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What makes America a great country?  How did the U.S. build the greatest economy in the history of mankind?  Direct answer:  through the labor of enslaved people.

What makes America a great country?  How did the U.S. build the greatest economy in the history of mankind?  Direct answer:  through the labor of enslaved people.

In the late 1700s, the landed class of slaveholders, such as Thomas Jefferson and George Washington, had the leisure to create the great ideas and documents on which our democratic republic was founded.  Yet those whose efforts gave them the freedom to write the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution were left out of the equality promised to “all men.”

In the 1800s before the Civil War, the top ten state economies in America included 9 slave states and Connecticut.  What economic advantage did these slave state economies have?  The “free” labor of enslaved people.

Our American infrastructure, our educational institutions, our trading capacity, and our investments in technology over generations and centuries are based on and built upon this economic history.  Since this is true, what is the appropriate response to the great and lasting contributions of African Americans?  Gratitude for one thing.  And reparations for another.  Is it practical to put a number on three or four hundred years of contributions?  Not really.  So, what do we do now?

One answer is to offer opportunities to the descendants of those who created our current prosperity.  How is this possible?  In the 21st century, social and economic opportunity is inextricably linked to education.  Education and training lead to better jobs, better incomes, and more contributions to local and national economies (including increasing the tax base).  And better lives for the children and grandchildren of educated workers.

That’s where Louisiana Rising, Ltd. comes in.  We believe in opportunity for all Americans.  We believe that the best pathway to socio-economic success is through education.  

We focus our efforts at reparation on a particular group of enslaved people and their descendants, the Georgetown 272.  They represent, in microcosm, how enslaved people contributed to American prosperity.  And how African Americans have been left out of receiving the benefits that should have resulted from their efforts.  But we propose to do something now to make reparation to these people through offering educational opportunities—a hand up—to their descendants.