Not many people know that after the O.J. Simpson case, Johnnie Cochran spent much of his time preparing for a case, collecting historical data, information, and studying cases to sue the U.S. government for Reparations for Africans in America.
A powerful group of civil rights and class-action lawyers who have won billions of dollars in court is preparing a lawsuit seeking reparations for American blacks descended from slaves.
The project, called the Reparations Assessment Group, was confirmed by Harvard law professor Charles J. Ogletree and appears to be the most serious effort yet to get American blacks compensated for more than 240 years of legalized slavery. Lawsuits and legislation dating back to the mid-1800s have gone nowhere.
“We will be seeking more than just monetary compensation,” Ogletree said. “We want a change in America. We want full recognition and a remedy of how slavery stigmatized, raped, murdered and exploited millions of Africans through no fault of their own.”
Ogletree said the group, which includes famed attorney Johnnie Cochran, first met in July and will hold its fourth meeting in Washington D.C. later this month.
“This country has never dealt with slavery. It is America’s nightmare. A political solution would be the most sensible but I don’t have a lot of faith that’s going to happen. So we need to look aggressively at the legal alternative,” Ogletree said.
For now, there are more questions than answers in the planned litigation. Left to be determined are when the suit will be filed, exactly who will be named as defendants and what damages will be sought.
Ogletree declined to discuss specifics but said the federal government, state governments and private entities such as corporations and institutions that benefited from slave labor could be targets of the legal action.
“Both public and private parties will be the subject of our efforts,” he said.
Ogletree said the Reparation Assessment Group includes attorneys Cochran and Alexander J. Pires Jr., who won a $1 billion settlement for black farmers who claimed discrimination by the U.S. Department of Agriculture; Richard Scruggs, who won the $368.5 billion settlement for states against tobacco companies; Dennis C. Sweet III, who won a $400 million settlement in the “phen-fen” diet drug case; and Willie E. Gary, who won a $500 million judgment against the Loewen Group Inc., the world’s largest funeral home operators.
Also in the group is Randall Robinson, president of the TransAfrica Forum, a think tank specializing in African, Caribbean and African-American issues. Robinson recently wrote the book “The Debt: What America Owes to Blacks,” which argues for reparations.
“This will be the most important case in the history of our country,” Pires said Friday. “We all agree the suit has to tell the story of what slavery has done to blacks in America …
“We are still suffering from slavery’s impacts today,” Pires said.
Ogletree said the assessment group will call on experts in education, politics, family development, health and economics to help trace how slavery’s outgrowths such as segregated schooling and neighborhoods have affected society today.
Enslavement of Africans in America began in the 1600s. A slave sale was recorded in 1619 in Jamestown, Va. The “peculiar institution” helped to fuel the prosperity of the young nation, while also dividing it. Slavery was not officially abolished in the United States until the 13th amendment was ratified, in 1865.
Reparation supporters point to recent cases where groups have been compensated in cash for historic indignities and harm.
A letter of formal apology and $20,000 were given by the U.S. government to each Japanese-American held in internment camps during World War II.
Austria last week established a $380 million fund to compensate tens of thousands of Nazi-era slave laborers who were born in six eastern European countries.
Reparation opponents argue that victims in the Nazi and Japanese-American cases were directly harmed while many generations separate enslaved blacks and their modern-day descendants.
In addition, those opposed to reparations say it isn’t fair for taxpayers and corporations who never owned slaves to be burdened with possible multibillion dollar settlements.
Neither Ogletree nor Pires mentioned any industry or company that could be a target of the suit.
But Pires said there were overlaps between the slavery of past centuries and today’s corporations. He noted that Aetna Inc., the nation’s largest health insurer, apologized earlier this year for selling policies in the 1850s that reimbursed slave owners for financial losses when their slaves died.
In July, The Hartford (Conn.) Courant newspaper published a front-page apology for running ads for slave sales and the recapture of runaways in the 1700s and 1800s. Such advertisements were commonplace in many newspapers until the Civil War.
Pires was one of the lawyers in the assessment group who discussed reparations in the November issue of Harper’s magazine.
Pires said he believes that any monetary settlement or damage figure should be among the last items discussed as the suit takes shape. He said it is more important to tell the story to all Americans of what slavery did to the country “and let people decide what should be done to repay.”
“Most people,” he said, “don’t like having dirt on their hands.”
By Paul Shepard
AP National Writer
Saturday, Nov. 4, 2000
Did you know that half of all Americans will eventually be diagnosed with cancer at some point in their lives? In other words, it’s only a matter of chance whether you will or won`t be one of those people.
