Black Americans Speak Out About What Reparations Would Mean For Them

Black Americans Speak Out About What Reparations Would Mean For Them


Photo: Ray "Two Hawks" Watson in Providence, R.I. (AP / Steve Senne)

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 and Jade Harriell co-hosted the Foundational Black American “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 coined the phrase Foundational Black American, which he said is not a group but a lineage. FBA describes the descendants of the Black people who survived “one of the greatest atrocities” in recorded history – American slavery, according to the Foundational Black Americans Cultural website.

The “Rally 4 Reparations” attracted social media Influencers, community activists, professionals and pro-Black American leaders in the reparations movement. The rally was held at Freedom Plaza and there were between 3,000-4,000 people in attendance, according to the rally’s organizers.

“It was amazing to be able to galvanize so many people in a short period of time, to all come together in solidarity to emphasize the need for tangible resources owed to Foundational Black Americans,” Nasheed told Moguldom Nation.

Harriell, who outlined the five requirements for reparations based upon international law during the rally, echoed Nasheed’s sentiment.

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“The dominant society can feign ignorance as to what’s owed for our Black American Holocaust no more. Our ethnic group descended on The Nation’s Capital in large numbers to demonstrate to the establishment that we are actively organizing to make reparations a reality,” Harriel said in a statement to Moguldom Nation. “We demand complete reparations as defined by international law – compensation, restitution, rehabilitation, satisfaction, and the guarantee of non-repetition. No bluffs, no shortcuts, no half-stepping. Total repair only!”

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

Featured speakers included 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; historian Dr. Kaba Kamene; Congressional Candidate Gregg ‘Marcel’ Dixon of South Carolina; Connie Collins and other guests.

Figaro explained her aim as a speaker.

“My goal was to utilize my political expertise to present one of many solutions to advance reparations through the political process,” Figaro told Moguldom Nation. “One of the ways is to encourage people who support reparations to run for office, so they will have the power to introduce legislation. Although it is important to hold current leadership accountable, we must understand that many of those in current leadership may never change their mind, so we must prepare to be the change we want to see. I also presented many other solutions, such as starting a super PAC and more.”

National 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 [an] acknowledgment of truth,” Rally attendee Ishia House of Oakland, Calif., told NPR’s Dwyer.

When asked why 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, it’s 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.

“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,” Belnavis said. “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.”

***PLEASE NOTE: This article was updated to include comments from Tariq Nasheed, Jade Harriel and Tezlyn Figaro as well as corrected to show Nasheed coined the term Foundational Black American, which he describes as a lineage, not a group or organization. A prior version of this article labeled Nasheed as the FBA founder and FBA as an organization.***

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)