There was a debate on Wednesday in Senate Chambers over whether America owes descendants of enslaved men and women reparations.
The idea of reparations has been floating around for quite some time. However, the issue has gotten more traction since a hand full of Democratic presidential hopefuls have gotten behind the issue.
Voices from actor Danny Glover to Ta-Nehisi Coates, who penned a 15,000-word essay in The Atlantic on this issue five years ago, were on a hand to testify in Congress in support of reparations.
In his statement, Coates argued, “Enslavement reigned for 250 years on these shores. When it ended, this country could have extended its hollow principles of life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness to all. But America had other things in mind.”
As expected, Republicans came out in droves to blast the initiative. Ring leader, Senate House Majority Leader Mitch McConnell promised that as long as he controls the Senate, there will be no bill that includes reparation made into law.
The party had writer Coleman Hughes, who is African-American and New York student, argue that it would be an insult to Black Americans to monetize the suffering of their ancestors.
“If we were to pay reparations today, we would only divide the country further, making it harder to build the political coalitions required to solve the problems facing Black people today.”
When Mike Johnson, a congressman from Louisiana, took the floor, his adversaries heckled and booed him for condemning, “The injustice of monetary reparations from current taxpayers for the sins of a small subset of Americans from many generations ago.”
The hearing was held on the 154 anniversary of Juneteenth. Juneteenth is a day of celebration from when the slaves in Texas were finally freed, two and a half years after President Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation.