No Pensions for Ex-Slaves... Almost...

5fish

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I found this gem... There was a movement in the late 19th century to secure pensions for X-slaves. The movement had a few decades run but ended in failure and a false imprisonment of one of its members...

Here is the link I left a lot out everyone should read it We could have solve the reparation issue with such ease and some fairness but we did not...

LINK: https://www.archives.gov/publications/prologue/2010/summer/slave-pension.html

Efforts to help them achieve some semblance of economic freedom, such as with "40 acres and a mule," were stymied. Without federal land compensation—or any compensation—many ex-slaves were forced into sharecropping, tenancy farming, convict-leasing, or some form of menial labor arrangements aimed at keeping them economically subservient and tied to land owned by former slaveholders.

"The poverty which afflicted them for a generation after Emancipation held them down to the lowest order of society, nominally free but economically enslaved," wrote Carter G. Woodson in The Mis-Education of the Negro in the 1930s.

In the late 19th century, the idea of pursuing pensions for ex-slaves—similar to pensions for Union veterans—took hold. If disabled elderly veterans were compensated for their years of service during the Civil War, why shouldn't former slaves who had served the country in the process of nation building be compensated for their years of forced, unpaid labor?

By 1899, "about 21 percent of the black population nationally had been born into slavery," according to historian Mary Frances Berry. Had the government distributed pensions to former slaves and their caretakers near the turn of the century, there would have been a relatively modest number of people to compensate.

But the movement to grant pensions to ex-slaves faced strong opposition, and the strongest came not from southerners in Congress but from three executive branch agencies. It was opposition impossible to overcome
.


It seems the Post Office did not like them.... you will learn do not mess with the Post Office for they are all powerful over the mail...

By the late 1890s, the MRB&PA was the premiere ex-slave pension organization, claiming a membership in the hundreds of thousands. In addition to having a strong grassroots following, the MRB&PA was highly organized. The national officers established a charter, drafted a constitution and by-laws, held annual conventions, formed an executive board, started local chapters mostly in the South and Midwest, established enrollment fees and dues, advertised through circulars and broadsides, and advocated unity of purpose.

The organization supported a proposed pension payment scale based upon the age of beneficiaries that appeared in every ex-slave bill from 1899 onward. Ex-slaves 70 years and older at the time of disbursement were to receive an initial payment of $500 and $15 a month for the rest of their lives; those aged 60–69 years old would receive $300 and $12 a month; those aged 50–59 years old would receive $100 and $8 a month; and those under 50 would receive a $4 a month pension.
If formerly enslaved persons were either very old or too ill to care for themselves, their caretakers were to be compensated.

The Post Office is coming.... reparation a false read the last line its true today the distrust by the white man...

Three federal agencies—the Bureau of Pensions, the Post Office Department, and the Department of Justice—worked collectively in the late 1890s and into the early 20th century to investigate individuals and groups in the movement.

The officials who pursued the investigations thought the idea of pensioning ex-slaves was unrealistic because the government had no intention of compensating former slaves for their years of involuntary labor. Harrison Barrett, the acting assistant attorney general for the Post Office Department, admitted in an 1899 circular that "there has never been the remotest prospect that the bill would become a law."

In a February 7, 1902, letter to the commander-in-chief of the Grand Army of the Republic, the commissioner of pensions blamed the ex-slave pension organizations for arousing false hopes for "reparation for historical wrongs, to be followed by inevitable disappointment, and probably distrust of the dominant race and of the Government."


Congress fails them... Post Office is rising...

The pension bills submitted to Congress received little serious attention. The Senate Committee on Pensions examined S. 1176 (a bill essentially similar in language to all of the other bills) and wrote an adverse report. This committee received its information (and thus a tainted view of the movement) from none other than the Post Office Department and the commissioner of pensions. The report described freedpeople in the movement as "ignorant and credulous freedmen," and the committee concluded that "this measure is not deserving of serious consideration by Congress" and recommended "its indefinite postponement."

Now the Post Office ....

When Dickerson died in 1909, House soon became the leader in the forefront of not only the MRB&PA but of the movement.

After Congress responded so unfavorably to the pension movement, House took the issue to the courts.

In 1915 the association filed a class action lawsuit in federal court for a little over $68 million against the U.S. Treasury. The lawsuit claimed that this sum, collected between 1862 and 1868 as a tax on cotton, was due the appellants because the cotton had been produced by them and their ancestors as a result of their "involuntary servitude."

The Johnson v. McAdoo cotton tax lawsuit is the first documented African American reparations litigation in the United States on the federal level.
Predictably, the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia denied their claim based on governmental immunity, and the U.S. Supreme Court, on appeal, sided with the lower court decision.

The Post Office Department was unrelenting as it continued to search for means to limit House's influence and curtail the movement.
After a prolonged investigation, House was arrested and indicted on charges of mail fraud. She was accused of sending misleading circulars through the mail, guaranteeing pensions to association members, and profiting from the movement. She denied ever assuring members that the government would grant pensions or that a law had been passed providing pensions for ex-slaves. There was also no evidence that she profited from the movement.

