[House Hearing, 110 Congress]
[From the U.S. Government Printing Office]
LEGACY OF THE TRANS-ATLANTIC SLAVE TRADE
SUBCOMMITTEE ON THE CONSTITUTION,
CIVIL RIGHTS, AND CIVIL LIBERTIES
COMMITTEE ON THE JUDICIARY
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
ONE HUNDRED TENTH CONGRESS
DECEMBER 18, 2007
Serial No. 110-63
Printed for the use of the Committee on the Judiciary
Available via the World Wide Web: http://judiciary.house.gov
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COMMITTEE ON THE JUDICIARY
JOHN CONYERS, Jr., Michigan, Chairman
HOWARD L. BERMAN, California LAMAR SMITH, Texas
RICK BOUCHER, Virginia F. JAMES SENSENBRENNER, Jr.,
JERROLD NADLER, New York Wisconsin
ROBERT C. ``BOBBY'' SCOTT, Virginia HOWARD COBLE, North Carolina
MELVIN L. WATT, North Carolina ELTON GALLEGLY, California
ZOE LOFGREN, California BOB GOODLATTE, Virginia
SHEILA JACKSON LEE, Texas STEVE CHABOT, Ohio
MAXINE WATERS, California DANIEL E. LUNGREN, California
WILLIAM D. DELAHUNT, Massachusetts CHRIS CANNON, Utah
ROBERT WEXLER, Florida RIC KELLER, Florida
LINDA T. SANCHEZ, California DARRELL ISSA, California
STEVE COHEN, Tennessee MIKE PENCE, Indiana
HANK JOHNSON, Georgia J. RANDY FORBES, Virginia
BETTY SUTTON, Ohio STEVE KING, Iowa
LUIS V. GUTIERREZ, Illinois TOM FEENEY, Florida
BRAD SHERMAN, California TRENT FRANKS, Arizona
TAMMY BALDWIN, Wisconsin LOUIE GOHMERT, Texas
ANTHONY D. WEINER, New York JIM JORDAN, Ohio
ADAM B. SCHIFF, California
ARTUR DAVIS, Alabama
DEBBIE WASSERMAN SCHULTZ, Florida
KEITH ELLISON, Minnesota
Perry Apelbaum, Staff Director and Chief Counsel
Joseph Gibson, Minority Chief Counsel
Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties
JERROLD NADLER, New York, Chairman
ARTUR DAVIS, Alabama TRENT FRANKS, Arizona
DEBBIE WASSERMAN SCHULTZ, Florida MIKE PENCE, Indiana
KEITH ELLISON, Minnesota DARRELL ISSA, California
JOHN CONYERS, Jr., Michigan STEVE KING, Iowa
ROBERT C. ``BOBBY'' SCOTT, Virginia JIM JORDAN, Ohio
MELVIN L. WATT, North Carolina
STEVE COHEN, Tennessee
David Lachmann, Chief of Staff
Paul B. Taylor, Minority Counsel
C O N T E N T S
DECEMBER 18, 2007
The Honorable John Conyers, Jr., a Representative in Congress
from the State of Michigan, Chairman, Committee on the
Judiciary, and Member, Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil
Rights, and Civil Liberties.................................... 1
The Honorable Trent Franks, a Representative in Congress from the
State of Arizona, and Ranking Member, Subcommittee on the
Constitution, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties................ 3
The Honorable Jerrold Nadler, a Representative in Congress from
the State of New York, and Chairman, Subcommittee on the
Constitution, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties................ 5
The Honorable Steve King, a Representative in Congress from the
State of Iowa, and Member, Subcommittee on the Constitution,
Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties.............................. 7
The Honorable Steve Cohen, a Representative in Congress from the
State of Tennessee, and Member, Subcommittee on the
Constitution, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties................ 9
Professor Charles Ogletree, Director of the Charles Hamilton
Houston Institute for Race and Justice, Harvard Law School
Oral Testimony................................................. 11
Prepared Statement............................................. 13
Ms. Kibibi Tyehimba, National Co-Chair, National Coalition of
Blacks for Reparations in America (N'COBRA)
Oral Testimony................................................. 21
Prepared Statement............................................. 23
Mr. Roger Clegg, President and General Counsel, Center for Equal
Oral Testimony................................................. 28
Prepared Statement............................................. 30
Reverend M. Thomas Shaw, III, SSJE, Bishop of the Diocese of
Oral Testimony................................................. 41
Prepared Statement............................................. 42
The Honorable JoAnn Watson, Council Member, Detroit City Council
Oral Testimony................................................. 67
Prepared Statement............................................. 69
Mr. H. Thomas Wells, Jr., President-Elect, American Bar
Oral Testimony................................................. 72
Prepared Statement............................................. 74
Stephan Thernstrom, Winthrop Professor of History, Harvard
Oral Testimony................................................. 82
Prepared Statement............................................. 84
Professor Eric J. Miller, Assistant Professor of Law, Saint Louis
University School of Law
Oral Testimony................................................. 87
Prepared Statement............................................. 89
Material Submitted for the Hearing Record........................ 104
LEGACY OF THE TRANS-ATLANTIC
TUESDAY, DECEMBER 18, 2007
House of Representatives,
Subcommittee on the Constitution,
Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties,
Committee on the Judiciary,
The Subcommittee met, pursuant to notice, at 10:10 a.m., in
Room 2141, Rayburn House Office Building, the Honorable John
Conyers, Jr. (Chairman of the Committee on the Judiciary)
Present: Representatives Conyers, Nadler, Davis, Ellison,
Scott, Watt, Cohen, Franks, Issa, King, and Jordan.
Also Present: Representatives Delahunt and Jackson Lee.
Staff Present: Kanya Bennett, Majority Counsel; Keenan
Keller, Majority Counsel; David Lachmann, Subcommittee Chief of
Staff; Paul B. Taylor, Minority Counsel; Crystal Jezierski,
Minority Chief Oversight Counsel; and Caroline Mays,
Professional Staff Member.
Mr. Conyers. Good morning. The Subcommittee will come to
I am delighted to call up H.R. 40, a commission to study
reparation proposals for the African American Act, and this
hearing is being conducted through the auspices of the
Subcommittee on the Constitution. Its Chair, Chairman Jerry
Nadler, has kindly agreed to let me move this forward. I am
joined by the distinguished gentleman, Mr. Franks, who has
agreed to be the Ranking Member, as usual, on the Committee. We
will begin by some brief comments. I will put my full statement
into the record.
Essentially, this is a first-time historical examination of
the circumstances surrounding the enslavement trade of Africans
in the colonies in the United States. The purpose of the
measure before us, House Resolution 40, is to create a
commission to examine the institution of slavery, its lingering
effects, and to make a series of recommendations to the
Congress. So we do that through a commission that would
consider a number of questions, and we would have a seven-
person commission--three members appointed by the President of
the United States, three appointed by the Speaker of the House
of Representatives and one member appointed by the President
Pro Tempore of the Senate. These persons would be especially
qualified to serve on the commission by virtue of their
education, training or experience, particularly in the field of
cultural relations, sociological considerations, African
American studies, and other things.
The interesting thing about the way this Committee is
designed is that we do not limit it to merely the
commissioner's testimony. We would have field hearings where
Americans across the country would be able to give their
impressions and their views and opinions. We are delighted that
this effort has now gone beyond the discussion stage,
introduced in 1989, and we come to this hearing about 13 days
from the 200th anniversary of the moment when the abolition of
the trans-Atlantic slave trade took place, where the government
decided that the kidnapping, purchase and commercial export of
Africans would be no more; but it would take 57 years later to
end the institution of slavery in 1865, the 13th amendment,
then the 14th amendment and, following, the 15th amendment,
which were to serve guarantees to Africans and African
Americans of their equal rights and opportunities and
protections. So we are here to not examine what your view is on
reparations in particular, but more as to whether we should
have a study and whether that would be useful and purposeful.
Normally now, our studies are generally a way of
sidestepping some immediate consideration. Most of us know the
drill in the legislature. If you do not want to act on it,
create a study, and that will take the heat off of it for a
This is one of the rare instances where there is resistance
even to a study, and it seems to me that the relationship of
that ugly period of the enslavement trade and how we dealt with
it and how it fit into the very formation of this country is a
very, very important one.
I noticed just in today's paper, on the front page of one
of the big papers, that the incidence of police brutality has
increased 25 percent this year. The dropout rate of African
Americans is double that of anybody else. Schools are now more
segregated than they were 40 years ago. The poverty rate of
African Americans is double the national average; and of
course, in this Committee the mandatory sentencing in the
crack-cocaine minimums, and the disparity, has been revisited.
We have, I think, an optimistic situation developing in that
But one of the things that I would like to have looked at
more--and I am only sorry that this Committee cannot do it--is
to examine the relationship between the institution of slavery
in this country and the present-day effects. What is the
This bill had been introduced 18 years ago, and we have had
a number of legal developments. J.P. Morgan, a couple years
back, established a $5 million scholarship funded for
Louisiana's African students. The next year, a Federal appeals
court ruled that U.S. corporations can be found guilty of
consumer fraud for failing to disclose their roles in slavery,
which is being inquired into quite regularly. Four States have
issued formal apologies for slavery. There have been
documentaries and quite a bit of activity going on, but the
efforts to officially examine the legacy of slavery have been
disjointed and have failed to reach the heart of the issues.
So it seems to me that there ought to be an historical
Federal role that deals with the subject matter. I hope this
will begin a national dialogue. To do what? To heal. Not to
divide, but to bring us together; not to heighten the division
that, to me, is too prominent here.
So to have our witnesses--Professor Ogletree; our cochair
of N'COBRA, Ms. Tyehimba; Professor Clegg; Reverend Father
Shaw; Eric Miller, and others here, Councilwoman JoAnn Watson
from Detroit--it is a great way to start this discussion.
I am happy now to turn to my colleague, the Ranking Member
of this Committee, Mr. Franks, for any observations or
Mr. Franks. Well, Mr. Chairman, thank you so much.
As I have been sitting here listening to some of the things
you have said, it is very compelling and it is very moving,
some of the emotions that are evoked. So I want to start out by
saying that I know that this--you know, when we deal with the
core issue of enslaving our fellow human beings, God's
children, it is an issue that moves us all to the core. It
certainly moves me to the core. I believe with everything in me
that, if I had been alive in those days, I would have been an
abolitionist. It is ironic that the issue that brought me here
to Congress was one that I hold in great parallel, and I know
that it is not easy for me to make the comparison here this
morning, but I feel compelled that I have to do it.
The Dred Scott decision, which is a little over 150 years
old now, said that the black man was not a person in the
Constitution. It quoted and said, ``A Negro whose ancestors
were imported into this country and sold as slaves were not
intended to be included under the word `citizens' in the
Constitution, and can therefore claim none of the rights and
privileges which that instrument provides for and secures to
citizens of the United States.''
In retrospect, it is easy to see the sickness and evil of
such a decision. Yet, I am concerned, Mr. Chairman, that in the
effort to address this, that we may be trying to penalize those
who did not do such a thing and help those who were not the
ones who were wronged in the first place. But I understand the
need to address the issue, especially as we consider the impact
and the effects that it has had today.
The Chairman talked about the impact of today, on today, of
slavery of the past, and I believe he is exactly right. I
believe there has been tremendous effects on this society of
what a terrible tragedy slavery was. It had run rampant
throughout the world for 7,000 years. When it finally came to
America, because we held these truths to be self-evident that
all men were created equal, we had this discourse in our own
souls, and we said this cannot stand. It took a little Civil
War, a Constitutional Convention, as it were, to change that
tragic Supreme Court decision of Dred Scott.
The reason I make that comparison, Mr. Chairman, knowing
that it is difficult for me to do and perhaps for you to hear,
is that I believe that the Roe v. Wade decision of today is so
similar. It takes the unborn children and simply says that they
are not persons under the Constitution. I think if we are going
to address a past tragedy like abortion on demand that took the
right to live of fellow human beings and desecrated who they
were, their human dignity, that we must be very careful not to
be doing the same thing today, because otherwise it robs us of
our moral foundation in the first place. It seems like we are
never quite so eloquent as when we decry the crimes of the past
generation and never so staggeringly blind as when we consider
the crimes against humanity in our own generation.
So, Mr. Chairman, I kind of went off on that, not to really
relate it to my written opening statement. So let me just make
a few formal comments.
Slavery in America was a moral outrage. It is difficult to
imagine a more vile denial of the self-evident truth proclaimed
in our own Declaration of Independence that all men are created
equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain
inalienable rights. Among these are life, liberty, and the
pursuit of happiness.
Now, some have advocated the study of programs that would
grant benefits to some today as compensation for the actions of
others, long dead, who are responsible for creating the evil
legacy of slavery. But I fear that path leads not off one
cliff, but perhaps many. I am afraid such a program would
aggravate racial tensions while being doomed to fail in its
goal of achieving justice today, because it would inevitably
require the government to measure drops of blood or shades of
skin to determine who could qualify for such a program, leaving
America a confusing quilt of alleged victims and victimizers.
Such a program, to avoid chaos, would have to ignore the
jagged edges of history in which Black Africans and Arabs
enslaved the ancestors of African Americans in which there were
thousands of Black slave owners in the antebellum United
States. Such a program would have to gloss over the role played
by thousands of White Union soldiers who died fighting for the
successful abolition of slavery in 1865, and their descendents.
It would also have to gloss over the thousands of nonmilitary
heroes who lost their lives for promoting abolition and for
operating underground railroads. Such a program would have to
factor in the last many decades in which job quotas, racial
preferences and racially derived target goals have been in
The legacy of slavery would also--and this is hard--have to
encompass the actions of leaders in the Democrat Party who are
the most ardent defenders of slavery and of the Jim Crow laws
that followed and of the 1856 decision of Dred Scott that was
handed down. That decision, one of this Nation's very most
notorious and tragic examples of rank judicial activism, denied
Congress the authority to ban slavery in the Federal
territories. But the Democrat Party defended that decision just
as it defends the Roe v. Wade decision of today. In fact, it
was the commitment in the heart of a group of people who said
``slavery was evil'' that gave birth, in a sense, to the
Republican Party in the first place, and that commitment
sustained them in the crucible of a horrible Civil War that saw
the end to this tragic practice of 7,000 years.
With the stroke of a pen, seven Supreme Court justices,
just as they wrote the unborn out of the Constitution,
dehumanizing them, dehumanized slaves to only three-fifths of a
person. Abortion on demand grew out of the Eugenics movement, a
movement known for its racism and devaluing of human life, just
as it was the founding movement of the Nazi Holocaust.
Everywhere we find those who will decry the legacy of slavery
and the atrocities of World War II. We find that everywhere,
and that is right and good. But where are the defenders of the
unborn today, who are the glaring example of repeating a past
tragedy? There are many actors who played roles in the history
of slavery. You would tear the Nation apart to even begin to
try the impossible and to officially separate them once and for
What are the injustices suffered by Latinos and Asian
Americans or Irish and Italian Americans who came here well
after the ratification of the 13th amendment? The legacy of any
reparation's regime would be marked as much for those it left
out as for those it included.
Author Shelby Steele expressed the following concerns
regarding slavery reparations in Newsweek, not too long ago.
Mr. Steele wrote, ``When you do not know how to go forward,
sometimes you find an excuse to go backward. You tell yourself
if you can just get a little more justice for past suffering,
that you will feel better about the challenges you face. So you
make justice a condition of your going forward. But there is no
justice, unfortunately, for past suffering, and sometimes to
believe it only guarantees more suffering.''
Now, Mr. Steele's comments do not reflect my own
perspective completely, but he does make some powerful points.
If we are really committed to making America be that place
where human dignity is held in reverence, above all other
things, then to do that we must first stop the tragedy of the
desecration of innocent human life that takes place today.
Before the sun sets today in America, not 150 years ago but
today, 4,000 unborn children will die. Their mothers will never
be the same; they will each be alone, and all of the gifts that
they might have brought to humanity will be lost forever.
I just hope we will approach this hearing with the intent
to move forward. With that, I look forward to hearing from all
of our witnesses today and with sincere respect for the
Chairman. Thank you.
Mr. Conyers. Well, thank you so much, Randy Forbes, from
Virginia. I mean I am sorry--excuse me--Mr. Franks. Excuse me.
Mr. Franks. He would have said the same thing.
Mr. Conyers. Well, the question that you leave me with is
maybe we should consider holding some hearings on the abortion
question since you raised it so much. Guess who has
jurisdiction over that? The Judiciary Committee.
Mr. Franks. Mr. Chairman, I would be delighted beyond
measure to do that.
Mr. Conyers. All right. I have never linked them up, but
you raise an important consideration that on its own merit
ought to have a hearing. I thank you for your statement. Thank
you very much.
Now I turn to the Chairman of the Constitution Subcommittee
in the Judiciary, the gentleman from New York, Jerry Nadler.
Mr. Nadler. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Chairman, let me begin simply by saying that the
examination of this whole question, which is way overdue, is
not served by distortions of history such as we just heard in
trying to blame slavery on current political parties. Our
ancestors all played different roles in them.
Take a look at a good Democrat like Senator Lyman Trumbull
of Illinois, who was a Democrat, an anti-slavery Democrat, who
joined the Republican Party after defeating Lincoln for the
Senate. He was the chief author of the 13th amendment. After
reconstruction, he returned to the Democratic Party and was
counsel to Samuel J. Tilden, and went on to become the chief
defender of Eugene V. Debs in the Pullman Strike of 1894. He
was a good Democrat. He took a detour into the Republican Party
to oppose slavery. Then he returned to the Democratic Party. I
do not think it serves a function in today's politics to talk
about which political party was responsible in the antebellum
past, 150 years ago.
Let me say that I want to begin by recognizing the
Chairman's, Mr. Conyers', many years of work on this important
Your leadership, Mr. Chairman, has helped move us closer to
the day when this Nation may finally come to terms with its
past and with the consequences of the slave trade that remain
in our Nation today. As America strives to become a more
perfect Union, we must never forget the stains that mark our
past and that still mark our present.
My own city of New York was a major port city and operated
as a hub for the slave trade. African slaves played a key role
in the building of the city, and they directly contributed to
New York's prosperity. Earlier this year, we dedicated the
African burial ground national monument and gave those who were
buried there the proper recognition--or the beginning, I should
say, of the proper recognition and respect they deserve.
This hearing looks not just to the past but to the legacy
of our own history of slavery as it continues to affect race
relations, economics, equality and inequality in present-day
America. It is our duty to ask the difficult questions and to
face up to our responsibility to remedy the ongoing injustice
of that legacy which remains a part of our society. As America
continues to address the impact of slavery, we need to ensure
that the promise of equality becomes a reality. This hearing is
not simply a history lesson, but a careful and critical look at
the society we have become, in part because of our history and
because of our failure to come to terms with that history.
Mr. Chairman, we are now at the 400th anniversary of the
founding of the first English settlement in America at
Jamestown. For 250 of those 400 years, starting a mere 12 years
later, we had chattel slavery of Africans in this country. For
another 100 years after that, totaling 350 years of the 400, we
had de jure segregation, Jim Crow laws and apartheid laws on
the books of our country. It is only in the last 50 years of
that 400-year period--one-eighth--that we have said as a
society that that was wrong.
We have not fixed those problems. We have begun. We have
made considerable progress. We still have a long way to go. It
would indeed be very surprising, after chattel slavery and
apartheid as a matter of law for a total of 350 of our 400-year
history, if we were now free of the legacy and of the effects.
Many of our great fortunes, many of our great corporations were
built and remain standing today on foundations built by the
labor of slaves.
We have as a Nation, Mr. Chairman, looked at our historic
injustices in many other cases. As in the case of the
internment of Americans of Japanese descent in World War II,
not all that long ago, we have acted to recognize the wrong and
to make amends to the extent that is in our power. It is not in
our power to adequately make amends for slavery. It is
certainly in our power to do what we can. Nations that fail to
recognize their own pasts and that fail to overcome them never
truly free themselves from their past.
Today, we begin the task of truly freeing America from its
history of slavery, and I certainly endorse it. As you know, I
have been the cosponsor ever since I have been here, I think of
your bill to establish a commission to examine all of this with
a view toward future action. I think it is imperative that the
United States opens those pages of history further than they
have been opened, that it examines all of this with a clear
eye, that it examines not only our history but the effects
today in our history, and what we can do about it to make our
Nation freer and more just. I thank you for leading this
I yield back the balance of my time.
Mr. Conyers. I thank you so much.
I turn now to the gentleman from Iowa, himself a Ranking
Member of a Subcommittee on Judiciary. We are glad that Steve
King is here with us this morning.
Mr. King. I thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I appreciate being recognized, and I understand that we
have some witnesses who I am very much interested in listening
to, so I will just compress my remarks if I can.
I appreciate the remarks that have been made here by the
other Members of the Committee. Particularly, I focused on
those of Mr. Franks, with whom I wish to associate myself in a
lot of ways, and especially because of the remarks he has made
As I listen to the comments that are made, I think back
through this course of our history, and I think of a time
that--well, in my office, under a glass coffee table, is a
leather-bound New Testament Bible that my great uncle, five
times great, carried with him. It was presented to him--and it
is written in there in pencil in his sister's hand--on the eve
of his departure for the war, which was the Civil War. I would
have to go back and look at the date, but it was 1862. He
walked off to the war on that day. He walked home from the war
and in the door 3 years to the day from the time he left. There
are verses in there that are underlined in pencil. There are
flyspecks on that Bible. It is an old, old document now, but it
is a connection that my family has to the abolitionists within
our history with the legacy of some responsibility that I have
to continue on today.
My great grandfather was killed in the Civil War, and all
of his artifacts were lost in the process. His father was a
founder of the Republican Party, and they were instrumental in
the nomination of Abraham Lincoln because they were
abolitionists, and they paid a price. They paid the price of
the loss of one of their sons, and I would not be here today if
he had not fathered children before he went to the war.
So this is something that runs deeply within me, that has
been part of our family legacy. I have grown up with the
knowledge of this effort. I could go more into family trees.
Six hundred thousand people died in the Civil War, that
constitutional convention that was brought about in such a
brutal fashion, approximately half on each side of that. All of
those killed on the southern side were not killed because they
were fighting to defend slavery, many of them were fighting to
defend States rights, so we cannot presume that it was a half-
and-half situation. I do not know what those numbers might be.
I do know that when I look at that Bible and I think about the
legacy of my family and that that represents the legacy of
thousands and thousands of families in this country, White and
Black, I believe that reparations were paid for in blood more
than a century ago. I believe that we need to pick up and move
I would point out also that if there is a legacy, there are
also legacies left over from government programs that have
affected the families, not just Black families but all families
in America, that have been destructive to the family. I think
Shelby Steele has written about that, who Mr. Franks had
quoted. I know Thomas Sowell has, and I have great reverence
for both of those very intellectual scholars.
I will point out also that if there is a legacy, then there
are legacies for other experiences with slavery. I might direct
your attention to a book written by a professor at Ohio State
University. His last name is Professor Davis. The title of the
book is ``Christian Slaves, Muslim Masters.'' He studied the
history of White slavery in the Mediterranean in the 1500's
just before the legacy of Black slavery in America began.
Through that period of time, that century of the 1500's from
about 1507 or 1508 on until the end of the century, there were
about 1\1/4\ million Christians who were pressed into slavery
by the Barbary pirates. They were put down in the hulls of
those ships, they pulled the oars, they were put into the
construction business, and built the edifices along the Barbary
Coast of the northern coast of Africa.
There is no genetic legacy for them. The men were pressed
into slavery. They were never allowed to reproduce. They were
worked to death or killed, and some of them were just simply
buried at sea when they were worked to death on the oars of
those boats. The women--and there were few of them--were
pressed in as concubines. Occasionally, you will see some blue-
eyed people on the northern coast of Africa. Some believe that
is the legacy.
So my point is that slavery is not unique here to the
United States. It is an abhorrent thing. I think it was worth
the blood, I think it was worth the sacrifice. But I believe
that we owe it to the people who gave their lives for this
freedom. It is a fundamental belief that we have that Mr.
Franks spoke to, and it is in our Declaration. It was a long
time coming to honor the language that was there, but I think
we owe it to them to pick it up and to move forward and to not
be dragging this legacy.
I will be listening to the comments, and I know that it is
heartfelt on the part of the Chairman. We disagree on whether
we should go forward with this because I believe we ought to
look forward to the future. I think we ought to let the legacy
of the past inform our actions for the future, but I do not
believe that any reparations that might come for Americans who
are descended from slaves can possibly be a reparation that
would be equivalent to the reparations that have been paid in
the blood of people who gave their lives to free the slaves.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I yield back.
Mr. Conyers. Thank you, Steve King.
Before the witnesses begin, I am going to yield for a brief
comment from Mr. Cohen, Steve Cohen of Memphis, Tennessee.
