The Kamm Howard Controversy: Reparations Activists Warn Against His Anti-Lineage Stance

The Kamm Howard Controversy: Reparations Activists Warn Against His Anti-Lineage Stance


Kamm Howard (Photo: C-Span screenshot, Nov. 16, 2021)

Correction: Kamm Howard is the director of Reparations United, launched in 2020 to push for a presidential executive order for reparations. Howard is a former national co-chairman of the National Coalition of Blacks for Reparations in America (N’COBRA). An earlier version of this article stated otherwise.

Kamm Howard, a prominent figure in reparations activism, has long taken a stance many other reparation advocates passionately disagree with.

Howard is the director of Reparations United, launched in 2020 with a mission to educate and inform people about the central points to the movement for reparations. Howard and the group are actively pushing for the president to pass an executive order for reparations.

For Howard, all Black people in the U.S. should be eligible for reparations.

Howard is a former long-term member and national co-chairman of the National Coalition of Blacks for Reparations in America (N’COBRA). He has worked closely with various members of Congress, according to the website for Congress.

Howard served as the chairman of the Legislative Commission for 12 years, collaborating closely with the late U.S. Congressman John Conyers. Rep. Conyers introduced the federal reparations bill, now known as HR 40, in 1989.

In 2017, Howard was elected as the National Male Co-Chair of N’COBRA, a position to which he was re-elected in 2019. He later joined Reparations United.

Howard worked alongside Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee to advance HR 40 through Congress, though the legislation has been stalled.

Howard’s push for a presidential executive order on reparations that would likely not be lineage-based but instead be a blanket reparations program has sparked a debate.

Reparationist Arthur Ward–Freedmen Chicago tweeted, “‘Working With’ Kamm Howard and Reparations United is like Martin Luther King and the SCLC ‘Working With’ the Grand Dragon and the Ku Klux Klan.”

He added, “Where would you go? Working together to do what? No overlap of goals. No chance of compromise. It’s either race-based or lineage-based. Only one can occupy the winner’s place.

“Should we all be working for NAARC and N’COBRA? If not – then what are we ‘working together’ to do? California has already shown that lineage and race can’t work together. An Executive Order means that the lineage-based people will be walking into a pre-stacked trap. That we worked to make happen.”

Ward added, “We have already made a mistake when we promoted HR40. That only benefitted the Axis. I don’t think we need to be bent over again with this Executive Order bullshit. This is a bag-grab expediency. That we cannot fall for. Leimert Park – or not.”

In another post, Ward made it clear who he did not think had the best interest of the reparations movement at heart and stressed he would not support Howard or the organization.

“Now let me make this clear – I will never work with (slick) Kamm Howard, NAARC, N’COBRA, nor any supporter of HR40. Executive Order?” he asked in part of his post.

The online dust-up seems to stem from posts by another reparationist, Tara Perry, who is pro-executive order. Some seem to believe she is encouraging the reparations movement to embrace Howard.

” I’m very concerned that she suggests we work with Kamm Howard, NAARC & NCOBRA,” April Showers posted.

Showers embedded a tweet by reparations advocate and filmmaker Tariq Nasheed. Nasheed wrote, “Some of these sleeper cell democratic shills who lurk in real #FBA grassroots spaces are showing their hands. Like (repeatedly) failed, wannabe ‘politician’ Tara Perry, who tried to start some clumsy beef with me out of nowhere.”

Meanwhile, Perry tried to clarify her stance. She tweeted to Ward, “@Apanage21 U KNOW I support lineage and so do the fellas on stage. Sick of ppl who impede progress because you’re stuck in your ways. At this point YOU are MORE invested in the fighting because your brand is attached to it THAN achieving Reparations.”

This was in response to Ward in which he wrote, “Another slick marketing trick by The NAARC/N’COBRA Axis via Kamm Howard’s ‘Reparations United’. This is an attempt to make the Reparations movement look united in the eyes of unenlightened people (which unfortunately is the majority). I am particulately dismayed…”

American Descendants of Slavery Movement co-founder Yvette Carnell stepped into the fray and posted, “To those joining forces with N’COBRA, NAARC etc to get an executive order on reparations —you’re walking into a trap What we learned during the HR 40 debacle is that the CBC & Black Washington DC elites are Pan Africanists.’

Veteran reparations scholar Dr. Sandy Darity had this to say on Twitter/X: “Money mismanagement issues, while important, and personality clashes obscure essential disagreements over the shape of reparations for black American descendants of U.S. slavery. The NAARC/NCOBRA axis doesn’t support lineage based black reparations nor prioritize direct payments.”

Kamm Howard (Photo: C-Span screenshot, Nov. 16, 2021, https://www.c-span.org/video/?516126-1/representative-jackson-lee-news-conference-genetic-damage-study)