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Frost Illustrated (Newspaper) - February 6, 2002, Fort Wayne, Indiana Entertainment Entertainment r Co-founder of United Male Gospel delivered tradition, cultural awareness in limbo after 18 years By Robbin L. Melton y:.: " More than 130 years have passed since African Americans hung hopes on Congress' "promise" of 40 acres and a mule-a deal some might not have realized was vetoed in 1865 by former President Andrew Johnson. Today, however, thousands of ex-slave descendants are following down a similar but steeper path in an attempt to reclaim reparations refunds or "black tax credit" from the federal government-a tax credit government officials say is yet non-existent. � f The Internal Revenue Service file slavery reparations claims, which ironically, some Native American groups also have been attempting to cash in on even though more than $262 million and 44 million acres of land has been By Robbin L. Melton h In 1989, Rep. John Conyers Jr., D-Mich., introduced in Congress the African also referred to as House Bill 40. allotted to them since the 1836 Conyers has reintroduced the bill . ,m in each subsequent year since then but without success. Under House Bill 40, Conyers book that $1.2 miflion was allocat- and his supporters seek acknowl- Treaty granting them reparations. Dorothy Benton-Lewis reported in her "Black Reparations Now!" T" ed to Japanese Americans and ' edgement from the federal gov- more than $860 million was alio- eminent of the "fundamental cated to Holocaust survivors from injustice, cruelty, brutality and Germany and Austria. Even inhumanity of slavery" commit- Johnnie Cochran was successful in ted .against African American ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ Dr. Saharra Bledsoe,: founder of nettinS a $1 billion settlement for Juneteenth International, initiat- African America farmers who and and (IRS) recently reported that, more ed a national petition drive last alleged discrimination by the U.S. The enslavement of African Americans than 13,000 income tax returns year to gather 150,000 signa- Department filed in 2000 claimed the invalid tures from each state to support Services, black tax credit for the U.S. the Reparations Study Act. of Agricultural l7g9 to 1865 by federal and some state governments, deprived an esti- African enslavement of filers' African and African American descendants, and for the atrocities committed southern i o Patricia The IRS, however, currently has no law permitting slavery reparation refund payments to African African might be limited part to the study's project $8 million Americans and consistently rejects ers refuse to let House Bill 40 get pushed aside. formal against African Americans a public spokesperson for IRS them even though reparations Rep. Tony R Hall, P-Ohio stepped up to the plate in 2000 by intro- throughout American history. Last offices in Indiana and Kentucky, "promoters" persist that the black during HoUse Res year, however, reparations filings African Americans are being tax credit exists, such as the non- for the atrocities skyrocketed to nearly 80,00Q cheated out of thousands of dol- existent 1040BR IRS form, explained to cong committed aeainst African take claims seeking more than $2.7 bil- Part Despite claim rejections, however, and black minister sav an lion in refunds. About 70 percent entails paying $75 to $150 to "promoters" instruct people to of those claims were filed by resi- information (See "Scam" on Page 3) uttered from the federal government. Former President Bill (See "Study" on Page 4) visiting communities to of the City FORT WAYNE Mayor Graham Richard recently introduced an innovative idea in delivering the traditional annual "State of the City" address. In the past, mayors have give their summary speech on the condition and plans for the city at a central location, Usually during a luncheon meeting that was telecast to citizens. This year, however, Richard opted to take his message more directly to the people, giving a series of addresses at various locations in the community, and targeting the bulk of his comments Photo by James Redmond I for that particular area. Last week, for example, Mayor Richard gave a Wednesday evening presentation focusing on economic development directed to and Memory in America," discussed some of the details of the I the south side of the city at the August 7, 1930Aracially-motivated lynching in Marion, Ind., that League for the BlindPisaWed oi^^t^l^^M^ti^ Author recounts Marion lynching 1 r + James Madison, author of "A Lynching in the Heartland: Race South Fort Wayne Feb. 13-Southeast Area Partnership meeting at Calvary Third Presbyterian Church, 4700 S. Anthony Blvd., 6:30 p.m., focusing on Southtown/Police & Fire Academy. Feb. 15-United Way Executive Council, Vincent House, 2827 Holton Ave., noon, focusing on youth development. Feb. 20-Southwest Area Partnership, Study Elementary School, 2414 Brooklyn Ave., 7 r p.m., focus to be announced. helped spotlight racial problems in America. Madison gave his presentation at Little Professor Book Company in Covington Plaza Feb. 3. In'the book, Madison looks at the history of racial issues before the lynching and where America has come since. on South Anthony Boulevard. This North Fort Wayne Feb. 21-Northwest Area r __ Partnership, Grace Presbyterian, Mayor Graham Richard delivers 1811 FairhiU' 6:30 P'm-' focusin8 "State of the City" with numer- on a new park. Feb. 27-Labor groups, Plumbers and Steamfitters Local week, the mayor is scheduled to focusing on the city's financial sta- Union 166, 2930 W. Ludwig Road, make a 7:30 a.m,, Feb. 7 presenta- tus. Mayor Richard is scheduled to 6 p.m., focusing on downtown and tion to the Greater Fort Wayne make nine other presentations, job creation. Area Chamber of: Commerce They are: '�^'^See"U^r"ohPa^e4)
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