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Reparations and HR-40: Is this Biden’s Emancipation Proclamation Moment?

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Comments and Commentary by Dr. Ron Daniels

It may be difficult for President Biden to win a second term without a record turn-out by Black voters. But with a record turn-out of Black voters a decisive victory over the Orange man aka Agent Orange and the MAGA MAD insurrectionists is certain.

Fairly or unfairly, unfortunately Black voters, particularly young Black voters are lukewarm on Biden. However, recent polls by the Earn the Black Vote Campaignshow that if Biden would act on reparations by enacting the HR-40 Commission by Executive Order, this bold move would electrify and galvanize young Black voters and a majority of the Black voters who are currently lukewarm to turn out in record numbers. Acting decisively on reparations would be historic, a veritable Emancipation Proclamation moment for President Biden.

Abraham Lincoln, while morally opposed to enslavement, was not initially in favor of an Emancipation Proclamation. Lincoln feared freeing enslaved Africans would alienate some allies needed to defeat the Confederacy and endanger his main objective of preserving the union. But Lincoln eventually calculated that freeing enslaved Africans and enlisting them in the Union Army to fight against the Confederate Army would save the union.  Hence, Lincoln the “reluctant reformer,” issued and signed the Emancipation Proclamation by Executive Order, thereby cementing his legacy as “The Great Emancipator.”

The question, the challenge facing Biden is can he, will he overcome his concern, his fear of alienating White voters who have abandoned the Democratic Party, White voters who he is currently courting, can he, will he overcome his fear to courageously enact HR-40 by Executive Order.  This momentous act would be an Emancipation Proclamation moment for President Biden, one that would motivate Black voters to march on ballot boxes in unprecedented numbers to rescue Biden’s endangered campaign and rescue democracy in America! #BidenTheEmancipator

Dr. Ron Daniels is President of the Institute of the Black World 21st Century, Founder of the Haiti Support Project and Distinguished Lecturer Emeritus, York College City University of New York. His articles and essays appear on the IBW website His weekly radio show Vantage Point can be heard Mondays 3:00 PM – 4:00 PM EST, USA on WBAI, 99.5 FM, Pacifica in New York, streaming live via To send a message, arrange media interviews or speaking engagements, Dr. Daniels can be reached via email at [email protected] 

About the Institute of the Black World 21st Century

IBW 21 is committed to enhancing the capacity of Black communities in the U.S. and globally to achieve cultural, social, economic and political equality and an enhanced quality of life for all marginalized people.

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