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What Americans Need to Know About Reparations Ahead of This Week’s Big Hearing

June 19, 2019

Ta-Nehisi Coates and Danny Glover are scheduled to testify

On Wednesday, a House Judiciary subcommittee will hold the first congressional hearing in more than a decade on the subject of reparations. Ta-Nehisi Coates, the author of the 2014 essay “The Case for Reparations,” and actor Danny Glover are scheduled to testify at the hearing, which will focus in part on H.R. 40, a piece of legislation that would establish a commission “to study and consider a national apology and proposal for reparations for the institution of slavery, its subsequent de jure and de facto racial and economic discrimination against African-Americans, and the impact of these forces on living African-Americans.”

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Earlier this week, four leading scholars joined Slate to discuss what they hope to see from the hearing, why they believe reparations are necessary, and what a successful reparations commission might hope to establish. This included Sanford Professor William A. Darity Jr..  Darity is a professor of public policy, African and African American studies, and economics at Duke University, who has written extensively on the economics of reparations. 

Darity said, "I would like the hearing to make it clear that a program of reparations must designate black American descendants of persons enslaved in the United States as recipients, that a primary goal of a reparations program must be elimination of the racial wealth gap, and that the injustices that form the basis for the reparations claim must include slavery, nearly a century of legal segregation in the United States, and ongoing racism manifest in police executions of unarmed blacks, mass incarceration, and employment discrimination...It’s critical that the history of the reparations movement itself be brought into congressional deliberations. The black American demand for reparations is at least 150 years old."

Excerpted from the original article here.