Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) believes Black people in America do not deserve reparations because Barack Obama was elected president.
On June 18, 2019, McConnell revealed his thoughts on reparations one day before the House Judiciary Committee hearing on reparations. Scheduled to appear at the hearing are journalist Ta-Nehisi Coates, who wrote the 2014 essay “The Case for Reparations,” and actor-turned-activist Danny Glover, who will testify in favor of compensation for the descendants of slaves.
U.S. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas) has proposed legislation that would establish a 13-member commission to study and consider remedies for Black people who are descendants of slaves. The commission would also consider a national apology for the 200-year history of slavery in America, which began in the early 1600s.
However, McConnell believes that Black people have been compensated enough because of Obama’s election victory in 2008.
“I don’t think reparations for something that happened 150 years ago for whom none of us currently living are responsible is a good idea,” McConnell told reporters. “We’ve tried to deal with our original sin of slavery by fighting a civil war, by passing landmark civil rights legislation. We’ve elected an African American president.”
In 1998, 80,000 Japanese-American survivors of World War II internment camps received a total payout of $1.6 billion.
Black slaves were promised reparations in 1865 by the U.S. government. Roughly 400,000 acres of land stretching from Charleston, South Carolina, to the St. John’s River in Florida, including Georgia’s Sea Islands and the mainland 30 miles in from the coast, would have been redistributed to newly freed slaves.
However, President Andrew Johnson, Lincoln’s successor and a sympathizer with the South, overturned the Order in the fall of 1865.