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Reparations Speech
delivered by Sonny Scroggins (a Topeka Kansas Member of the BHM State and Regional Founder's Commission) prepared  upon the Pa/Pa's position paper on Reparations
 
Brothers and Sisters ...Topeka Kansan ... Ladies and Gentleman of all colours, creeds, cultures and from countries of various and sundry origins ... I want you all, here present, to know that I regard it as a very great honour to appear before you, for the purpose of sharing my views with all of you, as they relate to the highly controversial national issue of Reparations.  However, I want you to rest assured that albeit the views that I will express on this occasion are solely mine ... since I do not regard myself as a professional public-speaker, it was in an attitude of humility, that I sought the advisory assistance of the professional-speech-writers for the founder of both the National and International Black History Month Observance (Dr. Robert Starling Pritchard).  Lovers of classical-music are aware that Robert Starling Pritchard is also internationally known as "history's first career-viable American virtuoso concert-pianist and Recording artist of African descent".  It is with both pride and humility that I accepted his personal guidance during  the period of my preparation of the presentation that I am honoured to humbly setforth ... hopefully, for your attention, interests and even debates-on-the-issue-of-the admittedly highly-controversial-issues-of-Reparations.
 
However, before I begin to address that topical issue ... I think that you might find it interesting to know that the Black History Month founder personally headed his foundation's speech-writing-team, in their historic effort to conduct the research which supported the historic speech on the subject of Reparations that many, many years ago was delivered in Los Angeles,  by the late President of Nigeria, Chief Abiola.  At that time, the subject of Reparations for African-Americans was being debated not only in Our country ... not only throughout the former slave states of Latin America ... but also in the Mother Continent of all the world's people-of-African-descent, who for generations upon generations, bore the indignities and degradations of the Holocaust-of-Slavery ... not only in the American Southern States Slavocracy, but also in all of the New and Old World  lands of the African Diaspora.
 
You will surely recall that at the end of World War II, Our Federal Government did not encounter a sufficient amount of Euro-American naysayers when Our government first announced its intention to positively respond to the issue-of-Reparations.  That was a time, when Japanese-Americans were interned, solely because of American attitudes of anti-Japanese bigotry.  Most unfortunately, that particular form of bigotry had been naissant in the American Racialist attitudes towards both Japanese and Chinese citizens.  However, that particular form of American Racialism, grew to enormous proportions immediately following the Japanese assault on Pearl Harbor.  Indeed, what Americans of my generation do not recall, that assault challenged the not-so-naissant American Racialist attitudes towards Asian peoples of colour.  For those attitudes even expressed themselves towards Americans of Japanese descent, for no other reason than that of their Race of darker skinned American citizens (which Euro-Americans identified with the enemy Japanese military machine, despite the fact that Japanese-Americans have for generations been as loyal to the red, white and blue as Americans of other colours, creeds, cultures, whose origins were represented by many European foreign countries).
 
As all citizen-movements against injustice are rooted in one or another of the many, many forms of injustice that have been meted out against a so-called "different community of American citizens" ... and since history records that most said injustices have been meted out by the majority ruling class of peoples against an American class of citizens of different colours ... or an American class of different non-Christian religions ... or even an American class of different social manners and mores ..... We assume
that it has never come as any surprise to you that anti-African-American historical forms of Racialism have always been the more pernicious, because unlike the grave and historic practices of anti-Semitism ... the African-American citizen's darker skin colour ... different hair texture and different cultural amalgams ..... have made generations of My People all too easy targets of that majority of Euro-American, who have both politically and economically continued to confine Americans of African descent to stasis as a Permanent American Underclass.
 
_____________________________
 
Even as tragic ..... is the fact that anti-African-American Racialism, continues to this day, to be advanced even by prominent Euro-American scholars, who write and publish so-called authoritative books on the subject of Racialism, while they seemingly ... even unconsciously actually fuel those Racialist mindsets in Our country, from which the insupportable belief that the Civil Rights Movement actually reduced the levels of endemic Racialism in Our country ... in spite of the meaning inherent in the well known dictum (which is setforth in the book called "The Leopard" written by the Italian author Guiseppe di Lepidusa [in which the author describes the social dynamics-of-Change which occurred in 19th Century Sardenia]).  The well known phrase is "Things Must Change To Remain The Same".
 
