Category

Editors’ Choice

Formerly enslaved people preparing cotton for the gin on Smith’s plantation, Port Royal Island, South Carolina, 1861–1862

Making Good on the Broken Promise of Reparations

By Editors' Choice, Reparations

By Katherine Franke — A bill calling for the federal government to “study and consider” how to provide reparations to African Americans for slavery has been introduced into every session of the US Congress for the last thirty years. The bill’s aim is “to address the fundamental injustice, cruelty, brutality, and inhumanity of slavery in the United States and the thirteen American colonies between 1619 and 1865.” Representative John Conyers, the primary sponsor of the…

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Cotton from a bale sold at the New York Cotton Exchange, which Southern merchants like the Lehman Brothers made into the leading cotton futures market, 1875

‘The Lehman Trilogy’ and Wall Street’s Debt to Slavery

By Editors' Choice, Reparations

By Sarah Churchwell — Ever since the 2008 collapse of Lehman Brothers precipitated a global financial crisis, the bank’s dramatic reversal of fortune has been treated as an allegory of the history of American capitalism. It starts as a rags-to-riches fable of bootstrapping success, in which nineteenth-century German-Jewish immigrants thrive in the land of opportunity, a family of hardworking immigrants warmly welcomed to the growing nation, where they build a…

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Cardrian Massey, left, and Kate Chandler hold hands in a circle with others from Atlanta, Ga., before joining demonstrators for reparations for slavery on the National Mall in Washington.

Reparations will pave the way to justice for all

By Editors' Choice, Reparations

By Cepeda, Roanoke Times — CHICAGO — In the spring of 1995, I sat in a stuffy classroom studying “Literary History of England, from Beowulf to 1800,” while overlooking Southern Illinois University’s iconic Pulliam Clock Tower. I was on the verge of boiling over. Somehow, the lone Hispanic (me and the lone black person in the tiny class were engaged in a shouting match over reparations for slavery. Rep. John…

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Ta-Nehisi Coates

Ta-Nehisi Coates Revisits the Case for Reparations

By Editors' Choice, Reparations, Video/Audio

By Dorothy Wickenden, The New Yorker — When Ta-Nehisi Coates wrote “The Case for Reparations” for The Atlantic, in 2014, he didn’t expect the government to make reparations anytime soon. He told David Remnick that he had a more modest goal. “My notion,” Coates says, “was you could get people to stop laughing.” For Coates, to treat reparations as a punch line is to misunderstand their purpose. He argues that reparations…

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Bernie Sanders

Bernie Sanders’ Most Socialist Idea Yet

By Editors' Choice, News & Current Affairs

He wants to mandate employee ownership of big companies By Dylan Matthews, VOX — Bernie Sanders wants to help workers own a portion of the companies at which they are employed. Per a report from the Washington Post’s Jeff Stein, Sanders is preparing a plan that would mandate corporations “regularly contribute a portion of their stocks to a fund controlled by employees, which would pay out a regular dividend to the…

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Kearston Farr comforts her daughter, Taliyah, outside the Charleston, South Carolina, church where Dylann Roof killed nine people.

Racial Terror and the Second Repeal of Reconstruction

By Editors' Choice

How the legacy of Jim Crow haunts Trump’s America By Kimberlé Williams Crenshaw, The New Republic — This April, PBS aired a groundbreaking documentary series on the fate of Reconstruction—and therefore of Black America. Featuring more than 40 scholars (myself among them) and Black descendants of key figures in Reconstruction’s history, this copiously researched chronicle also doubles as a powerful and chilling window on to our own age of violent and resurgent white nationalism.

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Martin Luther King Jr. in Memphis, Tennessee, 1968

The Language of the Unheard: Martin Luther King Jr.’s Social Democracy

By Editors' Choice, Reparations

By Robert Greene II, The Nation — Gone was the optimism of 1963. It had been replaced by a sense of disillusionment, a sense of urgency that America was about to lose the last chance to have its soul.” This was how Jet magazine described the climax of the Poor People’s Campaign, which reached Washington, DC, in the tumultuous summer of 1968. For Jet and for many early civil-rights activists, the Poor People’s Campaign…

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Nazi officials use calipers to measure an ethnic German's nose on January 1, 1941. The Nazis developed a pseudoscientific system of facial measurement that was supposedly a way of determining racial descent.

The Disturbing Resilience of Scientific Racism

By Editors' Choice

A new book explores how racist biases continue to maintain a foothold in research today By Ramin Skibba, Smithsonian — Scientists, including those who study race, like to see themselves as objectively exploring the world, above the political fray. But such views of scientific neutrality are naive, as study findings, inevitably, are influenced by the biases of the people conducting the work. The American sociologist W. E. B. Du Bois once wrote,…

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