Nkechi Taifa, Esq.
Nkechi Taifa has been a principal player and catalyst in the reparations movement for over forty years. A founding member of the National Coalition of Blacks for Reparations in America (N’COBRA), established in 1987, Taifa served as its first Legislative Commission Chair for years, and helped provide guidance and counsel to Congressman John Conyers in the initial drafting of the federal bill, H.R. 40. She is an inaugural Commissioner of the 2015-established National African American Reparations Commission (NAARC).
Dedicated to public service throughout her career, Attorney Taifa served as an appointed Commissioner and Chair of the DC Commission on Human Rights from 2007-2014, serves on the board of the DC Corrections Information Council, and as Senior Fellow with the Center for Justice at Columbia University. She served on the legal advisory team of the Legacy of the GU-272 Alliance, a group of descendants seeking remedy from Georgetown University for the sale of their ancestors “down the river” to save the University from bankruptcy.
Nkechi Taifa led the 1990 successful effort to have the DC City Council pass a resolution in support of H.R. 40 – the federal bill to establish a commission to study the issue of reparations and make recommendations to the Congress on appropriate remedies. She was at the forefront of efforts before the turn of the century that resulted in city councils and organizations across the country to pass similar H.R. 40 endorsement resolutions.
Nkechi has articulated the issue of reparations in brain-trusts before the U.S. Congress and testified on reparations in hearings before the Council of the District of Columbia, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights and U.S. Helsinki Commission. She has written extensively on reparations, including a seminal law review article published in the Columbia Journal of Race and Law (2020), and co-authored a book, Reparations Yes (1987) with Chokwe Lumumba and Imari Obadele. She is the author of a memoir, Black Power, Black Lawyer: My Audacious Quest for Justice, along with a forthcoming book, Reparations on Fire: How and Why It’s Spreading Across America.
She was a consultant to, and quoted in, Ta-Nehisi Coates’ 2014 article in the Atlantic Magazine “The Case for Reparations.” She is the author of an authoritative feature on reparations published in the SAGE Encyclopedia of African Cultural Heritage in North America (2015). Taifa worked closely with the Movement for Black Lives to create its first-rate M4BL Reparations Tool Kit.
She is a national sought-after keynote speaker on the issue of reparations before universities, religious institutions, government, and organizations. She has been quoted in the national press on the issue and has engaged in countless media interviews over the years. She has raised reparations as a remedy as part of People’s Tribunals she has led, and spoken extensively throughout the country on the issue, to all strata of society.
Taifa is also a vital player in connecting the reparations movement globally, as well as domestically. She has worked closely with CARICOM representatives, has connections throughout the Caribbean and Europe, and never misses the opportunity to include the necessity of reparatory justice as part of the International Decade for People of African Descent.
Attorney Taifa is one of the most knowledgeable and longest-serving experts in the US consistently engaged on the issue of reparations for Black people, decades prior to its current level of popularity. She is a strong collaborator with both Black-led and non-Black-led organizations and movements, and regularly serves as a trusted expert resource on the issue to the media, legislators, educators, philanthropy, non-profits, and business and celebrity influencers.