Friday, June 26, 2020

From Our Guest Blogger - Lynn Today: Equality

Did anyone see Jon Stewart interviews on The Breakfast Club or Steven Colbert? He explained that a huge factor in inequality is equity, i.e. Blacks have been unfairly denied equity for decades.  I guess I knew that sort of generally but he explained it in a way I had not heard before or if I did it didn't resonate. I don't think any of it was taught to me in my history classes.   See below

Examples according to Stewart:

Homestead Act - White homesteaders were given millions of acres of land... 20 percent of the wealth in that area can be traced to the Homestead Act, which explicitly did not include Black people.

Fact check: The 1862 Homestead Act gave away millions of acres of what had been Indian Territory west of the Mississippi. Ultimately, 270 million acres, or 10% of the total land area of the United States, was converted to private hands, overwhelmingly white, under Homestead Act provisions. link The only personal requirement was that the homesteader be either the head of a family or 21 years of age; thus, U.S. citizens, freed slaves, new immigrants intending to become naturalized, single women, and people of all races were eligible. link 

According to the National Archives, a limited number of farmers and laborers could afford to build a farm, which included access to tools, crops, livestock and more. Most of the land went to speculators, cattlemen, miners, lumbermen, and railroads.” link

The New Deal – Explicitly said you cannot loan these low cost loans that were intended so that white people could gain equity. You cannot give them to Black people. This is the most progressive piece of legislation to happen on the soil of America, explicitly excluded Black people.

Fact check: The GI Bill, which was part of the New Deal, did not specifically excluded African-American veterans from its benefits. However, it was structured in a way that ultimately shut doors for the 1.2 million Black veterans who served their country during World War II, in segregated ranks. Banks generally wouldn't make loans for mortgages in Black neighborhoods and Blacks were excluded from many/most suburbs by a combination of deed covenants and informal racism. link

Other examples I found at PBS.

The 1790 Naturalization Act permitted only "free white persons" to become naturalized citizens, 
thus opening the doors to European immigrants but not others. Only citizens could vote, serve on juries, hold office, and in some cases, even hold property.

In the South, the federal government never followed through on General Sherman's Civil War plan to divide up plantations and give each freed slave "40 acres and a mule"; as reparations.

Only once was monetary compensation made for slavery, in Washington, D.C. There, government officials paid up to $300 per slave upon emancipation - not to the slaves, but to local slaveholders as compensation for loss of property.

The 1935 Wagner Act helped establish an important new right for white people by granting unions the power of collective bargaining, which helped millions of white workers gain entry into the middle class over the next 30 years. However, the Wagner Act permitted unions to exclude non-whites and deny them access to better paid jobs and union protections and benefits such as health care, job security, and pensions. Many craft unions remained nearly all-white well into the 1970s.

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