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Texas suit targets 100 companies tied to slave trade Literatedog - 24/01/2003 07:32:28 AM

this just seems insane to me. suing companies for "crimes" committed 140 years ago at a time when they were perfectly within the law to be doing what they were doing. i think its dangerous to apply modern moral standards to the past.

edit: just to perfectly clear, i do not now, nor have i ever, supported the idea that slavery was a good or moral thing. but again, that's something we've decided now. back then, it was a raging topic of debate. i for one am certainly glad the practice of slavery was ended in the u.s.

By Steve Miller
January 22, 2003

Two black women yesterday filed a federal lawsuit in Texas seeking financial compensation from more than 100 U.S. corporations for their roles in the domestic slave trade.

The case accuses the corporations of profiting by their involvement in the slave trade more than 125 years ago in Texas, and also seeks and the appointment of a committee to study racial reconciliation.

Named as defendants are Fortune 500 financial-services firm J.P. Morgan Chase & Co., textiles company WestPoint Stevens Inc., Union Pacific Railroad and 100 unidentified corporations and companies.

"We are not seeking payments in this case but instead are looking for restitution that can be placed in a trust fund and a panel put in place," said Gary Bledsoe, an Austin lawyer representing the plaintiffs — Julie Mae Wyatt Kerwin, 99, the daughter of slaves, and retired Dallas schoolteacher Ina Hurdle Daniels McGee, 69, the granddaughter of slaves.

The desired panel would allocate money won in the lawsuit for services in the black community, including education funding, said Mr. Bledsoe, who also is head of the Texas chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.

The panel also would oversee a program to promote racial reconciliation and "to investigate the truth about slavery and the wounds that continue to exist," Mr. Bledsoe said.

The lawsuit says J.P. Morgan Chase aided slavery by selling insurance policies on slave labor, while WestPoint Stevens made slave clothing from rough cotton.

Union Pacific, the lawsuit contends, profited from slavery by transporting cotton for those clothes.

"We would like to stress that 150 years ago, America operated under quite different social circumstances and law," said John Bromley, a spokesman for Union Pacific.

"These plaintiffs are apparently thinking that some predecessor companies, through mergers and acquisitions, became Union Pacific," he said. "But we have no connection either legally or morally to what was done 150 years ago under previous owners of those companies."

Representatives for J.P. Morgan Chase and WestPoint Stevens did not return calls.

The lawsuit was filed in Galveston, a former slave port chosen symbolically since the Emancipation Proclamation was first read in Texas there.

Previous lawsuits aimed at participants in the slave trade have not won restitution, although a lawsuit two years ago against Aetna Corp. elicited an apology from the company.

The lawsuit filed yesterday is similar to those filed in California and New York last year. All seek damages from companies that profited from slavery, including insurance companies, transportation firms and, in New York, a bank founded by a slave trader.

They also name numerous "John Doe" defendants, whose identities are not currently known.

"This suit is based on those in California," Mr. Bledsoe said. "But we are stressing reconciliation and those were more financial, which seems to be an issue that is much more controversial. The bigger issue now is how to heal this nation."

If It Makes You Happy

Frankly, I don't know why anybody listens to actors about anything other than acting. Since when does the ability to fake emotions on cue like a sociopath make one an expert on anything?

Click me baby, click me so hard it hurts!

This message last edited by Literatedog on 1/24/2003 at 7:47:48 AM.

