In 1932, when journalist George Schuyler traveled with Roy Wilkins to report on abuses of black levee workers in Mississippi and Louisiana for the NAACP, he stopped to consult with “Dr. Dumas” in Vidalia, Louisiana. Dumas was later described in Schuyler’s 1966 autobiography, Black and Conservative, as “a former president of the National Medical Association, . . . a distinguished, courtly, and wealthy mulatto who owned a large white mansion atop a double terrace, six blocks of downtown real estate and a big plantation. He was one of a considerable number of Negroes in the vicinity who were planters and slaveholders before the Civil War. . . .”
During the Great Depression, Dr. Dumas was doing quite well, thanks to inherited wealth from slave ownership.
Those like Dumas and his descendants, however, do not figure in calls for reparations, which, according to Robin Rue Simmons, are needed to make up for “the massive intergenerational economic devastation inflicted by slavery.” Simmons, a