American Descendants of Slavery

American Descendants of Slavery (ADOS) is a term referring to (and a lineage-focused political movement advocating for) descendants of the enslaved Africans in the United States from its colonial period onward. Both concepts grew out of the hashtag #ADOS created by Yvette Carnell and Antonio Moore.[1]

ADOS have made reparations for the system of slavery in the United States a key tenet of their platform.[2] They want colleges, employers and the federal government to prioritize African Americans who descended from American slaves, and they argue that affirmative action policies originally designed to help the descendants of slavery in America have largely been used to benefit other groups.[2]

The American descendants of slavery, they say, should have their own racial category on census forms and college applications, and not be lumped in with others with similar skin color but different historical experiences, namely modern Black African immigrants to the USA and Black immigrants from the Caribbean.[2] One of its founders, Carnell, was a board member of "Progressives for Immigration Reform",[3] described by the Southern Poverty Law Center as an anti-immigration group.[4] The other founder Antonio Moore wrote on liberal think tank Institute for Policy Studies site on economics and race for several years.[5]


Members of American Descendants of Slavery (ADOS) are descendants of enslaved Africans, their captors (European slavers), and the original inhabitants of the North American continent during the time of chattel slavery and the Atlantic slave trade. They are descendants of at least one ancestor who was forced into slavery within the established colonies in North America during the time of chattel slavery. The term "descendants of slavery" was originally coined by Martin Luther King Jr. during the Civil Rights era in the United States of America. The addition of 'American' within the term is used to establish specificity (as there are other countries that also used the forced labor of enslaved people to develop their nation). "American Descendants of Slavery" refers specifically to the descendants of the enslaved people held in captivity in North America during the initial establishment of the United States (from the colonial era onward).

ADOS cannot trace their ancestral roots to any specific country or tribe on the continent of Africa.[6] Their African ancestors were sold into human trafficking (slavery) by African traders on the continent who made a profit from selling their enemies and other unfortunate people to European traffickers (slavers).[7]

Political movement for reparations

The movement intends to correct the view of outsiders by using statistical and historical data and evidence to speak to the reality of modern life for ADOS (formally referred to[by whom?] as African Americans), whose lives have been impacted heavily by social and economic struggles created by chattel slavery, segregation and Jim Crow, the practice of Red Lining, convict leasing, mass incarceration, and discrimination still found in various forms within the structure of the American political and economic system today. The group continues the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. with the continued fight for social and economic justice as it demands reparative justice and the opportunities they have historically been denied within America.

As ADOS explains on its policy page, the group's key objective is for reparations for the descendants of slaves who were held in captivity in the United States as well as a larger Black agenda that demands a "New Deal for Black America."[8] This agenda includes but not limited to lineage-specific set-asides for American descendants of chattel slavery, restoration of the protections of the Voting Rights Act, a minimum of 15 percent of Small Business Association (SBA) loans be distributed ADOS businesses, a multi-billion dollar infrastructure plan targeted to ADOS communities along with financial compensation for benign neglect of those communities by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and federal government, comprehensive prison reform and rehabilitation, a refocused oversight and enforcement for ADOS economic inclusion from American banks, and ADOS college debt forgiveness and health care coverage.[8]

Supporters of ADOS push the issue on social media with the hashtag #ADOS. As a movement #ADOS draws value from the use of social media, and "sets out to shift the dialogue around the identity of what it is to be African American in an effort to move the discussion from melanin"[9] to the lineage of an American population whose ancestors built the wealth of the United States.


