Published May 02, 2002
NEWARK, N.J. – An insurance company, a railroad and a bank are the latest defendants named in a lawsuit that seeks slave reparations.
A New Jersey man has filed suit against the three companies asserting that they benefited from slave labor.
Richard E. Barber, Jr., a graduate of North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University, said his ancestors lived in Trenton, N.J., where Norfolk Southern Railroad, New York Life Insurance and private bank Brown Brothers Harriman and Company in New York all profited from their unpaid service.
His is the second suit in as many months arguing that descendants of African slaves should receive compensation as a consequence of the slave labor trade. The first suit, in which a woman filed a $1.4 trillion claim against Aetna, Fleet Boston, and CSX Railroad, among others, says the firms profited from their ties to slave labor, including through claims on life insurance policies for slaves in their employ.
Barber, a resident of Somerset, asserts that there is no time limit on justice for crimes against humanity. His lawyers say their client and up to 37 million others whose ancestors were slaves lag behind whites as a result of the earlier era of discrimination.
Blacks "lag behind whites according to every social yardstick: literacy, life expectancy, income and education," the lawsuit said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.