A Case for Reparations: ADD IT UP!
BY THE HONORABLE MINISTER LOUIS FARRAKHAN
America, you owe us something. We don’t want you to dole it out in welfare checks. If you give us what you owe us, we’ll take it from there. But will America do that? We don’t know.
However, America did detain thousands of Japanese-Americans in concentration camps (during World War II) and confiscated their property. Now Congress says America treated the Japanese-Americans wrongly and has okayed several billions of dollars to be paid to the Japanese in reparations.
The Germans recognize the evil that they did to the Jews, and right now they are paying reparations to Israel. East Germany wanted to unite with West Germany and in order to do so, they repented and stated their intentions to pay Israel reparations.
“We ask the Jews of the world to forgive us,” the East German parliament said in a formal statement. “We ask the people of Israel to forgive us for the hypocrisy and hostility of official East German policy toward Israel, and for the persecution and the degradation of Jewish citizens, also after 1945, in our country.
“We declare our willingness to contribute as much as possible to the healing of mental and physical sufferings of survivors and to provide just compensation for material losses.”
That’s a wonderful thing done by the East Germans. Now let’s rewrite this a little bit and let’s put it in the hands of America. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if America said, “We ask the Blacks of the world to forgive us? We ask the Black people of America to forgive us for our hypocrisy and the hostility of official United States policy toward Black people, and for the persecution and degradation of Black people even after 1863 when we called them citizens and said they were free.
“And we (the government of America) declare our willingness to contribute as much as possible to the healing of mental and physical suffering of any survivors and to provide just compensation for material losses.”
Now, let’s add up what they owe us. Do you have your computers? Let’s start in Africa. According to the late, great scholar W.E.B. DuBois, a conservative estimate of Black lives lost in the Middle Passage was from 50 to 100 million Black lives. We don’t need to minimize the Jewish Holocaust. Six million lives is a lot of lives, but are you telling me that six million White lives are more valuable than 100 million Black lives? You can’t be saying that. For the Bible says “a life for a life.”
Well, if a hundred million of us lost our lives in the Middle Passage, add it up. What is one Black life worth? Three hundred years working from “can’t see morning to can’t see night” for no pay. Three hundred years working millions of slaves for nothing. Add it up! Add it up! Add it up!
The killing of our fathers and mothers after mating them like animals, then taking the children and naming us after the slave master, stripping us of our language, our God, our religion, our minds. Add it up! Add it up. Think about it. … The destruction of our families.
Black folk fought in the Revolutionary War that made America free from England, yet, we’re not free. Add it up. We fought in the War of 1812. Add it up. We fought in the Civil War—400,000 Blacks on the side of the North and the South, some fighting to preserve the old South, others fighting to preserve the Union. After the Union was preserved, we had no Union, but thousands of Black lives were lost in that war. Add it up!
You brought us into religion, not to make us closer to Jesus, but to turn us inside out in Jesus’ name. You know Jesus was no White man. Look at him. The Bible says he had hair like lamb’s wool, and feet like brass burnt in an oven. But you make us white-minded and destroyed our love for ourselves. Add it up!
We fought in the Spanish-American War. We helped America steal Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California from the Mexicans. Add it up. World War I came. You got in trouble. Black soldiers went, you got a victory over Germany. We got nothing but more hell. Add it up. World War II came along. Hitler got started. We joined the Army. You say, “Well, if you joined, you joined on your own.” No, No, baby … when you joined the Army and signed your name “Willis Jackson,” “Henry Morgan,” “Larry Higginbotham,” you signed the wrong name. You were out of your mind—didn’t know who you were. Somebody took advantage of you and sent you to fight for your enemy. Add it up!
We left our fathers on Normandy Beach, in Palermo, in Rome, in Naples, in Sicily. We left our bodies on the streets of Paris, in Belgium. Add it up. We joined the war. They used us in Hawaii, in Bataan, in Corregidor, in the Solomon Islands, in Iwo Jima. We lost our lives fighting for America. And after the war was over, America rebuilt Germany. Now the West German economy is the strongest in all Europe. We rebuilt Japan. Now the Japanese are world leaders, but Black people who helped you win the war, they are homeless in Atlanta, homeless in Chicago, homeless in Detroit, homeless in Boston, in the streets looking for a job, looking for a handout. We helped you to win, but you offered us nothing. I say, add it up. Add it up. Add it up!
We developed leaders to help us. Marcus Garvey came and talked to us, but here in Georgia you trumped up charges against him and you brought him into court and you lied on him and you sent him to prison unjustly. Then you deported him and broke his movement. Only later did we learn that Garvey was a good man, he had a good movement, he had a good program, but you destroyed it all. Add it up. Add it up. Add it up.
In the 1960s, when Black folk began to move, we had CORE, SNCC, the NAACP, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, the Black Panthers, the Nation of Islam. All of these brothers and sisters were fighting for the liberation of Black people, but there in Washington, D.C., the government of America started plotting against our leaders, and we lost Whitney Young off the coast of Africa under suspicious circumstances. We lost Medgar Evers. They broke up CORE. They broke up SNCC. They broke up the organization called Us (under Ron Karenga). They jailed the leaders of the Republic of New Africa. They murdered Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. They weakened the NAACP and the Urban League. Everything that fought for justice for us, they tore it up and tore it down. I say, add it up. America owes the Black man. Add it up.
What is the life of Martin Luther King worth? What is the life of Malcolm X worth? What is the life of our leaders worth? What is the life of Louis Farrakhan worth? You want me dead, but I say you don’t want that. You don’t really want that. If you know what I know, you don’t want that. No, you don’t want that.
The way God looks at this thing, the present generation of Whites, they didn’t do this to us. The present generation of Whites are innocent of what their grandfathers did, but they are in a privileged position because of what their fathers did; and we’re in a hell of a condition because of what their fathers did. So if you, the present generation of Whites, want to escape what is justly due, then they’ve got to do the right thing. They’ve got to do justice by the Black man.
What is the right thing? You (this generation of Whites) have got to apologize for what you did. You’ve got to repent for what you did. You’ve got to say, “we’ve been wrong. Now we know we don’t want you, we don’t like you, but we’ll give you justice.”
Now what does justice look like? If you add it up … if you add it up White folks, you are going to have to give us the whole country. Add it up, White man. The whole thing belongs to the oppressed, if you add it up. We’re not asking for the whole thing, but we do deserve the whole thing. Just give us some of it and let us go to build a nation for ourselves. Since you don’t want us, don’t keep us here and kill us. Let us go and let us build a new reality in the name of God. Let us build for God.
“And what if we don’t do that?” It’s your thing; do what you wanna do. You don’t have to give us anything, but God said He’s the Power today, and He’ll take the Kingdom from whom He pleases, and He will give it to whom He pleases. When I ask for reparations, I’m asking you to save your life. But if you don’t want to save your life, then leave it to God. He’ll settle it.
Let me tell you how He’ll settle it: An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth and a life for a life. Add it up. Add it up. Add it up.
One hundred million in the Middle Passage and you have 150 million White people in America today. Add it up. If it’s a life for a life, then God is justified in killing everything that refuses to submit, as He killed Pharaoh and his people, as He destroyed Babylon, and Sodom and Gomorrah. And He warned you that it was water the first time, but it will be fire next time. You’d better add it up.