Redress for Historical Injustices in the United States

On Reparations for Slavery, Jim Crow, and Their Legacies

Redress for Historical Injustices in the United States

Book Pages: 728 Illustrations: 6 tables, 1 figure Published: July 2007

African American Studies and Black Diaspora, History > U.S. History, Law > Legal History

An exceptional resource, this comprehensive reader brings together primary and secondary documents related to efforts to redress historical wrongs against African Americans. These varied efforts are often grouped together under the rubric “reparations movement,” and they are united in their goal of “repairing” the injustices that have followed from the long history of slavery and Jim Crow. Yet, as this collection reveals, there is a broad range of opinions as to the form that repair might take. Some advocates of redress call for apologies; others for official acknowledgment of wrongdoing; and still others for more tangible reparations: monetary compensation, government investment in disenfranchised communities, the restitution of lost property and rights, and repatriation.

Written by activists and scholars of law, political science, African American studies, philosophy, economics, and history, the twenty-six essays include both previously published articles and pieces written specifically for this volume. Essays theorize the historical and legal bases of claims for redress; examine the history, strengths, and limitations of the reparations movement; and explore its relation to human rights and social justice movements in the United States and abroad. Other essays evaluate the movement’s primary strategies: legislation, litigation, and mobilization. While all of the contributors support the campaign for redress in one way or another, some of them engage with arguments against reparations.

Among the fifty-three primary documents included in the volume are federal, state, and municipal acts and resolutions; declarations and statements from organizations including the Black Panther Party and the NAACP; legal briefs and opinions; and findings and directives related to the provision of redress, from the Oklahoma Commission to Study the Tulsa Race Riot of 1921 to the mandate for the Greensboro Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Redress for Historical Injustices in the United States is a thorough assessment of the past, present, and future of the modern reparations movement.

Contributors. Richard F. America, Sam Anderson, Martha Biondi, Boris L. Bittker, James Bolner, Roy L. Brooks, Michael K. Brown, Robert S. Browne, Martin Carnoy, Chiquita Collins, J. Angelo Corlett, Elliott Currie, William A. Darity, Jr., Adrienne Davis, Michael C. Dawson, Troy Duster, Dania Frank, Robert Fullinwider, Charles P. Henry, Gerald C. Horne, Robert Johnson, Jr., Robin D. G. Kelley, Jeffrey R. Kerr-Ritchie, Theodore Kornweibel, Jr., David Lyons, Michael T. Martin, Douglas S. Massey , Muntu Matsimela , C. J. Munford, Yusuf Nuruddin, Charles J. Ogletree Jr., Melvin L. Oliver, David B. Oppenheimer, Rovana Popoff, Thomas M. Shapiro, Marjorie M. Shultz, Alan Singer, David Wellman, David R. Williams, Eric K. Yamamoto, Marilyn Yaquinto


Redress will serve as an important handbook for reparations scholars and activists, giving the arguments and data necessary to rethink the movement and to move forward in a constructive manner. . . . Reparations needs some prophets and perhaps it will get some from those who read and are inspired by Martin and Yaquinto’s important volume.” — Alfred L. Brophy, Register of the Kentucky Historical Society

“[E]ach paper makes a distinct contribution. In addition, the chapters are accompanied by a final section that contains numerous important documents related to the issue of slavery reparations, including legislation, government resolutions, lawsuits, activist declarations, and case study summaries. . . . [F]or the reparations researcher it is extremely useful to have all of these documents compiled into one source. For the sociologist, the volume contributes to our empirical and sociolegal understanding of slavery reparations.” — Andrew Woolford, Canadian Journal of Sociology

“[T]he best available collection of scholarly articles, activist-group statements, and government decisions [on] reparations . . . for African-Americans.” — Joe R. Feagin, American Journal of Sociology

“For educators, this book is fundamentally useful. . . . Most helpful for the classroom, though, is the final section of primary sources. These include federal acts and resolutions, state legislation, municipal resolutions, seminal documents from activist organizations, case studies of redress, and opinions from key lawsuits. I doubt there is another work that houses these reparations-specific documents with this level of precision. Nor is there one volume with as much intellectual depth and breadth on this crucial topic.” — Robert Samuel Smith, Journal of Southern History

"[S]tudents . . . will find this to be a useful, well-indexed reader. Recommended." — J. D. Smith, Choice

