Many Americans' understanding of the idea of reparations for African slavery in the U.S.
stems from Union General William Tecumseh Sherman's field order
that slaves made refugees by his march through the South be given parcels of Charleston's former sea island plantations and one of a surplus of Army mules.
In an NYT op-ed
, Harvard's Dr. Henry Louis Gates, Jr. expands on the controversial argument
that African slaves brought to the Americas
were themselves captured, transported and sold by other elite Africans
(Links from AMA to the West Africa Review are all borked, so here is the West Africa Review
. Use vol. and issue numbers in AMA link to navigate West Africa Review site.)
Interestingly, Gates seems to be proposing that African nations that captured, transported and sold Africans to European slavers should be asked to pay some portion
of these reparations. He proposes that reparations be taken under consideration by the Obama administration, given that the President, an African-American born of an African and an American, is uniquely qualified to assess the realities and responsibilities of such a debt.
Sen. Obama in 2007 on the notion of a presidential "apology"
or other action for slavery
Candidate Obama's view in 2008 that "the best reparations...are good schools in the inner city and jobs for the unemployed."
Gates' argument includes supports from Boston University historians John Thornton and Linda Heywood
The role of Africans in slavery has long been the subject of debate in the African American and West African artistic
and scholarly communities
One key support from Gates piece: The Transatlantic Slave Trade Database
Other references noted by Gates, including apology from former Benin (Dahomey in colonial days) president Mathieu Kérekou
for that country's role in slavery
Previously on reparations and Gates
Previously on reparations from Japan to "comfort women"
Previously on Tulsa Race Riots of 1921 and reparations
Searching "reparations + slavery
" in MetaFilter brings up several relevant older FPPs but with dead primary links.
Reparations from Germany for WWI via Treaty of Versailles
DM1 billion from Germany to State of Israel for WWII (as of 2005) and USD1 billion+ from US to American Japanese for WWII internment
Attempts by Bikini Islanders to gain reparations
from US from atomic testing damages
From the American Bar Association: The Legal Basis of the Claim for Reparations