City Council Candidate Calls for Reparations for Black New Yorkers


City Council Candidate Calls for
Reparations for Black New Yorkers


by Marie Roberts
June/July 2001

New York City Council candidate Charles Barron, accompanied by numerous members of N’COBRA and other organizations, recently entered City Hall and delivered to the office of House Speaker Peter Vallone the “Queen Mother Moore” Reparations Resolution for Descendants of Enslaved Africans in New York City. The resolution was also forwarded to the Chairperson of the Black and Latino Caucus of the City Council and the Public Advocate.

Mr. Barron, who is running for office in Brooklyn’s 42nd Councilmanic District, first read this resolution in its entirety at a press conference on the steps of City Hall. He stated that “slavery wasn’t just a Southern atrocity; New York City had its own brand of legal chattel slavery. African people built the infrastructure and economy of New York City during the colonial period and we the descendants are owed a debt.” The resolution calls for the formulation of a Reparations Task Force to explore the impact of New York City’s enslavement of African people during the colonial period and beyond.

Charles Barron
Charles Barron

This press conference concluded a day of activities in observance of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. It was organized by N’COBRA, Descendants of the African Burial Grounds, Coalition of African Students at BMCC, Sankofa Roots at CCNY and students from Medgar Evers, Hunter and other colleges, the December 12th Movement, the Black Radical Congress, the Unity Party and more.

The day began with a sacred walk from the Borough of Manhattan Community College to the African Burial Ground at Duane and Reade Streets. There, libation and prayers were offered, and people spoke movingly of the meaning of the Ancestors and what they endured, and of the justice of reparations now. Speakers also called for the return and re-intern of the remains of the beloved Ancestors, and the construction of a museum and memorial. From there, people proceeded to City Hall where these stirring words were read:

Whereas: In 1625 the Dutch established the village of New Amsterdam on Manhattan Island and began the wholesale kidnapping and enslavement of African people from the Caribbean and Africa, and,

Whereas: African laborers in 1639 worked daily in Manhattan Islands’ Northern Forest, (Upper East Side and Harlem) clearing timber and cutting lumber at the Colony’s Sawmill (74th Street and Second Avenue), and,

Whereas: These Africans also built farms beyond New Amsterdam, i.e. (Staten Island, Brooklyn and Queens), and,

Whereas: In 1664 the English won control of new Amsterdam and renamed it New York after the Duke of York, and continued the wholesale thievery of African people from the Caribbean and Africa, and,

Whereas: These Africans were forced to provide “Free Labor” to New York City under British rule that was even more aggressive and cruel in its participation in the so-called Transatlantic slave trade; the greatest crime committed against humanity, and,

Whereas: These Africans during New York City’s colonial period of enslavement, cleared land, built houses, paved roads, built forts and bridges, planted and harvested crops, and,

Whereas: The enslavement of Africans continued in New York City after the colonial period when the United States ratified its constitution in 1789 and became the United States Of America, until New York City abolished slavery in the 1840’s, and,

Whereas: In short, Africans built New York City’s infrastructure and economy and were never paid, and,

Whereas: Not only were these Africans never paid, they were subjected to the worst kind of rape, torture, brutality and murder the human mind can conjure up, and,

Whereas: Evidence of this cruelty can be validated by the over 20,000 African ancestral remains located in downtown Manhattan, particularly 427 of those African ancestral remains that have been excavated from the African Burial ground located on Duane and Reade Streets, and,

Whereas: These Africans are now represented by over 2.1 million people of African ancestry in New York City, and,

Whereas: Queen Mother Moore, born Audley E, Moore on July 27th, 1898, and passed on to be with the Ancestors on May 21st, 1997, spent seventy-seven years of her life fighting for Human Rights, Civil Rights, Liberation, Black Nationalism and Reparations for African People, and,

Whereas: Queen Mother Moore spent decades of her struggle fighting in Harlem New York City, and,

Whereas: In the early 1960’s, Queen Mother Moore formed “The Reparations Committee of Descendants of United States Slaves” to demand Reparations for Africans in America from the U.S. Government. She canvassed the country to get over a million signatures to petition the government and was successful in presenting the signatures to President John F. Kennedy, and,

Whereas: Queen Mother Moore continued the struggle of I.H. Dickerson and Callie House, who engaged in one of the earliest calls for Reparations when they established the “Ex-Slaves Pension Movement” from 1890 to 1920, and,

Whereas: Queen Mother Moore joined many other Africans in America in the fight for reparations, such as: Marcus Garvey, Malcolm X, Martin Luther King, Jr., The Republic of New Africa, The National Coalition of Blacks for Reparations in America (N’COBRA), The December 12th Movement, The Black Radical Congress, The Patrice Lumumba Coalition, United African Movement, National Action Network, The Black United Front, the Unity Party, and countless others.

Be it resolved: That a “Queen Mother Moore” Reparations for Descendants of Africans of New York City Task Force be established, and,

Be it further resolved: That this Queen Mother Moore Reparations Task Force be created by individuals and organizations of the New African Community of New York City in conjunction with the Black and Latino Caucus of the City Council, and,

Be it further resolved: That the Queen Mother Moore Reparations Task Force be funded by the City of New York for the duration of time deemed necessary by the Task Force to hold hearings, conduct research and recommend compensation to the New African Descendant Community of New York City for the debt owed for the enslavement of their African Ancestors during the colonial and post-colonial periods in New York City.

Respectfully Written and Submitted By: Charles Barron, April 4th, 2001.


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Copyright © 2001 Marie Roberts and The Multiracial Activist. All rights reserved.

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