“A truly impressive achievement in its range of approaches, depth of analysis, and variety of sources, this book should immediately become the definitive text on the subject of reparations for black Americans.” — Charles W. Mills, John Evans Professor of Moral and Intellectual Philosophy, Northwestern University

“It will be far harder to dismiss the deeply resonant and persistent demand for reparations in the wake of this remarkable collection of interdisciplinary research and historical documentation. This monumental work is ideal for teaching how history and policy intersect.” — David Roediger, Kendrick C. Babcock Professor of History, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign


Availability: In stock
Price: $37.95

Open Access

Author/Editor Bios Back to Top

Michael T. Martin is Professor of African American and African Diaspora Studies and Director of the Black Film Center/Archive at Indiana University. He is the editor of New Latin American Cinema and Cinemas of the Black Diaspora and a coeditor of Studies of Development and Change in the Modern World.

Marilyn Yaquinto is Assistant Professor of Communication at Truman State University. She is the author of Pump ‘Em Full of Lead: A Look at Gangsters on Film and a former journalist with the Los Angeles Times.

Table of Contents Back to Top
Preface xiii

Acknowledgments xix

On Redress for Racial Injustice / Michael T. Martin and Marilyn Yaquinto 1

Part 1. Racial Inequality and White Privilege

Racial Injustices in U.S. History and Their Legacy / David Lyons 33

Race Preferences and Race Privileges / Michael K. Brown, Martin Carnoy, Elliott Currie, Troy Duster, David B. Oppenheimer, Marjorie M. Shultz, and David Wellman 55

A Sociology of Wealth and Racial Inequality / Melvin L. Oliver and Thomas M. Shapiro 91

Part 2. Law, Citizenship, and the State

The Case for Reparations / Robert Fullinwider 121

Toward a Theory of Racial Reparations / James Bolner 134

The Constitutionality of Black Reparations / Boris L. Bittker and Roy L. Brooks 143

The Theory of Restitution: The African American Case / Richard America 160

Reparations to African Americans? / J. Angelo Corlett 170

Part 3. Reparations: Formation and Modes of Redress

"A Day of Reckoning": Dreams of Reparations / Robin D. G. Kelley 203

Forty Acres, or, An Act of Bad Faith / Jeffrey R. Kerr-Ritchie 222

The Economic Basis for Reparations to Black America / Robert S. Browne 238

The Political Economy of Ending Racism and the World Conference against Racism: The Economics of Reparations / William Darity Jr. and Dania Frank 249

The Rise of the Reparations Movement / Martha Biondi 255

Part 4. Case Studies of Injustice and Intervention

Nineteenth-Century New York City's Complicity with Slavery: Documenting the Case for Reparations / Alan Singer 275

Railroads, Race, and Reparations / Theodore Kornweibel Jr. 294

Reparations: A Viable Strategy to Address the Enigma of African American Health / David R. Williams and Chiquita Collins 305

Residential Segregation and Persistent Urban Poverty / Douglas S. Massey 331

Part 5. Mobilizing Strategies

The Politics of Racial Reparations / Charles P. Henry 353

The Case for U.S. Reparations to African Americans / Adrienne D. Davis 371

The Promises and Pitfalls of Reparations / Yusuf Nuruddin 379

Reparation as Reparations for Slavery and Jim Crow / Robert Johnson Jr. 402

What's Next? Japanese American Redress and African American Reparations / Eric K. Yamamoto 411

The Reparations Movement: An Assessment of Recent and Current Activism / Sam Anderson, Muntu Matsimela, and Yusuf Nuruddin 427

Reparations: Strategic Considerations for Black Americans / C. J. Munford 447

Tulsa Reparations: The Survivors' Story / Charles J. Ogletree Jr. 452

Race for Power: The Global Balance of Power and Reparations / Gerald Horne 469


Section 1. Federal Acts and Resolutions 485

Section 2. State Legislation 518

Section 3. Municipal Resolutions 536

Section 4. Advocacy and Activism 559

Section 5. Case Studies of Redress 637

Section 6. Lawsuits 660

Selected Bibliography 673

Contributors 683

Acknowledgment of Copyrights 687

Index 691
Sales/Territorial Rights: World

Rights and licensing
Additional InformationBack to Top
Paper ISBN: 978-0-8223-4024-9 / Cloth ISBN: 978-0-8223-4005-8
Publicity material