On Philadelphia Freedmen

I was assisted in the transcription and commentary of this call to action by a bottle of Weed Cellars Central Coast Cabernet Sauvignon 2017. Got this $21.00 masterpiece on sale for $10.00 at a 7-Eleven. Opened this shit up time I got to my computer. Yes. One sip leads in with strong ripe blackberries. Bold structure – moderate tannins and acidity. A solid sustain of vanilla, oak, plums, and tobacco. Smooth finish of robust vanilla, silky cherry, and muted oak. A great Cabernet.

“I’ve come upon something that disturbs me deeply. We have fought hard and long for integration, as I believe we should have, and I know we will win, but I have come to believe that we are integrating into a burning house. I’m afraid that America has lost the moral vision she may have had, and I’m afraid that even as we integrate, we are walking into a place that does not understand that this nation needs to be deeply concerned with the plight of the poor and disenfranchised. Until we commit ourselves to ensuring that the underclass is given justice and opportunity, we will continue to perpetuate the anger and violence that tears the soul of this nation. I fear I am integrating my people into a burning house.”

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Another beautiful paper by Sister Soldier Morgan Malachi. A Freedman activist (and intellectual) in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Even though this work is specifically focused on the Freedmen situation in Philadelphia – in a wholesale sense, the points discussed here can be applied to and in any city, hamlet, or rural area where Freedmen reside. Which is why I am reproducing this Call here.

A call to action is an exhortation to take responsibility. A main problem in our community is political and economic complacency. At this point in our history Family – complacency equals death. This is not hyperbole. This is where we are. Time to get educated. Time to decide what part in this movement that you are going to play. And to decide to execute that decision. That decision is not one that is only for yourself – this is equally about your children and grandchildren.

The only political issue that is most important for our people – the American Freedmen – at this point going forward is lineage-based reparations. That’s It…

Read and learn. Here it is:

Philadelphian Freedmen Must Have Reparations: A Call to Action

By Morgan Malachi – Tubman House Center for Reparative Justice

The Problem

Philadelphia is one of the poorest big cities [01] in the United States. In 2019, Philadelphia’s population was 1,535,277 of which 24.3% were living in poverty. The majority of Freedmen [02] Philadelphians live in communities that experienced decades of neglect and disinvestment and now are targets of unrelenting gentrification. Our state’s minimum wage [03] has been $7.25 since 2009. According to the Living Wage [04], a single person with no children in Philadelphia must make at least $18.14 an hour and $29.81 an hour is needed for one person with three children to live comfortably in our city. This is the irrefutable reality.

Philadelphia is just one portrait of the larger problem.

The racial wealth gap [05] of American Freedmen nationally is staggering. In 2016, the net worth of an average white family was $171,000, a figure almost ten times greater than an American Freedmen family at $17,150. Since 1865, American Freedmen have maneuvered through a system of oppressive tactics like redlining laws which kept Freedmen out of equity and wealth. If Freedmen cannot build (and recover) generational wealth they will never be able to close the racial wealth gap. Once the data is parsed, we can clearly see American Freedmen are specifically the “Black people” [06] suffering at the highest rates. This is why lineage based reparations for Philadelphian Freedmen are long overdue.

Middle class Philadelphian Freedmen are living paycheck to paycheck, and are much poorer than their white middle class counterparts. The Freedmen middle class identity is largely a facade. Despite their many degrees and seemingly well-paying jobs, middle class Philadelphia Freedmen are saddled with massive student loan debt, which is compounded by the lack of generational wealth. They are working jobs with precarious retirement plans and have very little savings. The economic position of the masses of Freedmen Philadelphians [07] is dire.

There is no Black Middle Class

The need for lineage-based reparations highlight the classist delusions in the Philadelphia Freedmen community. A college education doesn’t matter when a community has no wealth. Upper and middle class Freedmen often feel no need to focus on reparations advocacy. The middle class Freedmen community might make decent salaries, but they don’t have any real capital. Many do not own their homes. They don’t own businesses in Black neighborhoods let alone city-wide. This is true for not just Philadelphians, but for the Freedmen community as a whole.

