Racism and discrimination have choked economic opportunity for African Americans at nearly every turn. At several historic moments, the trajectory of racial inequality could have been altered dramatically. Perhaps no moment was more opportune than the early days of Reconstruction, when the U.S. government temporarily implemented a major redistribution of land from former slaveholders to the newly emancipated enslaved. But neither Reconstruction nor the New Deal nor the civil rights struggle led to an economically just and fair nation. Today, systematic inequality persists in the form of housing discrimination, unequal education, police brutality, mass incarceration, employment discrimination, and massive wealth and opportunity gaps. Economic data indicates that for every dollar the average white household holds in wealth the average black household possesses a mere ten cents. In From Here to Equality, William Darity Jr. and A. Kirsten Mullen confront these injustices head-on and make the most comprehensive case to date for economic reparations for U.S. descendants of slavery. After opening the book with a stark assessment of the intergenerational effects of white supremacy on black economic well-being, Darity and Mullen look to both the past and the present to measure the inequalities borne of slavery. Using innovative methods that link monetary values to historical wrongs, they next assess the literal and figurative costs of justice denied in the 155 years since the end of the Civil War. Finally, Darity and Mullen offer a detailed roadmap for an effective reparations program, including a substantial payment to each documented U.S. black descendant of slavery. Taken individually, any one of the three eras of injustice outlined by Darity and Mullen--slavery, Jim Crow, and modern-day discrimination--makes a powerful case for black reparations. Taken collectively, they are impossible to ignore.
Both an unflinching indictment of past wrongs and an impassioned call to America to educate its citizens about the history of Africa and its people, The Debt says in no uncertain terms what white America owes blacks--and what blacks owe themselves. In this powerful and controversial book, distinguished African-American political leader and thinker Randall Robinson argues for the restoration of the rich history that slavery and segregation severed. Drawing from research and personal experience, he shows that only by reclaiming their lost past and proud heritage can blacks lay the foundation for their future. And white Americans can begin making reparations for slavery and the century of racial discrimination that followed with monetary restitution, educational programs, and the kinds of equal opportunities that will ensure the social and economic success of all citizens. "Engaging...Robinson continues an important conversation...His anecdotes support his attempts to reclaim African American heritage and empower African Americans."--The Washington Post
Slavery and the Atlantic slave trade are among the most heinous crimes against humanity committed in the modern era. Yet, to this day no former slave society in the Americas has paid reparations to former slaves or their descendants. European countries have never compensated their former colonies in the Americas, whose wealth relied on slave labor, to a greater or lesser extent. Likewise, no African nation ever obtained any form of reparations for the Atlantic slave trade. Ana Lucia Araujo argues that these calls for reparations are not only not dead, but have a long and persevering history. She persuasively demonstrates that since the 18th century, enslaved and freed individuals started conceptualizing the idea of reparations in petitions, correspondences, pamphlets, public speeches, slave narratives, and judicial claims, written in English, French, Spanish, and Portuguese. In different periods, despite the legality of slavery, slaves and freed people were conscious of having been victims of a great injustice. This is the first book to offer a transnational narrative history of the financial, material, and symbolic reparations for slavery and the Atlantic slave trade. Drawing from the voices of various social actors who identified themselves as the victims of the Atlantic slave trade and slavery, Araujo illuminates the multiple dimensions of the demands of reparations, including the period of slavery, the emancipation era, the post-abolition period, and the present.
Growing interest in reparations for African Americans has prompted a range of responses, from lawsuits against major corporations and a march in Washington to an anti-reparations ad campaign. As a result, the link between slavery and contemporary race relations is more potent and obvious than ever. Grassroots organizers, lawmakers, and distinguished academics have embraced the idea that reparations should be pursued vigorously in the courts and legislature. But others ask, Who should pay? And could reparations help heal the wounds of the past? This comprehensive collection -- the only of its kind -- gathers together the seminal essays and key participants in the debate. Pro-reparations essays, including contributions by Congressman John Conyers Jr., Christopher Hitchens, and Professor Molefi Asante, are countered with arguments by Shelby Steele, Armstrong Williams, and John McWhorter, among others. Also featured are important documents, such as the First Congressional Reparations Bill of 1867 and the Dakar Declaration of 2001, as well as a new chapter on the current status and future direction of the movement.
Philosopher Olúfemi O. Táíwò presents a bold and original case for reparations, arguing that reparations should best be seen as constructive and future-oriented rather than as restitution for historical wrongs.