Why do black Americans still pay taxes?

Feb 24 '18 | By Kemet1luv

It’s 2018, 154 years since the ‘abolishment of slavery’, and the descendants of the worst atrocity in U.S. and world history, chattel slavery, are still paying taxes to the very system of government that destroyed their way of life. Without ever being repaired in the physical & fiscal form, every year black Americans openly, willingly, and foolishly pay the U.S. government more than $485 Billion in federal & state taxes.

The sum that black Americans pay in total taxes is equal to the entire GDP of the nations of Dubai ($378 billion), Israel ($348 Billion), Poland ($469 Billion), Hong Kong ($334 Billion), and Iran ($427 Billion); this is an absurd and a disproportionate burden on our people, and should be challenged immediately.

Black Americans have never and will never receive the proper representation from paying taxes in a society that rather spend $1 million on a single dog park, yet cuts the federal housing budget by billions for needy families. This is called ‘taxation without representation’. In addition, the unconstitutional establishment of the ‘Internal Revenue Service’ has allowed the U.S. government to use Black tax revenue to fund every wasteful spending venture imaginable.  

The Black American tax-payer has become the personal piggy bank and financiers of white supremacy, and subsequently their own demise.

Although Black Americans live with the highest level of poverty, the lowest earning potential, worst schools, worst judicial system , and poor quality civic services, they still feel compelled to comply with the ‘tax code’ as its written, and continue to voluntarily supply the necessary funding to advance their oppressors white supremacy agendas.

Within the past 10 years Black American tax-payers have paid enough in state & federal taxes to pay-in-full for every war the United States has fought in the last 150 years.

Many Black Americans have no understanding of the history of black taxation in the U.S., and have been taught that freed black slaves received reparations in the form of ’40 acres of land & a mule’, some were even taught that Blacks who were not slaves largely enjoyed the same set of rights and privileges as their White counterparts until Jim Crow. Both of these beliefs are incorrect.

To provide the proper historic context for the discussion of the taxation of Blacks in America we must review the prevalent public perception of so-called ‘free Blacks’ through the lens of judicial opinions and legislative acts.

Lawmakers & tax collectors often characterized free Blacks as a class unworthy of envy, lazy and incapable of self-care, destined to live in a state of squalor and degeneracy far below the state of the slave, and fated to create a burden on society as a whole. By the end of the Revolutionary War, lawyers & judges alike openly stated that free Blacks were immoral and posed a danger to societal and economic interests.

These opinions and resulting laws make it clear that slave states and free states regarded free Blacks as an “evil” to be avoided.  The intensity of these beliefs varied from state to state, but they formed the backdrop against which states passed all manner of laws concerning free Black people, including, tax legislation.


John Dickinson’s Letters from a Farmer in Pennsylvania was the most widely read pamphlet in the period leading up to the Revolutionary War. In a series of letters, Dickinson articulated the reasons why the taxes the British imposed on the colonies were unjust. He concluded one of those letters with the following message:

“Those who are taxed without their own consent, given by themselves, or their representatives, are slaves. We are taxed without our own consent, given by ourselves or our representatives. We are therefore—I speak with grief—I speak with indignation—we are slaves.”

The primary purpose of taxation is to raise public revenue. In this regard, the tax policies governing slaves differed little throughout U.S. history. States often made no distinction between the races when taxing personal and real property. This process allowed states to substantially tax holdings of free Blacks without offering any form of representation.

The best example of this unfair taxation and burden on Blacks was the ‘Freedom Tax’. They used the ‘Freedom Tax’ to discourage the growth of the free Black population. Blacks could have their freedom, provided they paid actual taxes in various incarnations. The ‘Freedom Tax’ was a fact of life for free Blacks in most states.

Maryland v. Dorsey - provides an absurd example of unfair taxation of Blacks—Maryland’s first inheritance tax—constituted a freedom tax. Maryland sued the executor of an estate for 2.5 percent of the slaves ‘appraised value.  The Maryland Court of Appeals summarily reiterating slaves’ firm status as property under Maryland law. The court’s characterization of slaves and freed Blacks as property further reiterated the law requiring those who inherited slaves to pay 2.5 percent of the slaves’ appraised value—around $400— today’s equivalent of about $10,000 - to the State within thirteen months or risk losing their property (slave) or  entire estate.

Most slaves were left with burden of paying this tax themselves, or worked to repay their former masters the tax in the fields.

