Marvin X Calls for a General Strike for Reparations
FrontPageMagazine.com | Thursday, November 21, 2002
On Saturday at Houston's Mt. Ararat Baptist Church, the National Black United Front hosted a forum on reparations. Keynote speaker was Att. Deadra Pellman who filed a lawsuit against corporations who benefited from slavery, including insurance companies. Texas Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee presented a paper entitled "Making the Case for Slavery Reparations." Also on the panel was a sister who is a direct descendent of slaves and she told an eloquent story of her genealogy. In attendance were Mrs. and Mr. Omari Obadele, legends of the reparations movement and founders of N'Cobra, the organization that has spearheaded the call for reparations. The Nation of Islam was present, along with the New Black Panther Party of Houston.
Marvin X called for a general strike to go along with litigation and legislation--mass action to keep the pressure on the American people until we achieve self-determination and sovereignty. He said we should demand reparations for our ancestors if no one else. The poet described his train ride from South Carolina to Houston: as he looked out at the trees, the woods, the swamps, the marsh, the rivers, he thought about the many thousands gone, bones buried deep in the clay, in the creeks. He thought about the slaves who tried to escape but failed and the ones who did make it to freedom. For all these people, we must fight for reparations, and as Brother Kofi of NBUF noted, we must fight for compensation for the vestiges of slavery: our deplorable mental and physical health, our poor housing and now gentrification, lack of economic parity and educational opportunities. On another level, Marvin X noted that we are the 16th richest nation in the world (GNP), so even without repa! rations we have enough money to come up, if we use it wisely. We must take authority over our economic resources. The forum ended with Marvin X reading his poem "When I'll Wave The Flag."
Later that evening, the poet's daughter, Nefertiti, hosted a book party for her father, but because of the ENRON disaster many of the lawyers and MBAs present were unemployed and unable to purchase his book of essays, but they listened attentatively as he read.
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