Permit me to reinforce my point, by my reference to a CNN TV Black History Month debate, which took place a few years ago between the cerebral revolutionary but activist / non-revolutionary founder of the Black History Month Observance (Dr. Pritchard) and the author of the college textbook "One Nation: Separate But Unequal" ...  (Dr. Andrew Hacker).  That particular debate illustrated the reasons why the national debate on the subject of Reparations should be regarded as a national soul-cleansing-debate (which cannot be solely cleansed even with the metaphorical use of clean white toilet paper) ... Moreover, it has never been lastingly effective when used to cleanse the blood off the brows of black people, who (even before the end of the American Slavocray) had been maimed and murdered, even by non-white-sheeted Euro-Americans ..... and to this very day even by those white Americans who wear uniforms made of blue serge, and emblemmed with brass buttons.
 
The book's author Dr. Andrew Hacker took the position that Great Progress in Race Relations had been achieved from the beginning days of slavery, through the 20th Century.  However, Dr. Pritchard's rebuttal to the author's premise, was so tellingly effective, that following wide news reports of the televised debate ... sales of the book significantly dropped.
 
Permit me to tell you why.  While the book's distinguished author and professor, setforth the premise that Great Progress in Race Relations had occurred in America ... Dr. Pritchard challenged the author's premise, by making a dramatic but obviously provable distinction between the meaning of the word "Change" ... and the meaning of the word "Progress".  Dr. Pritchard prevailed over the televised debate, by noting the following facts of African-American History (as they related to the Economic relationship between Euro-Americans and African-Americans from 1608 [when the 1st African slaves were bought in Africa and sold in America] ... to the very February 1996 date of the Black History Month televised debate).
 
In his normal charming continental manner, Dr. Pritchard pointed out the fact that though significant CHANGE in Black-White Relations in America had indeed occurred ... PROGRESS in any real sense
(and particularly in an economic context) ... had not as yet occurred.  Dr. Pritchard went on to amplify his thesis by noting that if one contrasts the economic-condition of African-American with Euro-American economic conditions every 100 years since the African-slave forefathers and foremothers of today's generation of African-Americans ..... one would have no reasonable alternative, but to conclude that whilst CHANGE had indeed occurred in the relationship between Blacks and Whites ... that REAL PROGRESS in race relations had not as yet changed in any fundamental way.
 
He got to the nitty-gritty of his thesis, by pointing out the following facts:
 
1)  In 1608 to 1708 the unpaid labour of the enslaved forefathers and foremothers of today's generation of African-American citizens, were the actual "Human Force / Investment Capital" which produced the cotton, sugar, and other Southern-state-grown raw materials which fueled the Northern British Colonies' industries and International Trade business of the Northern Colonial Free-White-Society.  The economic-benefits of slavery thusly created the economic-base for what was to become the initial Free-States of an "independent from-colonialism" United States.  THE NON-FREE BLOC OF AFRICAN SLAVES DURING THAT ERA RECEIVED NO ECONOMIC BENEFITS WHATSOEVER FROM THEIR LABOURS.  
 
THUSLY,  (and I quote Dr. Pritchard) “Just as blood is necessary to the health and welfare of the physical body, so is the equitable distribution of a Nation`s wealth necessary to the health and welfare of the nation.  
 
“However, if the extremities of the body are deprived of their necessary supply of blood, the extremities will eventual atrophy ... and the body will die.
 
“Similarly, if the equitable distribution flow of a nation's wealth is restricted from any sector of the population ... disillusionment, discontent and discord will sooner or later develop... and cause such social, political and economic upheavals, that like ancient Rome and other societies of the past ... the society instant, will eventually succumb to those pressures within, and die ... The African slave population in America experienced no economic-status-progress whatsoever ... and also NO ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT CHANGE WHATSOEVER.  
 
Although, history records that considerably more freed slaves existed in the British Colonies of the North, than in the Southern Slavocracy Colonies ... the indisputable fact remains, that whether free or enslaved, Africans in America from 1608 to 1708 REMAINED EVEN BENEATH THE BOTTOM RUNG OF THE AMERICAN "BODY-ECONOMIC" LADDER (and without any hope whatsoever for any CHANGE whatsoever).  MOST CERTAINLY NO HISTORIAN CAN CONTEST THAT FACT UPON THE MANTLE OF A THESIS WHICH COULD LEGITIMATELY MAKE THE CLAIM THAT ECONOMIC-PROGRESS HAD BEEN EXPERIENCED BY THE FORMER AFRICAN SLAVE IN AMERICA (from 1608 to 1708).  Rather, had the economic-condition of the former African slave experienced very, very, very minimal CHANGE.
 