Mr. Cohen. Thank you, Mr. Chairman and Members of the
Committee. I appreciate your recognition.
This is an issue that I feel pretty strongly about. I am a
southerner. I was born in Memphis, Tennessee. In my young
years, I witnessed Jim Crow laws. I witnessed African Americans
being relegated to the worst seats at the sports arenas, their
not being able to go to school, their not being able to get
jobs, and their being discriminated against as second-class
I saw White and colored drinking fountains and restrooms
and things that, when you think about it, should not have
existed in a modern era, things that existed 100 years after
the war that Mr. King talks about, the war that might have
freed the slaves but that did not give them real economic and
social freedom. They remained enslaved through the jury laws,
known as ``Jim Crow laws'' in this Nation until 1964, and the
ramifications of those laws and the slavery that we had in this
country continue to this day.
I have read the remarks of some of the gentlemen who are
going to testify, Mr. Chairman. Mr. Clegg writes in his
presentation, ``No one will dispute that slavery and Jim Crow
were horrible and inhumane.''
Remember that one of our Senators said Strom might have
been right? That was just a year ago. A lot of people do not
understand the connection, and they do not understand why this
country is the way it is, and they do not want to apologize.
I have introduced House Resolution 64 that calls for our
country to apologize for the institutions of slavery and for
Jim Crow. Some say, well, this does not involve--nobody is
around today who had slaves. The Senate apologized for
lynching. Nobody is around today that did lynching, but it was
our country that did it and our government that did it and our
government that sanctioned it, and it is an original sin of
this country that needs to be expiated. It can only be expiated
by an official act of this Nation.
Four States have issued apologies: Virginia, Maryland,
North Carolina, and Alabama. Others have considered it. For the
United States of America not to issue an apology--Britain has
done it. The Episcopal Church has done it. For the United
States of America not to issue an apology--that sanctioned
slavery, that permitted it, that fostered it, that benefited
from it--would be wrong.
It is the beginning of a dialogue that can improve this
Nation because the greatest problem this Nation still has today
is racial conflict. It exists not just in Memphis, Tennessee,
but it exists in New York City in Harlem, in Roxbury in Boston,
on the South Side of Chicago, in East St. Louis. It exists
throughout this country, and we need to deal with that issue.
The idea of a study of reparations that Mr. Conyers offers
is a study, and it should be studied and what effects we can
make to ameliorate conditions, economic and social, that have
disadvantaged the minority population in our Nation.
I represent a district that is, by majority, African
American. Some people in my hometown say that I am too Black in
the way I think. Well, they have not looked at my State Senate
record for the last 24 years or been aware of where I have been
with felon voting rights, with Dr. King's birthday, with jobs
programs, with public hospitals, and public education. I guess
I have always been, quote/unquote, ``too Black,'' but for
people who think that, they are unaware of what is going on in
We need to get our act together, and we need to accept the
grievances. We need to look at the grievances of the past and
apologize and have a dialogue and go on and try to have some
effort to make our country better. Some of that deals with not
just social justice that my fellow colleagues on the other side
of this hall or aisle will talk about, but economic justice.
And without economic justice, you cannot really have social
justice. You cannot have it. The fact is we lived through Jim
Crow laws, and those effects are here today. People who were in
separate classrooms are teachers today. Can they teach equally?
The classroom facilities are vestiges of a separate institution
where African American children got used textbooks and did not
get the new schoolrooms and opportunities. All of those things
need to change.
I commend Chairman Conyers for his efforts over the years.
I do not know that he has an exact thought of what his study
would bring about, but a study is a good thing. Before you have
a study, I would submit you need an apology because it begins a
dialogue. And until this country faces the problems that we
have and the conflicts that we have, which are great--and I
think I am unique in having the opportunity to see them because
I have been so involved in my community and have seen them--we
need to find a way to start that dialogue and to bring this
We do not have equal justice. There is disparity in wealth
between wealthy Whites and poor Whites, but it is even greater
among Whites and African Americans as this disparity in wealth
grows and grows and grows, because we have difficulty in
understanding that all men are created equal, and they ought to
have equal opportunities to have life, liberty, and the pursuit
The display of nooses in Louisiana, that is part of the
vestige where people still have this idea of second-class
The idea that some people in the Senate can suggest that
our resolution H. Res. 64 is too strong on what it says about
what happened after the Civil War and during Jim Crow shows
that some Members of the Senate need to get their history books
out wake up and dust off their cause and become 21st century
Americans. This is a problem. We have hidden from it. We have
got our heads in the sand like ostriches, and we need to rise
up with strong backbones, face the facts, apologize for
history, move forward toward a better future. But apologies and
studies go toward the future, and we need to do that.
Mr. Chairman, I thank you very much for this opportunity.
Mr. Conyers. I thank the gentleman for his presentation.
I turn to our first witness on the first panel, the
Honorable Professor Charles Ogletree, who holds the Chair at
Harvard University, Director of the Charles Hamilton Houston
Institute for Race. He is a leading scholar before this
Committee on an almost regular basis. The hearings that we had
on the 1921 Tulsa riots, the Jena Six and other considerations
have brought him before the Judiciary Committee. He has
authored most recently, All Deliberate Speed, reflections on
the first half century of Brown v. Board of Education. He
edited From Lynch Mobs to the Killing State, Race and the Death
Penalty in America.
We welcome you once more, Professor Ogletree. Your
statement will be reproduced in its entirety, and we would like
to hear from you at this point.
TESTIMONY OF PROFESSOR CHARLES OGLETREE, DIRECTOR OF THE
CHARLES HAMILTON HOUSTON INSTITUTE FOR RACE AND JUSTICE,
HARVARD LAW SCHOOL
Mr. Ogletree. Thank you very much, Congressman Conyers. I
appreciate that my statement will be submitted for the record.
I want to thank you, in particular, for having the courage over
the last 19 years to raise H.R. 40.
I want to say a few things beyond which I have written in
the statement. First, I want to respond to Congressman King. It
was very important that he recognized his family's legacy and
the treasures that he could identify dating back to the 1800's.
I cannot, because I come from a people, I come from a place
where that history was destroyed. It was severed. It was
brutalized. So I cannot go back. I know ``Ogletree'' is not
from West Africa, Ghana or Senegal. It is something that was
given to my ancestors after their African heritage was
destroyed. That is why the study is important, to get a sense
I recall as well that my fifth grade social studies
teacher, Mrs. Barry, had a sign on our class that said, ``Those
who fail to understand history are doomed to repeat it.'' I
think it was her suggestion that we should do our work or we
would be in trouble. But it was a broader reflection of the
idea that knowing history is important in order to move
Let me tell you about this issue of studying reparations
and why it is so important. I think it is fair to say that
sorting out the history, the structure, and the magnitude of
slavery is not rocket science; it is harder than that. It
requires an incredible amount of patience, caring, tolerance, a
divisiveness, anger, frustration; but it requires us to look
back in order to move forward. It is also important that we do
it now because we have a history. Almost everything that has
been said today has misrepresented some aspects of history.
Congressman Franks was talking about the three-fifths--he
mentioned the Constitution that only treated African Americans
in three-fifths. They were still slaves. They had no rights.
They could not vote. They could not own property. They could
not participate in democracy. They were not people. The three-
fifths provision was simply not to help slaves; it was to help
slave owners have power in a democracy. So we were written out
of the Constitution from the very beginning, as if we did not
exist, even though we made this country very profitable.
Some of the comments of my colleagues, whom I know well and
with whom I have worked before, later will be talking about the
fact that it is divisive, it is a waste of money, we cannot
identify who should be beneficiaries, we have already addressed
these issues. Those are all points to be made, but that is what
a study is for: to look at these in greater depth. Here is why
we have to study this issue now.
If you look back at our history, Congressman Conyers, in
particular, there are people now who still deny that the
Holocaust existed, that millions of citizens lost their lives
to a tyrant in the 20th century, in the lifetimes of people in
this room and of those watching this broadcast. There are
people who thought that they were right in the 1940's to intern
over 100,000 Japanese Americans as terrorists during the Second
World War, but who had the courage to step forward? It was
people like the Senator from the State of Kansas--a Republican
by the name of Robert Dole--and the Democrat from the State of
Hawaii by the name of Daniel Inouye. They were both veterans of
the Second World War. They were both brutally injured in the
Second World War, but they had the courage, more than decades
after it happened, to say that we have to do something. That is
why the Civil Liberties Act of 1988 was passed, and that was
the impetus for Congressman Conyers to say let us look at the
issue of slavery.
Let us look quickly, with the time I have, at the civil
rights movement. In 1921, with the Tulsa race riot, there is no
relief 86 years later. In 1954, we have Brown v. Board of
Education. A year later, Emmit Till was lynched in Mississippi.
Rosa Parks was arrested on the bus in Montgomery, Alabama. In
1963, Dr. King gave the great march on Washington's speech
about his dream, an aspiration for America. Three weeks later,
3 weeks later, four little girls lost their lives by terrorism
in Alabama. We have come a long way. We have got a long way to
What are people afraid of? That we might find something out
about our history and that we might be able to use it to change
the way we think about it? At a minimum, if nothing else
happens, I hope every Member of this Committee can at least
apologize for slavery. It does not recall legislation. It just
recalls a point of courage. That is not political, that is not
partisan, but the idea to at least start the process of healing
starts with recognizing that something wrong happened from the
Finally, I want to mention that there is a recent book by
Doug Blackmun, a Wall Street Journal reporter, called By Any
Other Name: Looking at the Impact of Slavery and Post Slavery
in the 19th and 20th Centuries.
I hope that those who oppose this hearing and who oppose
the idea of a study will understand from the writing of the
Constitution to the adoption of the Bill of Rights and to every
other step, we have cut people out. This is the time for
inclusion and for every voice to be heard. I urge this
Committee to pass H.R. 40 and to do so with great enthusiasm
and with great commitment to making us one America so that we
can all appreciate our great country and its great value.
Thank you, Congressman.
Mr. Conyers. Thank you so much.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Ogletree follows:]
Prepared Statement of Charles J. Ogletree, Jr.
Mr. Conyers. We now call on the National Cochair of the
National Coalition of Blacks for Reparations in America. The
acronym is N'COBRA. We have here Ms. Kibibi Tyehimba. She and
her organization are longtime friends of many of the Members of
the Committee. In her capacity as cochair, she educates,
organizes, mobilizes around freedom, justice, equality, and
self-determination for the descendents of African slaves.
N'COBRA has been active across the years in securing support
and understanding for reparations and for the study of
reparations. We are delighted to welcome her to the Committee
at this time.
TESTIMONY OF KIBIBI TYEHIMBA, NATIONAL CO-CHAIR, NATIONAL
COALITION OF BLACKS FOR REPARATIONS IN AMERICA (N'COBRA)
Ms. Tyehimba. Thank you, Congressman. Thank you very much
to the entire Committee.
I am here to represent the grassroots perspective. Today, I
would like to pay homage to my African ancestors and give them
voice for the millions who perished during the so-called
``trans-Atlantic Slave Trade'' and who suffered untold
atrocities during the American era of enslavement. Were it not
for their sacrifices, were it not for their strength and
perseverance, we would not be here today nor would Americans be
able to enjoy the standard of living for which this country is
For 246 years, the U.S. Government and prior colonies
participated in one of the greatest holocausts--and by
``holocaust,'' I mean a monstrous loss of life--the greatest
holocaust in American history, the holocaust of enslavement,
for which a system of enslavement like no other in this world
resulted in the loss of millions of African people who perished
and of millions of others who endured every imaginable horror
ever inflicted upon a group of people mainly because of their
race. The U.S. and the prior colonies sanctioned this atrocity
with its Constitution and enforced it with covert and overt
violence, a genocidal process that has destroyed millions of
Africans, and in many respects is still with us today.
Africans produced major consumer goods and services and
provided the stimulus for shipbuilding, banking and insurance
in both the United States and in England. Yet in 1865, the
Federal Government freed 4 million Blacks--in January no less--
and that has kept African descendents locked in a vicious cycle
of poverty that still exists with us.
We strongly believe that the establishment of a commission
would address injury areas that were suffered by enslaved
Africans, which include peoplehood and nationhood, which is a
look at the destruction of African people's culture and the
infringement of the larger culture on African people. It was
also the denial of rights and the resources necessary to be
Examples of that are the Black townships across this
country that were destroyed, such as Greenwood, Oklahoma;
Redwood, Florida; and Wilmington, North Carolina. These
townships were destroyed because of the surrounding White
communities' jealousy and need to suppress models that refuted
their claims of White superiority. The injury included
education. We were denied the right to be educated. Anyone who
attempted to educate us was also punished, and we still see
today that there are separate and still unequal systems that
provide an inferior education to Black people.
In the area of crime and punishment, there are still dual
systems that exist where Black people are penalized more
harshly than Caucasians for the same conduct. We all know very
well of the disparities in terms of wealth and poverty. I need
not go into that. In the area of health, Blacks are still dying
at higher rates than Whites for the same illnesses and when
they exhibit similar symptoms. These are all things that must
In keeping with domestic and international law, reparation
is about human freedom, human justice and the value that this
society places on human life in the past as well as in the
present and future. African life must be viewed equally as
other life because other groups attain reparations both inside
and outside the United States, and which the United States
still supports, such as the Jewish victims of the Holocaust,
the Japanese Americans who were interned during the Second
World War, and Alaska natives for land, labor and resources
that were taken. These are all examples of reparations that
have been paid, and we should not focus on whether a check goes
to African descendents, because reparations go much farther
than that. If we consider changing the systems and
institutions, as an example, that still remain with us and that
keep these dual systems going, that in and of itself would
address some of the issues that are our concern.
As to Congressman Cohen, who is addressing the issue of
apology, an apology, in and of itself, we view as an
opportunity to sidestep the severity of the crimes that were
committed, and if it does not come with an understanding that
some reciprocity needs to be made, some way of paying the
victims for the atrocities that have been inflicted upon them,
then it is disingenuous. We agree that there is no amount of
money that can be sufficient to cover the loss of lives, but we
believe also that we have a solemn responsibility to say what
is rightfully ours and to keep up this fight no matter what. We
understand and we believe very strongly that there must be a
multigenerational, equitable remedy that improves the lives of
African Americans for future generations.
We firmly believe that the passage of H.R. 40 will
facilitate this national dialogue that we have been discussing
here today, and it will demonstrate slavery's link to current
social, health, economic, and political issues that are
pertinent to African descendents. We believe very strongly that
it will acknowledge this mass of human suffering and the tragic
plight of millions of African descendents--men, women and
children who were lost. This is absolutely critical, because
presently the average history book in our schools includes two
paragraphs, no more than that, and usually ridiculous
photographs of darkies appearing like they are enjoying
themselves while they are enslaved. This has got to be
The passage of H.R. 40 and the establishment of the
commission will also allow U.S. residents to make peace with a
significant part of this country's shameful past and end the
intergenerational trauma that it has caused. It will continue
to come up until we address it thoroughly. This is about
getting out the truth. This will also allow the United States
to show that it is committed to peace and justice and the same
human rights standards for which we attempt to hold other
nations around the world accountable.
We firmly believe that H.R. 40 should be passed, and we
urge the entire Committee to come on as cosponsors of this bill
and assist us in doing whatever is possible to move this
forward to a complete vote and acceptance.
Mr. Conyers. Thank you very much.
[The prepared statement of Ms. Tyehimba follows:]
Prepared Statement of Kibibi Tyehimba
I am Kibibi Tyehimba, Co-Chair of the National Coalition of Blacks
for Reparations in America (N'COBRA). I appreciate the opportunity to
testify before members of the Congress during its briefing on the
Legacy of the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade, as this hearing is critical
to understanding the importance of House Resolution 40. Today I pay
homage to my African ancestors, and give voice to the millions who
perished during the so-called Trans-Atlantic slave trade, and who
suffered untold atrocities during the American era of enslavement. Were
it not for their strength, and perseverance we would not be here, nor
would Americans be able to enjoy the standard of living for which this
country is known.
At the request of Dr. Imari Obadele, the founding meeting for
N'COBRA was convened on September 26, 1987 here in Washington, DC, for
the purpose of broadening the base of support for the long-standing
reparations movement. This meeting took place following the
introduction of legislation seeking reparations for Japanese Americans
interned during World War II.
``The mission of the National Coalition of Blacks for
Reparations in America (N'COBRA) is to win full Reparations for
Black African Descendants residing in the United States and its
territories for the genocidal war against Africans that created
the TransAtlantic Slave ``Trade,'' Chattel Slavery, Jim Crow
and Chattel Slavery's continuing vestiges (the Maafa). To that
end, N'COBRA shall organize and mobilize all strata of these
Black communities into an effective mass-based reparations
movement. N'COBRA shall also serve as a coordinating body for
the reparations effort in the United States. Further, through
its leadership role in the reparations movement within the
United States and its territories, N'COBRA recognizes
reparations is a just demand for all African peoples and shall
join with others in building the international reparations
N'COBRA's primary objective, which it met, was to make reparations
a household word and build support nationally and internationally. As a
result, interest in the reparations debate has moved beyond the so-
called ``fringe'' groups to the media, universities; city and state
legislatures; church organizations of every denomination; and civic
associations with members from various socio-economic, political,
racial and ethnic backgrounds. We applaud local and national N'COBRA
leaders and members too numerous to mention here today for their
personal sacrifices made over these last 20 years.
For 246 years, the US government and the prior colonies,
participated in one of the greatest holocausts of human history, the
holocaust of enslavement, during which, millions of African people
perished and millions more endured every imaginable and some
unimaginable horrors ever inflicted upon a group of people solely
because of their group identity and the greed of those who committed
these crimes against humanity. The US and the prior colonies sanctioned
with its Constitution and enforced with covert and overt violence, the
genocidal process that destroyed millions of human lives, human
cultures, and the human possibility inherent in African life and
culture. Millions of Africans were kidnapped, torn from their homeland,
Africa, and their rich cultural heritage. Innocent women, children, and
men were brutally maimed, murdered, raped, terrorized and tortured
during the middle passage voyage to America. Within American shores,
they were denied the right to maintain their language, spiritual
practices and normal family relations. New families created during
enslavement were constantly under the threat of being torn apart at the
whim of the ``slave owner.'' Following the official end of slavery,
racist repression continued, which further destroyed lives, and
communities. However the US has yet to acknowledge this horrific
destruction or to take steps to make amends for it. Following the
official end of slavery, racist repression continued, which further
destroyed lives, communities, and possibilities.
While slavery impoverished Africa, and particularly West Africa, it
played a crucial role in the development of the modern world economy
that is presently dominated by the US. The free labor of enslaved
Africans produced major consumer goods and services, and provided the
stimulus for shipbuilding, banking, and insurance in both the US and
England. Yet after reaping the benefits of free labor, in 1865 the
federal government freed 4 million Blacks in January, no less, to
wander the countryside, one of the coldest months of the winter,
without a dime, with no property, and largely illiterate, leaving few
choices for the freed African peoples other than to exist in virtual
slavery locked in place by Black Codes, convict lease, peonage, and
cleverly crafted share cropping schemes. Jim Crow laws, followed by
institutionalized racism, kept African descendants locked in vicious
cycles of poverty that are still evident today. Presently dual systems
exist in almost every area of life including wealth, poverty, health
care, education, employment, and criminal punishment. Hard-won gains,
such as Affirmative Action, voting rights, the right to equal
education, and equal protection under the law, are being rolled back,
and the victims of generations' old racism and discrimination are being
blamed for their own oppression.
iii. the injuries of slavery defined
Informed, honest historians and social scientists acknowledge the
lingering affects of slavery on present day African American life.
Accordingly, in 1996 and 1997, the N'COBRA Legal Strategies Commission,
chaired by Adjoa A. Aiyetoro, set out to develop an approach to
reparations litigation. The commission's work led to the identification
and documentation of five distinct injury areas suffered by African
people during and after enslavement. The injury areas include:
Peoplehood/Nationhood--The destruction of African
peoples' culture, and the infringement of the larger culture
upon Black people of African descent in the United States and
the prior colonies. Jim Crow and ongoing discrimination have
resulted in a denial of our right to openly express our
culture, appropriation of our culture, and denial of the right
and resources necessary to be a self-determining people.
Throughout this country's history African Descendants' efforts
to be self-determining have been met with violence and
destruction, as evidenced by the untold numbers of Black
townships, such as Greenwood, Oklahoma; Redwood, Florida; and
Wilmington, North Carolina--townships ultimately destroyed
because of the surrounding white community's jealousy and need
to suppress models that refuted their claims of white
Education--The denial of our right to an education
started in slavery with criminal sanctions imposed on our
enslaved ancestors who learned, and anyone who taught them to
read or write. Maintenance of dual, separate but unequal
systems from slavery to the present provided an inferior
education in schools with predominantly Black students of
African ancestry. Federal funds were often provided schools
despite this dual education system--one predominantly Caucasian
and the other for predominantly Black students of African
Criminal Punishment--The enslavement of African
peoples necessitated the development of a dual punishment
system that continues to exist in the U.S. This dual system
punishes Black people of African descent more harshly than
Caucasians for the same conduct. Examples of the dual system
were found from the period of enslavement through the Jim Crow
era. The ongoing discrimination is most vividly evident with
the continuation of disparate punishments for crack and powder
cocaine (Black people of African ancestry are more frequently
charged with possession of crack and certified to the federal
system where a Caucasian person would have to possess 100 times
more powder cocaine than crack cocaine to receive the same
punishment. The result has been a disproportionately higher
number of Black people of African descent being incarcerated
for violation of the drug laws). In addition, Black people of
African descent are subjected to racial profiling and the
disparate imposition of the death penalty where Black men are
more likely to be charged and convicted of a capital offense
than a similarly situated Caucasian and particularly for
killing a Caucasian.
Wealth/poverty--The wealth gap between Black people
of African descent and Caucasians created during the
enslavement of African peoples has been sustained; confiscation
of land and other forms of wealth continue up to present day.
Black people of African descent were forced into poverty
through enslavement, Jim Crow and continuing discrimination in
employment, housing and other economic areas.
Health--The focus is on physical and mental health.
Health knowledge of enslaved Africans was appropriated and
enslaved Africans functioned as non-paid health care providers
for others; the use of Black people of African descent as
subjects for tortuous health experiments (Tuskegee Syphilis
Study) and the denial of quality health care during and post-
slavery. The health injury area also includes the continuing
discrimination in the provision of health care, including the
disproportionately higher rate of closures of hospitals serving
Black communities; lack of access to health insurance to
provide affordable access to health care; the failure to
validate health care protocols for Black people of African
descent; and the failure to provide the appropriate medical
treatment for critical health care symptoms which have resulted
in higher rates of death for Black people of African descent
compared to Caucasians exhibiting these symptoms. Finally, this
injury area includes an examination of post-slavery stress
syndrome, a developing area of investigation by Black mental
health professionals of African descent.
iv. moral and legal justification for reparations
The struggle for reparations for the Holocaust of Enslavement of
African people is about fundamental issues of human freedom, human
justice and the value we place on human life in the past as well as in
the present and future. After 246 years of enslavement--the greatest
atrocity in American history; 100 years of Jim Crow; and the ongoing
affects of racial discrimination, African descendants efforts to obtain
reparations are morally just, as African life is equally of value, as
are the lives of other groups that have obtained reparations both
inside and outside the US and whose causes the US has supported and
continues to support, including Jewish victims of the Nazi Holocaust,
Japanese Americans interned in WWII US concentration camps, Alaska
Natives for land, labor, and resources taken, Native Americans for
violations of treaty rights, political dissenters and their descendants
in Argentina, and to Colombia for excising the territory of Panama for
the purpose of building the Panama Canal. With such precedents of
reparations to primarily non-Black peoples, it would be sheer racism
for the US to continue ignoring this brutal era in American history,
and the African descendant morally just claim for Reparations.
In keeping with the principles of both international human rights
law and domestic law, and with a clear understanding of the factual and
moral justification for our claim, we seek remedy for damages from the
US government, as the dehumanization and atrocities of slavery were not
isolated occurrences. Rather they were mandated by formal laws codified
and even enshrined within the U.S. Constitution. The role of the
federal government in supporting the institution of slavery and
subsequent discrimination directed against the descendants of formerly
enslaved Africans must be formally acknowledged and redressed.
v. n'cobra outreach to gather and report the will of the people
Passing H.R. 40 is an important first step that could lead to a
substantive dialogue throughout the nation on chattel slavery in the
U.S. and Jim Crow and the continuing harm suffered by Black people of
African descent and ways to remedy it.
