Monthly Archives: June 2012

HBCU Money™ Histronomics: H.R. 40 – Commission to Study Reparation Proposals for African Americans Act


The bill was written and introduced by Congressman John Conyers (D-MI) in January 1989. It was been met with resistance by both Democrats and Republicans.

A BILL

To acknowledge the fundamental injustice, cruelty, brutality, and inhumanity of slavery in the United States and the 13 American colonies between 1619 and 1865 and to establish a commission to examine the institution of slavery, subsequently de jure and de facto racial and economic discrimination against African-Americans, and the impact of these forces on living African-Americans, to make recommendations to the Congress on appropriate remedies, and for other purposes.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

This Act may be cited as the ‘Commission to Study Reparation Proposals for African-Americans Act’.

SEC. 2. FINDINGS AND PURPOSE.

(a) Findings- The Congress finds that–

(1) approximately 4,000,000 Africans and their descendants were enslaved in the United States and colonies that became the United States from 1619 to 1865;

(2) the institution of slavery was constitutionally and statutorily sanctioned by the Government of the United States from 1789 through 1865;

(3) the slavery that flourished in the United States constituted an immoral and inhumane deprivation of Africans’ life, liberty, African citizenship rights, and cultural heritage, and denied them the fruits of their own labor; and

(4) sufficient inquiry has not been made into the effects of the institution of slavery on living African-Americans and society in the United States.

(b) Purpose- The purpose of this Act is to establish a commission to–

(1) examine the institution of slavery which existed from 1619 through 1865 within the United States and the colonies that became the United States, including the extent to which the Federal and State Governments constitutionally and statutorily supported the institution of slavery;

(2) examine de jure and de facto discrimination against freed slaves and their descendants from the end of the Civil War to the present, including economic, political, and social discrimination;

(3) examine the lingering negative effects of the institution of slavery and the discrimination described in paragraph (2) on living African-Americans and on society in the United States;

(4) recommend appropriate ways to educate the American public of the Commission’s findings;

(5) recommend appropriate remedies in consideration of the Commission’s findings on the matters described in paragraphs (1) and (2); and

(6) submit to the Congress the results of such examination, together with such recommendations.

SEC. 3. ESTABLISHMENT AND DUTIES.

(a) Establishment- There is established the Commission to Study Reparation Proposals for African-Americans (hereinafter in this Act referred to as the ‘Commission’).

(b) Duties- The Commission shall perform the following duties:

(1) Examine the institution of slavery which existed within the United States and the colonies that became the United States from 1619 through 1865. The Commission’s examination shall include an examination of–

(A) the capture and procurement of Africans;

(B) the transport of Africans to the United States and the colonies that became the United States for the purpose of enslavement, including their treatment during transport;

(C) the sale and acquisition of Africans as chattel property in interstate and instrastate commerce; and

(D) the treatment of African slaves in the colonies and the United States, including the deprivation of their freedom, exploitation of their labor, and destruction of their culture, language, religion, and families.

(2) Examine the extent to which the Federal and State governments of the United States supported the institution of slavery in constitutional and statutory provisions, including the extent to which such governments prevented, opposed, or restricted efforts of freed African slaves to repatriate to their homeland.

(3) Examine Federal and State laws that discriminated against freed African slaves and their descendants during the period between the end of the Civil War and the present.

(4) Examine other forms of discrimination in the public and private sectors against freed African slaves and their descendants during the period between the end of the Civil War and the present.

(5) Examine the lingering negative effects of the institution of slavery and the matters described in paragraphs (1), (2), (3), and (4) on living African-Americans and on society in the United States.

(6) Recommend appropriate ways to educate the American public of the Commission’s findings.

(7) Recommend appropriate remedies in consideration of the Commission’s findings on the matters described in paragraphs (1), (2), (3), and (4). In making such recommendations, the Commission shall address among other issues, the following questions:

(A) Whether the Government of the United States should offer a formal apology on behalf of the people of the United States for the perpetration of gross human rights violations on African slaves and their descendants.

(B) Whether African-Americans still suffer from the lingering effects of the matters described in paragraphs (1), (2), (3), and (4).

(C) Whether, in consideration of the Commission’s findings, any form of compensation to the descendants of African slaves is warranted.