Too frequently a specific person or family will point to their personal success and reject these truths. It can’t be just some of us, it needs to be all of us on an equal financial footing. Individualist ideals have not and will never save American Freedmen from systemic oppression. The Northwest section of Philadelphia is remarkably divided by wealth. Even upper middle class Freedmen don’t have the same wealth, financial access, and asset safeguards their white neighbors enjoy. Pennsylvania State Representative Chris Rabb [08] was quoted saying:

“We rarely see people west of Stenton [Avenue] crossing into east of Stenton,” he said, referring to a line that divides wealthier and poorer parts of the area, “and that’s largely a racial dynamic.”

Historical Background

The Freedman’s Savings and Trust Company [09] was signed into law as: “An Act to Incorporate the Freedmen’s Trust Company.” This was signed into law by President Abraham Lincoln on March 3, 1865. Branches were opened in seventeen states with thirty-seven locations between 1865-1871. Seventy thousand American Freedmen deposited money into the Freedman’s Saving and Trust Company. Those deposits, made in trust by the formerly enslaved, accumulated to fifty-seven million dollars. By 1870, amendments to the charter impacted the bank’s loan policies. In 1873 mismanagement and fraud ran rampant and the Freedman’s Savings and Trust Company never recovered.

Frederick Douglass was appointed as the bank’s President, he also invested ten thousand dollars of his own money. Douglass, not realizing the depths of the larceny to American Freedmen wealth, sent Congress a recommendation to close the bank. The Freedman’s Savings and Trust Company closed on June 29, 1874 – leaving the formerly enslaved American Freedmen community in financial ruin. Our ancestors’ hard earned money was gone. We ask how many times do we have to continuously start over? Gentrification is ushering in a new forced migration for Philadelphia Freedmen that we have yet to see the outcomes of.

Octavius V. Catto was a Philadelphia Freedman lynched by a violent white mob on
October 10, 1871. Catto went to a Freedman’s Bank branch at 919 Lombard Street. He withdrew twenty dollars to purchase a gun. This was an election day in Philadelphia. Leaving the Freedman Bank branch, he had to dodge violent white mobs. This was one year after the Fifteenth Amendment [10] restored voting rights protections to Philadelphia Freedmen. Later in the day, Catto was confronted by two white men, Edward Reddy Denver and Frank Kelly. Catto, with no warning, was shot by Frank Kelly multiple times in broad daylight in front of numerous eyewitnesses. This incident was a solid warning to the Freedmen community.

Mayor James Kenney dedicated a statue [11] to Octavius V. Catto which sits outside
Philadelphia’s City Hall. This statue cost two million dollars. Mayor James Kenney
apparently forgot to ask the Freedmen community if they wanted a statue to
commemorate Catto, a victim of white rage, or a commitment to real justice and repair through lineage based reparations for Catto’s community. Kenney needs to stop the symbolism – stop the pandering, and do his job. We will no longer stand for the displacement [12] and neglect of Philadelphia Freedmen.

Freedmen Philadelphians have a specific claim in the modern day reparations
discussion. Philadelphia’s Freedmen population is impacted by wealth disparities at a devastating rate. The history of redlining in Philadelphia can be traced to the Home Owners’ Loan Corporation [13] rating Philadelphia neighborhoods with high Freedmen populations in the 1930’s as “hazardous/high risk” – signifying a possible risk of defaulting on mortgage loans. Banks denying loans for Freedmen purchasing homes in Freedmen neighborhoods ensured segregation by another name. Even with the passing of the Fair Housing Act of 1968 [14], the redlining tactics were so pervasive the act did little to change the disparities within Freedmen Philadelphian communities [15]. Housing segregation also impacts income, wealth accumulation, education funding, healthcare access, and poverty rates.

