Reparations: Events Sweep under the Historical Rug

January 1, 2020


Lies are at work in explaining events that led the American Revolutionary War. We know about the Boston Massacre(1765), and others, but nothing is mentioned about the Somerset Case, the Gaspee Affair, and the policies of Lord Dunmore. These events are totally ignored because they point to the racist political birth defects of American democracy that are still unresolved. In order to avoid discussion of the racial foundations of American democracy, the Electoral College, and the idea of reparations that are owed to African Americans, these events are simply sweep under the historical rug. Ignored is the fact that our government would be one governed by brutal white men with property for a very long time.     


The Somerset Case (1772) involved a slave owner named Charles Stuart who sought to remove a slave from Virginia to England. The enslaved man was James Somerset. Stuart was attempting to send Somerset to Jamaica for sale. An English abolitionist sued for his freedom arguing that slaves became free when brought to England. The Chief Justice, Lord Mansfield, ruled that slavery had no basis in nature. Somerset was set free while back in America the slave owners went ballistic. White leaders (race was invented) who thought themselves champions of freedom were angered against the British ruling of freedom for James Somerset, a black man. In the early days of American slavery, plantation owners were already propagandized by the scientific racism of Enlightenment thinkers. Blacks were not allowed to testify against whites in most of the American colonies.


Another event was the Gaspee Affair (Horne, 2014), which took place about the same time as the Somerset Case. This event would drive racial anger. In this incident a British ship was burned in Virginia and the captain killed. The only witness against the Americans was a black man named Aaron Briggs who would testify against the Virginians. Briggs was about 16 years old and racist hatred was generated by Thomas Jefferson and Patrick Henry against Briggs. Historians believe that this was a crucial moment in American history (Horne, 2014). 


The final incident that sparked the revolutionary war was the policies of Lord Dunmore. Lord Dunmore called for blacks to escape slavery and join the British with a promise of freedom.In November of 1775, Dunmore offered freedom to enslaved people if they would help fight the Americans. In early 1776, about 800 enslaved black men flocked to the British camps and to discourage black slaves, Virginian slave owners brutally beat blacks in the public square and often cut off an ear in revenge. They sometimes cut off heads and stuck them on polls and lined the streets with decapitated corpses. Later, in 1781, Lord Cornwallis led a British army to Richmond, Virginia and attracted approximately 5,000 runaway blacks which included twenty-three slaves from the Jefferson plantation, and sixteen slaves from George Washington’s farm. 


The HORRORCAUST that blacks faced in this country justifies the need for reparations for its brutality, denial through propaganda described as history, length of its legacy, and the development of the prison system aimed specifically at African Americans. These horrors can only be reconciled with reparations which could take the form of free medical care, free dental care, free legal services, free tuition, a guaranteed good paying job, free housing, and other forms of just compensation for the crimes committed. If a just non-racial society is to ever be built, and white supremacy defeated, a complete restructuring of this society must be fought for to free everyone, poor whites included, who have been denied human dignity.

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