New Jersey: Juneteenth March And Rally For Reparations Called For Saturday In Newark

By Lawrence Hamm

Photos: Facebook\YouTube Screenshots

The Juneteenth March And Rally For Reparations will be held on Saturday, June 22, 2024, 12:00 noon, starting at the Lincoln Statue, 12 Springfield Avenue, in Newark, New Jersey.

The statue is located at the intersection of Springfield Avenue and West Market Street. The march is endorsed by the People’s Organization For Progress (POP), New Jersey Institute For Social Justice, and other organizations.

“The demonstration is being held to demand Reparations for African Americans for the unpaid labor of our ancestors during centuries of enslavement in the United States,” Lawrence Hamm, Chairman, People’s Organization For Progress stated. “We also demand Reparations for the suffering we endured as a result of the racist oppression and exploitation that grew out of slavery and continued in its aftermath.”

“This includes the racial terror and lynching of the post Reconstruction era, the unjust system of peonage called sharecropping, the convict lease labor system, and the century of legalized apartheid known as Jim Crow segregation,” Hamm said. “And we want Reparations for the racist violence, institutionalized racism, segregation, discrimination, inequality, mass incarceration, repression and gerrymandering that continues to this day which also have their roots in the enslavement of Black people.”

Hamm said he believed that the Juneteenth holiday was an appropriate time to raise the demand for Reparations. “Juneteenth and Reparations were born at the same time, out of the same struggle, and for the same cause. If you talk about one you need to talk about the other,” he said.

The Juneteenth celebration commemorates the arrival of Union troops in Galveston, Texas at the end of the Civil War who ordered the emancipation of Black people enslaved there.

The Union troops arrived on June 19, 1865. The annual celebrations of this event in Texas spread throughout the southwest and eventually the nation. It became a federally recognized holiday several years ago.

On January 16, 1865, Union General William Tecumseh Sherman issued Special Field Order No. 15 which ordered the redistribution of 400,000 acres of land confiscated from southern slave masters to newly freed Black families in forty acre plots.

This action was followed by the introduction of a bill in Congress, HR 29 by Thaddeus Stevens which proposed that each freedman or his widow would receive forty acres of land in the former Confederate States.

The proposal was never realized. After Lincoln was assassinated Andrew Johnson, a southern sympathizer, became president and by executive order returned all confiscated lands.

“The emancipation of Black people and an attempt at reparations both occurred at the end of the end of the Civil War. Emancipation becomes the law of the land with the passage of the 13th Amendment in December of 1865,” Hamm said. “This was bolstered by the passage of the 14th and 15th amendments in subsequent years. Chattel slavery was abolished but the struggle for reparations continues to this day.”

We are marching to demand that President Biden sign an executive order to establish the national Reparations commission called for in reparations legislation that has been stalled in Congress for decades,” he said. “Of course we continue to demand passage of the Reparations legislation at the state and federal levels. We call upon the New Jersey State Legislature to pass and Governor Murphy to sign into law A602 and S3164, which would establish a reparations task force for the state.”

“POP urges the New Jersey Legislature to follow the example of the New York Legislature which passed a reparations bill and has established a state commission,” Hamm said. “And we call on Congress to pass HR 40 and S40 which would establish a federal Reparations commission. We ask the entire congressional delegation from New Jersey to become co-sponsors of these bills.”

Speakers at the event will include activists, elected officials, and representatives from labor, clergy, and the community. Among the speakers will be representatives of People’s Organization For Progress and New Jersey Institute For Social Justice.

For more information contact People’s Organization For Progress (973)801-0001.



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