Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell was asked for his thoughts on reparations by reporters on Tuesday afternoon. During a rambling answer, he claimed that slavery was a long time ago and the election of Barack Obama should have healed some wounds.
Author Ta-Nehisi Coates appeared in a hearing on Wednesday to discuss the topic of reparations with the House Judiciary Committee. Coates took some time to discuss McConnell’s comments and provide him with a bit of a history lesson.
Explaining that mistreatment of African Americans didn’t end after slavery, the author said:
“When it ended, this country could have extended its hallowed principles of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness to all, regardless of color. But America had other principles in mind. And so, for a century after the Civil War, black people were subjected to a relentless campaign of terror — a campaign that extended well into the lifetime of Majority Leader McConnell.”
Continuing to discuss the Kentucky Senator, Coates said:
“He was alive for the electrocution of George Stinney. He was alive for the blinding of Isaac Woodard. He was alive to witness kleptocracy in his native Alabama and a regime premised on electoral theft. Majority Leader McConnell cited civil rights legislation yesterday — as well he should, as he was alive to witness the harassment, jailing, and betrayal of those responsible for that legislation by a government sworn to protect them.”
The author received a round of applause after his opening statement. Watch a video of Coates during the hearing below:
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Todd Neikirk is a New Jersey based politics and technology writer. His work has been featured in psfk.com, foxsports.com and Pet Lifestyles Magazine. He enjoys sports, politics, technology and spending time at the shore with his family.