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Publications & Articles on Reparations

Reparations on Fire:
How and Why it's Spreading Across America

Reparations on Fire describes history-in-the-making. It combines a historical survey and commentary on the Reparations Movement in America while addressing how pioneering reparations legislation is being born and debated in city council chambers and statehouses nationwide. It is part historical analysis, part revolutionary manifesto, and part political red-alert.

Reparations on Fire brings additional value to the Reparations Movement as it goes about the necessary task of concretizing its goals and objectives and envisioning a future where Black freedom and joy can flourish. It describes how reparations went from being discussed in the radical margins of the Civil Rights Movement to the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and the General Assembly of the United Nations.

It outlines how unsung Black Power activists such as Queen Mother Moore and Imari Obadele set the foundations for reparations to be championed by U.S. Rep John Conyers and, later, Representative Sheila Jackson Lee in the Congress of the United States -- a fight that, as this book comes out, is still being waged as reparations activists ask President Biden to sign an executive order immediately bringing a federal reparations commission to study and develop reparations proposals into existence.

The quest for reparations is equal parts edgy, exciting, transformational, confrontational, messy and confusing. Reparations on Fire proves that we are now beyond rhetoric and well into action mode. Fire illuminates, purifies and brings warmth, but can also cause pain, damage and destruction. It can symbolize the eternal flame of hope, or signify ruin and demise. The spirit of reparations is sweeping the country like fire. Whether it heals or consumes depends on how America responds to its long overdue debt, and possibly portends the future of democracy, both domestic and global.

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Should America Pay: Slavery and the Raging Debate on Reparations
by Ray Winbush 
(August, 2003)

The Debt: What America Owes to Blacks
by Randall Robinson
(January 2001)

My Face is Black is True:
Callie House and the Struggle for Ex-Slave Reparations

by Mary Frances Berry
(Oct. 2006)

Laying the Foundation
Local Reparations
by Kamm Howard
(July 2020)

Redeeming the Promise
of Abolition

by Katharine Franke
(May 2019)

From Here to Equality: Reparations for Black Americans in the Twenty-first Century
by William Darity and Kirsten Mullen
(April 2020)

Atonement and Forgiveness: A New Model for Black Reparations
by Roy Brooks
(April 2006)

Britain’s Black Debt: Reparations for Caribbean Slavery and Native Genocide
by Hilary Beckles
(Feb. 2013)

Reparations for Slavery and the Atlantic Slave Trade:
A Transnational and Comparative History

by Ana Araujo
(Nov. 2017)


"REPARATIONS, Not Only Possible … But INEVITABLE!"
February 26, 2021

If acknowledgement is the first step toward acceptance, reparations for Black people in America has taken a major step forward. The Feb. 17th House Judiciary subcommittee hearing on Reparations is one case in point. Then you add the recent...

"Of Terror and Promise:
On this Stormy MLK Day, there’s no better time to call for Reparatory Justice"
January 18, 2021

The terror Blacks feel is in our bones. For me, it began when white storm clouds of terror hung over the home of Mose Wright late one August night in 1955, when white, armed terrorists demanded his great-nephew, 14-year-old Emmett Till, be handed over to them. I was...

"My Reparations Victory: What Comes Before Word and Deed?"
August 22, 2021

The Ancestors know how to make things work. In their constant, cosmic blend between the invisible and the tangible, they have caused historic blinders to drop from the eyes of those who Martin Luther King might have called in an earlier time “white moderates.” Here’s some proof...

“Three Things We Get Wrong with 'Ten Things We Get Wrong About Reparations': An Open Letter to Rolling Stone”
July 15, 2021

Dear Rolling Stone Editors:
The day I discovered the commentary you ran — which was Tuesday, in the morning — I was poised to participate in a Washington, D.C. press conference with some of America’s most progressive faith leaders who had gathered to push Congress to pass H.R. 40, proposed legislation that would...

“Can this Congress
Handle both White Supremacy & Reparations”
April 15, 2021

As a lifelong D.C. resident, I’ve learned not to put too much faith in the White House, the House of Representatives, the Senate and the U.S. Supreme Court. But I have worked as part of the grassroots as well as the grasstops, so I know that change is possible. President Biden’s first 100 days are approaching and Black...

“Reparations: Has the Time Finally Come”
May 26, 2020

During a lull one afternoon when I was a high school student selling Black Panther Party newspapers on the streets of downtown Washington, D.C., in 1971, I sat down on the curb and opened the tabloid to the 10-point program, “What We Want; What We Believe.” The graphic assertion of “Point Number 3” particularly grabbed me...

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