- The Washington Times - Saturday, August 17, 2002

Advocates of reparations to black Americans for centuries of enslavement have planned a day of activities today on the National Mall. Touted as the "Millions for Reparations March," it is expected to draw 100,000 people from across the country.

Several streets will be closed to traffic.

Motorists won't be able to drive along Maryland Avenue SW between Independence Avenue and Sixth Street SW from 5 a.m. until 6 p.m. If necessary, police also will close Fourth Street between Constitution and Independence avenues, said D.C. Metropolitan police Officer Stanley Radzilowski. He said the closure would happen only if pedestrian safety is threatened.

The event begins with music at 11:30 a.m. on the Mall at Third Street and Constitution Avenue NW in front of the Capitol. The rally and speeches begin at 1 p.m. and end at 6 p.m.

The demonstration is organized by the National United Front, based in Detroit; the New York-based December 12th Movement, and the Durban 400, which consists of individuals who attended the U.N. Conference on Racism in Durban, South Africa, last year.

Organizers hope to bring attention to a bill drafted in 1989 by U.S. Rep. John Conyers Jr., Michigan Democrat, to study the question of reparations, said Kalonji Olusegun, a founding member of the National Coalition of Blacks for Reparations in America (N'COBRA), which is headquartered in Northwest.

N'COBRA has been advocating for the government to make reparations since 1988.

Mr. Olusegun said members of the Universal Negro Improvement Association, N'COBRA and black farmers will assemble at 8:30 this morning at Lincoln Park on Capitol Hill, where the emancipation of slaves in the District is celebrated each spring. They will then walk to the Mall.

"The trans-Atlantic slave trade and slavery were a crime against humanity," Mr. Olusegun said.

"The posture that America takes is always very important to Europe." making this a very important occasion, he said.

The Millions for Reparations March "is the beginning of the necessary mass mobilization to back whatever legal and legislative actions we take from this point," Mr. Olusegun said.

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