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Callie House is best known for her efforts to obtain repairs for former slaves and is considered the first leader of the repairs movement among African-American political activists. Callie Guy was born into slavery in Rutherford Country near Nashville, Tennessee. His date of birth is generally supposed to be 1861, but due to the lack of birth acts for slaves, this date is not certain. She was raised in a household that included her widowed mother, sister, and sister’s husband.
In 1883 she married William House, a possible relative of her sister’s husband, and together they had five children. For an occupation, House would pick up laundry from other blacks and white customers to support his family. In the mid-1890s, perhaps spurred on by greater economic opportunity and broader kinship networks, Callie House moved her family to South Nashville.
Freedmen’s Pension Bill: A Plea for American Freedmen began circulating in black communities in central Tennessee. This brochure, which married the idea of financial compensation as a means of rectifying the past exploitation of slavery, Persuada House to get involved in the cause that would become the work of his life.
With the help of Isaiah Dickerson, House founded the National Ex-Slave Mutual Relief, Bounty and Pension Association in 1898 and was appointed secretary of this new organization.
Callie House and Dickerson traveled extensively to southern and border states to gather support for the new organization that would provide relief and services locally while campaigning for reparations nationally.
Eventually, House became the leader of the organization. During its conference tour from 1897 to 1899, the number of members of the association increased by 34,000, mainly thanks to its efforts. In 1900, its nationwide membership was estimated at around 300,000.
And while her efforts to seek meaningful redress were as legitimate then as they are now, she also faced backlash.
Even this past weekend, activists, economists, politicians and public members filled a room in California Science Center in Los Angeles to talk about repairs. The members of the California repair working group, a unique group of its kind, met for their tenth meeting to tackle some of the difficult questions to which they have not yet answered what California must descendants de l’esclavage.
Yet more than 100 years ago, nationwide, the Ex-Slave Pension Association held conventions, elected national officers, and worked to pass congressional legislation supporting reparations for exes. -slaves. The national organization also covered travel expenses for reparations lobbyists and local chapter organizers. Additionally, he corresponded with local chapters, who responded by paying national dues to advance the goal of a reparations bill that would provide monetary compensation to former slaves for their labor in the southern United States. pre-war.
Yet Callie House and her organization faced opposition from African-American leaders and government officials. Booker T. Washington and WEB Du Bois largely ignored the reparations movement, focusing their energy on promoting education and defending equal treatment for African Americans within a white supremacist culture.
Many white Southerners viewed (and continue to view) the reparations movement with suspicion; they viewed Callie House’s organizing efforts as confusing and misleading to African Americans. From a white perspective, there was no way Congress would pass reparations legislation; whites therefore assumed that the organizing efforts of House and Dickerson were defrauding African Americans of their hard-earned money.
Like most black leaders in American history, the US Pensions Bureau began secretly monitoring Callie House and the association. The Comstock Act of 1873 and subsequent revisions gave the U.S. Post Office broad powers to deem mail fraudulent and to deny use of the mail to those involved in fraud or perceived fraud. In 1899, Callie House received notice that the Post Office had issued a fraud order against her and her organization, apparently because they were, according to postal authorities, soliciting money under false pretenses.
In 1916, U.S. Postmaster General AS Burleson sought indictments against association leaders claiming they had obtained money from former slaves through fraudulent circulars proclaiming pensions and reparations were coming. Although the evidence was weak, an all-male white jury convicted Callie House of mail fraud, House was convicted and served time in Jefferson City, Missouri, Penitentiary from November 1917 to August 1918.
After her release from prison, she resumed her job as a laundress in her local community in South Nashville.
Callie House died of cancer in Nashville, Tennessee on June 6, 1928, and is buried in the old Mount Ararat Cemetery in Nashville.
The information in this article was obtained via BlackPast and Tennessee Encyclopedia.