Interestingly, according to some sources, the argument for reparations can be traced back to an order given by General Sherman during his now-infamous slash-and-burn march through the South during the civil war. Apparently Sherman ordered 40 acres of land and a mule to be given to every former slave. The U.S. government never fulfilled this promise, however, and it has been a key part of many of the pro-reparations arguments since that time.
Here are a few links with more detailed information than I could possibly fit here. The first one is really interesting.
Posted 3401 day ago