It is always interesting to me to hear folks say reparations is a concept that makes no sense because the slaves are dead. Finding their descendants might be difficult if not impossible and then how does one put a dollar tag on what is owed?
Let me tell you a little story: My daddy's daddy, Mr. Lee Jackson, was a sharecropper in Ariton, Alabama. Daddy, his mama, Mrs. Georgia Jackson, and his brothers and sisters picked cotton on that farm to help their family make ends meet. Daddy dropped out of high school at the age of 15 to help his daddy and family tend to that farm. Daddy was brilliant. Could calculate fractions in his head, but he didn't have the luxury to pursue that. Imagine what he could have made had he had the opportunity to go to college? Reparations.
In case you don't know what a sharecropper is, they are tenant farmers who give a part of each crop as rent to the white person who owns the land they farm. Often times, this white landowner owned a store where he allowed the Black family to buy things "on credit" like seeds and equipment and dry goods or anything else the black family couldn't make on their own. They made it seem like these stores were there to help, but really they were there to further tie the black families to these crooked white families. Reparations.
So, my daddy and his family would struggle and strain all year to plant the crop and harvest the crop. Then they would put on their Sunday best and go see the white man they farmed for to see if maybe, THIS YEAR, they actually made a little something. That maybe THIS YEAR they would have some extra dollars to sock away for a rainy day. Reparations.
My daddy, M.C. Jackson, said not ONE time did they ever go to "see the books" and get told, "you broke even" or "you made a profit." No, EACH and EVERY harvest season that old white man (whose white family STILL profits from his crookedness to THIS DAY) would say to my grandfather, "Well, Lee. You still owe me so I guess we'll check back in on your account next year." And Grandpa Lee , and Grandma Georgia, and my daddy and his siblings would leave that white man's store dejected. Heartbroken. Defeated. Reparations.
Pay my family for that. Make good on those lies because daddy said, "those books were cooked." Remember, my daddy knew math, but he also knew better than to argue against an old white man.
So, you don't want to pay us back for the kidnapping and enslavement of our ancestors. Let's go back one generation or two, then. Find those white families STILL benefiting from Jim Crow, unearth those crooked books, and make THEM make restitution for their sorry ass relatives.
How about we do that? And then we can call it even. Below are the photos of my ancestors of whom I struggle every day to live up to and to impress. Every word I write is ALWAYS in their honor.
PHOTOS: Grandpa Lee and his dogs, Grandma Georgia, and my daddy, M.C. Jackson