Recompense for State Sanctioned Slavery to American Blacks

Wilson Chinn, La. branded chattel slave 1863.

"When a free man dies he loses the pleasure of life, when a slave dies he loses the pain." -Anonymous

Citizens of Nevada,

If elected Governor of Nevada in 2006, I will establish the Nevada Recompense Program (NRP) for Nevadan residence of 23 continuous years or more who are of African-American descent.

It will be the first step in the long overdue acknowledgment by any state in our republic, of the crimes committed by the state sanctioned atrocities of the Chattel Slavery industry that operated throughout North and South America, (entering into what was to later become the United State of America) in the latter part of 1490's.

By most accounts, the American version of the Chattel Slavery trade first arrived on our shores with its morally bankrupt ugliness in 1619.

The first organizers of the monstrous enterprise of human trafficking for profit were the Portuguese and the Spanish Crown -- but later included the British Empire, France, Germany, the Netherlands and the United States.

All of whom participated equally in devaluing black life on God's earth, a devaluation that didn't stop in 1865 -- but continued for another 250 years following the end of the Civil War and the enactment of the 13th Amendment, which abolished [legal] slavery in America. That same devaluation still exist today, only it behaves in a more subtle fashion.

America's Chattel Slave Trade. 1619? - 1865

A Dutch slave trader low on supplies traded 20 black African "Negar" slaves to a local merchant and the Governor in Jamestown, Virginia in August of 1619. Then laws appeared that stated for "all Negroes", compulsory life servitude was the mandate. Chattel Slavery became an official institution (Maryland, Virginia and Massachusetts institutionalized the Chattel Slave trade in 1640-42).

From 1619 to 1865, there are no concrete numbers as to how many black Africans were taken from the African continent for the Atlantic slave trade -- but numbers run from 11 million to 40 million human beings before the 13th Amendment was ratified thus ending legalized slavery (although many states that didn't rebel against the union stayed in the slave trade even after the 13th Amendment was enacted--Delaware, Kentucky and Mississippi, comes to mind).

The now famous Dred Scott decision, is the Supreme Court case involving a black man born a chattel slave in Virginia who sued for his freedom 4 years after re-entering the slave state of Missouri (1846). Scott, along with his wife [Harriet] and their two children had previously lived as slaves in the Wisconsin territory (free) and the free state of Illinois. In March of 1857, the United States Supreme Court declared that all blacks -- slaves as well as free -- were not and could never become citizens of the United States. Chief Justice Roger B. Taney, a virulent racist also declared the 1820 Missouri Compromise was unconstitutional, thus permitting slavery in all of the country's territories. Taney wrote in the court's majority opinion that, because Scott was black, he was not a citizen and therefore had no right to sue.

Chief Justice Taney wrote, The framers of the Constitution believed that "blacks had no rights which the white man was bound to respect-- and that the negro might justly and lawfully be reduced to slavery for his benefit. He was, "bought and sold and treated as an ordinary article of merchandise and traffic, whenever profit could be made by it."

Referring to the language in the Declaration of Independence that includes the phrase, "all men are created equal," Taney reasoned that "it is too clear for dispute, that the enslaved African race were not intended to be included, and formed no part of the people who framed and adopted this declaration. . . .". The Supreme court ruled that as a black, Dred Scott had no legal rights to sue anyone, he was a non human. These words from the pen (and mouth) of the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States of America, the final arbiter of the laws of our republican form of government, then and now.

The state sanctioned full participation in the Chattel Slave industry that sullied our honor as a nation is irrefutable and nothing to right this wrong in the way of true Recompense has yet been done. Therefore, the state must be the first party to make the needed Recompense to blacks of African descent for the Chattel slave trade they legalized.

State of Nevada ratifies the 13th and 14th Amendments

The 13th Amendment abolished slavery in the US. Section 1 of the 14th Amendement says, "all persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside. No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws".

Our State of Nevada was a wild west style territory at the outbreak of the Civil War in 1861. President Lincoln rushed Nevada into statehood in 1864 -- even though we didn't have the needed population to qualify for statehood in the Union, so that we could help to ratify the 13th Amendment.

It's only fitting that Nevada's very first Constitutional duty as a State in the Union, after being the last arrival as the 36th state, and within 3 1/2 months of joining the Union, was to vote to abolish slavery, but there is more than one note in a song--our job wasn't finished.

Soon after, in 1866, the 14th Amendment was purposed and Nevada ratified it also -- a great first "one-two punch" for the last state to join the union at that time, helping to stamp out the "3/5th of a human being clause" regarding the humanity of black people in America (or White Supremacy clause as I refer to it) left us by the Founding Fathers--it was magnanimous, but still our task of righting the wrongs of this national disgrace isn't finished.

Needing a Constitutional Amendment to end the slave trade and the subsequent 14th Amendment makes the US government fully liable for its prior legitimazation of Chattel Slavery, the only thing left is what sort of amends, as a good faith first step for centuries of human trafficking it authorized for the theft, rape and murder of the mind, body and soul of an entire race of people for being born black.