Since 1990, N'COBRA has hosted annual conferences around the
country to provide an opportunity for African descendants to learn
about the reparations movement, to voice their opinions about
reparations and the components of an equitable reparations settlement:
While there is agreement that we can never place a
price on our suffering and pain or wash away the blood of our
ancestors shed at the hands of their enslavers, we have a
solemn responsibility to seek what is rightfully due us, in
keeping with domestic and international law, in order to heal,
repair and restore our people.
There is agreement that reparations should be multi-
generational, as the affects of 246 years of slavery and 100
years of Jim Crow cannot be erased in a generation.
Reparations should improve the lives of African
descendents in the US for future generations to come; foster
complete economic, social and political parity; and allow for
full rights of self-determination.
There are mixed feelings about the significance of an
apology. The recent wave of ``statements of profound regret''
which fall short of apology, are seen as an effort to sidestep
the severity of the crimes committed and the responsibility of
the perpetrators to make amends. A true apology cannot be
conditional, e.g., ``I regret the crime, but there can be no
further discussion of reparations.'' Apology alone is
disingenuous, as it requires full acknowledgement of the
conduct that caused the injuries, and requires material
reparations to compensate the injured parties.
Most agree that the evidence substantiating the
African descendant claim for Reparations has already been
sufficiently documented. However, there has generally been a
willingness to support HR 40, though there are varying opinions
about what should be included in an equitable remedy. African
descendants continue to lobby for the passage of HR40, assuming
it will set the stage for:
National Public Dialogue about the era of
Enslavement in the U.S. and the prior colonies;
Public Admission of the crimes committed;
Public Apology for the commission of the crimes;
Public Recognition through institutionalization and
education, i.e., national and local monuments, media
programming and development of appropriate curriculum
throughout public schools and university systems to remind and
teach the meaning of this horrendous human loss and destruction
not only to African people, but to the country and the world;
Compensation awarded in as many forms as necessary
to equitably address the many forms of injury caused by chattel
slavery and its continuing vestiges including changes in or
elimination of laws and practices that allow African
descendants to be treated differently than White people;
monetary compensation, land, repatriation; release of political
prisoners wrongfully incarcerated during the COINTELPRO era of
the 60s and 70s, an end to racial profiling and discrimination
in the provision of health care and access to affordable
housing, providing scholarship and community development funds
for Black people of African descent, and supporting processes
of self determination;
Establishment of structures and processes to
prevent reoccurrence of such massive destruction of human life,
human culture and human possibility.
vi. hr 40 and the legislative and legal work of n'cobra
First of all, we acknowledge N'COBRA member Reparations Ray Jenkins
of Detroit, MI who successfully lobbied Congressman John Conyers to
introduce the H.R. 40 in 1989, and all our members who have lobbied for
N'COBRA has supported legislative strategies and initiatives, such
as H.R. 40, the Reparations Study Bill at each congressional session
since 1989. N'COBRA played a leading role in encouraging and supporting
Congressman Conyers in developing and introducing H.R. 40. N'COBRA's
Commission on Legislative Strategies was formed in 2000, under the
leadership of Ms. Nkechi Taifa, who as Chair until 2005, trained
activists to effectively lobby Members of the House of Representatives
to sign on as co-sponsors of HR40. Of particular note are the N'COBRA
``A Year of Black Presence (AYBP) lobbyists, under the leadership of
Philadelphia N'COBRA member Mr. Milton McGriff. In 2003 over 500 AYBP
lobbyists from Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, Virginia, and
Washington DC sought Congressional members' co-sponsorship of HR 40.
We acknowledge the 37 year history of QM Dorothy Benton Lewis for
her consistent fight for reparations at the city, state, federal and
international level, and her willingness to speak forcefully to this
issue in any environment. We thank her for her leadership inside and
outside of N'COBRA and for being and remaining on the battlefield when
there were few in the room, until now when over 80% of African
descendants support our claim for reparations. Her representation of
this important discussion in the national media was critical to the
forward flow of the Reparations movement. We also acknowledge the work
of Reparations activists and supporters who circulated petitions and
surveys informing and gauging levels of support; held forums and town
hall meetings to keep H.R. 40 before the public; addressed groups of
all sizes; and successfully lobbied for HR40 companion legislation in
cities and states across the country. To date, 28 cities have adopted
resolutions supporting passage of HR 40; 8 cities have adopted Slavery
Disclosure Ordinances requiring corporations who participated in and
profited from the enslavement of African peoples to disclose their or
their predecessors' history in order to be eligible for that city's
contracts; 4 states have issued statements of profound regret for their
participation in the enslavement of African people; 2 states have
adopted resolutions supporting passage of HR40, and one state, Florida,
found the courage to admit to and pay reparations to the victims and
descendants of the massacre of the Black township of Rosewood. Lobbying
efforts also extended to community based, civic, and church
organizations that in turn adopted resolutions supporting reparations
and the passage of HR 40. More recent passage of Slavery Disclosure
Ordinances is providing evidence that present day corporations' wealth
is directly linked to the ``free labor'' of enslaved Africans. In light
of the pivotal role of boycotts during the Anti-Apartheid movement,
N'COBRA members and supporters are also organizing and participating in
boycotts against Wachovia Corporation and Aetna Insurance for their
participation in and profiting from the enslavement of African peoples
in the US and prior colonies. We acknowledge the Philadelphia N'COBRA
Wachovia Divestment Committee, under the leadership of Minister Ari
Merretezon, and Ms. Pat Swailes, who lead the charge for Blacks in
N'COBRA strongly recommends passage of HR 40 to establish a
commission to examine the institution of slavery, the impact of these
forces on living African-Americans, and to make recommendations to the
Congress on appropriate remedies. The passage of HR 40 will:
Facilitate a national dialog about an era in US
history that has largely been ignored or down-played.
Demonstrate the link between chattel slavery and the
current social, health, economic and political status of
African descendants and therefore destroy the myth of White
Recognize the link between chattel slavery and
present day race relations, and enable the amelioration of
racial discrimination in America.
Acknowledge the massive human suffering and the
tragic plight of millions of African descendant men, women and
children during slavery to demonstrate the sacredness of
African life, specifically, and all human life in general.
Allow United States' residents to make peace with a
significant part of this country's shameful past, and end the
intergenerational trauma of its current effects.
Demonstrate to the world, the United States'
commitment to peace and justice, and the same human rights
standards to which it seeks to hold other nations.
On behalf of the National Coalition of Blacks for Reparations In
America (N'COBRA) I thank the Chair of the Judiciary Committee,
Congressman John Conyers, and the Chair of the Subcommittee on the
Constitution, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties, Congressman Jerrold
Nadler, and every Member present here today for this opportunity to
provide the grassroots perspective. N'COBRA recognizes that the passage
of this bill is important to obtaining reparations and remains
committed to this process although Congress has not yet favorably acted
upon it. N'COBRA strongly urges the committee to support passage of HR
``Reparations and the National Coalition of Blacks for Reparations in
America (N'COBRA), An Information Sheet'', May 2004 (2nd edition).
``Black Reparations: American Slavery & Its Vestiges'', Washington, DC
Metropolitan Chapter of N'COBRA, 2002.
``THE ETHICS OF REPARATIONS: ENGAGING THE HOLOCAUST OF ENSLAVEMENT'',
Dr. Maulana Karenga.
``Reparations and A New Global Order: A Comparative Overview'', Doctor
Chinweizu; A paper read at the second Plenary Session of the First
Pan-African Conference on Reparations, Abuja, Nigeria, April 27,
``For Whites Only: How & Why America Became a Racist Nation'', Ambrose
I. Sr. Lane, Sr., 2000.
``My Face is Black Is True-Callie House and the Struggle for Ex-Slave
Reparations'', Dr Mary Frances Berry; Alfred A, Knopf, New York,
``Should America Pay?--Slavery and the Raging Debate on Reparations'',
Edited by Raymond A. Winbush, Ph.D.; Amistad, an imprint of
HarperCollins Publishers, 2005
``Atonement and Forgiveness--A New Model for Black Reparations'', Roy
L. Brooks; University of California Press, 2004.
Mr. Conyers. Our third witness, Attorney Roger Clegg, is no
stranger to the Committee. He is president and general counsel
of the Center for Equal Opportunity, which is the Nation's only
conservative think tank devoted to issues of race and
ethnicity, promoting a color-blind society. Mr. Clegg is the
former Deputy Assistant Attorney General in two different
administrations, and he holds the second highest position in
both the Civil Rights Division and in the Environment and
Natural Resources Division. He has testified before this
Committee, and we are always happy to see him here.
TESTIMONY OF ROGER CLEGG, PRESIDENT AND GENERAL COUNSEL, CENTER
FOR EQUAL OPPORTUNITY
Mr. Clegg. Thank you very much, Chairman Conyers, for that
kind introduction. I am delighted to be here. The motto of the
United States is ``E pluribus unum''--out of many, one. And
what I want to talk about today is that principle and why H.R.
40 is inconsistent with it.
America is increasingly a multi-racial, multi-ethnic
society. And that is true not only in the aggregate, but also
for individual Americans. More and more, Americans can trace
their ancestry through a wide variety of racial and ethnic
Just about every racial or ethnic group in the United
States can point to hardships that it has undergone. Just about
every individual in the United States can point to an ancestor
or many ancestors who have endured great hardships. I don't
think that it will heal or unite this country for one group to
be singled out as deserving of special recompense because of
the hardships that its ancestors faced. I don't mean to equate
the inhumanity of slavery with the hardships that other groups
underwent. Slavery, obviously, was unique. But on the other
hand, what was suffered by Native Americans in this country was
often quite brutal. The interning of Japanese Americans was
quite brutal. Latinos have often undergone very similar
discrimination to what was undergone by African Americans.
Anti-Semitism in this country has existed. Discrimination
against Italians and Irish and others have existed as well.
I don't believe that there is a reluctance on the part of
the American people to acknowledge the horrors of slavery. I
keep hearing that, but I don't understand what that statement
is based on. I think that you read any textbook in the United
States, you talk to any American, they acknowledge, as any sane
person has to, the horrors of slavery. There is no shortage of
historical scholarship on this. And that scholarship is going
To suggest that a commission made up of seven experts can
be paid $8 million and, in 1 year, come up with a definitive
answer to the question of what slavery has meant to the United
States, what it has done to African Americans, what the
continuing effects are, is, I think, ludicrous. That is too
short a time. It is too complicated an issue. It is very
difficult to figure out, it is impossible to figure out, how
much of the disparities that African Americans suffer today is
traceable to slavery and how much is traceable to other
I will just give one example. The principal hurdle facing
African Americans today is the fact that seven out of 10
African Americans are born out of wedlock. Just about any
social problem that you can name-- crime, drugs, dropping out
of school, doing poorly in school and so forth--has a strong
correlation with growing up in a home without a father. And it
is very hard to argue that this problem is traceable to slavery
or to Jim Crow, since illegitimacy rates in the African
American community began to skyrocket just at about the time
that Jim Crow was starting to crumble.
Even if we could figure out what percentage of current
inequities are traceable to slavery, I don't think that it
would make any sense to pay compensation to individuals on that
For starters, there are very difficult logistical problems
in figuring out to whom a check is going to be paid. Are you
going to require people to prove slave ancestry? How are you
going to do that? If you just assume that anybody who is a
particular color is eligible, that creates constitutional
problems and will create other inequities. And of course, there
are going to be problems with just taking people at their word
if the Federal Government is writing out checks to anybody who
says that they think they have a slave ancestor.
But more fundamentally, what does it matter whether poverty
is traceable to a particular historical wrong when we are
trying to decide what to do about it for an individual. In
other words, suppose that you have two children. One could show
somehow that the reason he was poor was because of the
discrimination that ancestors in his family faced. The other
child is poor for no reason except that his mother and father
just immigrated to this country from a poverty-stricken
homeland. Is the government supposed to say, well, we view the
first child's poverty as a problem of Federal concern, but not
the second child's? I don't think that that would make any
sense. I don't think that anybody on this Committee would think
that that would make sense. There is no reason why eligibility
for a social program ought to hinge on whether a citizen can
trace his need for the program to this or that historical
If we were to make a social program available to those of
one race and not to others, there would also be serious
constitutional problems. And I think that that is something
that this Committee in particular needs to address. Presumably,
the justification for the program would be remedial, but the
Supreme Court has rejected general claims of societal
discrimination as not sufficiently compelling to justify racial
Finally, on the issue of an apology, here again, I don't
understand the claim that an apology is going to help heal
these wounds. I don't think frankly that that is the intent. I
think that the focus of these apologies, the focus of this
whole bill, is not to heal wounds, were you to keep those
wounds open, to keep grievance alive, to keep some Americans on
the hook so that they will be required to make amends for
things that people in our past did who happen to be the same
color as those Americans are today.
In conclusion, Mr. Chairman, a great strength of America
and Americans is that we are a forward looking people. This is
a very backwards-looking bill. I think that what Americans need
to do is to look at the social problems that we have in this
country--that may disproportionately affect those of certain
racial and ethnic backgrounds but are not limited to them--and
figure out what we can do to help individuals who face those
social problems. But when we figure out what those steps are,
those programs should be available to all Americans regardless
of their skin color, regardless of their ancestry, regardless
of what the historical cause might have been for why they find
themselves in the needful situation that they are in.
It is this approach that is consistent with the principle
of E pluribus unum, it is this approach that is required by the
principle of nondiscrimination and equal protection. Thank you
very much, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Conyers. We appreciate your testimony.
[The prepared statement of Roger Clegg follows:]
Prepared Statement of Roger Clegg
Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman, for the opportunity to testify
today. My name is Roger Clegg, and I am president and general counsel
of the Center for Equal Opportunity, a nonprofit research and
educational organization that is based in Falls Church, Virginia. Our
chairman is Linda Chavez, and our focus is on public policy issues that
involve race and ethnicity, such as civil rights, bilingual education,
and immigration and assimilation. I should also note that I was a
deputy in the U.S. Department of Justice's Civil Rights Division for
four years, from 1987 to 1991.
The discussion today of the legacy of the trans-Atlantic slave
trade is intended, I presume, to help lay the groundwork for favorable
consideration of H.R. 40, the ``Commission to Study Reparation
Proposals for African-Americans Act.'' And the enterprise that H.R. 40
would have us embark on, in turn, is as follows: First, a commission
would determine what effects slavery and post-slavery discrimination
had on African Americans and what ``lingering negative effects'' it
continues to have on them; and then, second, it would suggest possible
remedies for those effects. The two remedies that are explicitly
mentioned are an apology and some form of compensation.
There are any number of problems with this enterprise, and I would
like briefly to discuss some of them in my testimony today. (Some of
the points I will make are also expressed, often in more detail, in a
dialogue I have written on this topic, a version of which was published
in Engage magazine, and which I have included as an appendix to my
testimony; I've also included an op-ed I wrote on a recent Chicago
ordinance requiring city contractors to document any slavery-related
business in the antebellum era.)
this is an unnecessary and hopeless task for such a government
First, this research project is ill-suited for a government
commission. H.R. 40 says that ``sufficient inquiry has not been made
into the effects of the institution of slavery on living African-
Americans and society in the United States.'' I am not sure what that
statement is based on, and I am not a professional historian. But as a
lay reader and a civil rights lawyer, it seems to me that there is no
shortage of books and articles about slavery, and discrimination, and
the problems facing the African American community today, and the way
all these intersect. I am not declaring that there has been
``sufficient inquiry''; just that there has been a great deal and that
it continues--and that, given the intrinsic interest of these topics,
especially among those in the academy, it will likely continue for the
What I would declare, moreover, is that this inquiry will never
end, and it will be a long time before anyone would presume to call the
inquiry ``sufficient.'' Few historical inquiries ever are: There is
always some new angle to explore. Further, the conclusions that
historians will draw will always be incomplete, imperfect, and
challenged by contemporary and future historians. That is the nature of
historical scholarship, especially for issues as complex as this one.
H.R. 40 suggests, on the other hand, that something like a
definitive answer will be possible if the government takes $8 million,
hires seven ``especially qualified'' people, and gives them a year to
figure it all out. This is, of course, absurd.
No one will dispute that slavery and Jim Crow were horrible and
inhumane; no one will dispute that discrimination still exists, though
only a delusional person would deny that America has made radical,
dramatic, inspiring progress in the last 40 years--that its society has
truly been transformed in an astonishingly short period of time. But it
is impossible to say how much of the present is the result of one
particular kind of event in the past. Only someone very arrogant or
very foolish would make such a pronouncement.
Let me give just one example. The principal hurdle facing the
African American community today is the fact that 7 out of 10 African
Americans are born out of wedlock. Just about any social problem you
can name--crime, drugs, dropping out of school, doing poorly in school,
and so forth--has a strong correlation with growing up in a home
without a father. And it is very hard to argue that this problem is
traceable to slavery or Jim Crow, since illegitimacy rates started to
skyrocket in the African American community just at the time that Jim
Crow was starting to crumble.
Given that, how can anyone say with any confidence that such-and-
such amount of such-and-such a social problem facing African Americans
must be due to slavery? It cannot be done.
race-based compensation would be both illogical and unconstitutional
But let's suppose that, nonetheless, the commission decides that it
can be done. Let's suppose that this commission says, ``Forty-six
percent of the poverty in the African American community today can be
traced to slavery and discrimination, forty-five percent is caused by
illegitimacy, and the remaining nine percent is just bad luck,'' or
some such silly thing. Or let's suppose that it says something less
silly, but so obvious that it does not take a government commission to
figure it out--something like, ``To some significant extent, the
disproportionate amount of poverty facing the African American
community today can be traced to slavery and the discrimination its
Would it follow that some sort of ``compensation''--one of the two
remedies H.R. 40 explicitly asks the commission to consider--ought to
be paid to African Americans? No. It certainly wouldn't make sense to
pay compensation to African Americans who are not living in poverty. It
wouldn't make sense to pay compensation to African Americans who are
living in poverty if that poverty was not caused by slavery and Jim
Crow--to give an obvious example, to African Americans who just
immigrated here. Yet requiring a particular person to prove his slave
ancestry leads to many problems (as discussed in Appendix A); presuming
slave ancestry because of a person's appearance raises many problems,
too; and there are problems with simply taking people at their word as
Also, why should an African American who could trace his poverty to
slavery be entitled to compensation over, say, a poor American Indian
who could not but could trace it to some other historical wrong (in
this case, say, a broken treaty)? Or a poor Latino or a poor Asian or
even a poor white? Any of them might be able to trace his poverty to
some historical wrong.
But most fundamentally, why does it matter whether the poverty is
traceable to a historical wrong? Suppose you have two children. One
could show somehow that the reason he was poor was because of the
discrimination his family suffered. The other child is poor for no
reason except his mother and father just immigrated to this country
from a poverty-stricken homeland. Is the government supposed to say,
``We view the first child's poverty as a problem of federal concern,
but not the second child's''?
Of course not. There is no reason why eligibility for a social
program ought to hinge on whether a citizen can trace his need for the
program to this or that historical cause.
If we design social programs to help disadvantaged people, and if
disadvantaged people are disproportionately African American because of
the discrimination that they have disproportionately suffered, then
African Americans disproportionately will be eligible for those
programs. And, indeed, that is the case today. More than that makes no
sense. And if the commission simply recommends more social programs
that are not race-based, then it is even harder to see why its
historical focus should be on one particular subset of one particular
If, finally, we were to make a social program available to those of
one race and not to others, there would be serious constitutional
problems. Presumably the justification for the program would be
remedial, but the Supreme Court has--quite rightly--rejected general
claims of societal discrimination as not sufficiently compelling to
justify racial classifications.
an apology would make no sense either
As for an apology, the second possible remedy listed by H.R. 40:
The bill asks ``Whether the Government of the United States should
offer a formal apology on behalf of the people of the United States for
the perpetuation of gross human rights violations on African slaves and
This is, at best, an odd apology. What would really be appropriate,
of course, is for the slave-traders and the slave-masters to apologize
to the slaves--but all these folks have long since passed on to their
So instead we have the U.S. government (which actually ended
slavery, at the cost of much blood and treasure) apologizing on behalf
of today's American people (none of whom ever owned slaves, and most of
whom never had ancestors who did, either) to ... whom? The bill does
not say. Maybe the idea is just to apologize to ourselves, but that
seems rather strange. Presumably the idea is to apologize to living
African Americans. But these African Americans are not slaves; many are
descended from slaves, but many are not; many of the former--maybe most
now--are descended from both slaves and slave-owners.
Mr. Chairman, I cannot resist pointing out that, if there is anyone
in the United States today from whom an apology for slavery and Jim
Crow would be appropriate, it would be, not the U.S. government, and
certainly not the American people--but the Democratic Party. It, after
all, was historically the party of slavery, secession, and segregation.
But let's be honest: Inevitably, such apologies are intended and
interpreted as whites apologizing to blacks for slavery. (I wonder what
Asians and Latinos, as well as American Indians, think of this
theater?) But no white today is or ever was a slaveholder; no black
today is or ever was a slave. What's the point of one apologizing to
Everyone has an ancestor who was wronged by someone else's
ancestor; there is no point in trying to find a thread for each
present-day misfortune in an individual's life that can be followed
back through the decades to a particular misdeed; and anyone's poverty
today likely has many causes--some old, some recent, some other
people's fault, some one's own. Nobody nowadays thinks slavery was
anything but an abomination; nobody learns anything from this charade.
We are told that these apologies will help to bring closure, help
enable us to move on. Nonsense--and that is not their intent, at least
for many people. The idea is to reopen wounds, to keep grievance alive,
to keep white people on the hook. An obsession with past wrongs, to the
extent that present opportunity and future promise are ignored or
slighted, is a bad thing.
A great strength of Americans is that we are forward looking. The
trouble with slavery apologies is that they are designed to make whites
feel guilty and to urge blacks to think of themselves as victims.
Neither emotion is valid in these closing days of the year 2007; both
are bad for race relations. In particular, the last thing an African
American needs in 2007 is an excuse to fail. As individual white people
will go about their business--and Latinos and Asians and Arab Americans
and American Indians--individual black people will be left with the
same choice they've had for years: embrace self-reliance and
responsibility, or fail and blame it on others.
All of this is true not just for the apology issue but also for the
entire enterprise that H.R. 40 would embark on: That is, it would
accomplish nothing and would cost much. And I don't mean monetary
costs, but social costs: Specifically, the poisonous effect it would
have a racial relations, and the pernicious message it would send, in
particular, to those in the African American community, that their
focus should be on what was done to them in the past, rather than the
opportunities they have now.
Thank you again, Mr. Chairman, for the opportunity to testify
today. I would be happy to try to answer any questions the Subcommittee
may have for me.
Mr. Conyers. Bishop Thomas Shaw of the Episcopal Diocese of
Massachusetts was born and raised in Middle Creek, Michigan,
which I am quite proud, and he chairs the Episcopal church's
standing commission on national and international concerns. And
is also a member of the Advisory Council for Anglican Observer
to the United Nations. In 2000, he served as an intern for our
former colleague Representative Samuel Holten, who is well
remembered. And we are so pleased that you could join us today,
Bishop, and you are recognized at this time.
TESTIMONY OF REVEREND M. THOMAS SHAW, III, SSJE, BISHOP OF THE
DIOCESE OF MASSACHUSETTS
Reverend Shaw. Thank you very much, Chairman Conyers. It is
a pleasure to be back in Washington. And I am particularly
pleased to be here today to speak to the oversight hearing on
the abolition of the Trans-Atlantic slave trade. And I
specifically ask that my full testimony be made part of the
official record of this hearing.
Mr. Conyers. Without objection, so ordered.
Reverend Shaw. I should state at the outset that we as a
church have asked God's forgiveness for our complicity in and
injury done by the institution of slavery and its aftermath. I
am ashamed to say that the Episcopal Church in the decades
leading to the American Civil War did not formally address the
problem of slavery. The post-Revolutionary War church wanted to
avoid a schism within the church, which it was successful at
doing, but avoiding that schism meant not addressing the issue
of slavery in any official or collective way. With that painful
background in our church, our 75th general convention meeting
in 2006 looked to the upcoming bicentennial commemoration of
the abolition of the slave trade as a time in which we could
affirm or commitment to become a transformed anti-racism church
and to work toward healing reconciliation and a restoration of
the wholeness to the family of God.
We looked to what we could do as the Episcopal Church as
individuals, as parishes and Dioceses and also what we could
ask all of you, the Congress to do. Among other things, the
Episcopal Church decided to apologize as a church for our
complicity in and injury done by the institution of slavery and
its aftermath. We repented of this sin and asked God's grace
and forgiveness ever mindful that we did so far too late. We
decided to call upon the Congress and the American people to
support legislation initiating study of and dialogue about the
history and legacy of slavery in the United States, and the
proposals for monetary and nonmonetary reparations to the
descendants to the victims of slavery.