According to World Health Organisation (WHO), cancer takes 7.6 million lives every year, which makes it one of the leading causes of death. It is believed that deaths of cancer will continue to rise over 13.1 million by 2030.
For over 60 years that market has been tapped into Western medical treatment centers, which provide chemotherapy and radiation to help shrink cancer tumors. Like we’re told, cancer is random, it’s genetic, and sooner or later, it’s going to get us.
However, more and more studies suggest that accumulation of toxins in the body is the underlying cause of cancer, as it reduces cell oxygenation, damages the DNA, causes inflammation, and leads to hormone imbalance. Therefore, dealing with these toxins and diminishing their effect is the first step towards preventing its development.
Recently, multiple studies started focusing on the use of herbs for cancer prevention, even using them along with Western medical treatment.
The idea that simple plants or herbs can have anti-cancer effects is sometimes a controversial subject. Although many people have experienced their benefits, there are still a great many skeptics. For every person who believes that herbs and plants can slow or even kill cancer cells, there is another who will only believe in the merits of chemotherapy.
Here’s a list of best 10 herbs for preventing and treating cancer and how to use them:
Wheatgrass is considered a detoxifying medical herb. Health benefits include improving red blood cell count and neutralizes environmental pollutants within the body. Also, wheatgrass shows benefits in cancer prevention.
You can use wheatgrass by juicing it daily in 2oz shots. Using wheatgrass during chemotherapy has been beneficial and may reduce symptoms of myelotoxicity. Plus, wheatgrass helps to alkalize the body.
2.Grape seed extract
Several studies have shown that the phytochemicals known as proanthocyanidins in grape seeds have anti-tumor or strong potential cancer preventative abilities that can be isolated from the seeds themselves. Also, they have been found to stop cancer cells from spreading or migrating.
Grape seed extract fights pollution and Candida within our digestive tract. This extract can be found at your holistic vitamin shop and used according to directions.
3.Burdock root (Arctium lappa)
Recent research shows that burdock root is very effective at removing cancer-causing toxins that accumulate in our digestive systems when certain foods are not properly digested. There are several anti-cancer herbal compounds that have used burdock root as a base including “Essiac tea formula” and “Hoxsey formula”.
Because of its strong blood purifying properties, burdock root can stop cancer cells from metastasizing. Burdock root extract can be found at your holistic vitamin shop and used according to directions.
Licorice detoxifies the liver and is a soothing herb with anti-inflammatory properties. It may also be used for the treatment of Candida albicans. Licorice root contains polyphenols that encourage apoptosis (automatic death) in cancer cells. Licorice regulates the production of hormones from your adrenal glands, and it reduces stress chemicals. Chronic stress often triggers the growth of cancer cells. You can use it as a tea mixed with a teaspoon of organic raw honey.
Research from a number of cancer centers including the Royal Marsden has shown its potential as a part of a treatment program against estrogen driven cancers, from breast, uterine, to the prostate. Red clover contains an active ingredient known as genistein, responsible for its anti-estrogen activity. Red clover is another ingredient in “Hoxsey formula”.
Red clover supplements are available in most health food stores as tablets, capsules or in a tincture. Dried red clover leaves are often brewed into a tea with a typical daily dose being about 4 grams of dried red clover to 30 milliliters of water.
Externally, it has been used as a home remedy for skin cancer and is possibly the most well-known anti-cancer herb around. There have been several publications showing that bloodroot has the potential to be a powerful anticancer agent. Bloodroot (Sanguinaria Canadensis) has been shown in several studies to have consistent anti-neoplastic activity; it can shrink tumors and has shown itself to be useful when dealing with sarcomas.
For internal use, mix one teaspoon bloodroot in 250 ml warm water and let it stay for 15 minutes. Drink a half of the tea in the morning and the other half in the evening.
There has been strong evidence lately that dandelion root can inhibit the development and growth of numerous types of cancer, including stopping their metastasizing capabilities. A study done in 2008 provided some scientific proof that dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) extracts had anti-cancer compounds.
Dandelion root tea or capsules can be found at your holistic vitamin shop and used according to directions.
The extracts from mistletoe (Viscum album) is one of the most commonly used oncological drug in Europe. It’s been used as an overall treatment for cancer for years. In one study that involved more than 10,000 cancer patients, mistletoe extract was shown to prolong the survival time of cancer patients. Amazingly, this study showed that the overall survival time of the group that took mistletoe extract was as much as 40% longer.