The Maryland court of appeals expounded on the soundness of its holding:

“But is there, in point of fact, any injustice or hardship in this tax? Or, have freed slaves any right to complain of it? We think not. . . .”

Maryland’s inheritance tax was not the only incarnation of a ‘Freedom Tax’. Many municipalities in throughout the United States imposed taxes on free Blacks that they did not impose on Whites. For example, St. Augustine, Florida imposed a $3 tax on all free Black males and a $1.50 tax on all free Black females who stayed in the city for a period of two weeks or longer.

Some states imposed special ‘free Black taxes’. Virginia, for instance, imposed a special tax on free Blacks to raise funds to transplant them to Liberia “as soon as practicably possible.” In addition to taxing freedom, this tax actively sought to fund the forced removal of free Blacks from the state.

The ‘Poll Tax’ was the most direct freedom tax states imposed. The Poll tax was not directly tied to the act of voting. Poll taxes—also known as a head and capitation taxes—are simply fixed taxes levied on each person within a jurisdiction. Poll taxes were a flat income tax of sorts—if you resided in the state, county, or municipality that imposed the tax, you had to pay it.

Well before the Fourteenth Amendment rendered the practice unconstitutional, states routinely levied poll taxes on their inhabitants in an unequal manner based on race. For example, Alabama’s 1852 Poll tax established the following rates:

• “On every white male inhabitant between the ages of twenty-one and forty-five years; fifty cents.

• “On every male free negro between twenty-one and fifty years of age; two dollars.

• “On every female free negroe between twenty-one and Forty-five years of age; one dollar.”

And Mississippi levied similar poll taxes:

• “A poll tax of forty cents on each free white male person, between the ages of twenty-one and fifty years.

• “A poll tax of one dollar on every free, colored male person, between the ages of twenty-one and fifty years.”

To add insult to injury, some free Blacks who failed to pay taxes became quasi-slaves through states’ debt collection schemes. Taking a cue from slave states, the sheriff could force individuals who did not pay these taxes to work on the highways to pay the taxes.

Other states enforced a ‘School Tax’ which forced newly freed Black slaves to pay a tax in order to attend segregated ‘Blacks only schools’.  Black schools were commonly found in the most deplorable condition, often lacking a roof atop its school house’s, and books to read. Ohio, the Free State with the largest Black population outside of New England and the Mid-Atlantic, initially gave free Blacks a partial exemption from the school tax.

In 1847, Illinois made special provisions to return the school taxes taken from free Blacks. And in 1851, Iowa exempted all of the property belonging to free Blacks “from taxation for school purposes.” Indiana exempted free Blacks from paying school taxes in 1853. Kansas did not exempt free Blacks from paying school taxes, but it specified that any taxes collected from free Blacks should be used to educate the children of free Blacks.


In 1780 a group of free Blacks from Massachusetts petitioned the state’s House of Representatives to be exempt from paying poll and property taxes. They mentioned several reasons why such an exemption would be expedient, but a strong undercurrent of “no taxation without representation” ran throughout the petition:

“The petition of several poor negroes and mulattoes, who are inhabitants of the town of Dartmouth, humbly showeth:

That we being chiefly of the African extract, and by reason of long bondage and hard slavery, we have been deprived of enjoying the profits of our labor or the advantage of inheriting estates from our parents, as our neighbors the white people do, having some of us not long enjoyed our own freedom; yet of late, contrary to the invariable custom and practice of the country, we have been, and now are, taxed both in our polls and that small pittance of estate which, through much hard labor and industry, we have got together to sustain ourselves and families with all. We apprehend it, therefore, to be hard usage, and will doubtless (if continued) reduce us to a state of beggary, whereby we shall become a burthen to others, if not timely prevented by the interposition of your justice and power.

Your petitioners further show, that we apprehend ourselves to be aggrieved, in that, while we are not allowed the privilege of freemen of the State, having no vote or influence in the election of those that tax us, yet many of our color (as is well known) have cheerfully entered the field of battle in the defense of the common cause, and that (as we conceive) against a similar exertion of power (in regard to taxation) too well known to need a recital in this place.

We most humble request, therefore, that you would take our unhappy case into your serious consideration, and, in your wisdom and power, grant us relief from taxation, while under our present depressed circumstances . . . .”

This petition was unsuccessful—the racist white supremacist in the House of Representatives took no actions to exempt either the petitioners or free Blacks as a class from taxation.

