Zaire Howze-Jetter is pictured with instructor Bomani Howze right after the trial. (Photo by Merecedes Howze)

Zaire Howze-Jetter is pictured with instructor Bomani Howze right after the trial. (Photo by Merecedes Howze)

The Iota Phi Chapter of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc.’s Dr. Carter G. Woodson Academy came to a commanding close where 40 young scholars argued in favor for slave reparations.

The mock trial, which was held in the Teplitz Courtroom at the University of Pittsburgh, was preceded by weeks of intense learning from curriculum that dated back to the 1400s. The half hour trial brought the 10-week program to a fiery finish.

The charges were clear—kidnapping, murder, rape, and assault. Equally well-defined, the verdict was guilty and African Americans, including supporting institutions, were to be awarded immediate reparations.

From Portugal’s inaugural slave trade to the Royal African Company, scholars presented hard core evidence to show that Africans were illegally captured and sold as property in the United State and other areas of the African diaspora. The young men and women also mentioned banks, corporations, and retail businesses that directly benefited from the trade and institution of slavery.

One parent, Ebony Hubbard, had two boys enrolled in the academy. “It’s important for them to know their history and the things that we went through so they can appreciate the things that they’re going to go through to make a better life for them and their children.”

Students, ages 6-18, were led by six instructors: Yusef Ali, Bomani Howze, Brandon Jennings, Justin Laing, Tommy Rice, and Robert White.

Admittedly, Program Coordinator Justin Laing knows that the academy is a learning experience for both the students and the teachers. “We are learning about reparations with the youth,” said Laing.

Laing said the scholars were taught “the real history of the different kinds of reparations” and “understand of the specifics of slavery.”

Students left the program with a better understanding of the five forms of reparations: restitution, compensation, rehabilitation, satisfaction, and guarantees of non-repetition. Scholars also learned the three ways to understand slavery and the reparation, healing process: The Debt (History), The Plan (Actions), and The Future (Moving Forward).

1Hood, a socially conscious media group, documented the each session, week by week, and captured the entire mock trial. The company, typically swathed in black and gold 1Hood shirts, interacted with the scholars to encapsulate everyone’s learning experience.

In addition the Iota Phi Chapter of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc., the Omega Carter G. Woodson Academy is sponsored by Coston Funeral Homes, RS Supplies LLC., the Law Offices of Albert G. Reese Jr., and Randall Industries.

 

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