No More Pandering White Progressives or Complacent Black Democrats

The Philadelphian Freedmen population [16] in gentrifying areas of West and South Philadelphia decreased by 29% from 2000-2012 according to US census records. In North Philadelphia, the Freedmen population declined by 22%. West Philadelphians’ median home sale price increased 98%. South Philadelphia’s median sale price increased 184%, more than three times the citywide rate; North Philadelphia’s median home sale price increased 200%, nearly four times the citywide average. This is not an anomaly Philadelphian Freedmen can ignore. It is time for Freedmen to become fully aware of the disparities that persist in their lives and the history of being locked out of asset equity at the foundation.

White gentrifiers take full advantage of our equity inequality. Gentrifiers such as
Alexandra Hunt [17] are pandering to American Freedmen [18] with stolen talking points and no tangible history of advocacy on behalf of Freedmen beyond a series of tweets where she called for “Reparations for the American Freedmen.” Hunt also talks about every other so-called oppressed group [19] in America. Lineage-based reparations is not a talking point. It is an ancestral justice claim. Tubman House is here to ensure every aspect of lineage-based reparations discussions are guarded, and approached with nothing but respect and tangible political advocacy.

Hunt [20] clearly does not respect reparations or knows the history behind it as she continues to GENTRIFY [21] a Freedmen neighborhood. No one who willingly participates in our oppression will ever help to liberate Freedmen. We must demonstrate disciplined steadfastness in every aspect of our justice claim as Philadelphia Freedmen. We can not afford to be corrupted and misled any longer.

The incumbent Dwight Evans, Congressman of Philadelphia’s 3rd Congressional District, is no stranger to Philadelphia Freedmen. Understand? Dwight Evans has been a staple of the Philadelphia Black political class [22]. He represents the 3rd Congressional District of Philadelphia [23], a population of 752,057, breaking down to 46.6% Male and 53.4% Female. The median income is $47,425; the high school graduation rate is 88.8%; the college graduation rate is 39.6%. The 3rd District of Philadelphia has 418,050 Freedmen, a combined total of 140,959 are Asian, Latino, Native American, and Pacific Islanders. 246,857 are White; 16,462 have Caribbean Ancestry; and 17,880 have Sub-Saharan African Ancestry.

Evans has been in politics for over twenty years, with eighteen terms in the Pennsylvania House, and a gubernatorial run in 1994. Evans [24] then ran for mayor in 1999 and again in 2007. Evans then moved on to the United States Congress with a special election victory after Native Freedman son Chaka Fattah [25] resigned upon being convicted [26] of racketeering in federal court. Evans [27] then found himself in a perfect position to build equity and wealth for the Freedmen community which is the majority population in his district.

Following his victory Evans is quoted as saying [28]:

“I’m excited about it” […] “I thank people for the opportunity. I served in the House for 36 years and I’m going to take that skill set of what I’ve learned to work toward the future. I’ll work with Democrats, Republicans, whoever necessary to make a difference.”

It’s time to ask Mr. Dwight Evans if he is done working for everyone except the
Philadelphia Freedmen community of his district? Evans must do more than schmooze the Black political class in the Northwest section of his district. His district is struggling financially and his lack of attention is unacceptable. Immigration policies are not an issue of concern for the Freedmen community in Philadelphia. Evans ran under a platform called – “A Plan for America’s Cities” [29]. Understand that Freedmen Philadelphians need a specific “Plan For American Freedmen” [30] which would perfect Evans’ previous plan. After winning his congressional seat Dwight Evans was quoted [31] saying:

“I want to talk about cities, neighborhoods and block-by-block building,” […]
“People ask questions about how you’re going to do things, but I think you only
have to look at my record.”

