The Jena 6, 40 Acres & a Mule and Reparations

Another RBG Street Scholar EduTaniment DesignFree The Jena 6 and
We Want Our 40 Acres and a Mule

40 acres and a mule:
40 acres and a mule is a term for compensation that was to be awarded to freed African American slaves after the Civil War— 40 acres (16 ha) of land to farm, and a mule with which to drag a plow so the land could be cultivated.

The award—a land grant of a quarter of a quarter section (a common homestead size of the time) deeded to heads of households presumably formerly owned by land-holding whites—was the product of Special Field Orders, No. 15, issued January 16, 1865 by Maj. Gen. William T. Sherman, which applied to black families who lived near the coasts of South Carolina, Georgia and Florida. Sherman’s orders specifically allocated “the islands from Charleston, south, the abandoned rice fields along the rivers for thirty miles back from the sea, and the country bordering the St. Johns River, Florida.” There was no mention of mules in Sherman’s order, although the Army may have distributed them anyway.

After the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln, his successor, Andrew Johnson, revoked Sherman’s Orders. It is sometimes mistakenly claimed that Johnson also vetoed the enactment of the policy as a federal statute (introduced as U.S. Senate Bill 60). In fact, the Freedmen’s Bureau Bill which he vetoed made no mention of grants of land or mules. (Another version of the Freedmen’s bill, also without the land grants, was later passed after Johnson’s second veto was overridden.)

By June of 1865, around 40,000 freed slaves were settled on 400,000 acres (1,600 km²) in Georgia and South Carolina. Soon after, President Johnson reversed the order and returned the land to its white former owners. Because of this, the phrase has come to represent the failure of Reconstruction and the general public to assist African Americans in the path from slavery to freedom…Read More

Reparations for the Holocaust of European Enslavement of Afrikans:
For 246 years, enslaved African-Americans endured inhuman living conditions, torture and rape, legally enforced servitude, and other horrendous crimes against humanity. Meanwhile, countless American corporations sponsored or benefited from the uncompensated labor and exploitation of these slaves.
In 1863, President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation began the process of freeing the more than 4 million slaves of African descent in the United States. But while slavery was abolished, sharecropping, “black codes”, and Jim Crow laws perpetuated restrictions upon the freed Negroes. Dozens of corporations continued to benefit from unpaid labor, allowing these companies to flourish.
Citing the persisting legacy of slavery, we as descendants of these slaves must continue to fight for reparations and reconciliation on behalf of the approximately 35 million living descendants of our enslaved ancestors.
To learn more and get involved see:
A RBG Street Scholar Education Design
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