Tag Archives: Jim Crow

Artist Poses Nude in Streets of New York to Remember Slavery and the Violence and Racism that ‘Still Scars America’

By Danette Clark:


Buck naked (with the exception of a pair of white pumps), Nona Fuastine poses with both hands pushing against one of the two massive columns that frame the front door of City Hall in New York City, as though attempting to topple the massive building. The caption beneath the photo — ‘They Tagged the Land With Trophies and Institutions From Their Conquests.’

According to The Guardian, Faustine posed naked in the streets of New York as a reminder of the vulnerability of the slaves once sold there and “the violence against humanity that still troubles the nation today”.


In another photo, Faustine is seen standing nude on a wooden box, reminiscent of an auction block, in the middle of an intersection on Wall Street. This photo caption says ‘From Her Body Came Their Greatest Wealth’.

Admittedly, Faustine’s “White Shoes” series is intended to serve as more than a just a reminder that individual racism exists. It’s a public declaration of her belief that America’s “financial systems are founded in blood“.

These kinds of public statements, this narrative that the American system is inherently and systemically racist, have become increasingly common in recent years. But why?

According to reparation activist Charles Ogletree, this is a narrative that must be, not only introduced to, but incessantly imposed upon society so that the reparations movement, specifically reparations lawsuits, can succeed.

Last week, I wrote about the new Slavery Memorial and Center for the Study of Slavery and Justice at Brown University and how they contribute to the advancement of this narrative.

Specifically, as Charles Ogletree wrote in Tulsa Reparations: The Survivor’s Story, in order to succeed in obtaining reparations for African-Americans, there is a need to “promote the convergence of interests between reparationists and the reluctant majority population by forcing the majority population to confront past and present injustices against African Americans. ” It’s a strategy being used to literally, in the words of Ogletree, “transform the American debate about race” and “re-orient the public’s perception”.

According to Jon Levin at mic.com, Nona Faustine says the white heels she wore in each of her photos symbolize “the white patriarchy that people of color can never escape”.

Levin goes on to suggest that:

Much of that patriarchy can be seen in the practical manifestations of race in America. Slavery and the cruelty of the Jim Crow era left a staggering wealth gap between black Americans and their white counterparts.

Apparently, Levin too got the memo from the reparations movement that says the majority population must see inequality and disparities all around them and then come to believe that those disparities exist as a direct result of the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade, or else African-Americans won’t get paid.

To read more on the reparations movement in America, start here.

Part 6 – The Reparation Agenda: The Derrick Bell / Obama Cover-Up


By Danette Clark    January 2, 2013

To start at the beginning of this series, go here – Part 1 – Obama’s Religion of Reparations – The Pro-Reconciliation Church.

This is the sixth and final article in The Reparation Agenda series.  Previously, I named several appointees, friends, and colleagues to President Obama who are actively and deeply involved in the reparations movement, including one of his closest friends, Charles Ogletree, and several members of the president’s Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships council.

As I’ve stated in the past, several players in the reparation movement express different goals from others players.  While some are looking for a check to the descendants of slaves, President Obama’s friend, Charles Ogletree, who is head of the Reparations Coordinating Committee, says that “reparations lawsuits must not stop at compensation alone.”  Ogletree goes on to say that, “reparations is more than an exercise in education and remembrance.” “Reparations advocates ultimately seek the redistribution of resources from one group to another”.

Some have even expressed a desire to see capitalism destroyed rather than allow whites to continue to enjoy the fruits of an economic system, that they believe, was built by slaves.

Regardless of the desired outcome or goals, the reparations movement is much larger and more powerful than many realize.  If you’ve read this entire series, you see that this movement, which started decades ago, has progressed from a demand made by James Foreman in 1969 for payment of 500 million dollars to a possible coming revolution that has made great strides by infecting churches, schools, our elected officials, and international law.


In Obama’s Race Rhetoric Literally Scripted by the Reparations Movement and International Law, I explained some of the claims being made in reparation lawsuits and how President Obama’s race rhetoric is part of a strategy to advance those claims.

Another claim being made is ‘unjust enrichment’.  This is a legal claim that alleges that one party has been unjustly enriched at the expense of another.  In other words, plaintiffs in reparation lawsuits are alleging that whites have and are still benefiting from the labor of slaves.

