Salute to the 306! A First Step In
Righting the Wrong of America’s Past
How does America begin to right the wrong of Slavery? Is giving every current Black person in the US (regardless of if they are a natural-born citizen that a descendent of a previous slave) X amount of dollars each month for the rest of their life really going to make up for Slavery? Would that money be used to “fix” the high poverty levels in the Black communities? Or would that money be played away at Grande Vegas casino bonuses each month and in a lifetime, the Black community would be right back where they started at?
Let’s start with Lincoln
When we look at what Lincoln believed, he was a mixed bag. He was 100% against slavery. But at the beginning of his political career, he did not support that Blacks and Whites should be equals. He opposed blacks having the right to vote, to serve on juries, to hold office and to intermarry with whites.
He did believe that, like all men, black men had the right to improve their condition in society and to enjoy the fruits of their labor. In that way, he believed that blacks and whites were equals. Abolitionists, on the other hand, were 100% against slavery including that blacks should have the right to vote, hold office, serve on juries, etc. Later on, Lincoln said that Blacks should be given the right to vote if they served in the Union army. This is what England promised to the Blacks during the American Revolution, but since the Union soldiers won, we know that Lincoln fulfilled that promise.
Lincoln actually believed that Blacks should leave the United States and go back to Africa, and there was a time in US history when the US government did provide funding for any Black person who wanted to take up that option. Liberia was formed for that purpose. Now Blacks from Africa are willingly choosing to come to the US, even with all of the problems that America currently has.
Lincoln’s second try at this was to colonize Central America and have the Blacks move there. Lincoln believe that the country would be better if Blacks and Whites were separated into two separate countries.
At the time, this angered Black leaders and abolitionists. They argued that African Americans were as much natives of the country as white people and deserved the same rights as white people. In other words, they saw themselves as 100% American citizens. They wanted the right to vote. They wanted to serve on juries. They wanted to hold public office. They wanted to intermarry. They wanted to attend the same schools as whites, the same churches, shop in the same stores, eat in the same restaurants. They wanted to be 100% equals. They were 100% against the whole “separate, but equal” concept.
So… strike two for Lincoln. He leads the civil war to give Blacks their freedom, but he was not 100% for blacks and whites being 100% equals.
Is the solution to give Blacks their own land and allow them to run their own country the right solution?
If you asked the Blacks that were actually slaves (back around the time of the Civil War), they made their view very clear. They were 100% against that option. They wanted to live in a country where they were 100% equals to whites in every aspect of life.
We have 100 years of history to know that “separate, but equal” quickly becomes “separate, but unequal”. That is NOT a road the country should go down again.
Is giving money to Blacks the solution?
Money is money. Money comes. Money goes. One President can give money. The next President can take it away. Plus, it will instill hatred, and bigotry, and jealousy, and we, as a nation, would be right back where we started at.
Look at DECA. Obama gave them the right to be in America, and Trump took it away. We can’t make the whole entire Black community a political pawn whose future depends on the whim of who is currently in office. That is not the way you treat people. That is not the way that you show respect for people.
Plus, nobody gets something for nothing. That is not the way it works in the US.
So what is the solution? This is my proposal…
Salute to the 306! Adopt a Slave (my proposal)
What is the “Salute to the 306”, and how would it work?
306 refers to the number of slaves who worked at either building the White House and Capital building or who worked as a slave inside of the White House. For the actual list of the names, you can visit this website.
This is not the final count. This is just a starting point. We try it for 306 people, and if it works, the project gets expanded.
Here are the details:
How do you repay a person who was a slave? There is only one way that I can think of. You live the life that they were denied, in their honor.
A Black man and a Black woman get married (mixed marriage, gay married, etc. details can be worked out). They sign up for the program. To adopt two black slaves, and to live their life in the honor of those previous slaves. The government in exchange provides them financial support.
Do they have the education to support themselves? Are they educated in a trade or a professional career? If the answer is no, they get a scholarship to a college or a trade school. Do they did need tutors? They are provided with tutors. The same with help with rent and food.
But this is NOT free money. There is an expectation that they will not get involved in drugs, alcohol abuse, smoking, or criminal behavior. Not to mention that they have to go to classes and actually get good grades. It is a contract. They do their part and the government does its part.
But it does not end upon graduation from college. When they have a child, they make the choice to have their child adopt a slave. And the same benefits go to that child with the same agreement. They get a voucher for daycare and school. If they do not like their local school, they can choose to go to any school (private, public, secular, religious, whatever -- the same choice that “rich” parents get for their children). This continues until they graduate with a professional trade skill or a professional degree. But the same restrictions apply. The child cannot do illegal drugs, abuse alcohol, get involved in gangs, get involved in criminal activity, etc. The child needs to go to school, get good grades, etc.
I will also put in the stipulation that there cannot be any domestic abuse: man abusing the woman, woman abusing the man, a parent abusing the child, or a child abusing the parent. All are forbidden under this program.
Yes, it is a long contract. The government is basically making an 80-year contract with the man and the woman and a 100-year contract with the children.
But then, slaves were slaves for a lifetime. The government knew when they created the country that at some point in the future, the government would have to make up for the fact that a whole group of people was not declared “full people”.
I do not know if this would work or if the current black community would accept this idea. I also do not know what the cost would be or if that should even be factored in.
I think about the saying, “You give a man a fish, you feed him today. You teach a man to fish, you feed him for life.”
I do not know if my solution is a “perfect” solution, but my gut is telling me that the most important thing that we, as a country, need to do, is to give those slaves from previous generations what we originally denied them. That is to give them life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness (what we all today take for granted). Some of the slaves do not even have a name -- how horrible is that? Can you imagine living your whole life without even being given a name? You are just a number is census reading. Yuck!
So how do we change a person from being a number is census reading to being a “full and complete human being” in the way that Lincoln (although not perfect), the abolitionists, and the Black slaves themselves would have wanted?
The only way that I can think of is for a current Black person to adopt a previous Black slave and live their life in that person’s honor. To live the life that they were denied.
But money still makes the world go round, and the money barriers need to be addressed. But just giving the money is not going to work. It needs to be a commitment on both sides. The Black person makes the commitment to live their life in honor of the previous slave and the government in exchange provides them with the financial means to help make that possible.
That is the only way that I can think of to truly make up for slavery in a way that might actually work to “fix” the problem without causing a whole new set of problems.
Important facts: In 1860, there were 4 million slaves (yikes). That is a lot of people. At the time of the American Revolution, it was 2.5 million. The current population of Blacks in the US is 42 million.