Although in 1815 a group of property-owning free Blacks filed a similar petition with Connecticut’s general assembly. Like the Massachusetts petitioners, these men DID NOT ask for the right to vote. Instead, they sought a TAX EXEMPTION, again appealing to the revolutionary mantra of “no taxation without representation.” Additional groups of Connecticut free Blacks filed similar petitions, and the state finally exempted the property of free persons of color from taxation in 1844.

These petitions did not enjoy unanimous support within the Black community. ‘The Colored American’, a New York newspaper run by free Blacks, ran an editorial criticizing Rhode Island’s Blacks for their successful petition to be relieved of taxation if the state would not extend the right to vote to them. The editorial characterized the move as “bad policy, calculated most successfully to defeat their objective” of obtaining the legal right to vote.  It expressed the view that exempting Blacks from taxation provided Whites “with a pretense to withhold . . . the elective franchise.” The paper feared that Whites would make the following argument:

“Why, we have released them from taxation as an offset, at their request; what more do they want? They ought to be satisfied.”

There has not been a successful Black tax rebellion since...


To paraphrase the classic white law maker, Blacks in America were and are still considered ‘idle beings’, incapable of earning a living, and a burden on the state... Since the white supremacist law maker has openly admitted on record that the taxing blacks would result in an imagined unequal burden on the State, then, why not immediately provide 'tax exempt status' to ALL Black Americans and their estates??? 

For states deciding whether to impose additional taxes on black Americans today is not a difficult task. Under the current system of white supremacy economically handicapping Blacks feeds the popular narrative that blacks need assistance to feed, cloth, and house themselves; blacks struggle to obtain these necessities. And in a purely economic sense, this is partly true throughout much of the United States given the fact that the average black worker earns significantly less than his White counterpart.

Based on this data (Click here for additional Data), the average Black worker would need a substantial amount of wealth to pay taxes at its current level and still live a comfortable life; or even expect to catch up with the average white workers quality of life.

If current income levels and tax rates remain the same for blacks, and taxes paid by black Americans to the U.S. government were solely used to take care of the needs of blacks, the government would be able to pay for all of the services that Black Americans use, and still have an additional surplus of $35 Billion dollars each year to fund the education of 8 million school age black children from k-12th grade.

U.S. Budget vs. Race Use of Government Services (2014):

Social Security - Whites Use 84.07% (of total budget) or $1060.96 Billion

Medicare - Whites Use 76% (of total budget) or $383.90 Billion

Medicaid - Whites Use 39.06% (of total budget) or $185.93 Billion

Welfare - Whites Use 38.8% (of total budget) or $183.14 Billion

Social Security - Blacks Use 9.31% (of total budget) or $117.5 Billion

MedicareBlacks Use 10% (of total budget) or $50.5 Billion

MedicaidBlacks Use 19.9% (of total budget) or $94.72 Billion

Welfare - Blacks Use 39.8% (of total budget) or $187.86 Billion

The current tax burden that Blacks in America carry each year is crushing our people financially, and should be removed immediately. Consequently providing ‘Tax Exempt’ status to ALL Black Americans who are paying taxes in any capacity, rather local, state, or federal, would provide an immediate form of financial reparations. 

As it stands the current tax burden on the backs of Blacks is more desirable to white Americans, as opposed to an increase in the Black population’s wealth. Since Blacks pay less than 9% of the total taxes collected in the U.S. this sum can be raised easily in other areas of government, and or alleviated. State & federal taxes today do not succeed in truly benefiting Black Americans, but they instead helped slow their financial & social growth. The taxation of Blacks is greatest form of sabotage to the Black community and should be the cornerstone of any future rebellion.

Reference Link for this article CLICK HERE



No comments
You need to sign in to comment

Related Articles

Enter your twitter handle.
Enter your Google Plus profile or page ID (e.g., 103708169695782281000).
Enter your Facebook page username.
Black Conscious Dating Community! Kemetklique.com is an exclusive niche dating community for culturally and socially conscious black people. Conscious black singles are online now in our active community. Kemetklique.com is designed for dating, sharing conscious thought, building strong relationships, and friendships. Join Kemetklique.com today and meet other conscious black singles and your compatible match. Kemetklique.com brings black love and online dating together! Ankh Udja Seneb. Ase.
Password protected photo
Password protected photo
Password protected photo
Support Us