The race rhetoric coming from our President tells us that he believes this to be true as well.

Most people have misunderstood the meaning of “You didn’t build that!”, because they aren’t looking at Obama as someone who supports reparations and believes white folks are enjoying the fruits of slave labor.

In a video recently uncovered by Aaron Klein, Obama is heard making another statement that confirms he views successful people as ‘unjustly enriched’.  In the video, Obama is speaking at a Harvard Law School black alumni celebration and says that those who have been successful in the private sector deny the “role of blind luck and a generation of women doing someone else’s laundry and looking after someone else’s children…” to get them there.

What generation of women could he be referring to if not black women who worked in the homes of white families during the Jim Crow era?

It’s no coincidence that while President Obama continually reminds us that successful people don’t deserve the success they enjoy, reparation litigators, who happen to be close friends of the president, are preparing lawsuits against hundreds of corporations claiming that those corporations have been unjustly enriched by slave labor and subsequent Jim Crow laws.

Obviously, a great deal of effort has been made by many African Americans as well as others who (as we say in the south) don’t even have a dog in this fight.  But why?  Why would people who are not the descendants of slaves and many who aren’t even African American, for that matter, work so hard toward reparations for slavery?  What’s in it for them?

That’s where Derrick Bell comes in.  But first a little background on Bell.  The late Derrick Bell was a professor at Harvard University.  Bell is known as the creator of ‘critical race theory’, which, in a nutshell, is the theory that U.S. law is racist – that it was created and is still structured to uphold white supremacy.

To many, Bell became an expert on racism and the law.  As sort of a spin-off to the critical legal studies course offered at Harvard, Bell’s critical race theory became a course of study as well.

In 1994, while teaching a course titled “Current Issues in Racism and the Law” at the University of Chicago, Barack Obama routinely assigned, as required reading, several of Derrick Bell’s writings.

Today, Bell’s critical race theory is taught in universities across the country and used by K-12 educators to indoctrinate students in class warfare and the idea that America is institutionally oppressive and all white people are racist.  These very schools are part of a network of schools launched and promoted by President Obama.  Read more about them and Bell’s critical race theory in the classroom here and here.

Bell is well known for his racially charged remarks and writings and even endorsed an article calling for the abolishment of the white race.  The article, which was discovered and revealed by Aaron Klein and Brenda J. Elliott, is titled “Renew the Legacy of John Brown” and was published by Race Traitor magazine, whose credo is “treason to whiteness is loyalty to humanity”.

Several months ago, Breitbart.com released a video of President Obama paying homage to and hugging Derrick Bell.  Shortly after, another video was released of Charles Ogletree admitting that he attempted to hide the video of Obama and Bell during Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign.

Although Derrick Bell’s racial rantings and theories on race and the law could have been harmful to President Obama’s reputation, they aren’t the only reason Ogletree tried to hide Obama and Bell’s relationship.

What Ogletree was likely hiding is the fact that Derrick Bell could arguably be considered the father of the reparations movement.

Not only are Bell’s writings studied and taught by numerous reparation activists, including Charles Ogletree, Adjoa Aiyetoro, and Cornel West, but his theories on race are being used to build reparation claims and literally restructure the law to accommodate those claims.

Bell’s critical race theory says the constitution is flawed, that it only affords liberties to whites, and was intentionally structured to keep blacks down.

Using Bell’s theory as the foundation from which to form reparation claims, Ogletree and his fellow litigators are working feverishly to change the constitution.

In Obama’s Race Rhetoric Literally Scripted by Reparations Movement and International Law, I explained the work being done with the United Nations to see that claims for reparations for slavery can succeed under international law. But the change of venue to international court may not be necessary for success if President Obama can succeed in changing U.S. law.

By appointing those sympathetic to the movement to the supreme court, the constitution can be changed so that reparations can succeed at home.

Already, Obama has managed to appoint Elena Kagan, who has known both Ogletree and Bell for more than twenty years.  In 1985, Kagan, then a student at Harvard, edited an article on critical race theory written by Derrick Bell in which Bell explains why he believes the constitution is the problem and refers to the document as “a form of original sin”.

In April of 2010, Charles Ogletree wrote an op-ed in support of Kagan in her nomination to the supreme court.

