Updated: Jul 5
Picnics and parades, concerts and cookouts, festivals and fireworks. The fourth of July celebrations have begun.
After fighting for independence from British rule during the American Revolution, on July 2, 1776 the Second Continental Congress voted to approve a Resolution of Independence to establish a new country. Two days later on July 4, 1776, the Declaration of Independence was adopted and signed.
There were many issues that the original 13 colonies had with Great Britain but money being root of all evil was the straw that broke the camel's back. No taxation without representation was chanted as a proverbial fuck you to the British crown.
Looking back on history whenever white men did not get their way, the protest and wars fought for their causes have been memorialized. These men have been chronicled as heroes no matter how monstrous they really have been. The same cannot be said for people of color. And by people of color, I mean black people in particular.
How ironic is it that the Civil War is looked at as a stain on American History; yet Honest Abe is one of the greatest presidents to have served in office? How can Nat Turner's 'Slave Rebellion' been marked by lives lost rather than the cause of the rebellion?
In celebrating this nation's independence, so many questions come to mind about the freedoms of African Americans. After the Civil War ended, the United States government promised a plot of land and a loaner mule to formerly enslaved farmers. The government broke this promise when President Andrew Jackson reversed the Freedman's Bureau Act.
The African American community has never forgotten the promise of 40 acres and a mule. Spike Lee named his production company after this broken promise as a reminder of what we are working for and towards.
In recent years, there has been a serious call to action for reparations for slavery, Ta-Nehisi Coates wrote an article titled "The Case for Reparations" in 2014 that focused on the ways slavery, Jim Crow and continued descrimation has negatively impacted our communities. H.R. 40, a bill for reparations, was presented to and denied by congress for 18 years, yet Representative John Conyers Jr. from Michigan continued to bring it to the table until he retired in 2017.
Now that social media grants us a platform that major news outlet cannot silence, it seems that more politicians are getting on the bandwagon, it will be interesting to see how this plays out in the upcoming Presidential election.
As a people we must educate ourselves on the history of reparations and the impact H. R. 40 will have our communities.