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Washington - 19 June 2019
1. SOUNDBITE: (English) Danny Glover, Actor, Activist:
"I sit here as the great grandson of a former slave, Mary Brown, who was freed by the Emancipation Procolamation on January 1st, 1863. I had the fortune of meeting her as a small child. I also sit here as the grandson of (inaudible) my maternal grandparents were both born before Plessy v. Ferguson, the Supreme Court decision in 1896.
++SOTS SEPARATED BY WHITE FLASH++
2. SOUNDBITE: (English) Danny Glover, Actor, Activist:
"Despite much progress over the centuries, this hearing is yet another step in the long and heroic struggle of African Americans to secure reparations for the damages inflicted by enslavement and post-emancipation and racial exclusionary policies."
3. SOUNDBITE: (English) Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, (D) Texas:
"I just simply ask, why not? And why not now? If not all of us, then who?"
4. SOUNDBITE: (English) Ta-Nehisi Coates, Actor:
"What this committee must know is that while emancipation dead-bolted the door against the bandits of America, Jim Crow wedged the windows wide open. And that is the thing about Senator McConnell's 'something' -- it was 150 years ago - and it was right now."
5. SOUNDBITE: (English) Coleman Hughes, Writer:
"Black people don't need another apology. We need safer neighborhoods and better schools. We need a less punitive criminal justice system. We need affordable health care. And none of these things can be acheived through reparations for slavery."
6. Various of Hughes ending his testimony and receiving boos by some in audience
7. Rep. Steve Cohen, (D) Tennessee, Chairman of House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Civil Liberties asks audience to calm down
The debate over reparations catapulted from the campaign trail to Congress on Wednesday as the author of the modern argument to compensate the descendants of slaves directly challenged Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's assertion that no one alive today is responsible for the legacy of slavery and discrimination against black Americans.
McConnell said on Tuesday he doesn't think "reparations for something that happened 150 years ago, for whom none of us currently living are responsible, is a good idea."
Writer Ta-Nehisi Coates, who drew new attention to the issue with his 2014 Atlantic magazine essay, "The Case for Reparations," told a House Judiciary panel refuted McConnell's assertion saying, "the thing about Senator McConnell's 'something' -- it was 150 years ago -- and it was right now."
But another writer Coleman Hughes, who at times testified over boos from the audience, said black people don't need "another apology," but safer neighborhoods, better schools, a less punitive criminal justice system and better health care.
It was Congress' first hearing in a decade on the topic, which comes amid a growing discussion in the Democratic Party on reparations and sets up a potential standoff with Republicans. The hearing room was packed with some people waiting for a seat for hours.
Once a fringe topic, the issue is being debated amid a hyper-racial social and political climate in America, where many are reckoning with lingering and persistent racial disparities and how best to address them.
Race and ethnicity , Social issues , Social affairs , Government and politics , Racial and ethnic discrimination , Racial and ethnic discrimination , Discrimination , Human rights and civil liberties , African-Americans , Legislature , Legislature hearings , Celebrity causes , Celebrity , Entertainment , Arts and entertainment
Mitch McConnell , Ta-Nehisi Coates , Sheila Jackson Lee , Steve Cohen , Danny Glover
United States Senate, United States Congress, United States government