President Obama, himself, has referred to the constitution as “flawed” and “a document of negative liberties.”  In 2008, when talking about civil rights and the constitution, Obama went so far as to say that “the Supreme Court never ventured into the issues of the redistribution of wealth and sort of more basic issues of political and economic justice in this society”.

Obama now has four more years to nominate more students of Derrick Bell’s critical race theory to the supreme court.  Meanwhile, several White House staff members are doing their part to change the constitution to fit the agenda.

Harold Koh, an Obama appointed legal advisor to the State Department, believes the constitution should be altered to mirror international law.

Since his appointment on March 23, 2009, Koh has actively attended meetings of the Assembly of States Parties of the International Criminal Court to negotiate the terms of U.S. participation and the eventual ratification of the Rome Statute.  Under the Rome Statute, reparation claims can be tried by the International Criminal Court.


Although Bell’s critical race theory is crucial to the reparations movement, it’s the application of his ‘interest convergence’ theory that Ogletree and Obama most likely wanted to hide, because it not only shows Obama’s hand, but reveals and explains a tactic of manipulation.

There are many white-haters associated with our president, but what makes Derrick Bell different is this — if you look at his theories on race and the law through the lens of the reparations movement, it brings clarity and understanding to much of what President Obama does and says.

Bell’s theories are being studied and applied to change the way people think about race and the rich for the purpose of bringing about a Marxist-style re-distribution of wealth that will place blacks on top and ‘abolish the white race’.

I recently explained how Obama’s race rhetoric is necessary to the movement, but the reason for the rhetoric — the very theory behind it — comes from Derrick Bell.

Refer back to my earlier question – why would so many people who don’t have a dog in this fight (would not benefit from reparations being paid), work so hard to obtain reparations for African Americans?  The answer is ‘interest convergence’.

This theory is the one we should all be focusing on when talking about racism, reparations, and understanding President Obama’s game.

Bell’s interest convergence theory says that white people will support racial justice only to the extent that there is something in it for them.  In other words, only if white people have a dog in the fight will they support justice (reparations) for blacks.

The usefulness of interest convergence has been studied by reparation advocates across the globe.

In 2004, Charles Ogletree wrote Tulsa Reparations: The Survivor’s Story, specifically to explore “the ability of reparations litigation to transform the American debate about race by promoting “interest convergence” between reparations advocates and the majority population”.

Transform the debate? Obviously, to create a convergence of interests among the majority (lower and middle class America), they have to convince that majority that they too are being victimized, because only then will their interests converge with the interests of reparations activists.

Ogletree admits this when he writes about opportunities “to teach about the manner in which interests converge, providing a stepping stone to re-orient the public’s perception about what people’s interests are and where they converge”.

Ogeltree further explains that empathy is one step toward manifesting interest convergence.  Refer back to The Reparation Agenda: Obama’s Religion of Reparations – False Prophets in the White House.  Several of the president’s appointees are attempting to appeal to Christians and working within churches to create guilty consciences and drum up empathy for African Americans by painting whites as evil oppressors.

What other ways can an interest convergence be created between African Americans and the majority to advance us toward the redistribution of wealth?  How about demonizing the rich, othering them by labeling them as “the 1%”, and hammering home the notion that the rich aren’t paying their fare share?  It’s us against them and they owe us.  Isn’t that the game Obama plays?

Students are being taught that big money and corporations are evil and that white racism against minorities abounds.  Indoctrination to create a convergence of interests.

Reparation activists have even infiltrated our history books and museums to create a convergence of interests by changing history (or at least our perception of it).

In fact, once elected, President Obama wasted no time appointing Johnnetta Cole as director of the Smithsonian National Museum of African Art in 2009.  Cole is directly responsible for the exhibits on race now being featured at Smithsonian museums.

As reported by the Blaze.com, the exhibit, Race: Are We So Different, includes a five-minute video that describes Christopher Columbus as someone who only “colonized and conquered” the natives he encountered and refers to Thomas Jefferson as merely a “slave holder”.

Johnnetta Cole is a member of the Reparations Coordinating Committee alongside Charles Ogletree.  Ogletree refers to Cole as one of the team’s ‘social scientists’.  Social science is propaganda — the use of techniques to affect people’s thinking and behavior.  So Cole’s job is to mess with your mind for the benefit of the reparations movement and Obama has given her a tremendous stage from which to do so.