(D) If the Commission finds that such compensation is warranted, what should be the amount of compensation, what form of compensation should be awarded, and who should be eligible for such compensation.

(c) Report to Congress- The Commission shall submit a written report of its findings and recommendations to the Congress not later than the date which is one year after the date of the first meeting of the Commission held pursuant to section 4(c).

SEC. 4. MEMBERSHIP.

(a) Number and Appointment- (1) The Commission shall be composed of 7 members, who shall be appointed, within 90 days after the date of enactment of this Act, as follows:

(A) Three members shall be appointed by the President.

(B) Three members shall be appointed by the Speaker of the House of Representatives.

(C) One member shall be appointed by the President pro tempore of the Senate.

(2) All members of the Commission shall be persons who are especially qualified to serve on the Commission by virtue of their education, training, or experience, particularly in the field of African-American studies.

(b) Terms- The term of office for members shall be for the life of the Commission. A vacancy in the Commission shall not affect the powers of the Commission, and shall be filled in the same manner in which the original appointment was made.

(c) First Meeting- The President shall call the first meeting of the Commission within 120 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, or within 30 days after the date on which legislation is enacted making appropriations to carry out this Act, whichever date is later.

(d) Quorum- Four members of the Commission shall constitute a quorum, but a lesser number may hold hearings.

(e) Chair and Vice Chair- The Commission shall elect a Chair and Vice Chair from among its members. The term of office of each shall be for the life of the Commission.

(f) Compensation- (1) Except as provided in paragraph (2), each member of the Commission shall receive compensation at the daily equivalent of the annual rate of basic pay payable for GS-18 of the General Schedule under section 5332 of title 5, United States Code, for each day, including travel time, during which he or she is engaged in the actual performance of duties vested in the Commission.

(2) A member of the Commission who is a full-time officer or employee of the United States or a Member of Congress shall receive no additional pay, allowances, or benefits by reason of his or her service to the Commission.

(3) All members of the Commission shall be reimbursed for travel, subsistence, and other necessary expenses incurred by them in the performance of their duties to the extent authorized by chapter 57 of title 5, United States Code.

SEC. 5. POWERS OF THE COMMISSION.

(a) Hearings and Sessions- The Commission may, for the purpose of carrying out the provisions of this Act, hold such hearings and sit and act at such times and at such places in the United States, and request the attendance and testimony of such witnesses and the production of such books, records, correspondence, memoranda, papers, and documents, as the Commission considers appropriate. The Commission may request the Attorney General to invoke the aid of an appropriate United States district court to require, by subpoena or otherwise, such attendance, testimony, or production.

(b) Powers of Subcommittees and Members- Any subcommittee or member of the Commission may, if authorized by the Commission, take any action which the Commission is authorized to take by this section.

(c) Obtaining Official Data- The Commission may acquire directly from the head of any department, agency, or instrumentality of the executive branch of the Government, available information which the Commission considers useful in the discharge of its duties. All departments, agencies, and instrumentalities of the executive branch of the Government shall cooperate with the Commission with respect to such information and shall furnish all information requested by the Commission to the extent permitted by law.

SEC. 6. ADMINISTRATIVE PROVISIONS.

(a) Staff- The Commission may, without regard to section 5311(b) of title 5, United States Code, appoint and fix the compensation of such personnel as the Commission considers appropriate.

(b) Applicability of Certain Civil Service Laws- The staff of the Commission may be appointed without regard to the provisions of title 5, United States Code, governing appointments in the competitive service, and without regard to the provisions of chapter 51 and subchapter III of chapter 53 of such title relating to classification and General Schedule pay rates, except that the compensation of any employee of the Commission may not exceed a rate equal to the annual rate of basic pay payable for GS-18 of the General Schedule under section 5332 of title 5, United States Code.

(c) Experts and Consultants- The Commission may procure the services of experts and consultants in accordance with the provisions of section 3109(b) of title 5, United States Code, but at rates for individuals not to exceed the daily equivalent of the highest rate payable under section 5332 of such title.

