Being the great-great-grandson of the owner of a plantation in Knoxville, Tennessee, at the end of the Civil War, I was Interested in the proposed reparations for the descendants of Africans trafficked to and enslaved in the Americas as a consequence of the Atlantic slave trade.

This proposal is offered by the following democratic candidates: Marianne Williamson, Senators Warren, Booker, Gabbard, Sanders, Harris and Beto O’Rourke is “open to considering some form of reparations,” according to U.S. News & World Report.

What I have been able to find out is that reparations has been discussed for a number of years, but have never been acted upon. They can be contrasted with compensated emancipation, the money that some governments paid some slave owners when slavery was abolished, as compensation for the loss of their property. I am not for sure if my great-great-grandfather received any form of payment.

Family history indicates that freed slaves returned and worked out a deal to remain on the plantation as freemen and received payment in kind for their labor.

I have always been told that freed slaves were given 40 acres and a mule when they were freed after the Civil War by an order issued by Union General William T. Sherman’s Special Field Order No. 15, issued on Jan. 16, 1865. I have learned of a meeting to discuss this form of reparations. One of the spokesman for the group, Garrison Frazier, stated “that the best way to take care of ourselves was to have land, and turn it and till it by our own labor… and we can soon maintain ourselves and have something to spare. … We want to be placed on land until we are able to buy it and make it our own.” However, Andrew Johnson, Lincoln’s successor, overturned the order in the fall of 1865.

I believe that reparations do not apply to our day and time and should have been given to the freed slaves at the end of the Civil War.

Robert Ault


(1) comment


Its unfortunate that many writers on this subject was sleep in the History class or received an "F." Slaves were not given 40 acres and a mule nor did they return to worked on the plantations on their own accord. This was the first time in the history where slaves were freed with no way to survive. They were to go work for their masters as sharecroppers where they were cheated and would never have a chance to be really free. New laws were made to basically enslave them again such as the "black codes," and finally the KKK started by the Democratic Party. Now blacks have been duped into thinking that the Democratic Party is for them since they have created a welfare system that keep looking for handouts provided by the party. They no longer have to promise blacks anything because their vote is a "slam dunk." for Democrat.

Now many in this country would rather maintain illegal immigration which cost taxpayers $150 billion annually according to the Washington Examiner. Reparations would only be a drop in the bucket compared to what is paid to maintain illegal immigrants.

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