Even our downed economy and massive job losses create a convergence of interests by creating a larger class of poor — a majority that might buy in to the lie that the redistribution of resources from the evil elite is just what this nation needs.

Part 5 – The Reparation Agenda: Obama’s Race Rhetoric Literally Scripted by Reparations Movement and International Law

By Danette Clark    October, 2012

Find final post in this series here – Part 6 – The Derrick Bell/Obama Cover-Up

“But we do need to remind ourselves that so many of the disparities that exist in the African-American community today can be directly traced to inequalities passed on from an earlier generation that suffered under the brutal legacy of slavery and Jim Crow.”

The above quote comes from Obama’s March 18, 2008 speech on race, and it confirms that President Obama completely supports the reparation agenda. As I will explain below, in order for the reparations movement to succeed, there must be a perception among the majority that there are disparities that exist in the African-American community today that are a direct result of slavery. This is the crux of the reparations movement.

This portion of The Reparation Agenda series shows the legal barriers faced by advocates and reveals how President Obama is walking in step with the appointees, friends and colleagues mentioned previously in this series to ensure that those barriers are removed. For example, the very language used by the president and so many others is crucial to shaping the movement’s claim to fit the rule of law and vice versa (gradually change the law for the benefit of the movement).

In the most recent article in this series, The Reparation Agenda: Obama Friend Sponsored City Ordinance Used to Extort Millions from Corporations with ‘Ties to Slavery’, I mentioned that reparation activists have learned from past failures that courts require the naming of specific plaintiffs in a lawsuit, as opposed to demanding reparation for a broad unspecified group of people who may or may not be the descendants of slaves.

There are other legal or procedural hurdles faced by reparation activists as well, including, ‘standing’, ‘statute of limitations’, and ‘sovereign immunity’.

Adjoa Aiyetoro is co-chair of the Reparations Coordinating Committee, alongside Charles Ogletree, President Obama’s close friend, mentor and advisor to his 2008 presidential campaign.

In a 2003 paper, Formulating Reparations Litigation Through the Eyes of the Movement, Aiyetoro addresses the ‘procedural hurdles’ faced by the reparations movement and the strategies being developed to overcome them.


Standing means that a person seeking reparation must show that their legal rights have been violated and that the violation resulted in a concrete injury or “injury in fact”.

Obviously, plaintiffs to reparation lawsuits today weren’t alive during the slave era so they seek reparation due to the enslavement of their ancestors.

Now that several of President Obama’s appointees and friends have succeeded in obtaining the names of many slaves and their descendants, as explained here, they must show that the descendants themselves have suffered a concrete injury.

Aiyetoro asks the question, “How can an individual be injured in the legal sense by institutions and practices abolished over a hundred years ago?” The answer, she writes, is that the 13th Amendment allows African descendants to seek reparation when the United States fails to eliminate the badges and incidents of slavery.

In other words, America must be viewed as a racist, oppressive country that does not offer the same opportunities to African-Americans as it does to whites. If America is given credit for any of the great strides and efforts it has made in the last century to offer equity and opportunity to all people, then the reparations movement has no case because there is no continuing injury.

Aiyetoro mentions disparities in prison sentencing as one badge of slavery, claiming that African-Americans still receive harsher punishment for crimes than their white counterparts.

She refers to the Sentencing Project and the NAACP Legal Defense Fund as two of several organizations that support the view, and claim to have proof, that African-Americans are subjected to harsher prison sentences than whites.

Obama’s former pastor, Jeremiah Wright, received an award in 2009 at a benefit held by the National Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression for his work in “the fight against racism and efforts to help victims of the prison industrial complex.”

Other badges of slavery (continued injuries) alleged by reparation activists include disparities in income, education, housing, and health care. Refer back to President Obama’s quote at the head of this article –- that there are many disparities that exist in the African-American community today that can be directly traced to the inequalities passed on from slavery and the Jim Crow era.

How many times have we heard the president mention inequalities in education, housing, and health care? Why does he, his administration, and the media that resides in his back pocket, constantly cry ‘racism’, even where there is none? Because there has to be a perception that the rights of African-Americans are still being violated today: standing.


Aiyetoro addresses the statute of limitations as another hurdle for reparation claims. Statute of limitations is a time limit. Under federal law, depending on the type of crime or injury sustained, a lawsuit must be filed within one to six years after the injury occurred.

