At the hearings held by U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen of Memphis (D-TN-09), one of the testifying witnesses took a different tack from all the others when he suggested that it is the Democrat Party that should pay restitution for the misery it has brought to his race.
The hearing held by Cohen, as reported by The Tennessee Star, was of the Constitution, Civil Rights and Civil Liberties Subcommittee of the House Committee on the Judiciary regarding H.R. 40 and the Path to Restorative Justice. The hearing, scheduled for June 19 at 10 a.m., included nine witnesses on two panels, with Panel 1 being reserved exclusively for U.S. Senator Cory Booker.
The list of Panel 2’s eight witnesses included Mr. Ta-Neheisi Coates, Distinguished Writer in Residence, Arthur J. Carter Journalism Institute of New York University; Mr. Danny Glover, actor and activist; Mr. Katrina Browne, documentarian, “Traces of the Trade;” Mr. Coleman Hughes, writer, Quilette online magazine; Mr. Burgess Owens, speaker and writer; Rev. Eugene Taylor Sutton, Episcopal Church of Maryland; Dr. Julianne Malveaux, economist and political commentator; and Mr. Eric Miller, Professor of Law, Loyola Law School, Loyola Marymount University.
Predictably, given the topic of the hearing, Cohen being the Chairman, and the credentials of the witnesses, testimony from the witnesses, while varied in content, revealed overall support for reparations for slavery and longstanding institutional racism and discrimination against blacks.
One exception was Burgess Owens, who said he would be taking a different tack in his testimony.
According to his bio provided to the Subcommittee, Burgess Owens was the third Black American to be offered a football scholarship at the University of Miami, where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology/Chemistry. Burgess was selected as First Team All-American and inducted into the Hall of Fame of Outstanding College Athletes of America.
In 1973, Burgess Owens was a 1st round draft pick of the New York Jets, selected 13th overall and the first Defensive Back selection. After being traded to the Oakland Raiders, they won the Super Bowl Championship in 1980.
Following his successful football career, Burgess Owens has had a successful business career and is a best-selling author. He is a Fox News Contributor, and is the founder and Executive Director for Second Chance 4 Youth that has a mission to “rescue, restore, and rehabilitate youthful offenders, providing them with a true second chance to experience the American Dream.”
Burgess Owens, after advising he would be taking a different tack, also went off script from his prepared testimony submitted to Cohen’s Subcommittee.
“This is not about black and white, rich or poor, blue color, white collar. We are fighting for the hearts of our nation,” began Owens.
“We have a very, very special country,“ said Owens recognizing the Judeo-Christian values of the founding that “allowed every single generation to become better than the last, until now.”
Now, Owens compared, we tell kids something different – that they don’t have the opportunities we had.
“I used to be a Democrat” revealed Owens, “until I did my history and found out about the misery that that Party brought to my race.” Owens said when he talks about ideologies, he doesn’t talk about people, because ideologies don’t change. “People do,” said Owens.
“We are fighting for the heart and soul of our nation against socialism, Marxism and the evil it has brought to us,” adding that Karl Marx, the father of socialism, was an atheist, anti-Semite, and blatant racist, yet his philosophy is being taught in our school systems today.
“You steal our pride in our past, our appreciation for our present and our vision for our future. Every single urban city in our country is now experiencing that loss,” said Owens, connecting to Marx’s first battleground of rewriting history.
Owens then went into a bit of his personal history, expressing pride in his namesake and great, great grandfather Silas Burgess “who came here in the belly of a slave ship and sold into Charleston, South Carolina with his mother to the Burgess Plantation.”
“An evil, evil man drove my great, great, great grandmother either to leaving her family – those kids – or committing suicide. I don’t know – she disappeared.”
Owens continued with his compelling family story, “Silas, at the age of eight, was blessed to be surrounded by men who believed in freedom. Even though shackled, they escaped. They went the southern route of the underground railroad, facilitated by white and Mexican Americans.”
According to Owens, Silas then made his way to Texas and ended up being a successful entrepreneur owning 102 acres of land, which he paid off in two years. Silas started the first black church and the first black elementary school, becoming a pillar of his community. He had 18 children and was a Christian, Republican, and proud American.”
“An example of what happens when any race, any culture is given hope, opportunity and freedom,” summarized Owens.