(d) Administrative Support Services- The Commission may enter into agreements with the Administrator of General Services for procurement of financial and administrative services necessary for the discharge of the duties of the Commission. Payment for such services shall be made by reimbursement from funds of the Commission in such amounts as may be agreed upon by the Chairman of the Commission and the Administrator.

(e) Contracts- The Commission may–

(1) procure supplies, services, and property by contract in accordance with applicable laws and regulations and to the extent or in such amounts as are provided in appropriations Acts; and

(2) enter into contracts with departments, agencies, and instrumentalities of the Federal Government, State agencies, and private firms, institutions, and agencies, for the conduct of research or surveys, the preparation of reports, and other activities necessary for the discharge of the duties of the Commission, to the extent or in such amounts as are provided in appropriations Acts.

SEC. 7. TERMINATION.

The Commission shall terminate 90 days after the date on which the Commission submits its report to the Congress under section 3(c).

SEC. 8. AUTHORIZATION OF APPROPRIATIONS.

To carry out the provisions of this Act, there are authorized to be appropriated $8,000,000.

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Donor Stars – Bring ‘Em Out Bring ‘Em Out


“If everyone is thinking alike, then somebody isn’t thinking.” – General George S. Patton

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Many years ago working in the research and development office for a certain HBCU that was in the midst of what was supposed to be a five year capital campaign to raise $30 million. Around the same time the University of Virginia, an HWCU located in Virginia, had a goal to raise $30 million per month. Instead, we were in year six with no real certainty that it was going to end. What made the situation even stranger to me was that money “pledged” counted toward the goal. This is not totally abnormal when donors pledge large amounts of money. They typically set up payment plans over a set number of years. My problem was we weren’t really raising a large amount of money so therefore there was very little reason the money we were asking for could not have been received within a very small windows of time, two to three years at most. In the end it was unclear whether we ever reached the goal or the president just decided we’d been at it long enough and to not be embarrassed we released a presser saying we’d exceeded our goal – despite going into the extra year still not having raised the goal.

HBCUs have a donor image problem. This is to say that we at times are overly concerned about where and who the money comes from. There is an old saying that beggars shouldn’t be choosy. HBCU endowments at best are in the range of $1.5 to $2 billion dollars combined spread out over 100 plus schools meanwhile the top 10 HWCUs have a combined $120 billion in endowment capital according to NACUBO. Yet, going back to the HBCU where I was working at the time a local pro NBA player, who had only a high school diploma had just signed a $98 million contract, I suggested we create an off season degree program for him to make him an alum of the school so that we could then court him for major donations. There was also the local music mogul whose financial origins while questionable had been given his own day by the mayor of a major American city. Easily these two gentleman combined could have donated in one day what was taking us one year to raise. Along with that the media recognition that both of these gentlemen would have brought through their various media outlets would have been a significant boom to recruitment. Did we ask either gentleman for money? No. When I pressed about this the response was that they’d neither thought about asking or didn’t like the reputation of that person. Instead, we took $25,000 from a pastor whose church is attended by the said music mogul and also happen to have bought the pastor a Bentley. It did wonders for recruiting new members from our HBCU to his church but very little in the way of impacting our bottom line.

Eighteen of the world’s 100 highest paid athletes are of African descent with no affiliation to a college. They have earned $390 million after taxes over the past twelve months. Couple that with twenty of the highest earning hip-hop acts who earned approximately $150 million after taxes in 2011. That is a combined $540 million income which should be kept in some perspective. The top twenty five hedge fund managers (all European American) in 2011 earned a combined $22 billion. I’ve always said we are overly “invested” in entertainment be it sport or otherwise. Well paid labor but labor none the less. All that said we need to focus on what we do have and that is $540 million annually. The added benefit of these thirty eight being highly visible to the media can close the total benefit gap. The total benefit is measured by adding the social plus economic plus political benefit of a person’s donation of resources to an institution. While a hedge fund manager could donate $100 million without blinking an eye. They are not well known to most 12-18 year olds especially not African American teenagers who are HBCUs primary target demographic. A well publicized donation by someone like Jay-Z, T.I., C.C. Sabathia, or LeBron James for $1 million might not have the immediate impact of $100 million, it would certainly lay a large influence to teenagers of African descent choosing the school. Currently, only 10-13% of African American high school graduates who choose to go to college are choosing HBCUs. The implications of this have been long and wide and constitute an entire article in its own right. Having a donor who is a popular figure as your spokesperson and as a donor would cause a long range ripple effect in our community.

