Thurman’s spirituality was grounded not only in the beauties of the black experience, but grounded as well in the terrors of the black experience, as only someone living in Florida and Georgia could know them in 1915 and 1920 and 1930. At the same time, it was a spirituality that says: “And knowing all that, I also know that all human beings are one.”
This kind of strange combination of spiritual truth with hard political social truth led one young man in the 1930s to say this about Howard Thurman: “I’m disappointed in him. We thought we had found our Moses. And he turns out to be a mystic.” That’s the spirituality that gets people all riled up.
If you ask any fair-minded person about the greatest injustices perpetrated in and by the United States, slavery would surely be at or near the top of the list. Many arguments have been given in support of the claim that there should be reparations for slavery, and some of them are better than others. Here, I will give one sound argument—The Compensation Argument—for the claim that the U.S. government is morally obligated to pay reparations for slavery. This argument is based upon facts that are not in dispute and on assumptions that all reasonable people share. That is, the argument depends on principles and data accepted by liberals and conservatives, by advocates of and opponents to reparations, and as such it should be acceptable to all who give it a fair hearing.
“After 40 years of impoverished black men getting prison time for selling weed, white men are planning to get rich doing the same things. So that’s why I think we have to start talking about reparations for the war on drugs. How do we repair the harms caused?”