WASHINGTON — Burgess Owens, an author and former NFL Player who was a witness at a congressional subcommittee hearing on reparations, suggested that the Democratic Party should pay “restitution” for the “misery” it brought to his race in the past.
Burgess was referring to members of the Democratic Party who supported slavery in the Civil War era and voted against the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Burgess, who opposes reparations, explained that he was a registered Democrat until he learned more about its history.
“I used to be a Democrat until I did my history and found out the misery that that party brought to my race,” Burgess said at a House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties hearing on Wednesday focused on H.R. 40, the Commission to Study and Develop Reparation Proposals for African-Americans Act. “Lets point to the party that was part of slavery, KKK, Jim Crow, that has killed over 40 percent of our black babies, 20 million of them.”
“Let’s pay restitution. How about the Democratic Party pay for all the misery brought to my race and those, after we learn our history, who decide to stay there, they should pay also. They’re complicit. And every white American, Republican or Democrat, that feels guilty because of their white skin, you should need to pony up also — that way we can get past this reparation and recognize that this country has given us greatness,” Burgess said.
“Look at this panel. It doesn’t matter how we think. It doesn’t matter our color. We have become successful in this country like no other because of this great opportunity to live the American dream. Let’s not steal that from our kids by telling them they can’t do it,” he added.
Additional witnesses at the hearing included Ta-Nehisi Coates, distinguished writer in residence with the Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute of New York University, Dr. Julianne Malveaux, economist and political commentator, Rt. Rev. Eugene Taylor Sutton with the Episcopal Bishop of Maryland as well as Professor Eric J. Miller of Loyola Marymount University.