The gap between the economics and power of African American institutions vs. the other four Diaspora (Arab, Asian, European, & Latino) institutions of all sorts is not shrinking its growing. To continue to mimic the behavior or “speed” of a group such as European American institutions who have 50 times your median net worth on the individual level and over 100 times your economic value on an institutional level is simply maddening. Given the economic origins of the wealth of such families as Kennedy, Bush, and many other European American families and absolute unwillingness for European Americans to consider reparations for slavery there is no sense in us being prude about which African Americans we take investment from. Lest we forget that almost 50% of the world’s GDP comes from the illicit economy. We need money from all of African America and from most of the African Diaspora just to give ourselves a fighting chance.

The leadership at HBCUs has got to get outside of the box and start to recruit these people as donors and find strategic ways to use the person’s media and community presence to our favor. Teacher salaries, student scholarships, research budgets, and infrastructure building is constantly on the fringe because we refuse to engage those with the money and with the social influence to create more alums and ultimately stronger institutions. If these athletes and entertainers can be used by others to enrich themselves then our own community can certainly find a way to put them to use for the strengthening of our nation.

HBCU Money™ B-School: Index Fund


A type of mutual fund with a portfolio constructed to match or track the components of a market index, such as the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index (S&P 500). An index mutual fund is said to provide broad market exposure, low operating expenses and low portfolio turnover.

“Indexing” is a passive form of fund management that has been successful in outperforming most actively managed mutual funds. While the most popular index funds track the S&P 500, a number of other indexes, including the Russell 2000 (small companies), the DJ Wilshire 5000 (total stock market), the MSCI EAFE (foreign stocks in Europe, Australasia, Far East) and the Lehman Aggregate Bond Index (total bond market) are widely used for index funds.

Investing in an index fund is a form of passive investing. The primary advantage to such a strategy is the lower management expense ratio on an index fund. Also, a majority of mutual funds fail to beat broad indexes, such as the S&P 500.

Learn more terms at http://www.investopedia.com/

HBCU Money™ Business Book Feature – Capitalism and Slavery


Slavery helped finance the Industrial Revolution in England. Plantation owners, shipbuilders, and merchants connected with the slave trade accumulated vast fortunes that established banks and heavy industry in Europe and expanded the reach of capitalism worldwide.

Eric Williams advanced these powerful ideas in Capitalism and Slavery, published in 1944. Years ahead of its time, his profound critique became the foundation for studies of imperialism and economic development. Binding an economic view of history with strong moral argument, Williams’s study of the role of slavery in financing the Industrial Revolution refuted traditional ideas of economic and moral progress and firmly established the centrality of the African slave trade in European economic development. He also showed that mature industrial capitalism in turn helped destroy the slave system. Establishing the exploitation of commercial capitalism and its link to racial attitudes, Williams employed a historicist vision that set the tone for future studies. In a new introduction, Colin Palmer assesses the lasting impact of Williams’s groundbreaking work and analyzes the heated scholarly debates it generated when it first appeared.

HBCU Money™ B-School: Private Equity


Equity capital that is not quoted on a public exchange. Private equity consists of investors and funds that make investments directly into private companies or conduct buyouts of public companies that result in a delisting of public equity. Capital for private equity is raised from retail and institutional investors, and can be used to fund new technologies, expand working capital within an owned company, make acquisitions, or to strengthen a balance sheet.

The majority of private equity consists of institutional investors and accredited investors who can commit large sums of money for long periods of time. Private equity investments often demand long holding periods to allow for a turnaround of a distressed company or a liquidity event such as an IPO or sale to a public company.

The size of the private equity market has grown steadily since the 1970s. Private equity firms will sometimes pool funds together to take very large public companies private. Many private equity firms conduct what are known as leveraged buyouts (LBOs), where large amounts of debt are issued to fund a large purchase. Private equity firms will then try to improve the financial results and prospects of the company in the hope of reselling the company to another firm or cashing out via an IPO.

Learn more terms at http://www.investopedia.com/