The Freedmen community has given Dwight Evans more than enough time. We have also conducted a thorough look at his record. Dwight Evans has failed tremendously in repairing the harms suffered by our community. His egregious underperformance in delivering policies to improve conditions for the masses of Philadelphian Freedman is unacceptable. Mr. Evans and the Democratic Party rely on the historical injustices inflicted on our people to rally the voter base. Freedmen have come out to the polls for twenty years to support Dwight Evans. Mr. Evans has not demonstrated the same support for Philadelphia Freedmen.

The liberal agenda of fraudulent advocacy with no equity for Freedmen must be called out and effectively dealt with. We also recognize the vague promises and sense of entitlement rife within the Congressional Black Caucus [32]. Maxine Waters’ ugly exchange with a majority Freedmen homeless [33] population in Los Angeles displayed the dismissive behavior the Black political class has developed.

Congressional Black Caucus [34] members are being deliberately obtuse regarding the state of the American Freedmen population. They have sold their community out and will continue to do so until we empower ourselves. Their role has been to keep Freedmen disempowered. We can no longer allow this abusive relationship.

A political awakening of our people will remind all politicians that they are accountable to Freedmen until we are fully repaired. Dwight Evans is not a God. He is an unproductive and ineffective politician. Evans advocates for Philadelphia being a sanctuary city. He wastes time on immigration issues when the 3rd District is not a majority immigrant population. Evans is quoted [35] saying:

“As Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. once said, ‘We may have all come on different
ships, but we’re in the same boat now.’ We have an obligation to build a stronger
tomorrow for all members of our communities.”

The 3rd District of Philadelphia alone has 418,050 Freedmen, while there’s a total of
120,000 Black immigrants in the city as a whole according to the US Census. The fact is that Dwight Evans is totally off course with his immigration focus and this is a main reason why our community is suffering. We demand accountability. He represents the 3rd District with an overwhelming majority Philadelphia Freedmen population. This can no longer be tolerated by his Freedmen constituents. Mr. Evans should be reminded of these words [36] by Dr. Martin Luther King:

“One hundred years later the Negro lives on a lonely island of poverty in the
midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity. One hundred years later the Negro is
still languished in the corners of American society and finds himself in exile in his
own land. And so we’ve come here today to dramatize a shameful condition.”

And –

“In a sense we’ve come to our nation’s capital to cash a check. When the
architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of The Constitution and The
Declaration of Independence (Yeah), they were signing a promissory note to
which every American was to fall heir… It is obvious today that America has
defaulted on this promissory note insofar as her citizens of color are concerned.”

Dwight Evans is cherry picking Dr. King’s words. Cherry picking is in the play book of the Democratic establishment. Dr. King was assassinated and politicians have twisted his legacy to fit their abysmal advocacy for King’s people. This reflects an inherent disrespect of the Freedmen community (for political expediency and personal enrichment). Dwight Evans can no longer continue to retain his political seat by browbeating Freedmen with nonreciprocal identity politics.

Call To Action

The lineage based reparations [37] demand is for a comprehensive package to address the fundamental needs of the Freedmen community. Dwight Evans needs to remember his history and the history of Freedmen in Philadelphia.

● We demand that Evans produce a full lineage-based reparations package.
● We demand Evans ensure that any new variation of the Freedmen’s Bureau be
designated specifically for the descendants of American Freedmen only.
● We demand Evans protect Freedmen Philadelphians against oppression on all
fronts. That includes equity and wealth oppression. He has yet to address these
issues with any sense of urgency or resolve.
● We demand Evans produce legislation designating American Freedmen as a
protected class and designated ethnicity [38].
● We demand Evans produce an Anti-Freedmen Hate Bill with protections/funding as given to the Anti-Asian Hate Bill [39] for Asian Americans.
● Freedmen must hold Dwight Evans accountable for his inaction. All
neighborhoods in the 3rd District must organize to ensure this happens.
● If Mr. Evans refuses to work towards all demands listed and all future demands,
we replace him with a candidate willing to do their job for the majority of the 3rd
District.
● Any Philadelphia politician that is not focused on lineage-based reparations as
their main priority has to be replaced in as well; this is our call to action.

