Steve Cohen Pushes Formal Study on Slavery Reparations

U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen, (D-TN-09), reportedly wants Congressional hearings to discuss slavery reparations, according to The Memphis Commercial Appeal.

No one in Cohen’s office returned The Tennessee Star’s request for comment Tuesday.

Former Republican President Abraham Lincoln issued his Emancipation Proclamation freeing the slaves in most states in the country more than 156 years ago. ( A Constitutional amendment ended slavery in all states a few years later.)

According to The Commercial Appeal, Cohen is working with U.S. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, Democrat of Texas, on the matter.

“He said her bill calls for a study of reparations, not the actual reparations themselves, and that he’d like to invite writers such as Ta-Nahisi CoatesJelani Cobb, and Michelle Alexander to give testimony,” according to the paper, quoting Cohen.

“The concept of reparations has been around for decades. But hearings on the subject are far more possible now that last year’s midterm elections gave the Democrats control of Congress once again, Cohen told a small group of people at a ‘Congress on your corner’ event at the Randolph Branch Library near Summer Avenue on Friday.”

Cohen has stayed busy ever since his party retook the majority in the U.S. House of Representatives,

As The Star reported this month, Cohen co-sponsored the controversial Green New Deal, saying “it contains a full employment initiative and investments in a transition to sustainable, non-carbon sources of energy.”

New York Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez released the resolution that’s become a central part of the Democratic agenda, including backing from 2020 candidates.

The “Green New Deal” resolution calls for “10-year national mobilizations” towards a series of goals aimed at fighting global warming, according to a copy of the bill obtained by NPR. A separate fact-sheet claims the plan would “mobilize every aspect of American society on a scale not seen since World War 2.”

Ocasio-Cortez’s non-binding resolution calls for a variety of social justice and welfare state goals, including “a family-sustaining wage, adequate family and medical leave, paid vacations and retirement security” and “high-quality health care” benefits for Americans.

As reported, Cohen lost his temper at a news conference in Memphis in 2013 when Tennessee Watchdog asked former U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius what she would say to people whose health insurance costs doubled or tripled due to Obamacare. Cohen has also said Tea Party supporters are no different than arsonists and compared Republicans to Nazi propagandist Joseph Goebbels for opposing Obamacare.

He also said the Ebola virus would mutate into a Biblical-style plague that would devastate Tennessee— unless state Republicans in the Tennessee General Assembly complied fully with Obamacare and expanded Medicaid.

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Chris Butler is an investigative journalist at The Tennessee Star. Follow Chris on Facebook. Email tips to [email protected]
Photo “Steve Cohen” by Steve Cohen.








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8 Thoughts to “Steve Cohen Pushes Formal Study on Slavery Reparations”

  1. Wolf Woman

    Steve Cohen – another Tennessee democrat socialist pandering to his welfare constituency.

    Memphis is a mess and politicians like Cohen don’t help.

  2. Steve Allen

    it’s the 21st century, when are old white democrats going to stop making decisions for people of color?

    1. Marilynn Miller

      ask Oprah, she will tell you.

  3. paulJ

    Will the study include an analysis of the mortality rates, economic opportunity, educational opportunity, etc. of descendants of slaves in the United States versus their brethren who were not brought to the United States and remained in Africa? If so, I echo a call for a comprehensive study on the issue.

  4. William R. Delzell

    Why would anybody object to reparations for slavery descendants? Certain white people, both north and south, got rich off the sweat of black slave, white indentured servant, and convict labor Northern maritime merchants made handsome profits by using their ships in the Trans-Atlantic slave trade while slave owners, chiefly in the Southeast, also enriched themselves with this ill-begotten labor. It’s one thing to get rich by your own efforts at honest work; it is another thing to acquire ill-begotten wealth at the expense of those forced to work and live under intolerable conditions.

    I support Steve Cohen’s efforts in this regard.

    1. 83ragtop50

      Because none of the current potential recipients (who have quite possibly benefited from the ridiculous affirmative action scam) are truly victims. Get over it and make something of yourself.

    2. L.P. Barnett

      Let’s see…. affirmative action pertaining to college, jobs, government contracts just to list a few…if you think for a second reparations will ease the demands then you are sadly naive! And I would be delighted to hear your thoughts as to how anyone living today is responsible for something that occurred so long ago. Reparations are not the answer, Sparky. The answer is education; you might benefit from a little of that yourself!