We, therefore, as a church, fully support H.R. 40. We ask
every Diocese in the Episcopal Church to collect and document
detailed information in its community on A, the complicity of
the Episcopal Church and the institution of slavery and in the
subsequent history of segregation and discrimination; and B,
the economic benefits the Episcopal Church derived from the
institution of slavery.
A report on that work will be made to our 2009 general
convention on how the church can be a repair of the breach,
both materially and relationally, and achieve the spiritual
healing and reconciliation that will lead us to a new life in
Christ. We believe that work essential to determining the
remedies that might be considered. Work is now underway in a
number of our Diocese including Mississippi where research on
slavery and its impact on building the city of Natchez is
already disclosed that its oldest Episcopal Church was built by
The priest of St. Paul's Delray Beach in Southeast Florida
is writing a history of the presence of and contributions of
Blacks in the Episcopal Church in Florida. We are hopeful that
what we learn will be helpful to the Commission that would be
established under H.R. 40. We know that our exploration has
just begun and that next year's release of the film, Traces of
the Trade, will open the eyes of many to the legacy of slavery
for both Black and White Americans and the role of the north
and its perpetuation.
And finally, we have asked that a day of repentance--for a
day of repentance, and that that day be a service of repentance
at the Washington National Cathedral and each Diocese to hold a
similar service. That event is scheduled for October 4, 2008.
And we invite all of you to join us. The full text of each of
these resolutions is included as an appendix to my testimony,
as well as two pastoral letters in 1994 and 2006 from the House
of Bishops on the sin of racism.
On December 30, 1799, the first Black priest in the
Episcopal Church in the United States, Absalom Jones, and 70
fellow signatories petitioned the House of Representatives to
protect those taken by slave traders. They concluded their
petition with a prayer for the real happiness of every member
of a community. Nine years later on January 1, 1808, Jones
would celebrate the end of U.S. participation in the Trans-
Atlantic slave trade with these words, the history of the world
shows us that the deliverance of the children of Israel from
their bondage is not the only instance in which it has pleased
God to appear on behalf of oppressed and distressed nations as
the deliver of the innocent and of those who call upon his
He is as an unchangeable in his nature and character as he
is in his wisdom and power. The great and blessed event which
we have this day met to celebrate is a striking proof that the
God of heaven and earth is the same yesterday and today and
forever. We continue as a church to pray for what Absalom Jones
called the real happiness of every member of the community,
knowing that the blessed event of January 1, 1808 was an
important step, not the final step in the emancipation of
slaves. We are committed to becoming a transformed anti-racist
church and to work toward healing reconciliation and
restoration of wholeness to the family of God. We believe the
work we are doing to research our church's complicity in the
institution of the slave trade will help us, the Episcopal
Church, to be transformed. We also believe that H.R. 40 will
aid the Nation in its own continued healing. We look forward to
the opportunity to continue this important and necessary work
together. Thank you.
Mr. Conyers. Thanks so much, Bishop Shaw.
[The prepared statement of Reverend Shaw follows:]
Prepared Statement of Bishop M. Thomas Shaw, III
Thank you, Chairman Conyers. My name is Tom Shaw. I am the
Episcopal Bishop of Massachusetts and I am honored to be here with this
distinguished panel. As you may know, I was an intern in Representative
Amo Houghton's office in 2000, so I am particularly pleased to be back
in Washington for this important oversight hearing on the abolition of
the trans-Atlantic slave trade.
I should state at the outset that we, as a church, have asked God's
forgiveness for our complicity in and the injury done by the
institution of slavery and its aftermath. Unlike the Quakers who were
leaders in the abolitionist movement, too many Episcopalians did not
raise their voices when God would have wished them to do so.
Episcopalians were owners of slaves and of the ships that brought them
to this land. Episcopalians lived in the north and in the south and, as
a privileged church, we today recognize that our Church benefited
materially from the slave trade.
The Episcopal Church in the decades leading to the American Civil
War did not formally address the problem of slavery. The post-
Revolutionary War church wanted to avoid a schism within the church,
which it was successful at doing (unlike the divisions that had
occurred to Presbyterian, Methodist, and Baptist churches during this
period over the issue of slavery) but avoiding that schism meant not
addressing the issue of slavery in any official or collective way. With
that painful history as background, our 75th General Convention meeting
in 2006 looked to the upcoming bicentennial commemoration of the
abolition of the slave trade as a time in which we could affirm ``our
commitment to become a transformed, anti-racist church and to work
toward healing, reconciliation, and a restoration of wholeness to the
family of God.''
As background I should explain that when our General Convention
speaks it speaks for our whole church and only after careful
discernment. The members of this committee would feel quite at home at
our General Convention. It consists of a House of Deputies and a House
of Bishops, and legislative committees that hold hearings such as this.
Legislation must pass both Houses in the same form. So the voice of the
General Convention is very much the voice of the Episcopal Church.
And with that voice, we looked to what we could do as the Episcopal
Church, as individuals, as parishes and dioceses--a diocese being a
collection of churches in a single geographic area--and also what we
could ask you, the Congress, to do. This is what the Episcopal Church
* We apologized as a Church for our complicity in, and the injury
done by, the institution of slavery and its aftermath.'' We repented of
this sin and asked God's grace and forgiveness, ever mindful that we
did so far too late.
* We recognized that slavery is a fundamental betrayal of the
humanity of all persons and a ``sin that continues to plague our common
life in the Church and our culture.'' Furthermore we expressed ``our
most profound regret that (a) The Episcopal Church lent the institution
of slavery its support and justification based on Scripture, and (b)
after slavery was formally abolished, The Episcopal Church continued
for at least a century to support de jure and de facto segregation and
* We called upon the ``Congress and the American people to support
legislation initiating study of and dialogue about the history and
legacy of slavery in the United States and of proposals for monetary
and non-monetary reparations to the descendants of the victims of
slavery.'' We, therefore, fully support H.R. 40 which would establish a
commission to examine those very issues and recommend appropriate
* We asked every Diocese ``to collect and document . . . detailed
information in its community on (a) the complicity of The Episcopal
Church in the institution of slavery and in the subsequent history of
segregation and discrimination and (b) the economic benefits The
Episcopal Church derived from the institution of slavery.'' A report on
that work will be made to our 2009 General Convention on how the Church
can be ``the repairer of the breach'' (Isaiah 58:12), both materially
and relationally, and achieve the spiritual healing and reconciliation
that will lead us to a new life in Christ.'' We believe that work
essential to determining the remedies that might be considered.
Work is underway in a number of our dioceses, including
Mississippi, where research on slavery and its impact on building the
city of Natchez has already disclosed that its oldest Episcopal Church
was built by slaves. The rector of St. Paul's Delray Beach in Southeast
Florida is writing a history of the presence of, and contributions of
blacks in the Episcopal Church in Florida. We are hopeful that what we
learn will be helpful to the commission that would be established under
H.R. 40. We know that our exploration has just begun and that next
year's release of the film Traces of the Trade--a documentary being
made by Katrina Brown, an Episcopalian from Rhode Island whose
ancestors were involved in the slave trade--will open the eyes of many
to the legacy of slavery for both black and white Americans, and the
role of the North in its perpetuation.
* Finally, we asked the elected leader of our church, the Presiding
Bishop, to name a Day of Repentance and on that day to hold a Service
of Repentance at the Washington National Cathedral, and each Diocese to
hold a similar service. The Dioceses of New York, Newark, New Jersey
and Long Island are joining in a service in commemoration of the
abolition of the slave trade at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in
New York City on January 13, 2008. The National Cathedral event will be
October 4, 2008 and we invite all of you to attend.
The full text of each of these resolutions is included as an
appendix to my testimony as well as two pastoral letters, 1994 and
2006, from the House of Bishops on the sin of racism:
Each of these actions is important and together they represent our
effort to be ``repairers of the breach.'' We have much to overcome, and
as the British Parliamentarian and crusader against slavery William
Wilberforce told the House of Commons in 1789: ``We are all guilty--we
ought to all plead guilty, and not to exculpate ourselves by throwing
blame on others.'' The history that we are researching is essential to
understanding our Church's role in the institution of slavery and its
perpetuation. With fuller knowledge will come true repentance that will
then open us to reconciliation and remedies that we believe are yet to
Ten years after Wilberforce's speech, on December 30, 1799, the
first black priest in the Episcopal Church in the United States,
Absalom Jones, and 70 fellow signatories petitioned the House of
Representatives to protect those taken by slave traders. They concluded
their petition with these words:
``In the Constitution, and the Fugitive bill, no mention is made of
Black people or Slaves--therefore if the Bill of Rights, or the
declaration of Congress are of any validity, we beseech that as we are
men, we may be admitted to partake of the Liberties and unalienable
Rights therein held forth--firmly believing that the extending of
Justice and equity to all Classes, would be a means of drawing down the
blessings of Heaven upon this Land, for the Peace and Prosperity of
which, and the real happiness of every member of the Community, we
Nine years later, on January 1, 1808 Jones would celebrate the end
of US participation in the transatlantic slave trade:
The history of the world shows us, that the deliverance of the
children of Israel from their bondage, is not the only instance, in
which it has pleased God to appear in behalf of oppressed and
distressed nations, as the deliverer of the innocent, and of those who
call upon his name. He is as unchangeable in his nature and character,
as he is in his wisdom and power. The great and blessed event, which we
have this day met to celebrate, is a striking proof, that the God of
heaven and earth is the same, yesterday, and to-day, and for ever.
(January 1, 1808 St. Thomas Church, Philadelphia)
We continue to pray for Absalom Jones's ``real happiness of every
member of the Community,'' knowing that the ``blessed event'' of
January 1, 1808 was an important step, not the final step, in the
emancipation of slaves. As the Episcopal Church resolved in 2006, we
are committed to becoming ``a transformed, anti-racist church and to
work toward healing, reconciliation, and a restoration of wholeness to
the family of God.'' We believe the work we are doing to research our
Church's complicity in the institution of the slave trade will help us,
the Episcopal Church, to be transformed. We also believe that H.R. 40
will aid the nation in its own continued healing. We look forward to
the opportunity to continue this important and necessary work together.
Mr. Conyers. We are being summoned to the floor for several
votes. We will stand in recess. And we will have one of our
staff members show you how you can get a very delicious lunch
economically and make other perks available to you while we are
gone. The Committee stands in recess.
Mr. Conyers. The Committee will come to order. And the
Chair recognizes the distinguished gentleman from Minnesota,
Keith Ellison, for questions.
Mr. Ellison. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. And also, there are
moments in life where you just have to think thank God for
being able to do what you do and being on this Committee today,
you having called the Committee to address this critical
subject. I certainly feel grateful and honored today. This is
one of the high points of my service, to be able to address
H.R. 40 and the Trans-Atlantic slave trade in the healing of
our country. But I am not going to waste time talking, I am
going get to some questions.
Professor Ogletree, many of the people who disagree with
the H.R. 40 would submit that this slavery stuff happened a
long time ago, why don't we just move on. Do you find that
there are other aspects of American society and culture that
really do focus on history all the time, like, for example, we
celebrate 4th of July every year, I have never heard anybody
say, well, that happened a long time ago so let us just drop
it. What is your reaction to the folks who say or submit that
it happened a long time ago, we need to be forward looking and
stop looking in the past?
Mr. Ogletree. Congressman Ellison, that is a very good
question and an excellent point. The reality is that the
history is so important if we look at it carefully. Think about
slavery and think about General Sherman's field order 15 during
the Civil War when lots of lives were lost, Black and White,
both from the confederate and from the union. Slaves and former
slaves were told, we want you to fight for us for freedom and
when you win this, we will give you reparation, it was very
explicit, we will give you 40 acres. And that agreement was
breached. We moved on.
In fact, we moved on with the slave owners getting much of
their property back, but the slaves not getting any of that
promise. When you think about a Constitution that still has the
three-fifth clause written in it and you think about our
Founding Fathers owning slaves, we can't move on, it is our
history, it is very important that we address it. And I have to
applaud Bishop Shaw because the church did sit back and allow
these atrocities to happen from the holocaust through slavery.
And they recognize that you can't move on, you can't move
forward without repairing the past, which I think is very
important. And the final thing is that we are a Nation of
And our children need to understand that we have overcome
our past. We are not embarrassed by it, we are not disappointed
alone that it happened, but we are prepared to move forward.
And the reason we can't move on is because we have these sort
of gotcha phrases when one of the witnesses talks about the
reason we have this problem is because of the Democrats, make
it party affiliated as if that matters. They were slave owners
of every political persuasion and every part of our country,
slave beneficiaries from New York, Rhode Island and
Connecticut, all the way through the southern region.
So we can't move on until we look back to move forward. And
I am glad that this study will do that, allow us to look back
to move forward. Let me make one other final point. I mentioned
my point that John Hope Franklin, who chaired President
Clinton's one America initiative in 1998 said, well, we should
move on from this issue of slavery. Well, John Hope Franklin
then realized his father Buck Colbert Franklin was a victim of
the same sort of domestic terrorism in Tulsa in 1921. And he
became a plaintiff in that case. John Hope Franklin was 92
years old. How he felt when he was 50, 60, 70 or 80 is one
How he feels now tells us that time has made him even more
aware of our need to heal, but also to look back as a historian
to create some of the errors of the 17th, 18th and 19th and
20th century as we move forward to the 21st Century.
Mr. Ellison. Thank you. I just want to commend you, Bishop
Shaw. It is a tremendously courageous move by the Episcopal
Church. Do you feel that by addressing this issue of slavery in
a forthright honest manner that you are contributing to
dividing and fracturing America or in your view is this a way
for us to reconcile? And I just mention before I turn the mic
to you, is that I recognize that we have recognized Japanese
internment and done reparations, and yet, Japanese Americans
are as authentically and thoroughly American today as they ever
have been in the history of our country, perhaps even more so,
we having addressed that terrible wrong committed. Do you think
that by addressing this issue, we are contributing to the
fracturing of America?
Reverend Shaw. No. Quite the opposite. I think that by
addressing this issue in a straightforward way, we are really
contributing to the healing, the spiritual healing and economic
healing if that should take place of the people in the United
States. And I think someone who is a member of our church,
Archbishop Edmund Tutu has really shown that in South Africa,
that this kind of transparency leads to healing and to
reconciliation. And that is the kind of discussion that we want
to have over the next few years.
Mr. Ellison. You are referring to the truth and
Reverend Shaw. Yes.
Mr. Ellison. And that commission is dealing with issues
that happened really only 20 years ago if that, and a
tremendous atrocity and yet we see South Africa, though far,
far, far from where it wants to be slowly incrementally moving
to our society, is that right?
Reverend Shaw. Yes.
Mr. Ellison. Mr. Clegg, can you help me understand, as
Americans, do we still deal with and address historical
phenomena that lingers in our present day to day? For example,
I was talking to a friend of mine who is a professor of wills
and trusts, and he told me that he was trying to help carry out
the intent of an individual who wrote a will in 1862. He said
it is not unusual to do these kind of things. I mean, talk to
us for a moment, if you would, about how much recent events
really impact the modern world that we are in?
Mr. Clegg. History is extremely important in understanding
the world that we live in. As a conservative, I certainly
believe that. I am somebody who believes that the meaning of a
document, the U.S. Constitution, even though it was written a
couple hundred years ago, still determines what it is lawful
for this body to do.
Mr. Ellison. And yet, you seem to be so willing to say
well, we need to look forward and just sort of, like, forget
Mr. Clegg. No, I didn't say that. I don't think that we
should forget about slavery. I think, though, that there are
uses and abuses of history. And I think that dwelling on the
past and looking to the past for reasons for current problems
can become a distraction from addressing those problems and
Mr. Ellison. Mr. Clegg, I have got to reclaim my time now.
But I am curious to know--I am just going to make a quick
observation. Whenever I hear folks say that well, I believe in
a colorblind America, and I am just for equality. And when they
use that to sort of make an argument that we shouldn't address
slavery, we shouldn't address historic inequality, and we just
want to make everything equal now, I always wonder. I said I
guess this person must have been a very active participant in
the civil rights movement because clearly, the most glaring
violation of the idea of equal protection in at least the 20th
century was Jim Crow, so I could ensure that you would have a
long history in fighting for sights for African Americans,
Latino Americans to make our study truly colorblind when, in
fact, our society was clearly violating those ideas of equal
protection. I don't want to ask you to read your own resume,
but I will be looking forward to see if you have been
consistent over the years.
Mr. Clegg. I have been, I have been. I can tell you there
has never been a time when I have supported discrimination of
any kind. I was born in 1955, so I can't claim to have been
there with Dr. King in 1963 or anything like that. However, the
founder and chairman of our organization, Linda Chavez very
much was a part of the civil rights movement.
Mr. Ellison. Thank you, Mr. Clegg. I am going to reclaim my
time now because I want to ask--I am sorry, ma'am, I am having
difficulty with your name. Forgive me for that. I do apologize.
Ms. Tyehimba. Ms. Tyehimba.
Mr. Ellison. Tyehimba. Ms. Tyehimba, I was a law student
between 1987 and 1990 and we would study contracts and
property. And when we would open up our contract books, we
would talk about property cases that happened way back in
England and stuff like that. And we would talk about modern
contracting property cases. But the people--America's property
between 1619 and 1865 was American slaves, and yet we never
have any cases on that and we didn't have that many cases, we
didn't really explore it that in depth while even after 1865.
I am just curious to know, do you agree that there is just
an abundance of information and analysis and scholarship on
American slavery and that there is really no need for a
Ms. Tyehimba. There is certainly a lot of documentation
there. This is about getting out the truth, Congressman
Ellison. If we don't press the issue, then these things will
not be elevated and be given the attention. They are buried
right now. And it is as if having a documentary that gets shown
once a year that never reaches our schools, where the issues
are never addressed in our newspapers, whether our museums
adequately address these issues, then no one really knows them.
And that is the importance of this. The reparations movement at
its heart is about getting out the truth.
Mr. Ellison. Professor----
Mr. Conyers. The gentleman's time is way over.
Mr. Ellison. Sorry. Forgive me, Mr. Chairman, I didn't
Mr. Conyers. Well, neither did I. The Chair is very pleased
to recognize Trent Franks, the gentleman from Arizona.
Mr. Franks. Well, thank you again, Mr. Chairman. Mr.
Chairman, I, in listening to Mr. Ogletree's comments in the
beginning here, I was just so compelled by the foundation of
what he is motivated by. And I believe that that is something
that I share in common with him. And I want to try to start out
with the things that we believe in common. And I think you are
correct beyond words that history is important. I think if
there is something good that can really come from this hearing,
it is that we would honestly examine our history. You said that
history repeats itself. There is a lot of variations to that.
Someone said that the only thing we learn from history is
that we don't learn from history and history does, in fact,
repeat itself, and each time it does, the price goes up. And as
I say, I am just very compelled by that because I believe it is
vital for any country like ours to clearly understand our past
and our history. And so I want you to know there is a strong
heartfelt resonance with that belief. And I guess the reason I
think that that applies to some of the comments I have been
making here today is that the reason, the reason slavery
occurred, at least in my opinion, was because people in that
day lost sight of the humanity of their fellow human beings.
We lost sight that all God's children are created in his
image and therefore have inestimable internal and calculable
value. And to desecrate another human being as slavery did to
millions is unconscionable and beggars my ability to describe.
And it occurs to me, because something was that dramatic that
we must be very, very careful to examine the cause of slavery
and to make sure that we don't see those things happen again. I
am convinced that when we as human beings lose sight of our
fellow human being's humanity; whether they be unborn children,
Mr. Chairman, whether they be Black, Mr. Chairman, whether they
be poor, whether they be Jews, whatever they are, if we lose
sight of their humanity, I believe that we have a repeating
dialogue in history where, to name three examples, the German
high tribunal, their Supreme Court, as it were, said that the
Jew was ``untermensch,'' subhuman, not a human being in the
fullest sense, to give their justices so-called credit in the
fullest sense, they weren't human beings in the fullest sense.
And when they did that, when they robbed them of their
humanity, then it was easy to kill 6 million of them.
But we should not forget in this society, that the entire
Nazi Holocaust started when the medical community, the
intelligencia of Germany, decided that it was okay to kill one
little retarded boy because he wasn't what everybody else
thought he should be. And that is a recurring point. Not only
did 6 million Jews die, 50 million died in this World War to
try to change that. And atomic bombs fell on cities. Then came
things like the Dred Scott decision, or actually before that,
they said that the Black man was not a person in the fullest
sense. And millions were enslaved and it was a tragedy that
Not only were millions of God's children desecrated and
raped of life and freedom, but the response to that on the rest
of society's part, the Civil War, killed thousands more, more
than any other war in our history. Then comes along Roe v.
Wade. I believe that the reason I mention this is because the
realities are so powerful and so connected and said that the
unborn child is not a person in the fullest sense, and we have
killed 50 million of them.
And I don't know if some panel some day will say maybe we
should have reparation hearings on what we have done there or
what the effects will be on 50 million dead children in
America, what will be the impact of America's foundation being
stained by the blood of its own children. I don't know.
But I will say to you that there is a recurring theme.
Whenever we debase any of God's children, no matter who they
are, we step into the dark. And that is why we are here today.
And I believe that there could be something that could come
from this that would be very good. Maybe we need a new
emancipation in America to where we consider the past tragedies
and see when we start to step into these darkness areas where
we fail to recognize the humanity of someone and then we begin
to say, well, then it is all right to do these horrible things.
And Mr. Chairman, I want to apologize both to--well, I
guess he is not here, Mr. Nadler and to Mr. Ogletree, regarding
making comparisons with present day parties. That is really not
what I meant to do. What I meant to say was that I don't
blame--you know, I don't think Mr. Conyers here should
apologize for slavery. I don't think it was his fault. I don't
think it was the Democratic Party's fault of today. What I am
saying is that we are facing a very similar situation today,
and that there is a common thread among all of them.
I am not trying to elevate the unborn above any other
humanity. I am saying that there is a common thread here and
that today's parties have a major disagreement. And I would say
to you in the most sincere way to the Democratic Party, they
will never be the party of children, they will never be the
party of civil rights, they will never be the party that
addresses the desecration of U.S. humanity while they stand for
killing 4,000 children a day. It can't happen.
If we want to truly address the past, then we have to
address our situation today. Then we will have not only the
courage but we will have the moral foundation to correct the
past. And until we as a society say from now on we are going to
recognize the humanity of all God's children, the dreams of our
Founding Fathers of holding the self-evident truths to be that
all men are created will never be realized. And Martin Luther
King's dreams, all of those things will never be realized until
we say the reason that these things were wrong in the first
place is because they desecrated the life of one of God's
Now, I have one question and I am through. And I am sorry
for getting a little dramatic here, but I am not sorry for what
I have said. I would like to ask you, Mr. Clegg, and then pass
it along to me, what do you think--I have already told you what
I thought was the problem, what caused slavery, was that we
lost sight of humanity of a fellow human being. What do you
think was the fundamental societal cause of slavery and how can
we apply that today so that we don't let things like that
happen in the future in America.
Mr. Clegg. Well, I can't really, I think, add very much to
what you have already so eloquently said. I think that in order
to enslave someone, in order to treat them as less than fully
human, you have to convince yourself first that that person is
less than fully human. And I think that that is what happened.
And as far as applying that to the present day, I agree with
you on that, too. When you look at these very intelligent
people back in the mid 1800's and the fact that so many of them
seem to think that this was okay, it is very humbling because
you then ask yourself: Well, gee, these were not stupid people,
these were not immoral people, what are we missing today, what
is it that people 100 years from now will be ashamed of in our
And I think that you are right, that the best candidate for
that is the slaughter of the unborn. Beyond that, I think it is
also critically important that we take away from the Civil War
and the civil rights movement the importance of all Americans
being judged, as Dr. King said, by the content of their
character and not the color of their skin.
Mr. Franks. Mr. Chairman, I know my time is out. If there
is anyone else you would allow to address the question, great.
If not, I will yield back.
Mr. Conyers. Well, Professor Ogletree was originally asked
to answer, so let us let him respond.
Mr. Ogletree. And I will be very brief, Congressman Franks.
Your points are well taken. It is a little unsettling that with
the passion you show for this unspeakable American dilemma of
abortion that you choose the one and only occasion we have ever
had a hearing on H.R. 40. And it is important that Members of
Congress, that you bring your issues up when you can. But I
think it seems a little odd that as passionate as you feel
about those issues, that I am not hearing the same sense about
the travesties that are centuries old.
The second point is this: You asked what is the, what can
we connect this to, what's the cause. In one word, I would say
silence. When we are silent, when we see tragedies and
travesties, that is the greatest harm. We see it, we hear it,
we observe it, but we are silent in reacting to it, whether it
is the Holocaust, whether it is slavery, whatever it might be.
