who rebelled against the inhumanity, bondage and injustice imposed on them in the respective parts of the world where they were enslaved.
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“But we, the people of the African diaspora, should not have to find ourselves still resisting,” Hannah-Jones said during her speech. “It is long past time for the European colonial powers, for the United States of America to live up to their own professed ideas, to become the great and moral nations that they believe themselves to be. It is not enough to simply regret what was done in the past; they are obligated to repair it.”
“It is time — it is long past time — for reparations for the transatlantic slave trade and all the devastation that it has wrought, and all the devastation that it continues to reap,” she continued.
Hannah-Jones’ speech was rebroadcast on June 20 by Democracy Now to commemorate Juneteenth, which was designated an official federal holiday last year.
PHOTO: Nikole Hannah-Jones attends the Legal Defense Fund’s 34th National Equal Justice Awards Dinner at Jazz At Lincoln Center on Tuesday, May 10, 2022. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)