After adding, “It didn’t end there by the way,” Owens proceeded to add more history and statistics, apparently off the top of his head, because the information is not included in the written testimony submitted to the Subcommittee.
The history of our black country, of our black Americans has been stolen from us for decades almost over a century. Booker T. Washington in 1882 began Tuskegee University. By 1905, it was producing more self-made black millionaires than Harvard, Yale and Princeton combined.
The ‘40s, ‘50s and ‘60s – it was the black community that lead our country in the growth of the middle class; lead our country in terms of men committed to marriage – over 70 percent, now it’s 30 percent; lead our country in terms of business ownership – 40 percent, now it’s 3.8 percent; men matriculating from college, we now have a higher percentage of men incarcerated in college.
Having earned his degree in biology, Owens pointed out, “I learned a long time ago that slavery is not a gene in the DNA helix. It’s our actions, it’s our attitude, it’s our belief.”
Getting to the issue before the Subcommittee, Owens minced no words, “I do not believe in reparation, because what reparation does is it points to a certain race, a certain color and points to it as evil and points to another race – my race – as one that has not only become racist but also beggars.”
Then, taking the different tack he mentioned in the beginning of his testimony, Owens addressed head-on the history of the Democrat Party.
“I do believe in restitution.”
“Let’s point to the Party that was part of slavery, KKK, Jim Crow, that has killed over 40 percent of our black babies – 20 million of them.”
While some of those references are more historical in nature, Owens quoted a disturbing contemporary statistic, “State of California, 75 percent of our black boys cannot pass standard reading and writing test. A Democratic State.”
Possibly inspired by the Democrats he was surrounded by and the testimony of other witnesses, Owens went totally off his prepared testimony when he surprisingly proposed, “So, yes, let’s pay restitution.”
“How about the Democratic Party pay for all the misery brought to my race and those, after they learn our history, decide to stay there – they should pay also. They’re complicit. And, every white American – Republican or Democrat who feels guilty because of your white skin – you just need to pony up also.”
Owens offered an inspiring conclusion to his testimony, “Then we can get past this reparation and recognize that this country has given us greatness. Look at this panel. It doesn’t matter how we think. It doesn’t matter our color. We have become successful in this country like no other, because of this great opportunity to live the American dream. Let’s not steal that from our kids by telling them they can’t do it.”
Patricia Dickson, a woman with a YouTube channel having 49,000 subscribers, shared her thoughts on the slavery reparations hearings held on Capitol Hill. Her “Reparations Hearing” video posted later the same day of the hearing, has been viewed 14,709 times with 3,000 likes and just 22 dislikes.
In her 11 minute video, Dickson commended Burgess Owens – someone she had never heard of – for being a strong black man.
Before talking about Owens’ testimony, Ms. Dickson said she wanted to take a few minutes to let people know that if they think that reparations are something that Democrats are really interested in, they are being lied to.
“Democrats have no interest in paying reparations.”
Dickson explained that Democrats hope to set slavery reparations up for a vote before 2020, while they have the House and Republicans have the Senate, so Democrats can blame the Republicans when it doesn’t go through.
“This is how they roll. This is how they operate. They want to be able to blame somebody,” revealed Dickson.
Mentioning that reparations would not pass because Senate Republican Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s is not favor of the measure, Dickson said she’s not either.
But, what she wants to talk about, “is how they’re playing you, basically.”
This was set up as a campaign talking point, so when it doesn’t pass, the Democrats can say it was because of “racism, white Republicans.”
Dickson points out that Democrats hope that the history will be forgotten when Obama was the President and Democrats held the House and Senate and nobody could stop them from passing any laws or bills.
Not long after his inauguration, in February 2009, President Obama signed a nearly $900 billion stimulus package. If they wanted to, they could have used that money to pay reparations, said Dickson.
“They could have done anything they wanted to with that money, because nobody could stop them. The Republicans could not stop them. They had it for two whole years,” passionately reminded Dickson as she held up two fingers.
“The money was supposed to go for infrastructure and shovel ready jobs, which that didn’t happen either.”
“By September 2011, black unemployment had reached 17 percent,” said Dickson.
In fact, she added, former “Representative (Black Caucus Chair Emanuel) Cleaver even said, ‘if Barack Obama was not in the White House’ – in other words, if a black president was not in the White House – ‘we would be marching.’”