And the silence, the reason this study is so important, the
silence hasn't ended. We are talking about slavery as if it is
a past issue. But in Darfur and Sudan on our watch, when we
have power, at least moral persuasion, people are in slavery in
the world today. And so that is why I think it is important
that we study this, because both of our views are the same. If
we fail to understand history, we are doomed to repeat it. And
here is a classic example of where we are repeating history
because we didn't understand it decades and centuries before.
Mr. Franks. Mr. Chairman, may I just say I agree with the
gentleman strongly. I want him to know just for the record that
the Chairman is probably aware that when it comes to the human
rights in other areas, specifically Darfur, because that is the
one that you mentioned, Mr. Chairman, I stayed up one night
making sure that the genocide treaty got through the Senate
when no one else was really trying. So I want you to know that
my passion for this does go across the board. The reason that I
bring this abortion on demand up is because it is happening
right now. And I feel like until we deal with and put down the
knives and deal with us stopping the killing today, then it is
hard for us to address where we have been or where we are
going. But I want you to know I do truly agree with you that
that passion should not be singled out for just one area of
humanity. Thank you, sir.
Ms. Tyehimba. Congressman Conyers, may I please respond
very briefly. Congressman Franks, I appreciate your concern
about unborn children. I would also like to ask that you have
that same level of emotion when we address the mortality rate
of African descendent children, particularly in this country.
And I also would like to say that we need to reiterate that
slavery took place, certainly because of silence, also because
of greed, we used religion to support what we did. And one
thing that we have to pay close attention to right now, and I
hope that you will join in this fight as well, and that is to
make sure that the media is not used to demonize the people.
Mr. Conyers. Could I point out to all here that I am
beginning to think that this is the commission on reparations
which we are determining whether we should have or not. I would
like to--I have got some nominees to come before the
Commission. Because this is precisely the discussion that has
certainly not been held in the Congress.
And as I suggest, because of my continued support of this
legislation, it hadn't been held officially in the government
anywhere. There have been isolated speeches and there have been
academic participation in this, but there has never been an
official government study. So it is not whether you are for
reparations or what kind of reparations you are for or whether
you are against reparations, it is whether we have the
discussion on reparations which we are having here.
This begins to suggest to me that we need more than one
hearing. It suggests to me that this is a very healthy
dialogue. We are not hurling accusations at one another or
personalizing our particular philosophy and point of view. What
we are doing is holding up for examination of everyone, not
just in the country, believe me, this is an international
question, what it is we should do about this, should it be
nothing, should it be something, should it be something that no
one has talked about. The selection of these views are what
bring us here today to examine H.R. 40, which is not a
reparations bill. It is a bill to create a commission to
examine reparations. And so I am pleased of the tenor of this
discussion. I turn now to the Chairman of the Crime
Subcommittee on Judiciary, the Honorable Bobby Scott of
Mr. Scott. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and thank you for
introducing your legislation. People have talked about history
and the distractions about it. We are going to have some
discussion about the history. And I want to focus the
discussion on the present. Furthermore, I reiterate the point
you have made, this is a study, not what to do. This doesn't
require us to do anything other than the study. Then we can
decide whether or not it is appropriate to do anything. But in
my judgment, there are some present effects of the reality of
state sanctioned slavery that are appropriate to be studied.
Let me ask Professor Ogletree whether or not the known
discrimination in mortgage rates where African Americans pay
more for a mortgage today than others, is that, if you compound
that additional payment over a lifetime, does that have a
present effect on a person's wealth?
Mr. Ogletree. Congressman Scott, thank you. The answer is,
of course, yes. And it reminds me of the comment that my dear
friend, Roger Clegg, made that what brings us here is the
phrase, e pluribus unum, out of many comes one. But my question
is where are we one. If you look at education, health care,
employment, housing, wealth, racial profiling, mortgage rates,
credit, all those things tell us that we are not one. We are
judged to a long extent by a legacy that started centuries ago
and continues even today.
Mr. Scott. And that has a present effect?
Mr. Ogletree. Indeed.
Mr. Scott. You mentioned some others; insurance rates. Is
there evidence that African Americans pay more for insurance,
same insurance than others pay.
Mr. Ogletree. Yes.
Mr. Scott. Car prices?
Mr. Ogletree. Yes.
Mr. Scott. If you compound this over a lifetime, all these
additional payments would that amount to much money.
Mr. Ogletree. Not millions, but beyond billions.
Mr. Scott. Housing discrimination, most of a person's
household wealth is in the equity in their home. If African
Americans find themselves in segregated housing opportunities,
does that affect their ability to develop wealth today?
Mr. Ogletree. Yes.
Mr. Scott. And is that effect worth studying, not doing
anything about it, yet but studying?
Mr. Ogletree. Absolutely.
Mr. Scott. Now, contracts. Notwithstanding the fact that
there is legislation, some of which has pushed the envelope so
far as to be found unconstitutional, trying to get minorities
Federal contracts and other contracts, still it is virtually
100 percent for one-third of the population White males, women
and racial minorities representing two-thirds of the population
getting virtually nothing, those numbers cannot happen
randomly, is that worth studying to ascertain whether or not
that is a present effect of slavery?
Mr. Ogletree. Yes.
Mr. Scott. Education you mentioned. There is some areas in
minority communities where the dropout rate is 50 percent.
People are not getting an education. There were historically
limited opportunities to go to college. Does this affect--I
mean in some areas, you got it so bad people aren't going to
college, you got what the Children's Defense Fund calls the
cradle-to-prison pipeline, which shows where we are making our
investment. Is that something that should be studied?
Mr. Ogletree. Yes.
Mr. Scott. Now, if we study this, will there be options
available to us that the study might reveal that would be
options other than cash to individuals?
Mr. Ogletree. A large range of options, public policy,
issues of trying to ensure compliance. It is not all just a
question of financial opportunities. And one of the biggest
advantages is when people know more, they can be healthier,
they can be wealthier, they can be educated, they can have
housing, jobs. There are nonfinancial advantages to people
having an equal opportunity.
Mr. Scott. And might some of the results of the study
suggest that we ought to address poverty generally?
Mr. Ogletree. Indeed. It was 42 years ago when President
Johnson spoke at Howard University commencement. And I would
urge this Committee to put his speech in the record. He talked
about the disparities in 1965, how bad things were and how far
we have come. It is ironic from 1965 to 2007, the disparities
have increased instead of diminished. So poverty that we
thought we addressed in the 1960's is as pervasive in some
respects now and even more pervasive in other respects than it
was 42 years ago when it was a prime consideration of our
Mr. Scott. So if we can ascertain that some poverty today
is directly linked to the lingering effects of slavery, we
might want to address all poverty as Mr. Clegg has suggested,
not just that poverty directly related to slavery, but all
poverty would be addressed and education generally. Would that
be a possibility without focusing just on educational
disparities attributable to slavery, but we may find that
addressing education generally might be a good idea?
Mr. Ogletree. If we look at Katrina 2005, if we look at
coal miners in places like West Virginia today, we look at
Appalachian communities and rural poverty, it is a universal
concern. And I think that is something that can be accomplished
that will serve all of America.
Mr. Clegg. Congressman Scott, I don't know if you wanted me
to respond as well.
Mr. Scott. Let me ask one other question if I can. Brown v.
Board of Education Professor Ogletree included the effects on
people of state sanctioned segregation. Does that philosophy
embodied in Brown v. Board of Education, is that still an
effect worth studying?
Mr. Ogletree. Indeed. In fact, as much as we think about
government roles, the reality is that much of Congress was
resistant that goes around. And there is something called the
southern manifesto in 17 southern States that resisted,
including your home State of Virginia, which closed down the
public schools to African Americans. So it is certainly worth
studying, because the paper trail on how people were treated on
race goes far beyond what happened in 1607 or 1619, it goes
until the 1960's and it continues with measures that have been
passed in 21st Century as well.
Mr. Scott. Thank you. Mr. Clegg.
Mr. Clegg. Congressman Scott, all of those disparities that
you listed are already being studied. They are already being
studied to an extremely thorough extent. They will continue to
And I am sure that, in terms of causation, one cause of
them will be discrimination. There will be other causes as
well. I have already talked about the impact of illegitimacy,
out-of-wedlock births, on just about any social problem that
you can name.
It will also be the case though, that whatever these
studies conclude, that the solution, the remedy is not going to
be more discrimination. It is not going to be to single out
some people because of their skin color as deserving of
preferences or special treatment that other people don't get.
I mean, let us fess up: The reason for this bill is not to
do studies that aren't being done. I mean, $8 million and seven
additional experts is not very much. It is ridiculous to think
that they are going to be able to make a dent in studying the
very serious and widespread problems that you have listed.
The reason for this bill is to lay the groundwork for
reparations. That conclusion to award reparations, I think, has
already been reached by a lot of people, and it is a wrong
conclusion, a destructive one, a divisive one, a distraction,
and one that we should not be wasting our time on.
Mr. Scott. Well, do you agree that some of the present
social pathology is directly attributable to slavery?
Mr. Clegg. I think, yes, but I think that it is impossible
Mr. Scott. Well then, everybody does not agree to that.
That is why we need a study to convince them as you apparently
Mr. Clegg. Look, you are not going to be able to convince
people through this study that current disparities were or were
not attributable in some way to slavery.
Mr. Conyers. Would the gentleman yield for just a moment?
Mr. Scott. I will yield the balance of my time to the
Mr. Conyers. Well, you do not have any balance of time
left, but that is a very generous effort on your part.
Mr. Clegg, that is what we want to find out.
Mr. Clegg. But you cannot find that out through this
Mr. Conyers. Well, you cannot tell us that we cannot find
it out and not do it. As a matter of fact, when you say let us
'fess up and we are laying the groundwork for reparations, I
have no idea who is going to be on the commission. Unless you
think that the study is going to lead to an increased support
for reparations, I do not know how we can hold a hearing on
whether we should hold a study or not. You say we do not need
it, we already know. Well, all of those things that you
Mr. Clegg. I did not say that we already know. I said that
it is already being studied, and----
Mr. Conyers. All right. I will take that back then if it
will make this conversation move more quickly.
The point here is that you said to Mr. Scott that all of
those things that are already being studied are not being
studied in relationship to the lingering effects of slavery. If
they are, please send me the information right away, not that
it would mean we do not need a study, but to say that these are
all being studied so you do not need to have this study, I have
a list of studies in the Congress, for which we are famous,
about everything that goes into the atmosphere and more
esoteric subjects than you or I would care to want to read into
Here is a huge historical fact that Mr. Franks has made
such a great emphasis on and that we all agree is important.
Then you say but an $8 million study for a year is not enough.
Well, maybe we need a longer study and more money appropriated
to it. I cannot tell you that we do or not, but you are giving
me something to think about, and that is why we are holding the
Mr. Clegg. Well, Mr. Chairman, what I said was that all of
these things are being studied all over the country by
professors and think tanks and State governments and you name
it, and there are a lot of lawyers out there who want to know
to what extent these different disparities are caused by
discrimination of one kind or another. Of course, this
commission is not limited to studying the effects of slavery.
It is going to cover all kinds of discrimination. Believe me--
and I think you know--there is no shortage of those kinds of
studies. The problem is that it is interesting, but it is also,
in a sense, almost impossible to look at something that is
going on today and to say, ``Can I trace this to something that
happened 100 years ago?'' Yes, you can do that, but there are
Mr. Conyers. Yes, you can. We cannot dismiss it. I cannot
call a hearing and say it is impossible, and you know it. I do
not know it. Besides, neither of us knows what the work product
of this commission is going to be no matter if it runs for 1
year or 2 years.
The point is we did not come here to say this is a very
important subject, but let us dismiss it because there are
studies out there all the time. This Committee has been so busy
that we have not been able to get to Mr. Franks' most
passionate issue, and it is in the jurisdiction of this
Committee. The Department of Justice every week gives us more
work to do in terms of getting the Department of Justice
straightened out. We have got questions now about the
destruction of CIA film. We have issues dealing with the whole
realm of the jurisdiction of the Committee. For me to say let
us 'fess up and you know where this is all going and that there
are studies out there does not persuade me to say, ``Well, we
had a hearing, and one of our regular witnesses said, look,
guys, you can go find this yourselves.''
We want to let somebody else do it. We do not have time to
do this, sir, believe me. I would enjoy this Committee's
studying this, but I would like now to move to Steve King if I
can. Thank you very much.
Mr. King. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I hope you will consider
nominating me for the commission should we get to that point. I
would be very interested in this subject matter as well.
Mr. Conyers. I would be happy, if I have any influence over
who is going to be on the commission, to do that.
Mr. King. I would really identify you as the most
influential individual when it comes to that, and I appreciate
I want to maybe turn to a little bit of housekeeping over
here and take care of it here with Mr. Ogletree, your statement
that the Constitution still has a three-fifths clause in it. I
turn to Article I, Section 2, and I read ``Representatives
shall be apportioned according to their respective numbers
which shall be determined by adding to the whole number of free
persons, three-fifths of all other persons.'' Now, I have
abbreviated that a little bit, but I think it reads in its
That would be the section to which you are referring?
Mr. Ogletree. Yes.
Mr. King. That statement still has the three-fifths clause
in it, but when I turn then to Section 2 of the 14th amendment,
it says, ``Representatives shall be apportioned among the
several States, according to their respective numbers, counting
the whole number of persons in each State.''
Would you agree that that has been amended out and no
longer is in the Constitution?
Mr. Ogletree. That was the purpose of the 13th, 14th and
Mr. King. So the Constitution no longer really does contain
in its text, as is its meaning today, three-fifths because that
has been amended out by the 14th amendment, Section 2?
Mr. Ogletree. Right.
Mr. King. Okay. I raise this point, Mr. Ogletree, because
it concerns me that--I hear that dialogue come up continually,
and I believe there are people out there in America who believe
what you said in your testimony that three-fifths is in the
Constitution. Yes, it is in the text. It is in our history. I
acknowledge it is in our history and that slavery is in our
history, but we no longer have slavery in the amendment, in the
14th amendment. It is out.
So would you agree with me that it is inappropriate to
continue that kind of dialogue?
Mr. Ogletree. Let me tell you what is inappropriate. The
statement that you made was that slaves were considered only
three-fifths of a person. The reality is that they were not
considered persons at all. The three-fifths clause was there
not for slaves to have any rights or power. It was there to
have slave owners to have some proportional representation in
Congress and other means, so the idea
Mr. King. I agree with that representation.
Mr. Ogletree. I was picking up on the good point that
Congressman Franks made about Dred Scott, you know, the irony
of what Chief Justice Roger Taney said in 1857. There were no
rights at all. My point is that the three-fifths clause always
reflected the power of White slave owners. It never reflected
the power of a former slave or a slave to do anything, is my
Mr. King. I agree with your point, and I am glad you made
that point, but I want you to agree with my point that three-
fifths is no longer part of this Constitution.
Mr. Ogletree. That is exactly right. Thank God for the
13th, 14th and 15th amendments.
Mr. King. Thank you. I would appreciate it if it were not
part of the dialogue that informs Americans that it is
currently in there. I think you have given the proper
historical analysis of it in your response to my question, and
I very much appreciate that.
Mr. Ogletree. Right.
Mr. King. You also referenced the promise of 40 acres. I do
not think I tuned in quite well enough. I have always heard it
as 40 acres and a mule.
Mr. Ogletree. Forty acres of tillable land. This is General
Sherman, Field Order No. 15, that was designed to encourage
slaves and former slaves to fight in the Civil War on the side
of the Union.
Mr. King. Now, this is a document that has been published?
Mr. Ogletree. Yes. Yes.
Mr. King. It has a signature on it, I presume.
Mr. Ogletree. I will give you the entire history. It is
well-known, but I will submit that to the Committee as well as
General Johnson's rejection of that after the war.
Mr. Conyers. Without objection, we will accept those
Mr. King. I do appreciate that, and that is a piece of
history that I need to sit down and read so that--I am not
boring, am I, Mr. Ogletree? It is a piece of the history that I
believe I need to have.
However, is it your position before this Committee that a
Civil War general can bind then a promise that goes beyond the
century and into the next century? I mean we are sitting here
as a Congress that cannot bind the next Congress. I believe
that you are making the statement that, as to that promise that
was made, somehow we are obligated to follow through on that. I
am wondering by what authority you would make that allegation.
Mr. Ogletree. Let me be clear as to what I said.
General Sherman issued Field Order No. 15 on January 16,
1865, targeting respectable Negroes, heads of families, et
cetera, and promised that they would receive a plot of not more
than 40 acres of tillable land, et cetera. That is what he
promised. My point is that that promise was broken. That is why
studying this history is important. It was never kept. You did
not know this history. I know it because it is very important
Mr. King. I knew pieces of it. I did not know the details.
Mr. Ogletree. It is very clear. Those who have been
involved in this effort for decades have been very concerned
about it, but the history is there, and there are other broken
promises. So the study will allow us to have a record for the
first time. Ah, we did not know that right after slavery and in
the heart of slavery that there were some efforts to move
forward. We did not know that promises were made and broken.
Mr. King. So those who stepped forward and fought would be
the ones, you believe, whose descendents deserve reparations?
Mr. Ogletree. At least. They were promised that. In fact,
the reality is that----
Mr. King. I mean, if we are going to use this as a
guidepost, then we would also have to identify who the
descendents are of the people who honorably stepped forward and
Mr. Ogletree. We would like to. That is one of the problems
of history, Congressman King. Again, you can point to your 1800
Bible. I cannot.
Mr. King. I did hear your remark on that.
Mr. Ogletree. Right.
Mr. King. I had them bring it over, so it is here and it is
Mr. Ogletree. I hope you treasure that.
Mr. King. Absolutely.
Mr. Ogletree. I wish I could identify with anything--
anything--in the 20th century or in the 19th century or in the
18th century. I do know that my family did not come from
Arkansas and Alabama. They may have ended up there, but I know
they came from much further than that.
So my point is that studying history helps us to appreciate
this and to appreciate the fact that we still have a long way
to go. Thank God, despite all of those barriers, I am here; I
have a job; I have a reputation; I have a profession. But that
does not address the millions of people who are suffering
because they never received the benefits of----
Mr. King. And you also recollect that I stated that my
grandfather's artifacts were lost because he was killed in the
Mr. Ogletree. Right.
Mr. King. That would be the same kind of loss of history
that you have expressed here.
Mr. Scott. Would the gentleman yield? Would the gentleman
yield for just a quick question?
Mr. King. Depending on how much time I might have.
Mr. Conyers. The gentleman's time is nearly extinguished.
If he can finish up----
Mr. King. I would like to then just finish up, Mr.
Chairman, and not yield because there is a question here that I
think is really important philosophically before this
That is the issue of some people suffered under slavery and
some people suffered mightily to end slavery. Sometimes it was
the same people. Sometimes it was slaves who suffered mightily
to end slavery. Sometimes it was abolitionists who came from
the North who suffered mightily and who gave their lives to end
Maybe if I could compress this question down to John Brown
and ask you as a panel: Do you believe, if reparations are to
be paid, that they should be paid by the family of John Brown
or that they should be paid to the descendents of John Brown?
I would like to start on the panel and hear the answer.
Reverend Shaw. I do not think we know the answer to the
question. You know, I have been sitting here, trying to listen
to this conversation and to translate it into language of
faith. I think the word that I have come up with is
``discernment'' and that H.R. 40 is about the issue of
discernment, the point being that every human being brings part
of God to a discussion, and the discussion is always important
if we are going to find God's way and God's truth. What this
H.R. 40 is about is carrying on that process of discernment so
that we can find out the truth of faith.
I think, to answer your question directly, we do not know,
and I think that that is what Chairman Conyers is saying that
this resolution will take care of.
Mr. King. Mr. Clegg.
Mr. Clegg. Well, I would say the answer is neither. The
reason is that not only do we not know, but in a sense it is
really unknowable whether the descendents of John Brown,
``Deserve,'' reparations or not. It is impossible to tell in
2007 or to speak with any kind of moral authority about whether
someone deserves more than they have because of events that
happened 150 years ago. There is too much that has happened
since then that also affects where an individual is.
Mr. King. Thank you.
Mr. Conyers. I thank the gentleman so much.
Ms. Tyehimba. Congressman, may I respond, please?
I think that what we need to look at in terms of religious
doctrine is that they normally say that the enslaver, when they
release the enslaved, has a responsibility to provide something
so that that formerly enslaved person is capable of taking care
of himself. That was never done. What we actually saw, however,
was, particularly in the area in Washington, D.C., that the
former slave owners received reparations, but those who were
enslaved received nothing. So we have to get to that.
The reason for, I think, concern here when you discuss
reparations is that it goes back to this discussion of a check,
and it is not----
Mr. King. Can you answer to the family of John Brown,
Ms. Tyehimba. I am not going to respond to that. I think
what we need to look at is the issue of religion and what it
says should happen to formerly enslaved people.
Mr. King. Then I am burning up the Committee's time beyond
where I have already expressed my limits.
I yield back to the Chairman. Thank you.
Mr. Conyers. Could we get Professor Ogletree?
Mr. King. I would be happy to do that.
Mr. Conyers. Good.
Mr. King. I just thought I had stretched your patience too
far, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Ogletree. I think the government should take the
responsibility of responding. That is what we did with the
Japanese Americans in the 1988 Civil Rights Act. That is what
the world expected countries to do with the Holocaust
survivors, not always finding individual people responsible,
but to the extent that the government was complicit, the
government would take some responsibility, whether that would
be financial or some other means.
Mr. Conyers. I thank the gentleman.
I would point out we are now beginning to work up a
conflict here because we have another hearing that was supposed
to have begun in this Committee room, and we have another panel
to go. The Chair will have to be a little bit more stringent in
the generosity of the time that he has allowed thus far.
Mr. Scott. Will the gentleman yield?
Mr. Conyers. I recognize the gentleman briefly.
Mr. Scott. The hearing that was supposed to begin at 1
o'clock will be delayed until the end of this hearing. So we
will just continue on with this hearing, and the Crime
Subcommittee will begin at the end of this hearing.
Mr. Conyers. Well, that is very kind of the gentleman. I
should be referring these things to him instead of making the
decisions myself. I thank him very much for his generosity.
The Chair recognizes Steve Cohen of Memphis.
Mr. Cohen. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Does anybody on the panel feel like it was a mistake for
the United States Senate to apologize for lynching?
Mr. Clegg, do you think it was a mistake to apologize for
lynching when we did not know the lynchers or the lynchees, et
Mr. Clegg. Well, I am trying to remember the specific
facts, Congressman Cohen, at the time. Now, of course, the
Senate was apologizing on behalf of itself; is that correct?
Mr. Cohen. No. I think it was apologizing on behalf of the
country. I do not think any Senators did much lynching.
Mr. Clegg. Well, I do have a problem with that then. I do
have a problem with that then, yes.
Mr. Cohen. You do. Okay.
Do you have a problem with the United States----
Mr. Clegg. I think that in order to apologize, for me to
apologize for something--it has to have been, in some sense, my
Mr. Cohen. It was the Nation's fault. The Nation permitted
it to go on. The Nation acts for all of us. It is the, you
know, cumulative deal.
Mr. Clegg. See, to say that America now is going to
apologize for things that individuals did some time ago----
Mr. Cohen. Permitted by the government.
Mr. Clegg. It could have been stopped, you say, had the
Senate been more aggressive.
As I say in my testimony, I think that that kind of apology
is understood, unfortunately, as being an apology by some
individuals because of actions done by other individuals with
whom they have nothing in common except for the color of their
skin, and I think that that is inconsistent with the principles
that I was talking about earlier.
Mr. Cohen. How about the apology that we ask the Japanese
Government to give for having used comfort women in China? The
House passed that unanimously. Was that a mistake?
Mr. Clegg. Again, I am not familiar with the specifics.
Mr. Cohen. All right. Let us stop it there. I have heard
your response. We do have a limited amount of time.
Was it a mistake for us to apologize to the Japanese we
interned in World War II?
Mr. Clegg. Well, now, there, again, it depends on whose
behalf the apology was.
Mr. Cohen. The country as a Nation.
Mr. Clegg. The United States Government did the interning.
So, for the United States Government to apologize, I think it
would have been appropriate.
Mr. Cohen. All right. Enslavery. The United States
Government permitted slavery. They made it legal. While Mr.
King's relatives, whoever they were, might have lost their
lives in the war--and God bless them for participating--for 100
years thereafter they made people unequal citizens. They could
not get the same lawyer job as you got. They could not get the
same business job as some White person got. For 100 years, we
perpetrated, perpetuated that racism and that badge of slavery.
It was a second class slavery, so to speak.
Mr. Clegg. When you say ``we''----
Mr. Cohen. We are a country.