The message to the Philadelphia Freedmen community is that leftist white gentrifiers like Alexandra Hunt will never truly confront white supremacy. On the contrary, women such as Hunt, are always elevated within it. Hunt’s use of the term “American Freedmen” does not move us. We demand written legislation addressing the racial wealth gap specifically for American Freedmen – which is lineage-based reparations. Hunt’s Philadelphia Freedmen neighbors are locked out of equity and directly impacted by her very presence. Gentrifiers are tired of the Black political class stifling plans for the well-monied “New York-ifying” of the city and its politics. Freedmen politicians are perfectly comfortable leaving their communities alone to figure out how to recover from generations of stolen wealth. Lineage-based reparations will ensure our future in the city that our ancestors built.

● We must prioritize being politically and community engaged.
● We must build our people power in this city as American Freedmen by word of
mouth and staying committed to the extended struggle for reparations.
● We must let our families know that lineage-based reparations is a debt that is
owed. Survival is not enough anymore.
● We deserve to benefit from all of the Freedmen labor that contributed to the
building of this country.
● We have to educate ourselves about the harmful conditions we are experiencing
in Philadelphia.

We call on the Philadelphia Freedmen to take up the struggle for reparative justice. In this political moment, Freedmen must be uncompromising and unrelenting. We were all born and raised here. Our family members are buried here. We will not – and must not allow the Philadelphia political machine get away with our erasure. It’s the “Return of the Loud” [40].

END OF ARTICLE

ARTICLE LINKS

01. U.S. Poverty Rate By City In 2021 = U.S. Poverty Rate By City In 2021 (forbes.com)

02. Freedmen – United States = Search results | Library Company of Philadelphia Digital Collections

03. How Philadelphia’s Minimum Wage Compares With Other U.S. Cities = How Philadelphia’s Minimum Wage Compares With Other U.S. Cities | The Pew Charitable Trusts (pewtrusts.org)

04. Living Wage Calculation for Philadelphia County – Pennsylvania = Living Wage Calculator – Living Wage Calculation for Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania (mit.edu)

05. Examining the Black-white wealth gap = Examining the Black-white wealth gap (brookings.edu)

06. Philadelphia’s Poor = Philadelphia’s Poor | The Pew Charitable Trusts (pewtrusts.org)

07. Development Without Displacement = DwD2019_FINAL.pdf(Shared)- Adobe cloud storage

08. What’s Behind the Racial Homeownership Gap in Philadelphia? = What’s Behind the Racial Homeownership Gap in Philadelphia? (philadelphiafed.org)

09. The Freedman’s Savings and Trust Company = The Collapse of Freedman’s Bank Destroyed Many Black Americans’ Lives (businessinsider.com)

10. The Fifteenth Amendment = Fifteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution – Wikipedia

11. Monument To Octavius V. Catto = A monument at last for Octavius Catto, who changed Philadelphia (inquirer.com)

12. Philadephia’s Immigrants = Philadelphia’s Immigrants | The Pew Charitable Trusts (pewtrusts.org)

13. The Home Owners’ Loan Corporation = Home Owners’ Loan Corporation – Wikipedia

14. Fair Housing Act of 1968 = Civil Rights Act of 1968 – Wikipedia

15. Freedmen Philadelphian Communities = Philadelphia’s racial segregation in housing remains high (inquirer.com)

16. Development Without Displacement = DwD2019_FINAL.pdf(Shared)- Adobe cloud storage

17. Alexandra Hunt = Alexandra Hunt: By the Youth, for the People | 34th Street Magazine (34st.com)

18. Tweet from Alexandra Hunt = Alexandra M. Hunt, MPH, MS on Twitter: “It’s time to develop The Office of Freedman Affairs, teach the history of American Freedmen, and deliver reparations. I am the only candidate for PA-03 who has a comprehensive reparations plan on my political platform, and I plan to see it through.” / Twitter