Dickson reminded, in response to the excuse many people throw up that the banks and auto makers were bailed out, that all of the money did not go to that. In addition, the money was repaid with interest, and all of those who took the money didn’t need it, but were forced to take it.
Dickson said the country was in a recession at the time, and the money should have acted as stimulus, but it didn’t.
By the time the money got down to the states, “The dirty politicians stole the money, that’s what happened.” Dickson revealed.
“You can’t get rid of that kind of money and not see any results,” said Dickson incredulously.
After squandering $800 billion in stimulus money and two years, when blacks started squawking, Obama then said he was going to pass a jobs bill as another stimulus package that he knew the Republicans wouldn’t pass, “because you just spent $800 billion and nothing happened,” said Dickson.
After Republicans blocked it, “what did Obama use from then on? ‘I tried to help y’all but the Republicans blocked it,’” Dickson said, throwing her hands in the air to demonstrate Obama’s “it’s not my fault” attitude.
Further advancing her point, Dickson said, “See that’s the game, people. That’s the game. And to this day, black people are still saying that – ‘the Republicans wouldn’t let him do it,’” Dickson convincingly explained.
She personally does not care about reparations, but for the people who do care, Dickson wanted to make the video to let them know, “They don’t care. They’re playing with you, because they need your votes.”
Dickson goes on to say Democrats need the vote, because they know that they’re losing the black vote to Trump and that his base for black people has increased. “They know this,” Dickson states emphatically, “they just won’t say it.”
Dickson called for black people to “wake up” and “quit trying to be in solidarity with people just because of their skin color. If someone’s not helping me, I don’t care what their skin color is. I’m not going to let anybody make a fool out of me, just because we’re both black.”
Instead, Dickson says, “No, I’m going to call you out, but that’s not what goes on.”
While she says she never heard of him before, Dickson said of “NFL guy” Burgess Owens who testified, “that black man gave me chills. A strong black man. Any time a man is strong, I get chills. Not because he’s a Republican, not just because he’s black. Because he’s a strong man. And especially a strong black man.”
Dickson says that’s rare, “because when you have people lie every day because they’re too cowardly to tell the truth, that’s not strong. We have plenty of those on TV every night. We have Juan Williams. He’s a liar and a coward. He lies all night long. Don Lemmon…”
“When you state the facts, just like Mr. Owens did today – he talked about the history of the Democrat Party. ‘I used to be a Democrat’ – that’s what he said. ‘But I studied the history, I saw the destruction that that Party did to my people.’ He also talked about how the Democrats are responsible for killing 20 million black babies. He says ‘my people.’ That’s a man that’s telling the truth. This is not something made up. This is not partisan. These are the facts. He says this, ‘ideologies don’t change, but people change.’”
“What that means,” explained Dickson of what Owens said in his testimony, “is that the Democrat Party’s ideology didn’t change, but people can change. In other words, they can leave the Party.”
Obviously enthused about Owens’ testimony, Dickson went on, “He talked about the school system and that Democrats run the schools systems and how our kids can’t read at grade level. He talked about all of that. On national television. Before the whole world. A black man, and that just gave me chills, because a black man, a strong black man stood up and finally told the truth about his people and about the Democrat Party and what they’ve done to his people.”
Getting back to her original point, Dickson said, “So, no, you can go around thinking you’re going to get reparations. If somehow it does pass and you get reparations, I’ll be the first one to make a video saying that was a mistake. They fooled me. But I really doubt it, because that’s not the purpose of it. The purpose was to get you to think that they’re interested in it. They’re not interested in helping black people.”
Leaning in and looking very determined, Dickson had a similar theme to that of Burgess Owens when she asked rhetorically, “The Democrats haven’t helped black people in 50 something years. You think they’re going to start now? Why would they? Why would they start helping you now when they haven’t ever done anything to help black people?”
The video of Burgess Owens’ testimony before the Constitution, Civil Rights and Civil Liberties Subcommittee of the House Committee on the Judiciary can be watched here.
Burgess Owens’ written testimony submitted to the Constitution, Civil Rights and Civil Liberties Subcommittee of the House Committee on the Judiciary can be read here.
The video by Patricia Dickson titled “Reparations Hearing” can be watched here.
– – –