The Post Office identified activities as mail fraud without definitive evidence, and their decisions to deny use of the mails were nearly impossible to appeal.

After a three-day trial in September 1917, an all-white male jury convicted her of mail fraud charges,
and she was sentenced to a year in jail at the Missouri State Prison in Jefferson City. She was released from prison in August 1918, having served the majority of her sentence, with the last month commuted.

This movement, against insurmountable odds, pressed for the passage of pension legislation to no avail. But being labeled as fraudulent—especially by determined federal agencies—sealed its fate.
 

5fish

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Here some wiki input... I summarized it...

Link: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Ex-Slave_Mutual_Relief,_Bounty_and_Pension_Association

The National Ex-Slave Mutual Relief, Bounty and Pension Association (MRB&PA) was an organization founded for the purpose of obtaining pensions for former slaves from the Federal government as compensation and reparations for their unpaid labor and suffering. Founded in 1896 and chartered in 1898 in Nashville, Tennessee, the organization was founded by former slaves Callie House and Isaiah H. Dickerson. According to historian Mary Frances Berry, the organization was "the first mass reparations movement led by African Americans."[1]

One early effort to obtain pensions for ex-slaves was led by white newspaper editor, Walter R. Vaughan of Omaha, Nebraska. He modeled his plan off of pensions provided by the Federal government to former Union soldiers, and he persuaded his congressman, William James Connell (R-NE) to introduce the measure to the House of Representatives in 1890. A native of Selma, Alabama, Vaughan believed that pensions to former slaves would provide increased economic vitality and stability to the New South. In 1891 he published a pamphlet entitled "Freedmen's Pension Bill: A Plea for American Freedmen," and sold copies at a dollar a piece.[2] A black man who worked as a distributor of Vaughan's pamphlet was Isaiah Dickerson of Rutherford County, Tennessee. A few years later, Dickerson and Callie House would launch their own pension and reparations movement by forming an organization led by and composed of African Americans. The 1900 Nashville City Directory lists the address of the National Ex-Slave Mutual Relief, Bounty and Pension Application as being located at 903 Church Street in Nashville.


Callie House was imprisoned in 1918, and this effectively ended the legislative efforts of the National Ex-Slave Mutual Relief, Bounty and Pension Association.
 

5fish

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A look at Black Union troopers pension....

LINK: https://www.mitpressjournals.org/doi/pdf/10.1162/jinh.2008.38.3.377

Beneªt of the Doubt”: African-American Civil War Veterans and Pensions A reading of Civil War pension statutes and lawmakers’ pronouncements suggests a federal military-beneªt system that was color-blind. Pension laws rarely mention race, and a Congressional committee saw “no reason why the heirs of colored soldiers should not be put on the same footing as to bounty and pensions as the heirs of white soldiers, and many reasons why they should.” Nearly 200,000 African Americans served in the Union armed forces, and statements such as these would have raised hopes of equal treatment for black survivors and their heirs.1

Yet race was never far from the minds of the men who administered the pension laws. In their certainty about the character of “ignorant colored people,” ofªcials painted a curious picture of African-American pension applicants: They were at once devious (“those of that race who can be counted reliable and absolutely truthful, are a rarity indeed”) and naïve (a government auditor wondered at “the general credulity with which the race is apt to listen to the proposals of a sharper”)


Snip... they did not want to give them pensions...

Recent studies of black pension applicants suggest that Ballard’s experience was commonplace. Noting that African Americans encountered more outright rejections and smaller pension awards than did whites, researchers point to biased pension examiners and documentation rules that were more difªcult for black veterans than white veterans to satisfy. These ªndings, together with studies that have found longevity beneªts from Civil War pensions for white veterans, are the starting point for this article. The ultimate questions are whether African Americans were discouraged from applying for pensions in the ªrst place; whether, considering the importance of other characteristics, race swayed pension awards; and whether black veterans shared in any health beneªts from Civil War pensions.7

10 At ªrst glance, it appears that African Americans were indeed discouraged from seeking a pension. Slightly less than one-third (31.9 percent) of all black enlisted men in the cpe samples ever applied for a pension, whereas more than half (52.5 percent) of white veterans applied. Yet these aggregates mask complexities in gaining access to the pension system: Proportionately more white soldiers survived the war (85 versus 79 percent of black recruits), for example, and any racial difference in application rates might not have remained uniform throughout changes in pension law

The link goes on to show that Black Union veterans were discouraged and not given equal chance for a pension....

LINK: https://www.mitpressjournals.org/doi/pdf/10.1162/jinh.2008.38.3.3
 

5fish

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Is not a little shocking that people (white) did their best to prevent x-color troops from getting the pensions...

If the people (white) had any foresight the pension for X-slaves would have been their 40 acres and a mule...
 
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