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But why now? And just how would reparations, focused specifically on slavery, work?

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Here's what you need to know about this most controversial of subjects. The idea of giving black people reparations for slavery dates back to right after the end of the Civil War think 40 acres and a mule. For decades it's mostly been an idea debated outside the mainstream of American political thought. And now several Democratic presidential candidates, who need the votes and energy of liberal voters to succeed in the primaries, have said they support some form of reparations for slavery. Cory Booker this week introduced a bill that would establish a commission to study possible reparations.

Paying the Social Debt by Richard F. America - Praeger - ABC-CLIO

Kamala Harris recently told a radio show host that the idea of reparations should be considered in the face of economic inequality. Elizabeth Warren has spoken approvingly of the need for reparations for African-Americans, as well as for Native Americans whose land was seized by European settlers.

How do you put a cash value on hundreds of years of forced servitude? This may be the most contested part. Academics, lawyers and activists have given it a shot, though, and their results vary. Craemer came up with that figure by estimating the monetary value of slaves over time, the total number of hours they worked and the wages at which that work should have been compensated. Craemer's number is also lower because he only deals with the slavery that happened from the time of the country's founding until the end of the Civil War, so it ignores slavery during the colonial period and the discrimination that blacks endured during the Jim Crow era.

Generally, advocates for reparations say that three different groups should pay for them: governments, private companies and rich families that owe a good portion of their wealth to slavery.

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It makes sense that federal and state governments which enshrined, supported and protected the institution of slavery and private businesses which financially benefited from it , would be tempting targets from which reparations could be extracted. But wealthy families? You can trace all their wealth to the free labor of black folks.

So when you identify the defendants, there are a vast number of individuals," attorney Willie E. Gary told Harper's magazine in November , during the height of the last, big time of reparations talk. Gray was talking about how these families could be sued for reparations since they benefited directly from slavery.

Slavery, Racism and Reparations for African Americans

As you might imagine, suing large groups of people to pay for reparations wouldn't go over well. Others have suggested lawmakers could pass legislation to force families to pay up. But that might not be constitutionally sound. At least on the federal level Congress doesn't have the power to go after these folks. It just doesn't fall within its Commerce Clause powers. In a sure-to-be-controversial analysis, the author argues that there is a true debt owed by White America to Black America, that this debt is significant, and that it has now come due.

He estimates the size of Whites' debt to Blacks, shows how that debt came to be, and suggests creative ways of paying it back. This book argues persuasively that the social and racial problems in the United States cannot be solved until we acknowledge that the haves truly and literally owe money to the have nots. Libraries Unlimited. Need Help? Not only do they tend to be easier for vocal and well-organised activists to influence. But efforts to hold cities and states accountable for their own legacies of public injustice are powerful sources of experience for national campaigns that hope to do the same.

And as we search for pathways out of the seemingly endless forest of horrors we find ourselves in, it's important that stories like these be told — ones that may not blaze a trail out of that misery, but perhaps provide some light and direction along the way.

Reparations for slavery

Eli Day is a Detroit-based writer and activist. Want more of this stuff? Related Articles Transport for London has banned short term letting ads In defence of Image: Getty. The young boy, his face creasing into a frown, was anxious to remind his mum that he did have asthma and that fewer cars would be a good thing. One thing that is clear is that the bridge does need to be repaired. But is reopening it to all modes of transport really the only option?

Whilst it cannot be denied that the closure of the bridge to motorised vehicles has had a negative impact on some, a greater number of those surveyed 48 per cent , acknowledged that it did bring some benefit. Those who believed that there were some benefits cited improved air quality as being the single biggest 38 per cent. Others believed the biggest benefit was an improved experience of crossing the bridge 29 per cent , whilst one in five 21 per cent , identified that the closure of the bridge to motorised vehicles as something which had encouraged a positive lifestyle change.

A young couple explained that, although the closure of the bridge to motorised vehicles meant ordering a takeaway, or getting an Uber after a night out was problematic, it had encouraged them to make positive lifestyle choices. The former choice was the preferred option 48 per cent among those aged 29 years and under. Many respondents suggested smaller electric buses, whilst others are clearly concerned that returning to a high-volume traffic flow is a threat to the future of such an iconic structure.