“Absolutely, we will be pursuing reparations from companies that have historical ties to slavery and engaging all parties to come to the table,” says the group’s interim president, Dennis C. Hayes. The definition of historical ties is conveniently elastic, too:
James Lide, director of the international division at History Associates Inc., a Rockville firm that researches old records, said determining how many U.S. businesses are linked to slavery depends upon definition.
Almost every business has at least an indirect link to slavery, he said. For example, some railroad and Southern utility companies can trace their roots to businesses that used slave labor. Textile companies, for example, use cotton that was grown on Southern plantations.
“There’s never going to be a solid number because the idea of how you connect a company to slavery is more a political one than a historical one,” Mr. Lide said.
(Brian DeBose, “NAACP to target private business”, Washington Times, Jul. 12). Ironically or otherwise, large American businesses — including some of the same ones targeted in the reparations demands — are already the NAACP’s biggest source of financial support. “We will take your money today,” said Hayes, “and sue you tomorrow.” (Greg Barrett and Kelly Brewington, “Corporate Funding Raises Ethical Questions For NAACP”, Baltimore Sun, Dec. 13, 2004). More on reparations: Jun. 10 (again), Jul. 7, Jul. 9 and many more.