The American Descendants of Slavery movement was founded by Yvette Carnell and Antonio Moore.[1]

Carnell runs a weekly political show called "BreakingBrown"[10] and has been an aide for two Democratic politicians, Senator Barbara Boxer and Congressman Robert Marion Berry.[11]

Moore has been a writer for the progressive think tank the Institute for Policy Studies and for the Huffington Post. He was also the producer of the investigative documentary 'Freeway Crack in The System' which was nominated for an Emmy for Outstanding Investigative Journalism: Long Form.[12][13][14]


Hubert Adjei-Kontoh of The Outline opined that "#ADOS has managed to synthesize the black left-wing critique of America's origins with a right-wing belief in the inherent superiority of those who were born in America."[15] Kevin Cokley from the University of Texas at Austin is critical of the organisation's desire to separate the descendants of slaves from African immigrants and encouraged the two groups to be united under an African American identity.[16] Malcolm Nance characterised supporters as trolls, calling them "a mix of [African American] proTrump racists [and] nuts.”[3]

Talib Kweli is critical of the group because he believes they are aligned with the Republican party against immigration[3] and Shireen Mitchell stated the group was making it easier for black voters to justify voting for Donald Trump.[2] Farah Stockman questioned in November 2019 whether the movement was large enough to warrant discussion on a national level but decided to print an article about the group in The New York Times.[17]

Alvin Bernard Tillery, Jr., an associate professor at Northwestern University, states that the issues ADOS raised on who should receive reparations will have to be reflected upon by the black community.[3] William A. Darity Jr. believes the ADOS' premise is based on a distinctive ethnic identity that exists among the descendants of American slaves.[3] He defended ADOS against nativism claims[18] and believes they are supporting people who have not benefitted in the current American system.[2] Cornel West stated at an ADOS conference in Louisville, Kentucky that the ADOS movement was resuming the work started by Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X.[17]

See also


  1. ^ a b Staples, Gracie Bonds (February 11, 2020). "Why ADOS is unapologetic in seeking reparations, black agenda". The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. ISSN 1539-7459. Archived from the original on June 4, 2020. Retrieved September 6, 2020.
  2. ^ a b c d e Stockman, Farah (November 8, 2019). "'We're Self-Interested': The Growing Identity Debate in Black America". The New York Times. p. A1.
  3. ^ a b c d e Lynn, Samara (January 19, 2020). "Controversial group ADOS divides black Americans in fight for economic equality". ABC News. Retrieved 2020-11-10.
  4. ^ "Workers Organization Shares Staff, Cash With Anti-Immigrant Groups". Southern Poverty Law Center. Retrieved 5 July 2020.
  5. ^ "Authors". Retrieved 5 September 2020.
  6. ^ Chen, Eli. "For African Americans, DNA Tests Reveal Just A Small Part Of A Complicated Ancestry". Retrieved 2019-12-20.
  7. ^ "Wonders of the African World - Episodes - Slave Kingdoms". PBS. Retrieved 2019-12-20.
  8. ^ a b "Black Agenda – #ADOS". Retrieved 2019-12-01.
  9. ^ "About ADOS – #ADOS". Retrieved 2019-12-01.
  10. ^ "Yvette Carnell – Breaking Brown". Retrieved 13 March 2020.
  11. ^ Scherer, Michael; Wang, Amy (8 July 2019). "A few liberal activists challenged Kamala Harris's black authenticity. The president's son amplified their message". Washington Post. Retrieved 13 March 2020.
  12. ^ Bihm, Jennifer (August 8, 2016). "Film Documenting L.A.'s Drug Era Nominated for Emmy". Los Angeles Sentinel. Retrieved November 11, 2018.
  13. ^ "Antonio Moore | HuffPost". Retrieved 13 March 2020.
  14. ^ "Antonio Moore". Retrieved 13 March 2020.
  15. ^ Adjei-Kontoh, Hubert (November 21, 2019). "The tortured logic of #ADOS". Power. The Outline. Retrieved 2020-11-02.
  16. ^ Cokley, Kevin (February 21, 2020). "Don't pit slavery descendants against black immigrants. Racism doesn't know the difference". USA Today. Retrieved 2020-11-10.
  17. ^ a b Stockman, Farah (November 13, 2019). "Deciphering ADOS: A New Social Movement or Online Trolls?". The New York Times. Retrieved 2020-11-10.
  18. ^ Lowery, Wesley (September 18, 2019). "Which black Americans should get reparations?". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2020-11-10.

External links