2)  In 1708-1808 (one hundred years later) the institution of African-slavery was still THE LAW OF THE LAND.  The toil of slaves in both the Northern and Southern states remained one of the principal human-energy-sources of the means by which agricultural and manufactured products continued to fuel the industries of the former American colonists (which had achieved their freedom from Great Britain in 1776).  WHILST "UPWARD BOUND CHANGE" HAD OCCURRED FOR EURO-AMERICANS ... "THINGS HAD REMAINED THE SAME", FOR THE GREAT MASSES OF ENSLAVED AFRICANS IN THE FORMER BRITISH AND FRENCH COLONIES.  AS I PREVIOUSLY STATED "THINGS CHANGED FOR THE EURO-AMERICANS ... BUT REMAINED THE SAME FOR THE ENSLAVED AFRICAN".
 
3)  During the period from 1808 to 1908, the enslaved African in America had been freed since the 1863 date of President Abraham Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation.
 
However, the national institution (which is historically referred to as "Jim Crowism") only guaranteed the former African slave not only minuscule compensation for his agricultural and factory labours, but also a guarantee that the former slave would most likely be "the first to be fired and the last to be hired" ... and in very, very few cases, payment for his labours would be equal to the payment of the Euro-American labourers.  It should be no surprise to even an amatuer student-of-history, that despite Our country's economic-advances that were achieved, during the period of THE INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION ... the vast numbers of uneducated Americans-of-African-descent (who had also been denied the American Right-to-Vote) were not only the "American Cheapest Labour Force" ... but also the sole bloc of American citizens who remained VOTELESS.  
 
HOWEVER, THOUGH ONE MIGHT SUCCESSFULLY ARGUE THAT CHANGE INDEED HAD IN FACT OCCURRED ... within the U.S.A.'s community of African-American citizens ... it remained inarguable that the AFRICAN-AMERICAN CITIZENRY had in fact become consigned by the Euro-American community to STASIS AS A PERMANENT AMERICAN ECONOMIC-UNDERCLASS (albeit, it was via the labours of their generation and generations of enslaved Africans from 1608) ... that the burgeoning American Economy had, for the most part been created).
 
However, whilst it can be argued that ECONOMIC-CHANGE in the African-American community in the U.S.A. had indeed occurred, it cannot be seriously argued, the all too obvious fact that the economic status of African-Americans had as yet experienced anything remotely related to the REAL MEANING of the word "PROGRESS" (particularly, with any reference whatsoever to the very REAL PROGRESS in the sphere of ECONOMIC-DEVELOPMENT that had been experienced by Euro-Americans).  
   
4)  From 1908 to 2002 ... the economic condition of the U.S.A.'s African-American community is so obviously considerably below that of the Euro-American community ... that it would be more than folly for me to even remotely suggest that the African-American community of professional and non-professional workers have achieved parity with the economic-condition of Euro-Americans.  Nor would I even attempt to argue that the Civil Rights Movement has even yet given evidence that the ECONOMIC PARITY between the African-American community and the Euro-American community are anywhere near at-par with each other.  Rather, can I only argue that "THINGS HAVE CHANGED, TO REMAIN THE SAME”.  
 
Nor can I support the arguments of those who lobby for "REPARATIONS" ... who identify specific American businesses and industries as those who should render "REPARATION DOLLARS" to the African-American community.  RATHER, DO I ARGUE FOR REPARATIONS FROM THE ENTIRE "AMERICAN BODY ECONOMIC" ... SINCE THAT ENTIRE BODY ECONOMIC DOES IN NO SMALL PART EXIST BECAUSE OF THE SLAVE-LABOUR-FORCE-INVESTMENT IN THE ECONOMY OF THE U.S.A. FROM 1608 THROUGH 1865.
 
ACCORDINGLY, IT CANNOT BE LOGICALLY ASSUMED THAT ONLY A SPECIFIC FEW IDENTIFIABLE AMERICAN INDUSTRIES AND BUSINESSES (which directly benefitted from the unpaid labours of the forefathers and foremothers of today's African-American citizens) ... should be singled out and identified as those businesses and industries which assume the responsibility of paying REPARATIONS to the African-American citizenry since (over and above the Racialist System of Slavery and also the continuing Racialist System of the American "Body Economic") ... it is the entire American Body Economic which exist in no small part because of the entire history of slavery and Racialism in the U.S.A. (which should be the sole focal point for the national debate on the issue-of-Reparations).
 
