The United Nations is slowly working on establishing a permanent memorial to the victims of the infamous trans-Atlantic slave trade. In Washington, D.C., the construction of the African American Museum has begun. The United States Senate has issued an "apology" for slavery. And in my home state of North Carolina, Gov. Bev Perdue has just called for the state to spend $10.3 million in "reparations" to the victims of a vicious eugenics state program that sterilized thousands of people against their will. Most of those who were unjustly and savagely sterilized were black. Again, no amount of money could ever justify or rectify that awful and callous past. Still, Gov. Perdue's actions are the right steps at the right time. Healing is a longterm process. It takes time. The perpetrators of racism need a "repairing" of their minds and hearts.
It is interesting to note that even amidst a recovering of the American economy from the threshold of severe economic ruin, billions of dollars are being spent by candidates and campaigns for political office throughout the U.S. like they have unlimited money-trees to spend without reservation or limitation. The point here is so much of the "old money" and ingrained wealth of the nation came directly from the systematic economic exploitation of African people during 500 years of slavery and post-slavery institution- building. That is why it will take a tremendous calculation to determine a full accounting of the financial and human toll of the slave trade and its aftermath. Harper's magazine did a study that concluded that the U.S. owes black Americans more than $100 trillion in reparations. It is probably more than that.