The statute of limitations for the atrocities inflicted on slaves has long expired. However, the same strategy for overcoming standing can be used to overcome statute of limitations. As Aiyetoro explains, “If an African descendant plaintiff alleges an injury in fact that is occurring to him or her today because of the badges and incidents of slavery, the statute of limitations poses little problem.”

Aiyetoro offers another possibility around this hurdle suggesting that the United States should establish that the Trans Atlantic Slave Trade and chattel slavery were crimes against humanity and there are continuing injuries from these crimes. This is key because there is no statute of limitations (time limit) for crimes against humanity under international law.

As of the date of her writing on these legal hurdles, the United States had not yet admitted that slavery was a crime against humanity. However, our government has done so since. In 2008, USA Today reported that then Senator Barack Obama and thirteen other senators were backing a proposal that called for Congress to apologize for slavery and subsequent Jim Crow laws.

As I discussed in previous articles in this series, several people surrounding Obama have succeeded in pulling public apologies out of corporations and universities. Several states and the house of representatives have issued formal apologies for slavery as well. The congressional apology that was originally backed by Obama came on June 18, 2009, shortly after he took office as president.

Just as Aiyetoro had hoped, the United States adopted a resolution declaring that slavery was a crime against humanity. Oddly enough, portions of the resolution appear to have been meticulously worded to perfectly fit the reparation agenda. For example, “Whereas African-Americans continue to suffer from the consequences of slavery and Jim Crow laws–long after both systems were formally abolished–through enormous damage and loss, both tangible and intangible, including the loss of human dignity and liberty.”


The third hurdle Aiyetoro discusses is sovereign immunity. Many reparation activists, including Aiyetoro and Ogletree, have said they intend to pursue claims against the federal government, in addition to corporations, universities, and state governments. However, the United States government currently has sovereign immunity from lawsuits seeking monetary damages.

This was a tough one in 2003 when Aiyetoro wrote about the problem of sovereign immunity. In fact, she offered no possible solution other than to locate a specific waiver that could be used to have the government waive its immunity. No president in the history of our nation has ever waived our sovereign immunity for claims like these. So why would Aiyetoro, or anyone else for that matter, think that a waiver would be of any use? Perhaps she knew Barack Obama might one day be in the White House.

A waiver with regard to reparation claims would open the door for millions of African-American citizens to sue the government for slavery. But it appears President Obama is willing to go even further by completely relinquishing our national sovereignty.

Today, the Obama administration is dangerously close to ratifying the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC). Ratification would make the U.S. a member to the ICC, thereby relinquishing our sovereignty to the United Nations.

Under international law, members of our government and military could be prosecuted for going to war without U.N. approval and for actions during wartime, including alleged ‘torture’ crimes like waterboarding. United States government agencies, corporations, and citizens could be tried for crimes against humanity and made to pay reparation to African slave descendants both here and around the world.

The Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court was established to investigate and prosecute international crimes of genocide, aggression, war crimes, and crimes against humanity. Shortly after its creation, the Clinton administration signed the statute but stopped short at calling on Congress to ratify it.

Recognizing the inherent dangers, former President George W. Bush unsigned the Rome Statute during his term only to have President Obama sign it again in 2010 on behalf of the U.S.

Although the ICC is limited to only prosecuting crimes that occurred after the court was established in 2002, many reparation activists are looking to the ICC because it does have the ability to prosecute crimes committed before it was established if the crime or injury continues today.

The same year the United Nations established the ICC to rule on crimes against humanity, it also adopted a declaration submitted at the World Conference Against Racism that very specifically identifies the trans-atlantic slave trade as a crime against humanity and the cause of the continued suffering of African-Americans.

This is the fifth article in this series and so far it has shown a great deal of effort on the part of many within the government, churches, schools, and the media. In fact, there is a literal re-shaping of society taking place that just so happens to fit perfectly into the framework of what the reparations movement needs it to be.

It’s unclear whether the end game would be checks drafted to the descendants of slaves, land rights, the redistribution of wealth, or the complete destruction of capitalism for the sake of globalization.  Many reparation activists express completely different goals from others within the movement.

So why are they working together?  In the next and final article in this series, I will explain one reason for the joining of forces, and also talk about ‘unjust enrichment’ — another claim being made in reparation suits. I will also explain the reason, I believe, Charles Ogletree tried to hide Obama’s relationship with Derrick Bell.

