Atonement and Forgiveness: A New Model for Black Reparations

By Roy L. Brooks | Go to book overview

Chapter 5
THE ATONEMENT MODEL

We must make sure that their deaths have posthumous meaning. We must make sure that from now until the end of days all humankind stares this evil in the face.

Ronald Reagan

Racial reconciliation should be the primary purpose of slave redress. It is what gives the idea of slave redress its forward-looking quality. 1 When Americans embrace the idea of slave redress, they welcome the belief that we must go back in time and place to right a heavy wrong and to make the present and future more racially harmonious. They understand that there is a price to pay for collective amnesia, for that type of erasure.

Some might say that racial reconciliation is unnecessary or that the past should remain buried. These good people miss many points. They miss the point that the federal government committed a horrific racial atrocity for which it has never apologized. They miss the point that the government has little credibility on racial matters with the great majority of its black citizens. They miss the point that black Americans continue to suffer the lingering effects of slavery and Jim Crow. They miss the point that it is all about due respect—as one of the architects of Los Angeles's slavery disclosure ordinance (see chapter 1) has said: “I don't want a check. I just want fairness. ” 2 And they miss the point that the slaves, whose forced labor was central to our nation's eventual development, deserve to be recognized and honored alongside other American heroes.

The road to racial reconciliation must be paved with the post-Holocaust spirit of heightened morality, identity, egalitarianism, and restorative justice. This journey to racial reconciliation necessarily begins with the gov

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Atonement and Forgiveness: A New Model for Black Reparations
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page *
  • Contents *
  • Preface ix
  • Chapter 1 - The Purpose and History of the Black Redress Movement 1
  • Chapter 2 - Harms to Slaves and Free Blacks 20
  • Chapter 3 - Harms to Descendants 36
  • Chapter 4 - The Tort Model 98
  • Chapter 5 - The Atonement Model 141
  • Chapter 6 - Opposing Arguments 180
  • Epilogue 207
  • Appendix 1 - Selected List of Other Atrocities 213
  • Appendix 2 - Summary of the Negotiations That Led to Germany's Foundation Law 218
  • Notes 221
  • Selected Bibliography 273
  • Cases 299
  • Statutes 303
  • Index 307
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