Black leaders rebuke Tuberville stance on reparations, crime

Oct 13, 2022, 10:39 AM | Updated: Oct 14, 2022, 4:22 pm
Jeremy Ellis poses for a photo, Thursday, Oct. 13, 2022, in Marietta , Ga. Ellis is concerned, Repu...

Jeremy Ellis poses for a photo, Thursday, Oct. 13, 2022, in Marietta , Ga. Ellis is concerned, Republican Tommy Tuberville should know or learn more about the long history and struggles of the Black Alabama residents he represents in the U.S. Senate. (AP Photo/Mike Stewart)

(AP Photo/Mike Stewart)

              FILE - Sen. Tommy Tuberville, R-Ala., listens to question during a news conference March 30, 2022, in Washington. Tuberville told people at an election rally Saturday, Oct. 8, in Nevada that Democrats support reparations for the descendants of enslaved people because “they think the people that do the crime are owed that.” His remarks — seen by many as racist and stereotyping Black Americans as people committing crimes — cut deeply for some, especially in and around Africatown, a community in Mobile, Ala., that was founded by descendants of Africans who were illegally smuggled into the United States in 1860 aboard a schooner called the Clotilda. (AP Photo/Mariam Zuhaib, File)
            
              Jeremy Ellis poses for a photo, Thursday, Oct. 13, 2022, in Marietta , Ga. Ellis is concerned, Republican Tommy Tuberville should know or learn more about the long history and struggles of the Black Alabama residents he represents in the U.S. Senate. (AP Photo/Mike Stewart)
            
              U.S. Sen. Tommy Tuberville, R-Ala., is introduced at a rally for former President Donald Trump at the Minden Tahoe Airport in Minden, Nev., Saturday, Oct. 8, 2022. Tuberville says that Democrats support reparations for the descendants of enslaved people because “they think the people that do the crime are owed that.” (AP Photo/Jose Luis Villegas)

As far as Jeremy Ellis is concerned, Republican Tommy Tuberville should know or learn more about the long history and struggles of the Black Alabama residents he represents in the U.S. Senate.

Tuberville told people Saturday at an election rally in Nevada that Democrats support reparations for the descendants of enslaved people because “they think the people that do the crime are owed that.”

His remarks — seen by many as racist and stereotyping Black Americans as people committing crimes — cut deeply for some, especially in and around Africatown, a community in Mobile, Alabama, that was founded by descendants of Africans who were illegally smuggled into the United States in 1860 aboard a schooner called the Clotilda.

The 2019 discovery of the vessel in the muddy waters near Mobile offers the best argument for reparations of some type to the descendants of the enslaved people who survived the long and arduous Atlantic crossing.

“I think that Sen. Tuberville’s comments were misinformed, ignorant in nature and an embarrassment for the state of Alabama,” said Ellis, who now lives in Marietta, Georgia, and is president of the Clotilda Descendants Association.

Before running for the U.S. Senate, Tuberville spent four decades coaching football, including 11 years as the head coach at Auburn University, which is about a three-hour drive northeast of Mobile.

Ellis graduated in 2003 from Auburn’s engineering school and said he attended all of the football team’s home games while at Auburn. Ellis also said he served as a student assistant for the team under Tuberville.

“I think it would suit Sen. Tuberville to visit Africatown,” Ellis said. “It’s an area he is extremely familiar with since he recruited a number of his players there when he was head football coach.”

Tuberville’s remarks about the Democratic Party’s response to perceived rising crime across the nation come just weeks before the Nov. 8 general election, as Republicans seek to regain control of Congress.

“They’re not soft on crime,” Tuberville said of Democrats. “They’re pro-crime. They want crime. They want crime because they want to take over what you got. They want to control what you have. They want reparation because they think the people that do the crime are owed that.”

The first-term senator has not publicly responded to backlash from his words, which have revived the national debate about reparations.

In April 2021, a House panel approved legislation that would create a commission to study the issue. President Joe Biden’s White House said earlier that he backs studying reparation s for Black Americans.

“When they illegally brought my ancestors to the Mobile, Alabama, area a crime was committed,” Ellis told The Associated Press on Tuesday. “And now that we have the actual artifacts, evidence of the crime, I think this is a clear and perfect case study.”

Tuberville’s statements “are the words of a man who is trying to lead a desperation effort to discredit and discount the fact that reparations are owed,” said Darron Patterson, past president of the Clotilda Descendants Association and Ellis’ cousin.

Patterson, who lives in Mobile and says his great-great-grandfather was a slave aboard the Clotilda, criticized Tuberville’s assertions.

“Are you saying the descendants of slaves are the only ones doing crime in this country?” Patterson said. “We’ve got people in Washington that really don’t understand what their job is. We sent you there to do the job. The job is to have America’s best interest at heart. How in the world is America’s best interest at heart when you make a statement that Democrats are for crime and the ones doing the crimes are the ones hollering for reparations?”

Patterson said he plans to meet next week with Tuberville.

Tuberville’s message was directed at the base of MAGA Republicans seeking office and supporters of former President Donald Trump, an ally of Tuberville, according to Ron Daniels, convener of the National African American Reparations Commission.

The remarks present “an Emancipation Proclamation moment” for Biden, a Democrat, to embrace the federal study on reparations and say, “‘I stand on the side of racial justice and racial healing,'” Daniels said.