Find final post in this series here – Part 6 – The Derrick Bell/Obama Cover-Up

Part 4 – The Reparation Agenda: Obama Friend Sponsored City Ordinance Used to Extort Millions from Corporations with ‘Ties to Slavery’

By Danette Clark    August, 2012

This is the fourth article in a series on President Obama’s reparation agenda. Previous articles revealed several of Obama’s appointees and White House Fellows and their connection to the reparations movement.

Several long-time friends and colleagues of the president are known for advocating reparations through marches, conferences, and speaking engagements. Others have been moving the agenda forward by working on the legal aspects of reparation claims, to build cases that might succeed where previous lawsuits have failed.

In 2002, Dorothy Tillman, former Chicago City Council member, proposed the Slavery Era Disclosure Ordinance, the first city ordinance in the U.S. to require companies wishing to do business with the City of Chicago to research its records to determine whether they or their predecessors profited from slavery.

Although Tillman claimed that, under the ordinance, companies found to have ties to slavery would not be prevented from bidding on contracts, several sources reported that the city council made it very clear they believed companies should pay for profiting from slavery and that any information obtained from them through the ordinance would be immediately turned over to attorneys for use in reparation lawsuits.

The Los Angeles Times reported on the passing of the ordinance stating that Alderman Edward Burke announced from the council floor that CSX Railroad, a company whose predecessors were believed to have used slave labor, would not be granted zoning approvals unless they paid reparations.

Tillman, a long-time friend of Obama, admits the ordinance was originally designed to gather information to make a case for reparation lawsuits. She declared in the Louis Farrakhan/Nation of Islam publication, Final Call, “It’s much more than businesses acknowledging they received profits from slavery. This is about black labor and white wealth… Financial institutions wouldn’t be anything without the backs of black people”.

Sound familiar? Doesn’t that sound like ‘You didn’t build that’?

Among many other outrageous statements regarding slavery, Tillman has also been quoted as saying, “Americans have a shame that they have to look at. We built this country. Can you imagine owning a business with free labor, 400 years of free labor and 150 years of Jim Crow?”.

Again, ‘You didn’t build that’.

Tillman modeled the Chicago ordinance after California legislation that passed two years earlier requiring insurance companies to research and reveal any slavery ties they might have.

The California legislation –- get this –- was written by then Senator Tom Hayden, former member of the 1960s domestic terrorist group, the Weather Undergound, which was co-founded by Obama friend and neighbor, Bill Ayers. What are the odds? Out of approximately 40 California state senators, anti-capitalist Hayden was the one to introduce legislation that has the potential to cripple scores of America’s largest corporations.

Several cities, including Philadelphia, Los Angeles, and San Francisco, have since followed Chicago’s lead and enacted their own slave disclosure ordinances. As a result, dozens of corporations, including JP Morgan Chase, Aetna, Wachovia, and Fleet Boston, have admitted ties to slavery. Their names have been released to the public and they’ve all been named as defendants in lawsuits.

How do corporations that didn’t exist prior to the 1900s have ties to the slave trade? They don’t. Nonetheless, modern-day companies are expected to be responsible for the 150-year-old activities of their predecessors, no matter how distant or tenuous the connection.

For example, according to a report from the National Legal and Policy Center, Dorothy Tillman accused Bank of America of lying when it responded to the city ordinance by reporting it had no past ties to slavery. Tillman contended that Bank of America was complicit in the slave trade because John Brown, a co-founder of Providence Bank in 1791, was a slave-owner. Providence Bank became part of Fleet Boston sometime over the next 200 years and then Bank of America acquired Fleet Boston in 2004.

Bank of America argued that Brown’s personal connection to slavery was irrelevant because it did not mean Bank of America profited from slavery. Tillman proceeded to threaten to cancel a $500 million refinancing contract that existed between Bank of America and the city if the bank did not admit that it profited from slavery.

FleetBoston is also being sued for reparations. The company can be traced to hundreds of predecessor banks but only one has been found to have links to slavery.

In a short time, several corporations began to cave to the extortion tactics used by city council members and others like the NAACP, who threatened boycotts and protests if the companies refused to come to the table to talk reparations. In an attempt to appease activists, corporations began issuing formal apologies and donating millions to African American organizations.

