"No justice, no peace."
By Allan Turner
In speeches demanding government reparations for 400 years of American slavery to ruminations on the revolutionary nature of a rose in a woman's hand, black activists Friday took up the the thorny topic of how best to "resurrect" the African-American family.
Chicago activist Conrad Worrill urged those gathered at the Shape Community Center for the 28th convention of the National Black United Front to continue to push for government compensation for centuries of slavery.
"It's clear they owe us for 400 years of free labor," he said. "They owe us."
Worrill, United Front national chairman, was the opening speaker for the organization's three-day conference. Founded in Brooklyn, N.Y., the group was active in opposing the white-led government of South Africa, supporting Harold Washington's election as Chicago's first black mayor and participating in the Nation of Islam's 1995 Million Man March in Washington, D.C. In the 1990s, the group lodged allegations of U.S. genocide with the United Nations.
Houston Nation of Islam Minister Robert Muhammad, also on Friday's program, called the United Front the "hardest of hard-core" activists. "We say, 'No justice, no peace,' and mean it," he said.
Today, delegates will tour the Fourth Ward — Houston's "Freedman's Town" — then discuss strategies and experiments in African-centered education.
In an earlier interview, Worrill attributed many of the problems facing contemporary black families to the legacy of slavery, which he said "disrupted, decimated and shut down" black family life for centuries.
Blacks bear the responsibility of "repairing the family internally," he said, but must not stop demanding that government address social ills.