Financial issues trump
suffering of others
Some Monument Avenue residents are suing the commonwealth of Virginia over the planned removal of the Robert E. Lee statue. Their position is that removal of this statue will cause a decrease in their property values and might hurt future tax incentives. This position is sad and yet amusing. Once again, the excuse for maintaining the pain and suffering of people of African descent is based on the financial benefits to others in power. The Lee statue memorializes a Confederate general who led a war to maintain the brutal and inhumane system of chattel slavery. To people of African descent, this statue also represents well-documented atrocities and broken promises. At the end of the Civil War, every freed slave was promised 40 acres and a mule in compensation for generations of slavery. If this promise had been met, the most conservative estimate of the total amount of land that should have been allocated to the 4 million freedmen is 40 million acres. The present value of an overall land grant of that size is approximately $1.5 trillion to $2 trillion. There are approximately 35 million African Americans whose ancestry dates back to chattel slavery. Therefore, this is my proposal to the Monument Avenue plaintiffs: If you are successful in proving that the removal of the Lee statue results in a corresponding decrease in your property values, then I thank you in advance for your support of congressional House Resolution 40, which would establish a commission to study and develop reparation proposals for African Americans. If, however, you are unsuccessful and the statue is removed, then I invite you to join the approximately 35 million descendants of slavery and demand your reparations.