"A VISION BEYOND THE DREAM"
The Harvest Institute
623 Florida Avenue, NW
Washington, D.C. 20001
May 11, 2001 For More Information Call Joann
For Immediate Release Anderson 301-564-6075
Harvest Institute Announces Research Initiative to
Establish Legal and Monetary Basis for Reparations for Black Americans
WASHINGTON— The Harvest Institute, a nationally recognized black think tank announced that it is embarking on a national fact-finding mission to identify who and how black people were economially exploited, physically abused, and culturally crippled by centuries of slavery and Jim Crow segregation. The Institute will develop the legal theories, financial justifications, and facts to support reparations. The Institute's fact finding mission is predicated on the belief that the American system of social democracy is obligated to deliver justice to those who society has treated unjustly.
The Harvest Institute has national support from black elected officials, community organizations, black chambers' of commerce, and business groups. It is seeking sources of information about specific instances in which private parties, businesses, and various levels of government supported and directly or indirectly profited or otherwise benefitted from the laws and public policies of full black slavery and Jim Crow semi-slavery. Those laws and policies denied the natural rights of black people to enjoy life, liberty, pursuit of happiness and the fruits of their own labor. The Institute intends to identify individuals with historically documented links to slavery and Jim Crow, collect primary research materials, and hold public hearings. The Institute's findings will serve as a legal-moral basis for black people's reparations claims.
According to Dr. Claud Anderson, President and CEO of the organization, "Reparations for black people is no longer a far fetched issue for parlor room discussions. It is now a necessity. Black Americans are a forgotten, non-competitive people. They are on the verge of becoming a permanent underclass. Four centuries of slavery and Jim Crow mal-distributed nearly 100 percent of this nation's wealth, income, resources, businesses, resources, and controls of all levels of government into the hands of the majority white society. Blacks do not own nor control a sufficient amount of anything to be a competitive group, in a competitive society. This nation has systematically forced them to practice capitalism without the benefit of capital. Black Americans are ill-equipped to compete and survive in the 21st century."
Dr. Claud Anderson held the rank of an assistant secretary in the United States Department of Commerce under President Jimmy Carter. He is a popular lecturer and author of the best-selling book, Black Labor; White Wealth: A Search for Power and Economic Justice, which broadly outlines the legal and economic case for black reparations.
Widely recognized as one of America's most influential intellectuals, Anderson has drawn the nation's attention to the issue of race and the advantages of redeveloping and industrializing black urban communities. Anderson argues that the wounds inflicted on black Americans by the legacies of slavery and Jim Crowism are so deep that neither social integration nor civil rights has or can repair the damage. According to Anderson, "It is nonsense to talk about equal opportunity for black people in a society in which racial monopolies guarantee that each succeeding generation of whites inherit approximately 98 percent of this nation's wealth and resources at birth. The amount of wealth that blacks own has been frozen. It was ½ of one percent on the eve of the Civil War and it remains approximately ½ of one percent 140 years later. Similarly, on the eve of the Black Civil Rights Movement, blacks earned 54 cents to the dollar. Today, half of a century later, they earn 57 cents for every dollar that a white earns. These inequalities exist in a society in which wealth and income shape opportunities."
Anderson says, "It is one thing when blacks have difficult lives because of poor individual choices. It is quite another to have to live in a system that imposes inequities because of color. The wealth and income inequalities created by slavery and Jim Crowism have never been corrected and are the primary causes for the offspring of black slaves bearing six to eight times the burden of poverty, homelessness, unemployment, broken families, dysfunctional schools, poor health, drug abuse, self-hatred, and other pathologies. Without the resources of reparations, neither the social pathologies nor structural racism can be cured."
In this research project, The Harvest Institute will seek to specifically document and financially quantify the injury from both slavery and Jim Crow as two separate but related forms of slavery. It will quantify both specific injury and the disadvantages imposed on 17 generations of blacks while enriching and establishing advantaged lives for whites. These findings will be used for educational and policy purposes and to develop legal theories for reparations similar to those made by Volkswagen and Mercedes-Benz to Jewish Holocaust victims. Jewish victims have received over $52 billion from Germany.
Making restitutions for damages is rooted in our legal system and has been used by industrialized nations as a mechanism for apologizing and correcting institutional wrongs. Restitutions have been made to nearly every group that has claimed injury but black people. White indentured servants received freedom dues. The United States allocated $14 billion to Japan (The Point Four Plan) and Germany (The Marshall Plan) following World War II. Our government just gave over $1 billion to Japanese-Americans for relocating them during World War II. This reparations act was modeled after a 1942 reparations act for American Indians who have received reparations through treaties for nearly two hundred years.
Even though it will be the purview of black people to determine the form of reparations to be demanded, i.e., money, land or tax exemptions, the Institute will seek to craft a formula and make recommendations regarding the amounts, forms, and delivery mechanisms. The initial focus will be on industries such as cotton, textiles, insurance, railroads, banks, tobacco, iron works, shipping lines, furniture companies, farm equipment, sugar, and other food stuffs.
The Institute's research will take a two- tiered focus: 1) full slavery and 2) Jim Crow semi-slavery. The hearings and research findings will be made public on an on-going basis. For more information, contact The Harvest Institute at 301-564-6075.