Government needs to keep 40-acre promise

In 1865, blacks were promised 40 acres and a mule. Almost 140 years later, we’ve gotten nothing.

Our ancestors were enslaved. They were brought to this country and forced to work for the white man to strengthen this country’s economy. They received nothing in return.

Reparations are funds paid to compensate for a wrong or an injustice. In this case, it’s slavery. There is most certainly no question our people have suffered an injustice. I think it’s safe to say we are owed compensation.

No amount of money can make up for the suffering and pain that our people had to endure, but our ancestors worked for that money. Blacks should be compensated for their labor. Black labor was the backbone of the United States’ economy for centuries. Black people should have received reparations for this a long time ago.

This issue of compensating abused and wronged people is not new.

Jewish people suffered for five years in the Holocaust. They received reparations. The Japanese were held in internment camps for four years. They, too, received reparations.

Blacks were enslaved in this country and forced to work for almost 300 years. We’ve also suffered many years of degradation and injustice since slavery. Still, we’ve received no compensation.

The compensation to blacks does not necessarily have to come in the form checks personally written to the descendants of enslaved people. The money can go to creating black businesses, funding historically black institutions, or even taxes.

Many of today’s major corporations and educational institutions were created with money from the slave trade. For the most part, those institutions benefit white Americans. Reparations would be a form of “payback.” It would benefit black establishments and black futures.

Our ancestors wanted a better life- if not for themselves, for their descendants. When the enslaved people were freed, they cried out for restitution. This is something they never received. We need to continue fighting for reparations until those in power respond.

Affirmative action was the closest we came to getting reparations. Even that is being stripped away.

By not giving blacks the restitution we deserve, white America continues to suppress us.

We cannot allow it. If nothing else, we still deserve our 40 acres and a mule.

I’m waiting.

Courtney Culmer ,19 , is a sophomore broadcast journalism student from Houston. She can be reached at