Karina Donica, Town Talk (Alexandira, Louisiana), April 14, 2008
A plaque stands as a reminder of the Colfax Massacre in front of a small town Courthouse, but a few feet away from the landmark a group of black men and women decried the injustices of the massacre and other historic events, they say, will only be healed with reparations.
“This morning is all about reparations,” said Johnita Scott a member of the National Coalition of Blacks for Reparations in America, who traveled from Baton Rouge to join the event Sunday in the Colfax City Hall.
“Reparations really connect all the dots” of history and it stand as the natural next step today, Scott said.
During Sunday’s day-long event the group spoke about learning, researching and educating, particularly black youngsters, about their origins.
Unlike the Jewish children who had to read about their history—and received some reparations, black children in the U.S. have not learned about their history in the traditional classroom. And they don’t know about the price their ancestors paid as slaves, said keynote speaker Antoinette Harrell, a Louisiana genealogist.
She said that the approximately $10,000 she has spent in research should be part of reparations, as should be any DNA testing needed to trace black genealogy.
Caseptla Bailey, the mother of “Jena Six” defendant Robert Bailey Jr., also was at the event. She presented a DVD about the events surrounding the case.
Diana Kimble, of the coalition said the Jena Six case and the Colfax massacre intersect because they are both about injustices against the black race.
Kimble said, if reparations (40 acres and 1 mule) had been addressed in the past healing would be well on its way, because it would bring about respect and dignity to blacks who worked and continue working to build Louisiana without being paid back.
“Reparations are the key to all of the injustices,” Kimble, adding that reparations are not a handout but are necessary to correct a great wrong.