Does legal make it right?

In January 2008, the documentary film “Banished” told the story of stolen land and lives in the South.

African-Americans make up more than 54 percent of the population in the South, but many towns in the region remain all-white, to this day. From 1864 to the 1920s, white Americans forced entire African-American communities off their land and out of their homes through lynchings and intimidation.

Marco Williams’ film “Banished” takes a look at this buried chapter of history through the histories and present-day stories of black families whose lives and land were stolen in areas such as Forsyth County, Georgia; Pierce City, Missouri; and Harrison, Arkansas – the headquarters of the Ku Klux Klan.

There was also a white woman in Forsyth who spoke to the complexity of the situation of whites living on stolen black land. She questioned if she should be penalized for owning land that might have belonged to a black who was banished from Forsyth. She explained that she purchased her land legally and fairly and that if it is land that was stolen. She did not steal it and was not aware that it was stolen. She asks, “What should be done?”

I propose that a reparation tax be assessed on all Americans for the specific intention of redressing the stolen land of blacks. When a person living on these stolen lands elects to sell, the first people who have a right to purchase are the descendants of the blacks expelled. The buyers must purchase at market rates. If they are unable to afford the market value, they can access the reparation fund. This would ensure that those presently living on this property are not penalized for their prior purchase; it would also begin to reintegrate these communities.

There is precedent for solutions to this travesty of justice. Congress passed the “American-Japanese Reparation Act,” which compensated Americans-Japanese and their descendants for land and property seized by the government in 1940. Maybe a voluntary deduction from our Federal Income Tax into a Reparation Fund?

The current issue of Atlantic Magazine (June 2014) has an exhaustive article dealing with reparations. The issue will be in the news from now on.

John W. Merrick

Newnan



More Opinion

Georgia Says

The Savannah Morning News on state's beer laws: Once upon a time in Georgia, most beer drinkers had two choices when they wanted a cold one ... Read More


Where’s the ice?

Let’s call it the storm that wasn’t. Predictions of 1-3 inches of snow, freezing rain leading to the dreaded black ice and a who ... Read More


Why conservatives get mad at the mainstream media

It is an ongoing feature in modern-American politics that rears its head every day and consistently draws the ire of Conservatives. Look no ... Read More


Rants, Raves & Really?!?

A look back at last week’s highs, lows and whatevers: REALLY?!? Javier Garcia, who “resigned” as Grantville’s police ... Read More


Georgia Says

The Gainesville Times on Gov. Deal's plan for schools: For decades, conservative leaders in Washington and Atlanta have preached the goal o ... Read More

Coweta’s economic situation continues on right path

A lot of times it seems economic gurus use a litany of crystal balls, chicken feet, dice rolls and sometimes even monkeys to figure out what ... Read More