South Carolina Kicks Off Black Belt South Long March Mobilization

By Amadi Ajamu
Mon. July 26, 2004

Marching in Columbia, South Carolina for Reparations!Get ready for a Long Hot Summer! The National Millions for Reparations (MFR) Campaign kicked off the official Black Belt South Long March this past weekend with a rally in Columbia, South Carolina on Saturday, July 24, 2004. Reparations demonstrators hailed from New York, New Jersey, Maryland, Tennessee, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina as well as South Carolina proper.

Rally & March FlyerThe spirited throng assembled at Martin Luther King Park in the heart of the Black community and marched through the streets of Columbia in the blazing sun chanting, “They stole us! They sold us! They owe us!” all the way to the state capitol building. Omowale Clay, the National Spokesman for MFR was on the bullhorn leading the chants. He said, “From Columbia to Bed-Stuy * Reparations Now!”

Upon arrival at the state capitol grounds, the masses rallied at the African-American History Monument which depicts the struggle of African people in the United States. A libation was poured in tribute to our ancestors who suffered, struggled, and fought so that we could be here today to fight for the reparations owed to us.

The history of South Carolina is drenched in the oppression of African people. The ports of Charleston, South Carolina were epicenters of the trans-Atlantic slave trade, receiving enslaved Africans directly from Senegal, Ivory Coast, Ghana, and Congo.

Today, South Carolina is a bastion of right wing conservatism and has seen a recent upsurge in Klu Klux Klan activities according to community residents. The march was hosted by the local South Carolina Statewide Maafa Reparations
Committee. Doretha Bull, a member of the committee said “People are afraid to talk about what they deserve, for every person out here another 25 people wanted to be here but were afraid.” Nevertheless, the reparations movement in South
Carolina is growing daily. For the first time in the history of the slave constructed South Carolina state capitol building, a huge banner draped across its columns demanding “Reparations Now!” for crimes against humanity committed by its inhabitants.

In recent years the South Carolina state capitol building has been the site of many demonstrations against the confederate flag which flew atop. The Black community’s consistent demands to take the flag down were successful, the flag no longer flies atop, but it still flies on the capitol grounds. Our struggle continues.

Rallying in front of South Carolina Capitol for Reparations!One by one each speaker delivered a powerful message and urged everyone the keep up the fight no matter what. Roger Wareham, the lead attorney in the federal class action lawsuit against several blue chip corporations, exclaimed “Our
greatest weapon in this struggle for reparations is the grassroots people in the streets making the demand at every turn!”

The Black Belt South Long March will travel to several locations throughout the south culminating in Memphis, Tennessee in September 2004. MFR spokesman, Omowale Clay stated, “Central to our efforts is the integration of the Reparation’s movement into the strategic liberation goals of African people.”

The Millions For Reparations campaign was launched from the victory in the Durban, South Africa at the United Nations World Conference against Racism, September 2001, where the Trans Atlantic Slave Trade was declared a “crime against humanity.” The campaign has been instrumental in mobilizing some of the most significant rallies and mobilization efforts in the history of the reparations movement. Beginning with the first National Reparations Rally ever, held in Washington DC on August 17, 2002, moving onto a National Rally at the United Nations on September 13, 2003, and now onto the Black Belt South Long March for Reparations -2004!

MFR National Chairwoman, Viola Plummer said, “As we crystallize these mobilization efforts, we are also participating on the legal front in the ongoing federal class action lawsuit and the international front through the World Court, African Union and 2006 8th Pan-African Congress.

See exciting pictures from Black Belt South Long March Kick Off Rally & March on Sat. July 24th!

Millions for Reparations New York City Organizing Committee
456 Nostrand Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11216
Phone (718) 398-1766