Reparations – Dr. King expressed the belief that African Americans should get repaid somewhat for slavery. It was a sign of a more radical King.
“At the very same time that America refused to give the Negro any land,” King argues, “through an act of Congress our government was giving away millions of acres of land in the West and the Midwest, which meant it was willing to undergird its white peasants from Europe with an economic floor.” Building a full head of steam, King rolls his rhetoric down the track of just compensation for blacks by contrasting even more sharply the unequal treatment of the races in education, agriculture, and subsidies.
“But not only did they give them land,” King’s indictment speeds on, “they built land grant colleges with government money to teach them how to farm. Not only that, they provided county agents to further their expertise in farming. Not only that, they provided low interest rates in order that they could mechanize their farms.”
King links white privilege and governmental support directly to black suffering, and thus underscores the hypocrisy of whites who have been helped demanding that blacks thrive through self-help.
“Now, when we come to Washington in this campaign, we are coming to get our check.”