Click me baby, click me so hard it hurts!
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Texas suit targets 100 companies tied to slave trade - 24/01/2003 07:32:28 AM 262 Views
does not click! - 24/01/2003 07:35:30 AM 34 Views
good lord - 24/01/2003 12:15:04 PM 27 Views
i will not, you are incorrect - 24/01/2003 07:46:02 PM 19 Views
... - 24/01/2003 08:06:37 PM 19 Views
you dont know me and i dont know you - 24/01/2003 08:48:06 PM 23 Views
Exactly - 24/01/2003 09:03:53 PM 13 Views
sure why not - 24/01/2003 09:18:12 PM 13 Views
interesting.... - 24/01/2003 07:37:23 AM 38 Views
i'm not sure if they acted within the law - 24/01/2003 07:39:35 AM 26 Views
Well for one thing, these aren't actual slaves. - 24/01/2003 07:54:45 AM 24 Views
*nods* excellent points *NM* - 24/01/2003 08:01:33 AM 4 Views
The Nazi's were breaking international law and committing war crimes - 24/01/2003 08:21:04 AM 22 Views
time is the issue - 24/01/2003 08:26:26 AM 22 Views
Not really - 24/01/2003 08:48:28 AM 25 Views
I respectfully disagree *NM* - 24/01/2003 06:15:16 PM 4 Views
Feel free - 26/01/2003 02:28:37 AM 7 Views
meh - 26/01/2003 09:45:42 PM 5 Views
The gap in time is a secondary issue - 24/01/2003 09:44:28 AM 11 Views
silly - 24/01/2003 08:17:16 AM 25 Views
why is this necessary? - 24/01/2003 08:19:00 AM 22 Views
well, 'cause i assume a couple of white guys.... - 24/01/2003 08:21:05 AM 21 Views
not necessarily. - 24/01/2003 08:43:00 AM 15 Views
well, i do agree with you in that.... - 24/01/2003 05:30:11 PM 7 Views
i am most disagreeable. - 24/01/2003 05:42:25 PM 6 Views
Any bets on whether the Honorable Gary Bledsoe... - 24/01/2003 08:51:23 AM 23 Views
no doubt he's working pro's all about healing, after all *NM* - 24/01/2003 11:39:49 AM 10 Views
Those laywers - such idealists the lot of 'em. *NM* - 24/01/2003 12:19:57 PM 7 Views
LOL - 24/01/2003 05:31:26 PM 10 Views
I have one question... - 24/01/2003 10:07:36 AM 24 Views
*shrugs™* - 24/01/2003 05:33:14 PM 8 Views
I agree with you, Lit-Dog. - 24/01/2003 11:14:26 AM 18 Views
Re: Texas suit targets 100 companies tied to slave trade - 24/01/2003 11:23:34 AM 13 Views
Theres a reason that there is a staute of Limitations. *NM* - 24/01/2003 12:06:58 PM 7 Views
Think - 24/01/2003 12:37:06 PM 29 Views
While I don't doubt for a minute that you subscribe to the... - 24/01/2003 01:03:06 PM 21 Views
Tis true - 24/01/2003 01:30:35 PM 15 Views
If they were smart... - 24/01/2003 01:45:49 PM 12 Views
Ahem - read more carefully.... - 24/01/2003 01:50:38 PM 16 Views
My understanding though... - 24/01/2003 01:54:57 PM 11 Views
Well.... - 24/01/2003 02:00:55 PM 11 Views
Hmmm..... - 24/01/2003 01:07:12 PM 18 Views
a few minor points. - 24/01/2003 01:28:54 PM 14 Views
The South is far from the only bed of Racism. - 24/01/2003 01:49:36 PM 10 Views
which explains - 24/01/2003 01:51:57 PM 10 Views
It also might explain... - 24/01/2003 01:56:12 PM 13 Views
i am jack's complete lack of surprise. - 24/01/2003 01:58:43 PM 10 Views
don't worry darlin', i do think - 24/01/2003 06:41:59 PM 10 Views
Oi vay - 24/01/2003 08:12:31 PM 8 Views
so if i don't agree with you.... - 24/01/2003 08:28:29 PM 8 Views
You must agree with me.... - 24/01/2003 08:49:32 PM 13 Views
hehehe, another topic it is! - 25/01/2003 07:24:16 PM 6 Views
I just don't see why they'd try, they can't possibly win. *NM* - 24/01/2003 02:05:50 PM 4 Views
Things like this - 24/01/2003 05:46:46 PM 17 Views
I agree with you darlin' - 24/01/2003 05:53:47 PM 10 Views