But Frederick Gooding Jr., an African American studies and honors college professor at Texas Christian University, believes Tuberville was simply “testing the waters.”

“I think this is quite strategic,” Gooding said. “Let’s see where it goes. He’s in a small town in Nevada. We’re a couple years away from the next major national election. He’s leveraging time, pulling some of the rhetoric out piecemeal and in small dosages. Being a successful football coach for so long, strategy literally is his game.”

But what Tuberville said about reparations and crime “doesn’t make any sense,” Gooding added.

“The idea that ‘they want to take over what you got, then control what you have’ stokes fearmongering,” Gooding said. “Then he throws in reparations. Reparations has to do with repairing the human crimes that were committed.”

Data compiled by the FBI shows that crime has slowed in the last year and most crimes are committed by white people, who make up more than 75% of the U.S. population, according to the Census Bureau.

The data was released Oct. 5. It showed violent and property crime generally remained consistent between 2020 and 2021, with a slight decrease in the overall violent crime rate and a 4.3% rise in the murder rate. That’s an improvement over 2020, when the murder rate in the U.S. jumped 29%.

Figures from some of the nation’s largest police departments weren’t included in the FBI report.

An analysis of crime data by The Brennan Center for Justice also shows that the murder rate grew nearly 30% in 2020, rising in cities and rural areas alike.

___

Williams, based in Detroit, is a member of AP’s Race and Ethnicity team.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Shoppers looking for bargains enter an OshKosh children clothing store, Monday, Nov. 21, 2022, in M...
Anne D'Innocenzio and Cora Lewis, Associated Press

Shoppers hunt for deals but inflation makes bargains elusive

Consumers holding out for big deals -- and some much-needed relief from soaring costs on just about everything -- may be disappointed as they head into the busiest shopping season of the year.
15 hours ago
FILE - The Twitter splash page is seen on a digital device, Monday, April 25, 2022, in San Diego.  ...
Associated Press

Musk plans to relaunch Twitter premium service, again

Elon Musk said Friday that Twitter plans to relaunch its premium service that will offer different colored check marks to accounts next week.
15 hours ago
FILE - Attendees at BookExpo America visit the HarperCollins Publishers booth in New York on May 28...
Associated Press

More than 150 agents back striking HarperCollins workers

NEW YORK (AP) — More than 150 literary agents, whose clients include Danielle Jackson, V.E. Schwab and L.A. Chandlar, have signed an open letter to HarperCollins vowing to “omit” the publisher from upcoming book submissions until it reaches an agreement with striking employees. Around 250 entry- and mid-level staff members, from publicists to editorial assistants, […]
15 hours ago
FILE - Basketball Hall of Famer Julius Erving tips his cap to the crowd as he takes the court durin...
Associated Press

Arbitrator will referee Dr. J’s suit against brand developer

DOVER, Del. (AP) — A Delaware judge on Monday halted a lawsuit filed by basketball legend Julius Erving against a brand-development and marketing company, ruling that the dispute must go to arbitration. The lawsuit by the Hall of Fame player known as “Dr. J” stems from a 2016 agreement to sell a majority interest in […]
2 days ago
Associated Press

Apple, Hess fall; Wynn Resorts, Shopify rise

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks that traded heavily or had substantial price changes Monday: Wynn Resorts Ltd., up $3.27 to $78.20. The Chinese gambling haven of Macao tentatively renewed the casino operator’s license, along with several others. Apple Inc., down $3.89 to $144.22. Wall Street is worried that protests and lockdowns in China could continue […]
2 days ago
Associated Press

How major US stock indexes fared Monday 11/28/2022

Stocks fell broadly on Wall Street as protests spread in China calling for President Xi Jinping to step down amid growing anger over severe restrictions imposed as part of his “zero COVID” strategy in the world’s second-largest economy. The S&P 500, the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the Nasdaq fell. Small-company stocks fell more than […]
2 days ago

Sponsored Articles

SHIBA WA...

Medicare open enrollment is here and SHIBA can help!

The SHIBA program – part of the Office of the Insurance Commissioner – is ready to help with your Medicare open enrollment decisions.
Lake Washington Windows...

Choosing Best Windows for Your Home

Lake Washington Windows and Doors is a local window dealer offering the exclusive Leak Armor installation.
Anacortes Christmas Tree...

Come one, come all! Food, Drink, and Coastal Christmas – Anacortes has it all!

Come celebrate Anacortes’ 11th annual Bier on the Pier! Bier on the Pier takes place on October 7th and 8th and features local ciders, food trucks and live music - not to mention the beautiful views of the Guemes Channel and backdrop of downtown Anacortes.
Swedish Cyberknife Treatment...

The revolutionary treatment of Swedish CyberKnife provides better quality of life for majority of patients

There are a wide variety of treatments options available for men with prostate cancer. One of the most technologically advanced treatment options in the Pacific Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform at Swedish Medical Center.
Work at Zum Services...

Seattle Public Schools announces three-year contract with Zum

Seattle Public Schools just announced a three-year contract with a brand-new company to the Pacific Northwest to assist with their student transportation: Zum.
Swedish Cyberknife 900x506...

June is Men’s Health Month: Here’s Why It’s Important To Speak About Your Health

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, men in the United States, on average, die five years earlier than women.
Black leaders rebuke Tuberville stance on reparations, crime