19. Interview With Alexandra Hunt = Interview With Congressional Candidate Alexandra Hunt (D). Is She For Reparations? | Actify Press

20. How “Woke” Liberals Convince Themselves That Gentrifying Is Okay = How ‘Woke’ Liberals Convince Themselves That Gentrifying Is Okay (vice.com)

21. Did Gentrification Dethrone Jannie Blackwell? = Did gentrification dethrone longtime Councilwoman Jannie Blackwell in West Philly? (inquirer.com)

22. Why Would Dwight Evans & Marian Tasco Endorse a White Mayoral Candidate? = Insider: Why Would Dwight Evans & Marian Tasco Endorse a White Mayoral Candidate? – Philadelphia Magazine (phillymag.com)

23. The 3rd District of Philadelphia Pennsylvania = Poster_Portrait_Shadows (census.gov)

24. Dwight Evans Wins Fattah’s Congressional seat = Dwight Evans wins Fattah’s congressional seat (inquirer.com)

25. West Philly: The House of Umoja Still Inspires the Community to End Gang Violence = West Philly: The House of Umoja Still Inspires the Community to End Gang Violence (philadelphianeighborhoods.com)

26. Fattah Sentenced to Ten Years in Prison = Fattah sentenced to 10 years in prison – POLITICO

27. Dwight Evans Wins = Dwight Evans Wins, Ends Chaka Fattah’s Run in the 2nd – Philadelphia Magazine (phillymag.com)

28. Dwight Evans Wins Fattah’s Congressional seat = Dwight Evans wins Fattah’s congressional seat (inquirer.com)

29. A Plan for America’s Cities = A Plan for America’s Cities – Dwight Evans for CongressDwight Evans for Congress

30. “From Here to Equality” Author Makes A Case, And A Plan, For Reparations = ‘From Here to Equality’ Author Makes A Case, And A Plan, For Reparations : NPR

31. Dwight Evans Sworn Into Congress = Dwight Evans sworn into Congress | | phillytrib.com

32. Congressional Black Caucus = Congressional Black Caucus (house.gov)

33. Maxine Waters telling a group of homeless people to “go home” = Maxine Waters telling a group of homeless people to “go home” they reply “we ain’t got no home.” – YouTube

34. Congressional Black Caucus – Wikipedia = Congressional Black Caucus – Wikipedia

35. Dwight Evans on Immigration = Immigration | Representative Dwight Evans (house.gov)

36. Integrating Into A Burning House = Integrating into a burning house | Mlk | stlamerican.com

37. California Reparations to be Limited to Descendants of Enslaved People = California reparations to be limited to descendants of enslaved people, taskforce decides | California | The Guardian

38. An Equal Protection Standard for National Origin Subclassifications: The Context That Matters = An Equal Protection Standard for National Origin Subclassifications: The Context That Matters (cuny.edu)

39. Hate Crimes Law – Asian Americans = Biden Signs Hate Crimes Bill Amid Attacks On Asian Americans : NPR

40. “Return of the Loud” = Police Say 2 Missing Panthers May Be Dead | Dhoruba Bin Wahad

“Return of the Loud” – this is the time: “Justice is for the living ’cause Nobody gets out of this Life alive.” Follow Morgan Malachi on Twitter @Moreaga1865.

Tubman House Center For Reparative Justice Link = www.CallieTaskedUs.org

Copyright Disclaimer Under Section 107 of the Copyright Act 1976: Allowance is made for “fair use” for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research. Fair Use is a use permitted by copyright statute that might otherwise be infringing. Non-profit, educational or personal use tips the balance in favor of fair use. No copyright infringement intended. ALL RIGHTS BELONG TO THEIR RESPECTIVE OWNERS.

Published by Freedmen Absolute

Black Atheist - Jazz Lover - Marketer - Investor - Political Junkie - Reparationist

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