The United States has yet to tackle reparations for another glaring injustice: the enslavement of Africans. Though the U.S. apologized for slavery and segregation in 2009, it has never issued redress to the descendants of enslaved people.

When it comes to slavery the United States has proven unwilling to grapple with the enormity of its injustice, and of those that followed during Jim Crow segregation and the financial and social inequality faced by black Americans. In a recent Pew Research Center survey, most Americans said that slavery’s legacy still affects black Americans to this day. But that understanding has not yet fueled an overwhelming public demand for reparations. (

In June 2019, the House Judiciary Committee heard testimony on H.R. 40, a bill that would do just that. During the hearing, author Ta-Nehisi Coates pointed to the nation’s unjust past—and reparations as a way forward. Listen to his testimony.

Credit: Erin Blakemore; search for reparations
Credit: PBS News Hour

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