Nevada: 7th worst place in America for Blacks

Black Nevadans can tell you of the many horror stories of life here in Nevada in years past -- of not being allowed on the Las Vegas strip after dark or working hours by local police (a government apparatus) in the 40's, 50's, 60's and 70's, and of a major hotel here in Las Vegas that once drained the pool after the demands of racist white guests and employees because a member of Lena Horne's family was swimming in the pool. To put this in its proper perspective, a 2006 version of this 1950's incident would be as if they did this to Whitney Houston, Halle Berry or Beyonce Knowles, by draining the swimming pool because of racists whites demanding that it be drained to erase their unforgivable blackness sullying the water. The year it occurred doesn't alter what occurred.

Black soldiers returning home to Nevada after having served their country faithfully during WWII were shuttled off to an area know as Berkeley Square to vastly overpriced housing. These soldiers, who have stories or their own to tell, called Nevada back in the mid 40's, the "Mississippi of the West" -- our state of Nevada is presently rated as the 7th worst place in America to be a black person.

The New Right Conservative Governor of Florida [Jeb Bush] was asked what he planned to do for the black people of Florida if elected, he responded, "probably nothing" (accompanied by the well known Bush clan chuckle made famous by Papa & Mama Bush). I'll tell you what my plans are for every Nevada resident -- those plans are to do "Whatever it Takes" to make Nevada a place black people, and every other race of people, will be proud to call their home.

My Nevada Recompense Program (to all Nevada residence of African-American descent who have continuously resided in the state of Nevada for 23 years or more) will be aimed at making some amends by a state government for 246 years of the immoral, murderous and unethical behavior (and massive profiteering) by private individuals and corporations working hand in hand with our national and local governments, from approximately 1619-1865, forcefully using black people as beasts of burden for various capital enterprises for which blacks were never compensated.

The immoral nature of the Chattel slave trade goes without saying -- anyone who would argue the ethics or morality of the Chattel slave trade that occurred throughout the "New World" until its legal death is obviously the worst of racists--it's certainly not a dialogue I or anyone with half a brain would waste their breath having.

There is no monetary figure that can be attached to the monstrous victimization of black people for nearly 250 years before it was abolished in America -- the government sanctioned the genocidal practice of slavery they later ended officially with the ratification of the 13th Amendment -- but affix a financial amount I will ($125,000-150,000). The funds for NRP will be primarily acquired from The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) by way of acreage I will work with our state legislature, our Nevada members of both Houses of Congress to have ceded to the State of Nevada by the federal government (80% of Nevada is owned by the federal government). Also Companies who profited from the Chattel Slave trade doing business in/with the state of Nevada will also be required to make amends through NRP.

The reasons and serious need for my Recompense Program shouldn't need explaining to anyone with even a minimal understanding of the Chattel slave trade as it existed here in America from 1619-1865. Aside from its immoral nature -- a crime not only against a people because of the pigment of their skin, but against God -- the economic injustices and its remnant live on, in this, our 230th year as a house divided against itself.

The Founding Fathers Flounder

The Founding Fathers failed us miserably, and lost forever the chance of being remembered as truly great Statesmen -- when in America's finest and most critical hour, penning the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, they missed the once in a lifetime opportunity to sign away the notion of one human being as another mans slave, by ending it when we were an infant nation.

Their failures as Fathers led to our continued failures as a sons and daughters in this, our house divided against itself. A division that still exists, with all of the venomous poisons present at the inception of the Chattel slave trade. Had they done what was right, we'd all be living in a far different America than the one that exists today.

The centuries of debate over the humanity of black people, forcibly brought to America to work for free from sun up, to sun down, for the extent of their days on earth, under penalty of death could have been ended with a few strokes from their Quill pens. They [the Founding Fathers] housed the bitter contempt for blacks that lives on in many quarters of our republic -- for surely if ever they had seen us as a nation that would have embraced blacks, they would have foreseen their roles as morally bankrupt in the eyes of history for not having given to blacks what they gave to themselves within the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, freedom. Their behavior reveals to us how they saw black life as that of a non-human, forever (the 3/5th clause), and it's that demon that must be addressed through making amends for the immoral mistakes of men whose legacy and that of our republic stand forever marred by their racial conceits as Chattel slave holders themselves.

A Dream Deferred

The great Black American poet, Langston Hughes, wrote, What happens to a dream deferred? Does it dry up like a raisin in the sun? Or fester like a sore?and then run? Does it stink like rotten meat? Or crust and sugar over?like a syrupy sweet? Maybe it just sags like a heavy load. Or does it explode?

I think his eloquent poem speaks for all of us. All these are questions asked, but haven't been fully anwsered by America for far too long. Our history has seen blacks dreams, "dry up like a raisin in the sun, fester like a sore, stink like rotten meat, sag like a heavy load, and explode. You have in your power, with your vote, the power to demand answers to these and other questions regarding the future of black Nevadans. If you are black, that's something other blacks in the America of centuries past were denied for so long -- perhaps you can help make some of the answers "crust and sugar over like a syrupy sweet". I need your support if we together are to make this place we all call home, all it can be for every Nevadan, of every shade of God's human family.

Thank you much for taking the time to read this.


Leola McConnell

Liberal Democrat for Governor or Nevada, 2006

If by a "Liberal" they mean someone who looks ahead and not behind, someone who welcomes new ideas without rigid reactions, someone who cares about the welfare of the people -- their health, their housing, their schools, their jobs, their civil rights, and their civil liberties -- someone who believes we can break through the stalemate and suspicions that grip us in our policies abroad, if that is what they mean by a "Liberal," then I'm proud to say I'm a "Liberal." - John F. Kennedy

Paid for by McConnell for Governor, 2006

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