In 2005, however, when JP Morgan Chase issued its apology and created a $5 million college scholarship fund for African American students in Louisiana, reparation advocates denounced the donation as a “joke” and “insulting”. Reparation plaintiffs attorney, Lionel Jean Baptiste, said, “To give back $5 million does not begin to make up for the tremendous wealth that JP Morgan Chase extracted from enslaved Africans”.

Bank of America’s written apology and $5 million donation was also met with a negative response from council members. Tillman said Bank of America’s report was “disingenuous” and insisted she had evidence that Providence Bank was involved in manufacturing leg irons for slaves.

The San Francisco and Oakland ordinances both included the establishment of a fund for “the collection of voluntary contributions from Contractors subject to the ordinance… to be used to ameliorate the legacy of the Slavery Era”. No pressure there.

One thing slave-era ordinances and state laws currently in effect have in common is that they all require companies to submit the names of any slaves and slave holders discovered in their records. Those names are then provided to the public for use in reparation lawsuits.

Because of the failure of previous lawsuits that demanded reparations for an unspecified group of people, “the descendants of slaves”, for example, attorneys and lawmakers learned that the courts require specifically-named plaintiffs and defendants. That’s where slave-era disclosure laws and web sites like Ancestry.com and Rootsweb.com come in.

If you recall in my most recent article in this series, I mentioned Obama appointee, James Wagner. Wagner is president of Emory University, home to a trans-Atlantic slave trade database used to locate the names of slaves.

Ironically, back in 2000, the same year the California slave-era legislation passed, a reporter with CBS in Chicago ran a piece on the passing of a resolution proposed by Dorothy Tillman calling on Congress to consider payments to the descendants of slaves. This piece included an interview with then Professor Barack Obama, whom the reporter referred to as an expert on the matter. In the interview, Obama said, “Generally, the Supreme Court has a philosophy that you have to identify a clear wrongdoer and a clear victim.”

The clip of Obama is no longer available through CBS Chicago but can be viewed at the end of this video. The video was posted to YouTube by a reparation activist who claims he saw Obama at the 2000 committee meeting and that Obama stood and spoke in support of reparations to the descendants of slaves that day.

President Obama’s long-time friend and mentor, Charles Ogletree, is the head of the Reparations Coordinating Committee, which has been actively pursuing claims against the corporations named through disclosure laws.

Ogletree, a member of Obama’s Black Advisory Council during his 2008 Presidential Campaign, has served as legal advisor to Dorothy Tillman.

Several other members of the Reparations Coordinating Committee have a connection to President Obama. For example, RCC members Cornel West and Marable Manning are believed to have been members of the New Party alongside Obama. Cornel West also served as an advisor to Obama’s 2008 campaign.

As shameful and cruel as slavery was, it is today’s CEOs, shareholders, and employees, many of whom are African American, who will suffer under the weight being placed on these companies.

So many questions come to mind. Why has this extortion racket been allowed to continue? Aren’t discrimination laws being violated by cities and states against corporations for actions carried out before the corporation existed? Will the courts be willing to punish companies for actions that weren’t even a crime when they were carried out?

I’m sure former Alderwoman Tillman and many others would argue no corporations have been denied a contract based on their connection to slavery and, therefore, no one has been discriminated against. However, the City of Los Angeles allows some companies to request an exemption from complying with its slavery disclosure ordinance. The exemption request form states that exemptions may be awarded if the “goods or services are… only available from a single source” or if “the City would suffer a financial loss or that City operations would be adversely impacted unless exempted.”

In other words, companies the city needs financially are exempt and companies they don’t need to keep the city running have to comply with the ordinance.

It’s pretty obvious extortion tactics have been used by people with a personal connection to President Obama. Whether or not Obama has been involved directly is unclear, but not without question. Something that raises an eyebrow with regard to several of the companies targeted for shakedown is this -– they were among the top contributors to President Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign, in some cases, donating more than twice as much to Obama than to McCain.

Even more interesting is the fact that several of the CEOs and/or chairmen who actually submitted the heart-felt apologizes for their companies’ involvement with slavery and signed off on multi-million dollar donations to the African American community, are now serving or have served appointment positions in the Obama White House.

Later, to finish out this series, I will explain the specific legal hurdles, both in federal and international courts, that reparation activists have been working to overcome and how President Obama is helping them.