Mistletoe can be found at your holistic vitamin shop and used according to directions. Also, there are some products that come from mistletoe extract, especially Iscador, which is one of the most commonly used in Europe.
Echinacea is one of the most widely used alternative medicine in the world. It is said to have Cytotoxic effects. The Echinacea plant has been hailed for its ability to help the body heal itself from the common cold. Also, it is used to relieve anxiety and chronic fatigue. Echinacea has been available for years in supplements and extract form and can be used about 2 to 3 times a day. Echinacea can be also consumed as a tea.
Watercress this aquatic plant increases detoxification enzymes in the body and contains phytonutrients that have successfully inhibited carcinogens. Watercress in extract form proved to be significantly protective against colon cancer. In a study at the Norwich Food Research Center in the United Kingdom, “smokers were given watercress which eliminated higher carcinogens in their urine. Dietary factors contribute to the regional variation of stomach cancer and offer clues for further prevention research. Watercress can be found at your holistic vitamin shop and used according to directions.
Note: In order to fight cancer, you can use a combination of the herbs mentioned above!
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Once numbering more than 50, 13 historically black towns in Oklahoma are struggling to survive.
African-American women wait outside a rural church while other members of their families attend a church business meeting in McIntosh County, Oklahoma, in 1939. (Smith Collection, New York Public Library/Gado/Getty Images)
TULSA, Okla. (AP) — His baby brother, barely a year old, came down with pneumonia in September 1948, when Lonnie Cato’s family still lived in the historically black community of Vernon, 70 miles south of Tulsa. The streets, even in the middle of town, were still gravel back then, but Vernon seemed to be thriving with 2,500 residents, two or three general stores and a couple of cafes, where blacks, whites and Native Americans all mingled without seeming to notice skin color. Or, at least, not caring much about it.
Everybody, including Cato’s family, was poor. But they didn’t seem to notice that, either.
“Vernon was a happy-going, barefooted, sand-between-your-toes kind of place,” Cato remembers. “Shoes was a luxury. We only wore them on Sundays when we went to church.”
The town didn’t have a doctor. And by the time Cato’s family got his little brother to a hospital in Tulsa, it was too late. The baby died. And for Cato’s father, that was the end of Vernon.
“I’m not going to raise my kids where there’s no doctor care,” he told the family. And they moved to Tulsa.
Cato was too young to notice, of course. But his family was part of a much larger trend that started after World War II and continued for several decades, a mass exodus away from small towns in general and historically black towns in particular, leaving their populations gutted. The general stores closed. The cafes vanished. Houses fell into disrepair and entire neighborhoods turned into vacant lots, old foundations overgrown by weeds.
“We have to do something or these historically black towns will die,” said Cato, now 77 years old. “And I think there’s too much history to just stand back and let that happen.”
In hindsight, World War II was the turning point, Cato said. An entire generation of young men went off to fight and even the survivors never came back to Vernon, where they would’ve spent their lives behind a plow on a cotton farm.
“I didn’t want to look a mule in the butt anymore,” an uncle told Cato after settling in Kansas City after the war.
While growing up in Tulsa, where he graduated from Booker T. Washington High School in 1959, Cato often went back to Vernon, taking a two-hour bus ride to visit grandparents and cousins. The town shrunk smaller with each visit. And by the time he came home from Vietnam, where he served in the Air Force during the early 1960s, Vernon seemed barely recognizable.
“Young people kept leaving until only the old folks were left,” he said. “And as they died off, the town was dying, too.”
With no local businesses left to collect sales taxes, one of Cato’s uncles launched the Vernon Charitable Foundation in 1973 to collect donations from people who had moved away, helping to pay for the town’s upkeep. But that source of funding dwindled as former residents died off and their children, who had no memories of town, saw no reason to contribute.
By 2005, the Vernon Charitable Foundation decided to change tactics and, instead of going after donations, go after grant money. But for that, the town needed an elected mayor, an office that had never been filled, even during the community’s heyday.
Cato had just retired from American Airlines, where he was a mechanic.
“I guess I’m going to have some time on my hands,” he told the foundation, agreeing to be a candidate. In fact, the only candidate.
He has since been re-elected three times, with McIntosh County allowing him to continue living on six acres near Skiatook as long as he owns property in Vernon and is registered to vote there, Tulsa World reported. And he can point to several accomplishments, including preservation work on the old Vernon School, which is now a community center, and the town’s first-ever paved road.
