On an economic level, Black people are deserving of repair, or reparations, as some would say. There is no doubt and no lack of truth about our history in this country as it pertains to the wealth we created for others with our free labor, and the intellectual contributions our forefathers and mothers made to this society. Those contributions, including inventions that are still used today, along with a couple of centuries of free labor, are definitely worth billions, if not trillions of dollars. We should at least have a discussion at the highest level of government, from the president on down, about how to make up for such a wrong. Apologies are not enough.
Beyond that ideal, I believe we must also consider and act upon what Conrad Worrill and Ken Bridges called “Internal Reparations,” which speaks very directly to the internal demands we must be willing to make upon ourselves. Are we willing to demand that we support one another? Are we willing to demand that we become the primary educators of our children? Are we willing to demand much more of ourselves when it comes to loving one another, respecting one another, and trusting one another more? Are we willing to demand of ourselves a sense and practice of Black-on-Black love rather than hate and destruction? Are we willing to demand of ourselves, especially our leaders, a high level of integrity, dedication, and sincerity? Are we willing to stand against the lies, divisiveness, and evil tactics of those among us who are only bent on selfish opportunism?
Those are just a few questions related to the demands we must make on ourselves, individually and collectively. We must be willing to acknowledge our internal faults and deal with them head-on if we want to make educational, political, social, and economic progress. Yes, it will take the backbone of a Marcus Garvey, the resolve of a Harriet Tubman, the fearlessness of an Ida B. Wells, the strength of a Maynard Jackson, and yes, sometimes even the willingness to make the ultimate sacrifice, as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. did.