Mr. Clegg. Well, again, I do not look at it that way, and I
think that the way that the bill is drafted suggests that one
of the things that this commission is supposed to think about
is whether there should be an apology by the United States
Government on behalf of the American people to . . . and then
it does not say to whom the apology is supposed to be made. I
think that each step there raises a lot of questions. The
United States Government now----
Mr. Cohen. Professor Clegg, we have got a limited amount of
time. I am going to stop you because I know where you are
going. We can get Ann Landers or somebody to help us with to
whom the apologies should be made. Those are formalities.
Mr. Clegg. Well, I think it is pretty important.
Mr. Cohen. Let me ask the bishop a question.
Jesus was Jewish, was he not?
Reverend Shaw. He was.
Mr. Cohen. So he would have done Passover, would he not?
Reverend Shaw. He would have.
Mr. Cohen. At Passover, don't the Jews--and they still do
it to this day--look back upon the time they were in bondage
and reflect upon it and say, ``we should always be against
putting people in bondage,'' and have concerns about people who
were in slavery?
Reverend Shaw. Yes, and I think it is a message that is
repeated by the prophets and the Hebrew scripture over and over
Mr. Cohen. So it is kind of a tough thing to come up with.
What do you think Jesus would think about slavery? Would he
have thought somewhere in 1965, 1,865 years later, that
somebody forgot about the Passover sater and the Passover
lessons? How would he have dealt with that?
Reverend Shaw. Part of our baptismal covenant in the
Episcopal Church is to respect the dignity of every human
being, and that part of our covenant comes directly from the
teachings of Jesus and Jesus' continual reminder to all of us
that we should never forget, that always we should be calling
from remembrance into reality.
Mr. Cohen. I, as a Jewish person, find the Passover service
to be my favorite holiday. It has got great eats, and it has
also got a great story. It has got the story of the Jews having
been enslaved, and forever after remember, and never forget
about other people who were enslaved. I think that is part of
what this is about. You know, there are differences on this
panel on the theory of abortion, but I find it very difficult
as a Jewish person whose ancestors were killed and enslaved
during the Holocaust and as a person who represents many, many,
many African Americans who were enslaved and killed along the
passage to America, in America as slaves and then continually
through Jim Crow kept as second class citizens.
One thing is the issue about choice in Roe v. Wade, the
freedom of a woman to make a decision concerning an embryo, and
the other is the decision of a powerful government to kill and
take freedom away. One gives freedom whether you think the
person should have it or not. The other takes freedom and life
away, and I think it is difficult to juxtaposition the two. You
know, in the Jewish religion, life was not considered beginning
until birth because so many children were aborted naturally,
and it was to save the woman and the father from having the
angst of the lost child that the child was not considered a
child in being until birth.
Mr. Conyers. The gentleman's time has expired.
Mr. Cohen. Thank you, sir. I appreciate it, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Conyers. Finally, we turn to Darrell Issa and to Sheila
Jackson Lee before we are summoned for another set of bells.
The gentleman from California is recognized.
Mr. Franks. Mr. Chairman, prior to that, I apologize to
you, but at the request of the Ranking Member, I have to
respectfully object to the participation of a noncommittee
Subcommittee Member, as far as Ms. Jackson Lee, even though I
say that in the greatest respect to the gentlelady.
Mr. Conyers. Well, let us cross that bridge when we get to
it. Let us recognize Darrell Issa right now. He is a legitimate
Member and is entitled.
Mr. Issa. Was I ever considered illegitimate?
Mr. Conyers. Well, some Members are and some Members are
Mr. Issa. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Thanks for recognizing
me. I am going to be brief, and will yield the remainder of the
time to the Ranking Member. I just want to put out a
perspective, to make an observation of today.
I am the founding chairman or co-chairman of the Philippine
Caucus, and General MacArthur promised the Filipinos, who
fought with us in World War II, who helped push back and most
of whom died, that they would be treated as any other GI. Two
years later, the U.S. Congress in the Rescission Act voted that
promise away, and it has not been kept. That is a promise in
which the people promised it. The actual people who fought--the
rangers, the scouts--they are still alive. So, although I think
this is certainly an interesting exercise in reparations talk,
I will tell you the Filipino community is only asking for
reparations to the people accountable to that promise.
I would hope that, if we go forward with the discussion of
reparations, we are truly talking about reparations to the
extent that somebody can be legitimately found to be the
inheritor of that, remembering that the government takes 55
percent off the top of inheritance in each generation. I hope
that discussion does go on if this bill goes forward and if the
commission goes forward.
With that, I would yield the balance of my time to the
Mr. Franks. Well, thank you, sir. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
You know, Mr. Chairman, I guess I will just use the time here
to try to respond to a few things that have been said.
First, if I could--and forgive me. The gentlelady at the--I
guess everyone has had trouble with her name.
Mr. Conyers. Could you put your name tag in front of you,
Ms. Tyehimba. Oh, it fell.
Mr. Conyers. Oh, that is what is giving us so much trouble.
Mr. Franks. Let me just say, ma'am, I was very, very--your
comments to me, I think, were entirely accurate, and I agreed
with every word. Now, I will have to sequester that particular
part of your statement because there were some other things
that I disagreed with you on, but what you said to me, I think,
is exactly right.
One of the things you said is that this is about the value
of human life, past and present, and I certainly do agree with
Related to Mr. Cohen's comments, I guess it is important
that he understands.You know, when he mentioned about the
Passover, I am very familiar with the entire history of the
Jewish people, and I believe that that was something that is
very appropriate. You know, they acknowledged what had happened
to them, and they promised that not only were they grateful to
God that they were delivered from the slavery in Egypt but that
they would work hard to make sure that their descendents were
never enslaved again. I mean I have been on the top of Mt.
Masada where they say that, you know, Israel will never fall
again, that Masada will never fall again. So I believe that it
is entirely appropriate to go back in our history and to
acknowledge some of the things that have happened.
I have to take Mr. Clegg's point of view related to the
apology. The apology is something where you apologize that you
have wronged another human being. You have done something
wrong, and you are apologizing to them. I cannot apologize on
behalf of Adolf Hitler. I can call him every name I can think
of and say that he was a despicable excuse for a human being,
but I cannot apologize for him. Only he can do that if he is
anywhere where he can. So, I guess, the point is that I think
that there might be at least something to think about.
I do not offer this as a proposal, Mr. Chairman, but as at
least something to think about that perhaps there could be some
common ground in all of our coming together and saying, you
know, whether it was the Holocaust in Germany or whether it was
slavery or whether it is what I believe to be a modern day
holocaust, in every case, the people ask a question or they
should have. ``was the Black man a human being?'' our
predecessors got that question very, very wrong, and it led to
a tragedy that begs our description.
When the Germans, the intelligentsia of Germany, asked the
question ``Was the Jew a human being?'' they got that question
very wrong. I would suggest to you that there was an inherent
bias and that they deliberately came to the conclusion that
they did because they felt that there was a selfish--as Ms.
Tyehimba mentioned, that there was a greed factor, that there
was a self-serving factor in coming to that conclusion.
I think the same thing is true today related to abortion,
that there is a self-serving factor here, and I do not mean
that on the part of the woman. I would point to the abortion
industry, which is now a Fortune 500 company, or would be if it
were measured in those terms, in this country. I think there
might be some advantage for us to come together and to say let
us go back in our history and let us look at the examples and
recognize the examples--acknowledge them, is the word--of where
we failed to uphold the creed of this government that all men
are created equal and endowed by their Creator, are given the
gifts of God by their Creator of life.
That is the first one. The reason I emphasis that so much,
Mr. Cohen, is that without the right to live none of the others
have any meaning whatsoever--and if we could go back and say
that this is a place where we failed our fellow human beings
and that from now on we are going to go forward and that we are
not going to do that anymore.
If we want to honor or repair the damage as best we can to
those who suffered the holocaust of slavery--and I do believe
it was a holocaust--if we want to repair that damage--I think
if we could have them here on this panel today, what they would
say more than anything else is do not let it happen to anybody
else. It is too late. You cannot fix it for me, but you can
make sure that it does not happen to my descendents. I think
those might be some common ground things to follow.
Once again, in every case these tragedies were because we
as a human family failed to recognize the human dignity of some
particular group or members of that human family, and we
continue to do it today. Unless we change where we are going
now, we will continue down that darkening path to where the
survival of the fittest prevails and darkness prevails over
So, Mr. Chairman, I yield back.
Mr. Conyers. I thank the gentleman.
I am pleased now to recognize the distinguished gentleman
from Alabama, Mr. Artur Davis.
Mr. Davis. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I apologize to Ms. Jackson Lee for getting ahead of her
since I am on the Subcommittee. Let me try to make a couple
points because I do want Ms. Jackson Lee to have ample time
today. Mr. Clegg, I want to start with you.
I know a lot of the conversation, a lot of the hearing
today has revolved around you, but something that you said kind
of caught my attention.
In listening to you, you have had a lot to say today about
de-linking the past from the present, and I thought about that
a little bit in listening to you. Are you opposed to legacy
admissions for colleges and universities?
Mr. Clegg. For public universities, yes.
Mr. Davis. Are you opposed to it for the Harvards and for
the Yales of the world?
Mr. Clegg. Well, I think that should be left to the
Harvards and the Yales of the world.
Mr. Davis. Are you morally opposed to it as a philosophical
Mr. Clegg. No.
Mr. Davis. I am bothered by that.
Professor Ogletree, this may be something you would want to
weigh in on.
Normally, sometimes you can grade people by consistency in
their remarks, and sometimes people do not even bother to go
through the charade of consistency. You have shown some effort
to be consistent today.
Mr. Clegg. Thank you.
Mr. Davis. The problem with that is if you are consistent
about wanting to separate the link between things that happened
yesterday and today and if you are consistent about the
proposition that what happened in another generation should not
be binding or have relevance to us today, it would seem to me
that a lot of your passion and a lot of your energy ought to be
dedicated to the fact that you have an extra edge at getting in
a Harvard or in a Yale or in a Princeton if your great granddad
went there, particularly if your great granddad gave a lot of
money. That strikes me, frankly, as being rather inconsistent
with your point of view.
Mr. Ogletree, would you like to comment on that, on whether
you see a tension between legacy admissions at Ivy League
schools in Mr. Clegg's argument?
Mr. Ogletree. It is not just a philosophical but a personal
question, and I will answer it from the personal point of view
because, having gone to Stanford, which has a legacy plan and
Harvard with that same sense of legacy, I just recount the
story of my daughter who applied to Stanford and who got a
letter saying, ``Congratulations. You are a legacy because your
mother and father are graduates of Stanford.'' She resented
that. Her point was, you know, are you looking at me or are you
looking at my parents.
Now, the irony is that and the reason that I am sort of
unwilling to get rid of legacies is this: We have just arrived.
We have just arrived in numbers where the first generation of
African Americans, Latinos, Asian Americans, and Native
Americans are graduating with children who are going to these
institutions. I will bet you that, as affirmative action has
disappeared, legacies will be next because guess who is at the
door. Over 50 percent of Stanford's entering class are students
So even though we are taking things away, are we taking
away things that make some sense? Is it going to stop the
Packards and Hewletts and the millions for Stanford or is going
to impact more directly the first generation or the second
generation of those going to these institutions? That is why I
think the history is important.
Mr. Davis. Let me just make this observation.
Regardless of what happens in the future with legacy
admissions, there had been a longstanding practice of legacy
admissions way before Charles Ogletree's daughter was a
Mr. Ogletree. That is why history is important.
Mr. Davis. Right.
Mr. Ogletree. That is why we have to look back. It worked
for everybody else.
Mr. Davis. Right.
Mr. Ogletree. We should not disconnect the past with the
Mr. Davis. It worked for everybody else in a way that did
not, frankly, draw a significant amount of a program or in a
way that did not draw the kind of philosophic critique that is
attached to the kind of thing that Mr. Conyers is trying to do.
Mr. Ogletree. Right.
Mr. Davis. The second observation----
Mr. Clegg. Racial discrimination is quite different from
any other kind of discrimination.
Mr. Davis. Well, the second observation I want to make----
Mr. Ogletree. Well, it is racial discrimination in the
sense that the people who are legacies are largely not people
who are African American, Native American, Latino or Asian
Mr. Davis. The second observation I want to make----
Mr. Clegg. As you say, though, that is not true now.
Mr. Davis. The second observation that I want to make has
to do with a line of questions Mr. King was pursuing with you,
Professor Ogletree, that dealt with the question of language
and the Constitution and the value of removing it. I want to
relate that, for just my last seconds of time here, to my State
Twice in this decade, we have had a referendum in the State
of Alabama that dealt with cleansing language from the Alabama
Constitution. In 2000, there was a referendum on language in
the Constitution that banned marriages between Black
individuals and White individuals. In 2003--or 2004, rather--
there was a referendum that dealt with language that could have
been interpreted as allowing segregation in the State schools.
There was a very strong effort to remove the offensive
A lot of people on the other side of the argument sounded a
little bit like Mr. King. Their argument was, well, interracial
marriage bans have not been enforceable since Loving v.
Virginia. School segregation has not been the law of the land
since Brown. This argument advanced. Well, why go back and feel
the need to cleanse out language when the language is no longer
Frankly, the point that was made to them was if a document
that purports to speak to all of us--if a document that
purports to speak to our sense of----
Mr. Conyers. The gentleman's time has expired.
Mr. Davis. May I finish my sentence, Mr. Chairman?
Mr. Conyers. Absolutely.
Mr. Davis. If a document that purports to speak to our
sense of national community on its own terms debunks that
notion and undercuts the idea of community, it is always worthy
of being changed and cleansed.
So while I did not hear the full benefit of Mr. King's
argument, so that struck me as relevant information.
Mr. Conyers. I thank the gentleman.
All time has expired. This panel has been very, very
contributive to the discussion. I thank each and every one of
I am going to now call the second panel, and I would like
those persons to----
Ms. Jackson Lee. Mr. Chairman, is there any time I can be
Mr. Conyers. Well, of course not. There is nobody here to
yield you the time. Their time has expired.
Ms. Jackson Lee. Okay. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Conyers. You are welcome.
All right. Will the witnesses quickly take their places? I
thank the second panel.
The first witness is my dear friend of the family, JoAnn
Watson, a University of Michigan graduate. I do not know how
she figured in on the discussion about Harvard's and
Princeton's having these prerogatives when their children go to
school and apply there, but she serves with great distinction
as member of the Detroit City Council, and she is presenting
testimony not only on her own behalf but on that of Ray
Jenkins, the gentleman who has pressed this Member into
numerous discussions about a study bill on reparations for many
Ms. Watson, Councilwoman Watson, was a delegate to the
United Nations World Conference on Racism in Durban, South
Africa. She is President of the National Anti-Klan Network and
the Center for Democratic Renewal. Prior to her service as a
member of the city council, she served as public liaison for my
We welcome you, Councilmember JoAnn Watson. Your testimony,
like everyone else's, will be recorded and reproduced in its
entirety in the record. You may take time to summarize your
statement or to make any other comments you choose.
TESTIMONY OF THE HONORABLE JOANN WATSON,
COUNCIL MEMBER, DETROIT CITY COUNCIL
Ms. Watson. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. I want to
thank you in a very special way and tell you how proud I am to
be one of your constituents and to come from the City of
Detroit, where you have represented us with such distinction
for so many years, Mr. Chairman. I thank you for being the
sponsor of H.R. 40 since 1989.
I am here today to represent ``Reparations'' Ray Jenkins,
who is considered the Moses of the Reparations Movement in the
City of Detroit, and some see him that way nationally. He has
asked that I speak for him today, and he is hoping that, if the
Chairman and the Committee--this august Committee--are
determined to have multiple hearings, he is hopeful that there
might be one in Detroit where he could speak personally to this
Your role has been significant and substantive, and has
given a great weight to the discussion that has taken place
already today. I am also proud as a native Detroiter,
nationalist, and Pan African, to acknowledge the legacy of
ancestral Detroiters like Chris Alston, who first discovered
our archival records, documenting the work of Mrs. Callie House
and her courageous organizing and her advocacy for reparations,
or pensions, as she founded the National Ex-slave Mutual
Relief, Bounty and Pension Association. She was wrongfully
indicted and imprisoned by this country with fraudulent claims
of mail fraud, but the government's persecution did not stop
her brave, African, warrior self from filing a class action
lawsuit against the U.S. Government on behalf of Africans who
had been immorally enslaved in this country.
It is important that we also note that another Detroit area
ancestor, Reverend Milton Henry, along with his brother, Dr.
Imari Obadele, formerly known as Richard Henry, was one of the
founders of the Republic of New Afrika in Detroit, who was
counsel to Malcolm X and who recorded Malcolm X's voice. He
provided a sacred, spiritual sustenance regularly on the
righteousness of reparations, using the Old Testament Numbers
5:5 as a scriptural basis for reparations
To quote Reverend Milton Henry, ``When you have taken that
which does not belong to you, God's law is that you return it
plus a fifth thereof,'' unquote.
Certainly, there is the Honorable Elijah Muhammad, the
founder of the Nation of Islam in Detroit; the significance of
the Shrine of the Black Madonna founded by Jaramogi Abebe
Agyeman in Detroit; and people like Queen Mother Rosa Parks,
who spent more years in Detroit than she spent in Montgomery,
Alabama. She was an active attendee of N'COBRA, and supported
the Reparations Movement. In fact, she attended a national
N'COBRA convention in Detroit. There is Kwame Atta, the late
Kwame Atta, now an ancestor, a strong supporter and fundraiser
along with ``Reparations'' Ray Jenkins. All of these shoulders
we stand on today.
As we address the topic of reparations in the U.S., it is
constructive to use the Reconstruction as one of our backdrops.
If we look specifically at George H. White, the last African
American Reconstruction Congressman and the last African who
had been enslaved to sit in the House, we note that Congressman
White was born in Rosindale, North Carolina. He was a graduate
of Howard University. He studied medicine, and then he studied
law and passed the North Carolina Bar. He was elected in 1896,
and was reelected in 1898. He was able to obtain back pay for
Black Civil War veterans, but his colleagues refused even to
hear a Federal anti-lynching bill.
During his last speech in January 1901, Congressman White
said, ``This, Mr. Chairman, is perhaps our temporary farewell
to the American Congress.''
These parting words are on behalf of an outraged,
heartbroken, bruised, and bleeding but God-fearing people full
of potential force. It would be nearly 30 years before the next
African American, Oscar de Priest of Chicago, would be elected
to the United States House of Representatives in 1929.
If Congressman White or Callie House could offer testimony
on the issue of reparations today, they would certainly attest
to the fact that Africans never received 40 acres. On March
3rd, 1865, weeks before the end of the Civil War and almost a
year prior to the ratification of the 13th amendment, the
Freedmen's Bureau was created by an act of Congress. According
to section 4 of the first Freedmen's Bureau Act, this agency
``shall have authority to set apart for use of loyal refugees
and freedmen such tracts of land within the insurrectionary
States as shall have been abandoned or to which the United
States shall have acquired title by confiscation or sale or
otherwise; and to every male citizen, whether refugee or
freedman, as aforesaid, there shall be assigned not more than
40 acres of land.'' As has already been discussed, this was
breached and violated by this country.
In January 1865, General William Tecumseh Sherman had
previously issued orders to General Rufus Saxton to divide land
into 40-acre tracts and to distribute them to freedmen after
the creation of the Freedmen's Bureau in 1865. Just 2 months
later, however, after the assassination of President Abraham
Lincoln, President Andrew Johnson issued an Executive Order to
eliminate support for the Freedmen's Bureau, and he reneged on
the promises and on the commitments that had been negotiated by
abolitionist statesman Frederick Douglas in discussions with
Mr. Conyers. Could the gentlelady--I beg her continuing
Ms. Watson. Yes, I will.
Mr. Conyers. Our time is going rapidly.
Ms. Watson. Yes, sir.
The Civil Rights Redress Act has already been addressed,
which was passed in 1988. I have submitted written testimony
about the legal precedence that has already been set for
reparations paid to others. It should be noted that reparations
for Africans has not only been an issue cited by Africans in
America but also a significant point of discussion by Africans
on the continent.
We support the passage of H.R. 40. When it is passed, we
urge that the study will give consideration for the current day
equivalent of the dollars paid to an examination of what was
paid to the persons who lost the Civil War. There should be
consideration of what was paid to those who lost the Civil War.
They received compensation and land.
We ask that there be a special look at taxes, colleges, the
release of African Americans who have been political prisoners.
We ask that there be a special look at the significance of
health care and at the significant role of Africans who have
preserved the United States. In the United States, most of our
schoolchildren and many people in this room may not be aware
that it is African descendents who have maintained this U.S. as
the U.S. The North was losing until the engagement of Africans
in the Civil War. We support the immediate passage of H.R. 40.
We thank you very much, Mr. Chairman, for your kind
consideration and to this Committee.
[The prepared statement of Ms. Watson follows:]
Prepared Statement of the Honorable JoAnn Watson
I am JoAnn Watson, City Councilwoman, Detroit City Council. I am
pleased to be here today before the subcommittee to testify on Legacy
of the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade.
I would like to thank you, Mr. Chairman, for inviting us to testify
today. I also want to thank you, Ms. Lofgren, Mr. Berman, and other
members of the Committee for your leadership over the years on this
important and vital humanitarian issue.
Our purpose in testifying today is to provide the perspective of
the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade.''
As we address the topic of reparations in the United States, it is
instructive to use the Reconstruction era as one of our backdrops. Let
us look specifically at George H. White, the last African American
Reconstruction congressman and the last African who had been enslaved
to sit in the House. Congressman White was born in Rosindale, North
Carolina, and was a graduate of Howard University. White studied law
privately. He represented North Carolina's Second Congressional
District and was elected in 1896 and reelected in 1898. Nor
surprisingly, Congressman White found it difficult to make his mark in
Congress. He was able to obtain back pay for Black Civil War veterans,
for ample, but his colleagues refused even to hear his federal
During his last speech, in January 1901, Congressman White said,
``This, Mr. Chairman, is perhaps the Negro's temporary farewell to the
American Congress. These parting words are on behalf of an outraged,
heartbroken, bruised and bleeding, but God-fearing people . . . full of
potential force.'' It would be more than twenty-five years before the
next African American, Oscar De Priest, of Chicago, Illinois, was
elected to the United States House of Representatives.
If Congressman White could offer testimony on the issue of
reparations today, he would certainly attest to the fact that Blacks
never received forty acres and a mule in the aftermath of the signing
of the Emancipation Proclamation. On March 3, 1865, weeks before the
end of the Civil War, and almost a year prior to the ratification of
the Thirteenth Amendment, the Freedmen's Bureau was created by an act
of Congress. According to Section 4 of the first Freedmen's Bureau Act,
this agency ``shall have authority to set apart for use of local
refugees and Freedmen such tracts of land within the insurrectionary
states as shall have been abandoned or to which the United States shall
have acquired title by confiscation or sale, or otherwise; and to every
male citizen, whether refugee or Freeman, as aforesaid there shall be
assigned not more than forty acres of land.'' This portion of the
Freedmen's Bureau Act (introduced by Congressman Thaddeus Stevens) was
defeated by Congress on February 5, 1866, by a vote of 126 to 36
because many thought that it would disenfranchise white landowners who
had been defeated in the Civil War. Land that had been distributed to
Freedman was reclaimed by the federal government and routed to the
enslavers (who had lost the Civil War, fought for the Confederacy, and
had already benefited unjustly from the unpaid labor of Africans).
In January 1865, General William Tecumseh Sherman had previously
issued orders to General Rufus Saxton to divide land into forty-acre
tracts and distribute them to
freedmen after the creation of the Freedmen's Bureau in 1985. Just
two months later, after the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln,
President Andrew Johnson revoked the executive office's support for the
Freedmen's Bureau and reneged on promises and commitments that had been
negotiated by abolitionist/statesmen Frederick Douglas in discussions
with President Lincoln.
I believe that one of the best-kept secrets among Civil War
historians is that the Union was losing to the Confederacy until
enslaved Africans joined the Civil War to fight for the Union. As
President Lincoln discussed the matter of introducing Africans who had
been held in bondage to fight for the Union, Douglas strongly advocated
on behalf of the Emancipation Proclamation, the Freedmen's Bureau, the
provision of land to the newly freed Africans, and the adoption of the
Thirteenth Amendment. Among the resources utilized to bring victory to
the Union was Harriet Tubman, the renowned General of the Underground
Railroad, who served as a scout during the Civil War conducting
dangerous reconnaissance missions.