Vernon, if not exactly revitalizing under Cato’s leadership, has survived. And that’s all Cato really hoped for.
“But I’m not going to be around forever,” he said. “Somebody will have to take over.”
Getting ready for bed one night last September, Cato noticed blood on his toothbrush.
“I must have damaged my gums while brushing,” he thought, and shrugged it off. But he woke up later to find blood soaking into his pillow.
A visit to the emergency room at 2 a.m. led to surgery on his mouth, which led to a diagnosis of head and neck cancer, leading eventually to surgery at the Cancer Treatment Centers of America.
Now in remission, he still has trouble chewing and swallowing, while he has lost nearly all sense of taste.
“I’ll trade taste for life any day,” he said with a laugh. “So it’s OK. I’m doing fine.”
But the health scare has convinced him not to run for re-election again in 2020, leaving Vernon – with a current population of exactly 37 people – to look for a new mayor.
Oklahoma used to have more than 50 all-black towns, established largely by freedman families who had come to Indian Territory with tribal slave owners in the early 19th century. All but 13 of those towns have vanished, and now they’re struggling to survive.
“It would be a travesty to let them die,” said Jessilyn Head, part of a husband-wife team from Oklahoma City who head up The Coltrane Group, an organization devoted to saving Oklahoma’s remaining historic black towns. “There’s too much history and heritage that would be lost forever.”
Too small and under-funded to thrive individually, the 13 towns need to work together to promote awareness and tourism, Head said. Most of the towns have at least one annual event that could attract crowds – Vernon, for example, has a Memorial Day celebration that serves as a kind of town reunion, drawing former residents from all over the country. Anyone with an interest in black history should pay a visit, too, Head said.
“But people don’t know about these towns,” she said. “That’s one thing we have to fix.”
The Coltrane Group is working with state officials to post highway signs to help travelers find historic black towns, and the group is building a new website that will promote tourism to the towns, she said.
“Slowly but surely we’re seeing interest start to grow,” she said. “It’s not going to happen overnight, maybe not even in our lifetimes, but these towns can be rebuilt and revitalized.”
Cato doesn’t have much hope for Vernon to grow. In fact, he doesn’t have any hope for that.
“It will never be any bigger,” he said. “That’s for sure.”
He’d be satisfied with mere survival.
“What’s left of this town,” he said, “should be held together so people will know how things used to be.”
Typically, we don’t give much thought to who is the owner of the companies that produce the products we use. From toothpaste to mouthwash, soap to laundry detergent, bathroom products, and all the other products we use on a daily basis, all are made by companies that were started by entrepreneurs with an idea to solve a problem or make life a little easier. And guess what? Some of these entrepreneurs are African American.
#1 – Toilet Paper
Freedom Paper Company – headquartered in Baltimore, Maryland, this Black-owned manufacturer and distributor produces economical bathroom tissue for both residential and commercial use. Privately owned and founded by CEO Kamose Muhammad, they also produce economical paper towels, paper products and dispensers.
#2 – Mouthwash
Garner’s Garden – Based in Fort Washington, MD, this Black-owned company makes 100 percent all natural body care products, including mouthwash and lip balm, organic hand soap and body wash, hand and foot creams, hair care products, and facial cleansers and oils. Their extensive product line can be ordered online.
#3 – Laundry Detergent
The True Products – Based in Atlanta, Georgia-based, this company is owned by 3 African American founders who are all experienced entrepreneurs. Their unique, eco-friendly laundry detergent can be purchased online or through distributors located across Georgia and several other states.
“Time For An Awakening” for Sunday 12/09/2018 at 7:00 PM (EST) 6:00 PM (CST) our guests was Author, Cultural Historian, Associate Professor of Educational Leadership and Policy studies at Howard University, Dr. Kmt Shockley and Educator, Activist, Kofi LeNiles. Our guest discussed their recent documentary centering around an extensive study of the Maroons in Colombia, South America, the descendants of enslaved Africans who escaped bondage and created free villages for themselves and their families, and the lesson we might learn from them.
“Time For An Awakening” for Sunday 7/22/2018 at 7:00 PM our guests was Activist, President, Black Farmers and Agriculturalists Association-Memphis, Thomas Burrell and Activist, Farmer, Bishop David Hall. We learned more about the lawsuit filed by Black Farmers against the Stine seed company, for fake seeds being sold to our Farmers in the Black Belt. Hear more about this and other topics from the President of BFAA-Memphis, Mr. Thomas Burell.