As a matter of fact, any serious PROGRAMME-OF-REPARATIONS should be directed towards:
 
(1)  The immediate removal of all racialist-sourced impediments in the hiring and firing practice of American industries and businesses;
 
(2)  Broader access to investment-capital, by African-American entrepreneurs;
Increased numbers of scholarships for African-American students in American Black College establishments
(3)  Increased financial support for the business and technological colleges in the Black University establishment
(4)  Increased funding for technology and trade departments in high schools that are        attended by significant numbers of African-American students
(5)  Local, State and Federal Government sponsored seminars and conferences on the general subject of the educational advantages that can accrue to African-American students, who will ultimately be consigned to compete with Euro-American students in the labour-service-marketplace ... and also in the food, mechanical and other similar mass-labour-driven- services.
 
Lest my message not be confused with those many others who demand one-time / Reparations-payments to African-Americans ... permit me to emphasize the fact that since the conventional Reparations arguments can only be reasonably regarded as "REPARATION-PAYMENTS" as solely a token demonstration of the humongous unpaid debt that Our country owes to the progeny of Our enslaved African forefathers and foremothers ... We hold their memory in and with no less respect than that which today's generation of the descendants of the Jewish Holocaust hold theirs.
 
It is in the context that I have had the privilege and honour of setting forth for your attention and consideration, that I feel especially honoured to conclude my message by sharing with you a prayer which the founder of the Black History Month Observance (Dr. Robert Starling Pritchard) composed for the 1965 BHMO founding observance ... and which has since been intoned in the Black church in the U.S.A., Africa, Latin America and in churches in the Black community of Europe, during each month-of-February Black History Month Observance.
 
The title of the prayer is: THE ANNUAL BLACK HISTORY MONTH-OF-FEBRUARY
                                           REQUIEM PRAYER TO THE ESCLAVA INOMINATA
                                           (A REQUIEM PRAYER TO THE NAMELESS SLAVE)
 
May this Hallowed ANNUAL BLACK HISTORY MONTH OF FEBRUARY OBSERVANCE'S-DAY-OF-REMEMBRANCE AND MOURNING BEFORE THE CONTINENTAL AFRICAN AND AFRICAN-AMERICAN ANCIENT MEMORY-MONUMENT to the INNOMINATE SLAVE ... and 'IN MEMORIAM' to "DINKINISH" (THE DAWN OF HISTORY'S ETHIOPIAN MOTHER OF THE HUMAN RACE OF ALL COLOURS, CREEDS AND CULTURES) serve as HUMANKIND'S fitting Memorial to all the enslaved African forefathers and foremothers and their NEW AND OLD WORLD PROGENY who have LAIN restless in slave graves ... sunkened beneath the high seas of THE MIDDLE PASSAGE, with only the crests of their MOURNING WAVES as their tombstones, as a fitting Memorial to the enslaved African victims of the HOLOCAUST OF HUMANKIND'S INHUMANITY TO HUMANKIND'S INTERNATIONAL TRADE IN HUMAN BONDAGE ... and whose suffering remains yet unavenged by both Godly and Ungodly humankind ..... and who lie restless beneath the soil of even the Nation's Capital, this community, throughout every state in our country ... particularly throughout the Americas and Europe and in graves marked only by the unredeemed agony of their lifetimes of unrewarded NON-'REPARATIONED' TOIL and in the sanctified dust of their atrophying bones ... WE HONOUR TODAY BY INTONING "AZUBAHAGAH KAKALABAH / DUGA DUGA KUKUMOON" IN MEMORY OF THE ESCLAVA INOMINATA AFRICANA ... "REQUIESCANT IN PACE."
 
To those of our African ancestral enslaved kith and kin, who never enjoyed freedom during their four-century lifetimes ... and who still await that day, when through some appropriate HUMBLE ACT OF NATIONAL AND INTERNATIONAL CONTRITION ... they may at long last REST IN PEACE IN THE BOSOM-turned-into-the DUST OF "MOTHER DINKINISH."
 
On this HOLY BLACK HISTORY MONTH DAY-OF-REMEMBRANCE-AND-MOURNING ... may Our REQUIEM PRAYER TO THE INNOMINATE SLAVE SERVE AS A FITTING TRIBUTE TO THE AFRICAN AND TO THE AFRICAN-AMERICAN MEMORY-MONUMENT TO THE INNOMINATE SLAVE.
 
I thank you for your patience and the courtesy of your attention ... which permitted me to share my moral-bound passion for and my attempt this day to deliver my message on the subject matter of Reparations in a manner, which could assist you in developing your own individual position on that highly controversial issue in Our country (which has yet to pay homage to the contributions that were made by the enslaved African forefathers and foremothers of today's African-American-progeny who lived and died in their capacities as slave labourers, in the hope that their progeny would not be consigned to stasis as a Permanent Underclass of Economic-Wage-Slave).
 
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