Upon learning that President Andrew Johnson had rescinded the order
authorizing the Freedmen's Bureau Act and the distribution of land to
freedmen, General Saxton wrote the following communique to the
commissioner of the Freedmen's Bureau, Oliver O. Howard: ``The lands
which have been taken possession of by this bureau have been solemnly
pledged to the Freedmen . . . it is of vital importance that our
promises made to Freedmen should be faithfully kept . . . the Freedmen
were promised the protection of the government, with the approval of
the War Department . . . more than 40,000 Freedmen have been provided
with homes under its promises . . . I cannot break faith with them now
by recommending the restoration of any of these lands. In my opinion
the order of General Sherman is as binding as a statute.'' Saxton's
pleas were to no avail, however, as thousands of Freedmen were removed
by force from land that had been granted by Congress and ordered by
Sherman. This was done during the same period that witnessed the 1865
emergence of the Ku Klux Klan's unspeakable violent episodes targeting
the newly freed Africans and President Johnson's removal of all federal
protections guaranteeing the safety and protection of Africans in
The freedmen of the period included luminaries like Bishop Henry
McNeal Turner, who had served as a chaplain in the Union Army. Bishop
Turner was convinced that the U.S. federal government had betrayed
African descendants. He was among many who publicly called for
reparations, and he never forgave the nation for what he considered
disgraceful ingratitude to Blacks who had built the wealth of the
nation with unpaid labor and who had served the nation with courageous
military valor during the Civil War. Years later, when he felt his last
days were near, Bishop Turner transported himself to Canada, to assure
that his remains would not be placed in American soil. (This was eerily
prescient of W.E.B. Du Bois's decision, nearly a century later, to move
to Accra, Ghana, and become a Ghanaian citizen, abandoning his life-
long work to assure that the United States would honor its ideals and
constitutional protections to it citizens of African descent.)
As the ranking Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee, as the
dean of the Congressional Black Caucus, and as the longest-serving
African American and the second-most senior member of the House of
Representatives, I believe it is vitally important that we look toward
legislative remedies as a vehicle for addressing the critical issue of
reparations for African Americans, just as legislative remedies have
been approved for the redress of others. The United Nations World
Conference Against Racism, held in Durban, South Africa, in August and
September of 2001 declared that the Transatlantic Slave Trade was a
crime against humanity, and should always have been so; which sets the
proper stage for the timely consideration of H.R. 40, the Reparations
Study Bill, which I have introduced every year since 1989. The UN World
Conference Against Racism was also another tragic reminder of the deep
moral flaws that have been etched into the fabric of America as the
United States formally walked out of this historic gathering days later
walked into a terrorist attack on its own shores.
I believe it is vitally important that we look toward legislative
remedies as a priority in the reparations movement not only to provide
a level of redress for Africans who were enslaved but also to recognize
the forces of legalized disparity that disenfranchised people of
African descent, like Congressman White, after the signing of the
Emancipation Proclamation and which continue to institutionalize racist
policies and practices until this present day. We have gotten far too
comfortable in accepting poverty, crime, and adolescent pregnancy as
Black and their opposites as White. We have failed to trace the lineage
of both of these economic conditions to slavery and its aftermath.
Why was a bill introduced to study reparations? H.R.40--the
Reparations Study Bill--was introduced in 1989, first and foremost,
because of the request that I do so by Reparations Ray Jenkins, who is
one of my constituents, a self-employed businessman, precinct delegate,
and longtime community activist. Reparations Ray had been an advocate
and proponent of reparations for African Americans for many years, and
had become a fixture in community-based meetings, assemblies, church
gatherings, and NAACP functions as a person who has been singularly
committed to the priority of reparations as an issue for people of
After the introduction of the Civil Rights Redress Act, which paved
the way for reparations awarded to Japanese Americans who had been
illegally and immorally detained during World War II for three years,
it seemed to be an appropriate juncture for the introduction of
legislation to study reparations for African Americans, to address
possible remedies and redress related to those victimized by the
pandemic horrors of the Transatlantic Slave Trade and the long-term
residual impact of institutional racism that has persisted among
African descendants through Jim Crow segregation, hate crime terrors of
lynching and cross burning, and the disparate practices and policies of
the prison industry, which in many ways has begun to reenslave
Africans, who are disproportionately incarcerated and performing slave
labor under the oppressive structure of disparate sentences. Persons of
African origin are 13 percent of America's population but account for
more than 52 percent of America's 2 million prison population,
notwithstanding the reality that Blacks are no more predisposed toward
behavior than any other population.
One of the other important factors for the introduction of H.R.40
was the inescapable reality that legal precedence had long been
established reality that legal precedence had long been established
relative to the appropriateness of reparations by governmental entities
in response to government-sanctioned human rights violations. For
example, in 1990, the United States Congress and the President of the
United States signed the Civil Rights Redress Act into Law, to lay the
framework for $1.2 billion ($20,000 each) paid to Japanese Americans
and a Letter of Apology as a federal redress to recognize the human,
economic, and moral damage inflicted upon a class of people for a
three-year period. Also in 1990, Austria paid $25 million to Jewish
Holocaust survivors for its role in the genocidal Nazi regime during
World War II; in 1988, Canada gave $230 million to Japanese Americans;
in 1986, the United States paid $32 million to honor the 1836 treaty
with the Ottawas of Michigan; in 1985, the United States gave $105
million to the Sioux of South Dakota; in 1980, the United States gave
$81 million to the Klamaths of Oregon; in 1971, the United States gave
$1 billion plus 44 million acres of land to honor the Alaska Natives
land settlement; in 1952, Germany paid $822 million to Jewish Holocaust
survivors in the German Jewish Settlement--just to cite some historical
backdrops of legal precedence that has been established.
Further, it should be noted that reparations for Africans has not
only been an issue cited by Africans in America but also a significant
point of discussion and action by Africans on the continent of Africa,
James Dennis Akumu, former secretary-general of the Organization of
African Trade Union Unity, states: ``If you see the arguments the
British are advancing in Zimbabwe and whites insisting on owning land
and resources in Namibia, South Africa, and other parts of the
continent, you can only come to the conclusion that in their minds,
Africans should remain their slaves and should not own their own land
and mineral resources.'' Akumu continues to press the point, ``African
labor and looted African wealth built these strong Western economies.
Therefore, what we are claiming is what our people contributed to
substantially, and is, therefore, rightfully ours.''
Mr. Conyers. We thank the councilwoman.
When we return, we will hear from the American Bar
Association President Elect, from the distinguished Winthrop
Professor of History at Harvard University and from the
Assistant Professor of law at St. Louis University School of
We will stand in recess until we have completed our vote on
Mr. Conyers. The Committee will come to order.
We are delighted to have Mr. Thomas Wells, Jr., a partner
of Maynard, Cooper & Gale in Birmingham, Alabama. He served as
the ABA's policymaking House of Delegates since the year 1991,
and he was cochair of the ABA's Special Committee on Disaster
Response, which was commissioned after Hurricane Katrina.
As this Committee often looks to the ABA for guidance in
advancing sound legal policy, we look forward to hearing from
Mr. Wells on the issues that bring us here today. He is, of
course, the President Elect of the American Bar Association,
and we give him congratulations in that area as well. We will
incorporate his full testimony into the record at this point
and invite him to make his testimony.
TESTIMONY OF H. THOMAS WELLS, JR., PRESIDENT-ELECT, AMERICAN
Mr. Wells. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
My name is Tommy Wells. I am a partner and a founding
member of the law firm of Maynard, Cooper & Gale in Birmingham,
Alabama. I am currently serving as the President-Elect of the
American Bar Association. As such, I will become the President
of the ABA in August of 2008.
I am here today at the request of our current President,
William Neukom, of Seattle, Washington, to present the news of
the ABA. He sends his regrets that he was unable to attend this
Mr. Chairman, the ABA supports the principle of H.R. 40,
authorizing the establishment of a federally funded commission
to study the impact of slavery on the social, political and
economic life of our Nation. The objectives of H.R. 40 are
consistent with ABA policy, adopted in 2006 by our policymaking
House of Delegates. We support the enactment of legislation to
create and to appropriate funds for a commission to study and
to make findings relating to the present day consequences of
slavery and to the subsequent denial of equal justice under law
for persons of African descent living in the United States.
More than 4 million Africans and their descendents were
enslaved in the colonies that were to become the United States
and, later, in the United States from 1619 to 1865. After the
Civil War, the Nation ratified three constitutional amendments
espousing principles of equality and full citizenship for all
Americans, but the post-Reconstruction era marked by Jim Crow
laws at the local level, all the way up to the Supreme Court in
its Plessy v. Ferguson decision, demonstrated how racism and
racial bias could manipulate the justice system to undermine
these constitutional principles and could perpetuate widespread
By the early part of the 20th century, there came to be two
Americas--one that could rely on the rule of law and one that
could not. Particularly egregious was the scourge of lynching.
Lynch mobs murdered nearly 5,000 African American men, women
and children and caused thousands more African Americans to
lose property, employment and any means of support for their
Though legally sanctioned racial discrimination has
crumbled in the past 50 years, concerns remain regarding the
effect today on the social, political and economic conditions
for African Americans. As Justice Ginsburg stated in her
concurring opinion in the 2003 U.S. Supreme Court decision in
Grutter v. Bollinger, it is well-documented that conscious and
unconscious race bias, even rank discrimination based on race,
remain alive in our land, impeding the realization of our
highest values and ideals.
President George W. Bush stated in his Katrina speech in
New Orleans ``Poverty has roots in a history of racial
discrimination which cut off generations from the opportunity
of America.'' We have a duty to confront this poverty with bold
action. I suggest, Mr. Chairman, that the passage of H.R. 40
would be the bold action that President Bush was speaking of in
September of 2005.
In a major address to the American Bar Association in 2004,
Justice Kennedy stated, nationwide, more than 40 percent of the
prison population consists of African American inmates. About
10 percent of African American men in their mid to late 20's
are behind bars. In some cities, more than 50 percent of young
African American men are under the supervision of the criminal
The causes of these and other disparities require greater
understanding if we are to address them with viable solutions.
The question is not whether we need a commission like the one
proposed in H.R. 40. The question is why have we waited so long
to establish one.
Like the country as a whole, the ABA also has had a painful
past. When our association was established almost 130 years
ago, African Americans were denied membership. In fact, in
1925, the National Bar Association was formed by 100 Black
attorneys who had been denied ABA membership. We have, however,
made strides to try to put our own house in order. We have
created the ABA Center for Racial and Ethnic Diversity, which
is empowered to make regular reports and recommendations to
help guide the Association. This continuing process is having
positive effects on the diversity and on the inclusiveness, not
only of our Association but of the more than 400,000 attorneys
and legal professionals and the legal profession as a whole.
In 2003, my friend, the Honorable Dennis Archer of Detroit,
Michigan, became our first African American President. I was
honored to serve with President Archer, as the Chair of the ABA
House of Delegates, during his tenure as President of our
Association. President Archer was immediately followed in 2004
by our second African American President, Robert Grey of
Richmond, Virginia, another good friend of mine.
In summary, Mr. Chair, I want to reiterate the American Bar
Association's support, in principle, for H.R. 40. Thank you for
the opportunity to convey the American Bar Association's views
on this important topic.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Wells follows:]
Prepared Statement of H. Thomas Wells, Jr.
Mr. Conyers. Thank you so much. I am glad you recall the
rather amazing phenomena of the ABA's having two consecutive
African American leaders of this distinguished legal
organization. I appreciate your contribution and the continued
relationship that this Committee has with the American Bar
Professor Stephan Thernstrom is the Winthrop Professor of
History at Harvard University. He recently coauthored with his
wife No Excuses: Closing the Racial Gap in Learning. The
professor received his undergraduate degree from Northwestern
University, his Ph.D. from Harvard, and he has been with this
Committee before. We welcome him back again and look forward to
hearing from him today.
Your statement will be included in its entirety in the
TESTIMONY OF STEPHAN THERNSTROM, WINTHROP PROFESSOR OF HISTORY,
Mr. Thernstrom. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman and
distinguished Committee Members, for giving me the opportunity
to appear. I have filed written testimony, and will not try to
rehash it here because a number of statements that have come to
my attention since I wrote it, I think, merit some comment.
I will begin with a point I began with in that statement,
though, which is that I would disagree with Professor Miller,
who said in his written statement that reparations is now in
the mainstream of American discourse about race. That probably
is true in rarified academic precincts, but it certainly is not
true among the general American public.
I cite as evidence the most recent poll I have seen
sponsored by the NAACP, an organization which is not opposed to
reparations, which found that over 90 percent of Whites,
Latinos and Asians in the United States were, in the words of
the language of the NAACP's report, ``fervently opposed'' to
the idea of ``paying money to African Americans whose ancestors
were slaves.'' So even if the commission which is being
proposed to study this matter issues a brilliantly persuasive
report, I can say with great assurance that this will be an
enormously controversial and divisive measure.
I share the views of my colleague Roger Clegg that it will
not be a healing one, and indeed, if reparations were to be
confined to people who could prove discent from former slaves,
it might be bitterly divisive within the African American
community, dividing those who receive these benefits from those
who do not.
Second, I recognize this is only a proposal to study the
matter, but I have a couple of observations about that.
First, there is no topic that has been more intensively
studied in the social sciences over the past 50 years than the
condition of the African American population. There is an
enormous literature, it continues to grow by leaps and bounds,
there continues to be great controversy, and I am sure the
reigning views will be modified as new research accumulates. So
I find it very hard to think that a commission of seven people
who could not possibly have mastered all of this voluminous
literature will arrive at some meaningful consensus that will
alter public opinion to any great extent.
And, of course, I must be a little cynical here. The
results of the commission will depend entirely on who is put
upon it. Let me remind you that the Dred Scott decision, which
was referred to earlier today, was the work of a commission of
sorts, a permanent commission called the Supreme Court of the
United States; and yet the result of its deliberations do not
look very good today.
And if the composition of the commission were to mirror the
composition of the witness list for this hearing, of course the
outcome is foregone. There is very little doubt that a large-
scale reparations program would be recommended, provoking, I
think, great public outcry.
Now, as a historian, I have listened to the historical
comments made in this hearing with interest and the historical
material in the supporting documents; and I do find some
serious flaws in them that I think one would have to consider
in making judgments about these matters.
Ms. Tyehimba, for example, contends that the trans-Atlantic
slaves trade was the beginning of a genocidal war against
Africans. And this is a rather curious formulation. And,
likewise, that Africans were ``kidnapped.'' I believe the
Chairman used that term today. Well, who did the kidnapping?
Who captured them, marched them to port and sold them to
European slave traders? The answer is Africans, and the African
governments of the parts of Africa in which the slave trade
occurred. So there is plenty of moral culpability to go around
here, and it is hardly confined to Europeans.
Then I want to mention some remarks that appeared in a memo
prepared by the Committee, prepared by the Democratic staff,
which refers to the Federal Government as, quote, ``the entity
that sanctioned the slave trade and slavery for over 200
years.'' And I thought, 200 years, hmm, 1865, so that gets us
back to 1665. What Federal Government do the authors of this
document have in mind? Even in 1765, I would say we had no
Federal Government in the United States. We were a colony of
Great Britain with no representation.
Mr. Conyers. I am sorry to tell you your time has
considerably expired, Professor.
Mr. Thernstrom. I thought I had 5 minutes?
Mr. Conyers. You did, but you can make a concluding
thought, if you choose.
Mr. Thernstrom. Well, I would simply say, in conclusion,
that so much of the questioning today seems to involve issues
of contemporary alleged discrimination which certainly is well
within the powers of Congress to deal with. If there is
discrimination in real estate lending or automobile sales or
whatever it is, there is an abundant literature, much of it
produced by the Federal Government, on every one of these
things, and legislation to make that anti-discrimination
protection more effective I would certainly welcome. That is a
radically different thing than taking a whole sector of the
population distinguished by race and saying this is all the
result of slavery and we are going to make up for it somehow.
We could pass good legislation that protects all Americans from
discrimination without singling out African Americans as a
special victim class.
Mr. Conyers. Thank you, sir. Thank you very much.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Thernstrom follows:]
Prepared Statement of Stephan Thernstrom
Mr. Chairman and distinguished Committee members, thank you for the
opportunity to testify this morning.
My name is Stephan Thernstrom. I am the Winthrop Professor of
History at Harvard University. I have been researching, writing, and
teaching courses on the subject of race and ethnicity in the American
past for almost my entire professional career.
Today you have solicited testimony concerning a bill to create a
``Commission to Study Reparation Proposals for African-Americans.'' The
notion of paying reparations for the descendants of slaves is nothing
new. What is new--and I think very unwise--is that the House of
Representatives is now considering taking the first step towards
implementing an actual reparations program.
I am rather surprised at this development, because the idea of
reparations is far outside of the mainstream of American thinking. If
you doubt that generalization, consider the findings of a 2005 National
Opinion Research Center survey, sponsored, it should be noted, by the
NAACP. Asked their opinion of ``paying money to African Americans whose
ancestors were slaves,'' over 90 percent of whites, Latinos, and Asians
were ``fervently'' opposed. One third of the blacks in the sample
rejected the idea as well, despite the fact that they had a powerful
financial incentive to approve it. Other polls reveal the same
overwhelming opposition. It is hard to imagine a more unpopular and
divisive proposal than reparations for crimes committed by some of our
ancestors in the very distant past.
The simple math suggests good reasons for opposing such
reparations. Close to 40 million African Americans live in the United
States today. If almost all of them are to be compensated, as the
language of the bill implies, a grant of a hardly life-changing $10,000
apiece works out to be a heady $400 billion; a more generous $100,000,
which some advocates have proposed, gets you to a staggering $4
trillion, about a third of the current annual Gross Domestic Product!
Of course, this bill does not call for an appropriation in the
mega-billions. It only proposes to ``study'' the issue. But we all know
that the composition of a commission determines the outcome. If the
proposed commission has the same balance as today's slate of witnesses,
it will obviously endorse a reparations program by a lopsided margin.
Devoting $8 million of taxpayer money to ``study'' such a radical
idea will surely attract a good deal of unfavorable public attention.
In the absence of an astonishing reversal of public opinion, a future
commission report recommending a large-scale compensatory transfer of
wealth to members of one racial group will almost certainly provoke
No one doubts ``the fundamental injustice, cruelty, brutality, and
inhumanity'' of slavery in the United States and everywhere else it
existed--including, let us note, Africa, where slavery was widespread
long before Europeans first reached its shores. Africans, it should be
underscored, played a vital role in both the transatlantic and the
equally large Mediterranean slave trades, which could not have existed
without their active engagement.
But no nation in the world has a history free of what later came to
be understood as inequities and injustices--the displacement of
indigenous peoples, the denial of fundamental rights to women, and the
use of child labor, for instance. The past, here and everywhere, is
grossly imperfect by later standards. In democratic societies, when
public opinion was aroused against practices that had come to be seen
as morally offensive, they were eliminated. In the case of African
Americans, this nation fought an exceedingly bloody four-year civil war
provoked by the election of a president committed to the ``ultimate
extinction'' of slavery. A century later, the legal foundation of the
South's Jim Crow system was destroyed by all three branches of the
federal government. Virtually all of the specific demands made by
groups like the Southern Christian Leadership Conference became the law
of the land, and there was general consensus that this was a great
Now, four decades later, the proponents of this bill declare that
the Civil Rights Revolution and ongoing efforts to secure racial
equality have not gone nearly far enough. The framers of this bill
assume that African Americans continue to suffer from the ill effects
of being remote descendants of people who were enslaved no more
recently than 142 years ago, six or seven generations back. Like
victims of drunk drivers or medical malpractice, they can only be
``made whole'' by a substantial cash award.
How are Americans today responsible for the evils of slavery long
ago? The individuals who profited directly from slavery and might
logically be expected to pay back their ill-gotten gains were the
owners of slaves who sold the cotton they produced. Those slave-
owners--who were a small minority of the population even in the South--
are all dead today, of course, and so too are all of their children and
just about all of their grandchildren. We can't confiscate their riches
to pay for reparations; much of that wealth in fact went up in smoke as
a result of a great civil war over slavery.
Some proponents of reparations, though, attempt to link
responsibility for the slavery of the past to present-day Americans by
arguing that slavery was primarily responsible for the economic growth
that led to our current high standard of living. We all gained
economically from slavery, this claim goes, so we all owe restitution
to its victims. Some even argue that the United States today would be a
Third World nation economically but for slavery.
This is utter nonsense. The Industrial Revolution that began in the
northern states in the second third of the nineteenth century launched
the economic transformation that accounts for our riches today.
Although slavery made many slave-owners wealthy in the antebellum
years, it actually retarded our long-term economic growth. It was
responsible for the backward, one-crop cotton economy that hung on in
southern states for many decades after the Civil War and made the South
by far the poorest region of the nation until after World War Two. The
backward South was a serious drag on the national economy for close to
a century; its initial dependence upon slavery put it into a
developmental dead-end. We would likely enjoy a higher, not a lower,
living standard today if the South had never developed a slave-based
plantation economy. Americans today are not the beneficiaries of the
exploitative labor system of the South in the antebellum years--nor,
naturally, can they be considered responsible for it.
Most Americans today have no connection to the era of slavery. They
have no ancestors who lived in the nation at the time, and yet they
will be paying for reparations. All of my immigrant ancestors were
still living in Sweden or Canada when the Thirteenth Amendment was
passed and cannot be said to have endorsed slavery by settling in a
nation in which it was once legal. As of 1990, according to one
demographic study, one-third of the American population consisted of
people who had no ancestor who arrived here before 1900. If we could
add to that figure all of the immigrants who arrived between 1865 and
1900, as well as those who came after 1990, the descendants of post-
Civil War immigrants would be a clear majority of the total population.
Hardly any of today's Asian Americans, and very few Italians, Poles,
Greeks, Jews, and Mexicans have ancestors who lived in a nation with
This bill assumes that the social problems that afflict African
Americans today should be understood as having been caused by slavery.
The case for reparations rests upon this premise, but supporting
evidence is woefully lacking. Of course one can argue that African
American culture was forged in slavery, and that everything that has
happened to black Americans since Emancipation was shaped by that
bitter experience. But attributing all of the problems of black people
today to such ancient history is fatalistic, defeatist, and too vague a
claim to prove.
The principal source of black poverty today, for example, is
African American family structure. One-paycheck families (or zero-
paycheck families who are dependent upon public assistance) are far
more likely to fall into poverty than two-parent, two-paycheck
families. Blaming African-American out-of-wedlock births and absent
fathers upon an institution that disappeared 142 years ago makes little
sense. This problem, after all, is much worse in 2007 than it was 1965,
when Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan wrote his controversial report on
black family structure. The more we move back in time towards the days
of slavery, the lower the rate of fatherless families among African
Americans. If slavery were the explanation of this dysfunctional family
pattern, we would see much higher rates a century ago than today.
Similarly, the average black seventeen-year-old has reading and
math skills equal to those of whites and Asians in the 8th grade, a
glaring disparity that is the single most important reason for
persistent economic inequality. Over the past four decades, this
disturbing achievement gap narrowed considerably, then widened enough
to wipe out the previous gains, and then narrowed again. Slavery could
certainly not be the cause; with the passage of each year its influence
should be weaker.
Trying to find social science evidence to prove a causal link
between slavery and the ills that influence the black community today
is a hopelessly difficult task. How would the effects of slavery be
transmitted to successive generations? Should we expect African
Americans with only one ancestor who was a slave in 1865 to be better
off than those whose pre-1865 ancestors were all slaves? The current
black population includes large numbers of people born in the West
Indies or Africa, whose ancestors never experienced slavery in the U.S.
but who may have married persons whose ancestors had. Do they get full
or only partial reparations payments? What about the small but rapidly
growing group of people with one white and one black parent? Would
being of mixed race cut their claim by 50 percent? Eligibility for
membership in some American Indian tribes today depends upon the
``blood quantum'' of Indian ancestry you can prove. If proving how much
slave ``blood'' one has will determine the size of one's reparations,
the likely result will be deep resentments among blacks who receive
The bill compounds the confusion here by throwing in references to
having been subject to de jure or even de facto segregation as part of
the rationale for reparations. If we cast the net widely enough to
include Haitian or Nigerian immigrants who attended Fisk, Morehouse, or
Howard in the 1980s--all racially identifiable institutions and thus
``segregated'' de facto, then all black people will be eligible, and
the link to slavery in the United States will be attenuated to the
Finally, I would urge the members of this subcommittee and the
House of Representatives as a whole to ponder carefully the message
that will be conveyed by the passage of this bill. ``When you are
behind in a footrace,'' the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. said in
1963, ``the only way to get ahead is to run faster than the man in
front of you. So when your white roommate says he's tired and goes to
sleep, you stay up and burn the midnight oil.'' Dr. King's words
reflect an important tradition of self-reliance that has had eloquent
advocates in the black community: Frederick Douglass, Booker T.
Washington, and W.E.B. Du Bois, among others. All were saying, in their
different ways, that black people were not the helpless pawns of
history who could do nothing to better their lives until America owned
up to its historical sins and offered them a generous financial
settlement. Their point is as important today as ever.
