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3 J.L. Soc'y 133 (2002)
The Development of the Movement for Reparations for African Descendants

handle is hein.journals/jls3 and id is 141 raw text is: THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE MOVEMENT FOR
REPARATIONS FOR AFRICAN DESCENDANTS
ADJOA A. AIYETORO*
I. INTRODUCTION
The current movement for reparations for African descendants' in the
United States has its roots in the enslavement of African peoples. 2 This
demand for reparations has its ebbs and tides in terms of the numbers
actively supporting it. There was a peak in the movement in the 1890s,
resulting in the formation of the Ex-Slave Mutual Relief, Bounty &
Pension Association, an organization that lobbied Congress for
favorable legislation.3 The demand for reparations is reaching a new
peak, embraced by people of African descent across class, political and
ideological boundaries. Reparations are also gaining support in other
communities of color and with some white Americans.
The demand for reparations, although firmly based in the enslave-
ment of African peoples in the United States, is a demand for acknowl-
edgment and repair of the vestiges of slavery. It is a demand that
organically links current day status and treatment of African descen-
*   Adjoa A. Aiyetoro is an adjunct professor at American University at the
Washington College of Law. She received her J.D. from the Saint Louis University
School of Law.
1. The term African descendants is used throughout this Commentary for African
peoples in the United States who identify as Black people of African ancestry and are
African or descended from Africans. Some of this group may identify themselves as
African American or New Afrikan.
2. RANDALL ROBINSON, THE DEBT: WHAT AMERICA OWES BLACKS (2000); See
also VELMA MAIA THOMAS, LEST WE FORGET: THE PASSAGE FROM AFRICA TO
SLAVERY AND EMANCIPATION (1997).
3. Walter B. Hill, Jr., The Ex-Slave Relief, Bounty & Pension Association: Some
History and Geneological Notes, in 59 NEGRO HISTORY BuLLETIN (1996), also
available at (visited March 2, 2002) <http://www.afrigeneas.comlibrary/
hillarticle/html>.

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