This committee is now considering a measure that delivers quite a
different message: ``If you're having trouble with your homework, don't
sweat it. It's not your fault. You had ancestors who toiled as slaves
in Alabama before the Civil War, and what they experienced so long ago
means that you naturally will find it hard to master differential
equations and compound sentences. You have been damaged by American
history, and are a victim. Why burn the midnight oil? You won't have a
fair chance of getting ahead in life unless you are able to collect
damages for the wrongs that were inflicted on your great, great
grandparents.'' I can't think of a worse message to send to African
American youths. The past is past, and nothing Congress or anyone else
can do can change it.
This is not an argument for legislative inaction. Congress can
properly deal with present-day problems. If racial discrimination
remains a major problem today, as the framers of this bill assume, then
we need to strengthen our formidable body of anti-discrimination law or
do a better job of enforcing existing ones. That would be action
precisely targeted to address demonstrable harms that have clearly
identifiable causes and remedies, something completely different from
what is being proposed here.
In sum, this proposed legislation seems to me profoundly misguided.
The great Civil Rights Act of 1964 protected all Americans from
discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, or national
origin. It rested upon the powerful universal principle that every
American is entitled to fair and equal treatment as an individual. The
concept of reparations is a radical and regrettable departure from that
Mr. Conyers. Our final witness is from St. Louis University
Law School, Professor Eric Miller, who, before joining the
faculty there, was a Fellow with the Harvard Criminal Justice
Institute and the Harvard Civil Rights project, as well as
professor at Western New England College School of Law. He
specializes in historically significant race-based acts of
violence such as lynchings and riots.
Not too long ago, we both had the opportunity to present at
the Thomas Jefferson School of Law in California, let us see,
was it Sacra----
Mr. Miller. San Diego.
Mr. Conyers [continuing]. San Diego, California, on a
discussion of this same subject.
We are very happy to welcome him here to the Judiciary
Committee. And, without objection, your full statement will be
recorded in the proceedings here; and you may begin.
TESTIMONY OF PROFESSOR ERIC J. MILLER, ASSISTANT PROFESSOR OF
LAW, SAINT LOUIS UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF LAW
Mr. Miller. Thank you, Chairman.
My name is Eric Miller, and I am an assistant professor of
law at St. Louis University School of Law, and I am honored by
the Committee's request that I testify at this very important
hearing on the Legacy of the Transatlantic Slave Trade.
I would like to begin by saying that I think Professor
Thernstrom's claim that the panel would come out a particular
way is wrong, because I don't actually quite know where I would
necessarily come out on reparations. In fact, my work has been
cited in dismissing a slavery case in the Northern District of
California by Judge Nagle, so I don't know that that claim is
In the short time available I want to make the following
First, that there is still much about the history of
slavery that remains to be discovered and talked about.
Second, that the national government is ceding the
initiative and acknowledging accounting for and acting upon
that history to a variety of State and municipal governments
and a variety of public and private institutions.
Third, rather than adopting a confrontational posture
seeking to apportion blame or deny responsibility, we need to
refine our national discussion of race.
Fourth, the first stage of that process is now somewhat
uncontroversial, as most Americans acknowledge the invidious
nature of slavery and segregation and its pernicious effects.
But, fifth, we require to progress to the next stages,
including accurately accounting for that history and exploring
its impact upon the present with an open mind, one that
respects both historical fact and competing claims to community
and equality of consideration in the membership of the American
Now, whether Professor Thernstrom likes it or not,
reparations is part of the mainstream dialogue of America,
although I acknowledge that large numbers of people don't like
that. So one decides to discuss it on Fox TV, Chris Rock on the
HBO show, and there was a great discussion of reparations in
the major motion picture Friday--no, Barber Shop. So people are
talking about it.
But a major impediment in our national debate upon race is
a purely confrontational model that, on the one side, tends to
focus solely on establishing and seeking financial redress from
some duty or by Whites to Blacks for the wrong of slavery and,
on the other side, seeks to blame African Americans for the
lingering effects of racism or, in the words of Roger Clegg in
the previous panel, claims that African Americans seek
preferences or special treatments. That is echoing the majority
opinion in Plessy v. Ferguson that African Americans seek to be
the special favorites of the law.
Rather than perpetuate this confrontational model, we must
adopt a broader understanding of the types of harms inflicted
by slavery and segregation. These harms are not singular but
plural, affecting a range of communities at different times and
in different ways.
Recent State-sponsored commissions looking at slavery and
segregation and studies by the Universities of Alabama and
North Carolina, as well as, as we heard in the last panel by
the Episcopal Church, have produced apologies for their ties to
slavery. There have also--and I think Congressman Franks will
be interested in this--been apologies from North Carolina,
South Carolina, Oregon and Virginia for the eugenics programs
that participated in the sterilization of African American
women and some of these programs running into the mid-1980's.
The conversation stimulated by these initiatives invite a
process of interrogating the basis of our shared community as
Americans. We need to account for the ways in which the
Federal, State and local governments have profited off or
promoted slavery and segregation. These investigations seek to
chart the ways in which national, State and local communities
have consolidated their civic identities in response to acts of
racial violence both during and after the era of slavery. At a
minimum, they seek to explore the effects that slavery and
segregation played in establishing the relative social
inequality of African Americans as compared to other racial or
To fail to acknowledge and account for America's history is
to ignore and reject past and continuing experiences of a huge
segment of the population. It is to perpetuate the treatment of
African Americans as somehow less interesting or less worthy
than other citizens.
Justice Kennedy in a last-term Supreme Court case, Parents
Involved in Community Schools versus Seattle School District,
recently suggested that an injury stemming from racial
prejudice can hurt as much when the demeaning treatment based
on race identity stems from bias masked deep within the social
order as when it is imposed by law.
Congressman Conyers' efforts to raise awareness of this
issue and to promote the study of this issue through H.R. 40
are rightly celebrated. It is time that Congress join the
various states, municipalities, universities and private
organizations investigating the invidious legacy of the slave
trade so as to promote frank and open-minded discussions of the
impact of slavery on race in America.
The question is not whether to look forward. That is
indeed, as the last panel suggested, an American talent. But
every nation, including the most forward-looking, still reveres
its past. The real question is whether we as a Nation are to
selectively confine a part of our shared history to the past or
whether to move forward as one Nation indivisible under God.
Thank you, Congressman.
Mr. Conyers. Thank you so much, Mr. Miller. Good to see you
[The prepared statement of Mr. Miller follows:]
Prepared Statement of Eric J. Miller
Mr. Conyers. We had some questions, Professor Thernstrom,
about your comment about a Democratic staff memo, which I
wanted you to know I take exception to it, and I will be able
to contact you about it. I don't want to spend my little 5
minutes parsing over that.
And you said a Chairman made some comment about kidnapping.
And I am not sure if that--was that me you were referring to?
Mr. Thernstrom. Yes. If I understand correctly, you used
Mr. Conyers. Well, I take exception to that, too. And of
course we have got a stenographer here, so we will clear all
those kinds of questions up.
I would like to ask in the few minutes I have remaining,
Councilwoman Watson, this almost begins to sound like what the
commission would be doing. Now, everybody is telling me how
much material is out there. It would take quite a--I mean, this
Judiciary Committee is I think the most active full Committee
in the Congress. We had legislation being reported on the floor
today that I couldn't even get to. We had two hearings, one is
backed up right now, and this is the way our work week goes.
We have got a lot of work. There is a lot of people in the
executive branch being examined. The Department of Justice is
in shambles. It goes on and on and on and on.
What do you get out of this--and I thank you for coming.
What do you get out of this today in terms of how we ought to
be looking at how we might want to proceed?
Because there is a feeling that we are going to create more
division by talking about this subject. I have never created
division on the subject of race in my life. I mean, that is
about the last thing I would like to do. And as one who has
worked on race relations as about--spent as much investment of
my time as anybody else, I think that we could go about this. I
don't think the commissioners--and, besides, I don't know what
they are going to produce. I may end up not in agreement with
their work product myself.
It is hard to predict where we are going. But at least the
discussion, this discussion, is invaluable. It will be the
first time people are hearing it.
So I want to ask you and the ABA President elect to give me
a comment or two before the lights go off.
Ms. Watson. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I appreciate your comments very much, and I agree with you
in terms of the discussion. The discussion is rich; and, as one
who has been actively involved in the movement for decades, I
am still learning and my own research is unfolding new
information every day.
I only found out 2 years ago that profits from the slave
trade helped to finance the war of 1812, helped to provide the
basis for this country to double its size with the Louisiana
Purchase. I just found that out 2 years ago. That the money
that Thomas Jefferson used, Thomas Jefferson who wrote that all
men are created equal, was also a person that thought he had
the right to own other persons. He was an enslaver and Thomas
Jefferson negotiated the Louisiana Purchase with revenue that
in part came from profits directly from the slave trade. And
this is a matter of public record.
So when one considers all the information that really needs
to be unearthed for all Americans--it is not something that is
just valuable to people of African decent. The whole country
needs the shade to go up. All Americans need to know the full
history of this country. Because the truth is we are one
family, one human family; and it is National Geographic, not
the NAACP, not N'COBRA, that said that all human life started
on the continent of Africa.
So if that is so, all of us are of African descent, all of
us are God's children, so if we begin to see ourselves as one
human family, then that takes us to another level. It gives us
room to move forward as one family on behalf of the entire
Nation to bring forth new information, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Conyers. Could I yield to Trent Franks? Because I think
we have a point of agreement here; and, after all, that is what
the hearings are about.
Ms. Watson. Yes, sir.
Mr. Franks. Mr. Chairman, as far as all of us being one
human family, is that the point that you are asking me to
Mr. Conyers. Well, no. I just noticed you and I shaking our
head in affirmation. I don't know which points we were in
Mr. Franks. I think the gentlelady's comment that we are
all one human family and that we have great value in
considering our history and what mistakes we have made in the
past and how we have wronged each other in the past so that at
least can prevent that from happening in the future, and that
is something I agree. I may disagree with some of the
conclusions or, you know, the remedies here, but I do
desperately agree with some of the foundations that are being
Mr. Conyers. Thank you.
And, President-Elect of the Bar, would you give me a
closing comment, please?
Mr. Wells. I will be glad to, Mr. Chairman.
You know, one question that comes up is what is the
business of the Bar Association in taking a position on this
issue? And I will tell you what the reason for the position is.
The American Bar Association is vitally interested in the
American justice system. We are vitally interested in the
American criminal justice system. You have heard many
statistics today indicating very clearly that disparities exist
in our criminal justice system, the statement that I quoted
from Justice Anthony Kennedy in his address to the American Bar
Association in San Francisco which led the ABA to set up what
we call the Kennedy Commission.
Mr. Conyers. I was there.
Mr. Wells. And the reason we support this is we need to
know why there are those disparities, and one of the reasons
may be the legacy of slavery and racial discrimination. If in
fact that is one of the reasons for the disparities, then and
only then can we begin to craft viable solutions to those
disparities. So it is the business of American lawyers to make
our justice system more just, and that is the reason we are
here testifying today.
Mr. Conyers. Thank you.
Mr. Franks. Well, thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Chairman, this has been a very interesting discussion
here, and I appreciate your forbearance that you have given me.
Because I just want to say here at the outset you try to
find the places of common ground that you have and then I will
talk about maybe some of the differences. But I have no doubt
that some of the difficulties today within the African American
community--there is no question in my mind that slavery had a
lasting systemic effect on that community. I have no doubt
about that. That is really, in my judgment, though, not what is
There is a lot of tragedies. My great-grandmother was a
Cherokee Indian, and she went through a lot of tragedies due to
some of the policies that were in place at that time.
But my concern here is the remedy. The apology here--I
think maybe an acknowledgement would be in order. I think maybe
some way to gain from the failures of the past so that we can
fix what we can in the future. Because I think the only way we
can truly honor those who were so desperately treated was to
somehow make sure that their descendants are not treated the
Now, let me, if I can, I want to make a--I think that is
probably my central point here today. I believe that the
tragedy of slavery was caused by a failure to recognize what
Ms. Watson said, and that was that we are all one human family.
That when we leave anyone out of that equation that we step
into a terrible nightmare.
The reason that I have equated to a degree here slavery
with abortion on demand and with the Holocaust in Germany is
because I think they have a lot of things in common. In each
case they are closely associated with a Supreme Court decision.
The High Tribunal of Germany said the Jew was not human, he was
untermensch. The Supreme Court of the United States said the
unborn child was not included in the word ``person'' in the
Constitution. The Dred Scott decision said that the Black man
was not a person under the Constitution. In every one of those
cases, it perpetuated or instigated a great tragedy that cost
millions of lives. And the response to that was also a
commonality. In every case, there was a world war or a civil
war. And I don't know what will happen in the future related to
abortion on demand, but the commonality is unavoidable.
Now, I think the point here is that we must not be guilty
of making the mistakes of our predecessors. What possessed them
in retrospect to hold a Black man not a person is beyond me.
What possessed the intelligentsia of Germany to hold the Jews
not a person is beyond me. What possesses us today to hold a
child not a person is beyond me.
I would respond to Mr. Cohen's--I wish he were here. He
said, well, the difference is that one is a choice. But I
remind him that, in the discussions between Abraham Lincoln and
Justice Judge Douglas, Judge Douglas made the argument, he
said, well, I am not pro slavery. I just want people to have
There was a play many years ago where Justice Taney, who
was a Supreme Court Justice under Abraham Lincoln, one of the
players probably quoted him in a probably a pretty artistic
license, but he said this. I remember the quote. He said, the
abolitionist doesn't understand one thing. Slavery is not
compulsory. If he has some moral dilemma with owning slaves, we
suggest therefore that he not own them. But he should not
impose his morality upon those of us who do or otherwise
interfere with our right to choose.
Now, that could be yesterday's headline. It is a false
argument. Because the little boy next to the mom said, well,
what is wrong with that statement? He said, well, mommy, the
slave is a human being. It is astonishing to me how God gives
children the insight to see the obvious but withholds it from
Supreme Court Justices sometimes.
Mr. Conyers. Could the gentleman yield for 1 second?
Mr. Franks. Certainly.
Mr. Conyers. How about racism being a reason for slavery?
Mr. Franks. Well, I absolutely believe that racism was a
reason for slavery. But racism is saying to the person, because
of the color of their skin, that you are not fully equal to me.
That is racism. That is what it is. Absolutely. The gentleman
And I would just say to you--let me shift gears here. One
of the reasons I keep talking about this issue is that 14
percent of child-bearing women today are Black, but yet they
account for 31 percent of abortions. For every three Black
children that are born, two are aborted. I find that to be a
moral outrage beyond my ability to articulate here today. If
there is anything that is an attack on the African American
community, it has got to be that. There were 4 million slaves,
and yet since Roe v. Wade 10 million unborn children that were
African American, Black children, 10 million of them have been
killed before they were born. They didn't get a chance to even
be enslaved because they were killed before they even saw the
light of day.
Mr. Conyers. Will the gentleman yield for just one moment?
Mr. Franks. Yes, sir.
Mr. Conyers. There were women on the slave ships that threw
their children overboard rather than let them ever grow up----
Mr. Franks. The Chairman is exactly correct.
Mr. Conyers [continuing]. Adults under slavery. That is a
Mr. Franks. But it was still the wrong choice, and it is a
choice that shouldn't be legal in a country that upholds the
value of innocent human life.
So let me just close things up. One of the things that
happened--in each of these cases, the country was divided. But
one thing that happened in this country, as much as our
government was responsible for allowing slavery, Mr. Chairman,
we finally came to ourselves and we said we are not going to do
it anymore and this government also changed that. And that is
one of the reasons I think America is set apart. But we forget
A lady by the name of Harriet Beecher Stowe wrote a book
called Uncle Tom's Cabin. She said she had a dream about a
slave that was being beaten, by his masters beating him to
death, and he was praying for them as he was being beaten to
death. And that story caused her to write this book that
touched the conscience of America. And we ended this horrifying
practice that has still--still is a crushing mark on America's
And I am just saying to you that I pray that somehow today
we can come to the same conclusion, that we don't have to make
the past mistakes again. Let us get together and let us say
whatever it was, whether it was slavery, whether it was
abortion on demand, whether it was attacking people because of
their Irish ancestry, whatever it was, when we dehumanize
another person, especially in the law, this society, this
generation, this human family must stand up and change that so
that we don't perpetuate the tragedies of the past.
Mr. Chairman, I yield back.
Mr. Conyers. I thank the gentleman very much.
Does any of the--Attorney Miller, Ms. Watson, briefly, your
comments; and then we will turn to the gentleman from Minnesota
for the final interrogation.
Mr. Miller. Thank you very much for giving me the
opportunity to respond.
Can I just say howheartened I am to hear the passionate
engagement in this discussion by Congressman Franks. And the
terms in which he engages in this discussion, I think that is a
deeply heartening development.
One point that is worth making is that many African
American women weren't even given the right to choose whether
to abort or not abort because of laws enforcing sterilization.
So that many African American women, just by virtue of going to
a hospital to get an operation, were given forced
hysterectomies. And that is a history that does go back through
the eugenics movement into slavery where the science of
gynecology was developed in Alabama, actually--there is a
little plaque on the wall of a building in Montgomery,
Alabama--through practicing on slaves. So that is a relatively
So to the extent that Congressman Franks has suggested that
it is worth acknowledging that history, I am deeply heartened;
and to the extent that this Committee is drawing out the
commonalities in the discussion across party lines and across
philosophical lines, I find that deeply heartening and commend
Mr. Conyers. Councilwoman Watson.
Ms. Watson. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
I just want to say that, as a person who has been involved
in multiple movements for a long time--I am very active in the
women's movement, peace movement, et cetera, so I have had a
lot of discussions and have been in the business of talking
about pro and con and abortions, immigration, the crack cocaine
disparity, gay marriages, et cetera.
But on the issue of the legacy of the trans-Atlantic slave
trade and given that 246 years of Africans working, being
lynched, tortured, drawn and quartered, African women having
babies cut out of their stomach and having no one to appeal on
their behalf, being killed if they dared to read and write when
it was against the law for Africans to read and write during
that period, given the wealth of this country that got built
off the backs--including the U.S. Capitol being built by
Africans who never got paid--it didn't just benefit the
enslavers in the South. The entire Nation benefited.
This deserves a special discussion and review and
commission without being forced to share the podium with
another equally passionate issue for some. There has not been a
hearing before the U.S. Congress on the issue of reparations
and the crime against humanity. There was a trans-Atlantic
slave trade as declared by the United Nations World Conference
Against Racism in 2001 before today.
So I just want to say for the record I am going stay
centered on the significance of this without passing any
aspersion on other issues. This deserves a focal point because
this was the purpose of today's hearing.
And I thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Conyers. Well, this is a hearing on whether we should
have a study that would come before an examination of
reparations. Because we don't know where the study is going to
go. And, presumably, it would gather the large amount of
evidence that is already out there, which we 30 some odd men
and women aren't in any position to try to gather and pull
together. And the thought was that it would be more efficiently
done for the whole Congress if we had somebody do it for us,
and it is no more complicated or simple than that.
I thank the gentlelady and recognize Keith Ellison as the
Mr. Ellison. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Professor Thernstrom, thank you for your presentation. I
want to thank all the panel members.
I think you and Mr. Clegg in the earlier panel pointed out
that there have been a number of studies out there on various
aspects of African American life in history. Could you identify
for me--because I am very interested in reading it. Could you
identify for me the study that has been issued by a government
commission, Federal Government commission, that explored the
trans-Atlantic slave trade and its impact on modern African
American life? If you could just cite that study for me, maybe
we don't need to do any of this. Could you do that for me,
Mr. Thernstrom. Well, Congressman, I would say there is no
such study by the Federal Government.
Mr. Ellison. Thank you.
Mr. Thernstrom. I don't see how---
Mr. Ellison. I do have to reclaim my time.
Thank you, Professor Thernstrom; and I also want to thank
you for your very direct answer. Because people sometimes
filibuster. So I do thank you for your direct answer. There is
no such study out there, and I think that kind of makes the
case for me.
Let me ask you this, also, Professor Thernstrom. You have
identified one of the potential harms of such a commission and
study as it could be divisive. Have you found that the
exploration and subsequent payment of even reparations, which
this bill doesn't even ask for, it is just a study bill, but
the study and subsequent payment of reparations to Japanese
Americans has alienated them from American society?
Mr. Thernstrom. Well, no, I think there are grave
Mr. Ellison. Okay. Thank you, sir.
What about--I think there have been other communities that
received reparations around the world. Ms. Watson, have the
studies--have the other cases on which reparations has actually
been found to be due and owing and paid--of course this bill
doesn't go that far, right--have they alienated those
communities which have received reparations?
And why confine ourselves to America? I know that Germany
paid reparations to Jews, and there have been other reparatory
provisions around the world as a result of conflict between
people. Have these heightened disputes between people or what
has been the effect?
Ms. Watson. Mr. Chair?
The record includes $25 million paid by Austria to Jewish
Holocaust survivors. We know about the $20,000 each to Japanese
Americans and a letter of apology. The United States gave $1
billion plus 44 million acres of land to honor the Alaska
native land settlement in 1952. Germany paid $82.2 million to
Jewish Holocaust survivors in the Germany Jewish settlement.
The Ottawas of Michigan in 1985 received $105 million. The
Sioux of South Dakota received the same. In 1980, the United
States gave $81 million to the Klamath of Oregon. And there is
a long list.
Mr. Ellison. Have those payments worked to further alienate
those recipients from American society? Are we now--I guess--to
answer your question, I guess you are saying no, right? But I
guess there is precedent. But I think there is concern that
this is going to somehow harm America because digging up all
this old stuff is just going to make us less interested in
being part of America.
Ms. Watson. Some of the largest reparations aren't called
reparations. The Homestead Act was reparations for White male
property owners. So that is part of what the study would need
Mr. Ellison. Are they alienated from the mainstream of
Ms. Watson. White males?
Mr. Ellison. Yes.
Ms. Watson. I don't think so.
Mr. Ellison. They are doing okay?
Mr. Miller, what do you think about this question of
dividing America by exploring reparations? Does that carry any
water with you that looking into this issue is going to somehow
fracture our country?
Mr. Miller. It depends how it is done. If it is done
responsibly, the answer is no. I think there has been a drawing
of battle lines around the concept of--around a misconception
of what reparations might be about. And what part of my
scholarship is doing and what the work of some of the other
panelists has been is to get us past that toxic ``he said, she
said'' style of debate and instead develop a more inclusive
debate that points to people like Congressman King's
grandfather or interrogates what is a role of John Brown in
American history and honors everybody in the discussion, rather
than prejudging what the outcome is going to be in terms of
even whether there ought to be a payment, should it be
education of whatever.
Mr. Ellison. I would just like to point this out, if I have
any more time. Earlier this year, a fairly controversial bill
came up about whether or not the U.S. Congress would find that
somehow the Armenian people were the target of genocide in the
precursor country to Turkey, which would have been the Ottoman
Empire, a very controversial issue. And without going into what
the final outcome would or should or could be--because, of
course, we never had that vote--some people said, well, you
know, it would harm Turkey to have this discussion.
But one Turkish person said to me, he said, it wouldn't
harm us to find that our ancestors had done some things that we
are not proud of. That is just a human condition. But what
harms us is just not really facing it and acknowledging it and
dealing with those harms. And we might find very well that
there was some members of the Turkish community who behaved
very admirably, and we may find that there may have been some
people in the Armenian community that did some things that we
are not too proud of either.
It is really not a ``blame shame'' thing. It really is
about coming to grips with our own history and understanding
that slavery is not something that happened to Black people, it
is something that happened to all of Americans, everybody. And
we all in one way or another--I even read some stories about
African Americans who owned slaves in America.
And Professor Thernstrom's point about finding out--if we
explore this subject we might find that Africans themselves
were implicated in slave trade, I don't think that should stop
us at all from going forward. They very well were likely to be
involved, and I am sure the study would confirm your suspicion
that some were. But I think that there is a tremendous value in
exploring in a nation dedicated to freedom and justice and
equality this state of unfreedom and anti-freedom that existed
for so many years among us.
Mr. Conyers. This has been such a tremendous initial
conversation. It is historic.
I thank Congressman Franks, Congressman Ellison who has
been with me all morning and all of you who have been here.
Councilwoman Watson, President Wells, Professor Thernstrom,
Attorney Miller, you have our dedicated appreciation of us
beginning this conversation.
I think we are going to examine each other's positions, and
I think we are going to be moving forward in a way that will
create a history that will make us proud of what we are
attempting to do here. I have appreciated the inner changes,
and this is how things happen or ought to happen in the
Congress. They don't always happen this way, nor in the courts,
as has been pointed out more than once.
I thank you all, and the Committee is adjourned.
[Whereupon, at 2:43 p.m., the Subcommittee was adjourned.]
A P P E N D I X
Material Submitted for the Hearing Record