Should America Pay?: Slavery and the Raging Debate on Reparations

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9780060083106: Should America Pay?: Slavery and the Raging Debate on Reparations

Growing interest in reparations for African Americans has prompted a range of responses, from lawsuits against major American corporations and a march in Washington to an anti-reparations ad campaign. As a result, the historical link between slavery and contemporary race relations is more potent and obvious than ever. Lawmakers, distinguished academics, and grassroots organizers have embraced the idea that reparations should be pursued vigorously in courts of law and legislative bodies. But others ask, Who should pay? And how would reparations help heal the wounds of the past?

This comprehensive collection -- the only one of its kind -- gathers together the seminal essays and key participants in the debate. Pro-reparations essays by an array of contributors, including Congressman John Conyers Jr., Christopher Hitchens, Professor Molefi Kete Asante, and activist Deadria C. Farmer-Paellmann, are balanced by counterarguments by Shelby Steele, Armstrong Williams, and linguist John McWhorter, among others. Also included are important documents such as the First Congressional Reparations Bill of 1867 and the Dakar Declaration of 2001.

Whether you are for or against reparations, Should America Pay? is the definitive sourcebook for future discussions on the subject and is invaluable to anyone looking for historical and legal insight into one of America's most urgent and passionate debates.

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About the Author:

Raymond A. Winbush, Ph.D. is the Director of the Institute for Urban Research at Morgan State University. He received his undergraduate degree in psychology from Oakwood College in Alabama and received a fellowship to attend the University of Chicago, where he earned both his master's degree and Ph.D. in psychology. He has taught at Oakwood College, Alabama A&M, Vanderbilt University, and Fisk University. He is the recipient of numerous grants, including one from the Kellogg Foundation to establish a "National Dialogue on Race." He is the author of The Warrior Method: A Parents' Guide to Rearing Healthy Black Boys, the former treasurer and executive board member of the National Council of Black Studies, and is currently on the editorial board of the Journal of Black Studies. He lives in Baltimore, Maryland.

From Publishers Weekly:

Winbush, the director of the Institute for Urban Research at Morgan State University and an editorial board member of the Journal of Black Studies, oversees a gathering of scholars, attorneys and grassroots activists who offer a smorgasbord of compelling arguments, most of which explain why reparations are necessary for rectifying present damage done by the U.S.'s slave-holding past. For many of the contributors, reparations do not merely involve individual African-Americans receiving a cash payment. Rather, it's about recognizing that the legacies of slavery continue to be manifest in negative cultural attitudes and inferior socio-economic conditions. Law professor Robert Westley delves into the relatively fragile circumstances of middle-class African-Americans and compares them with the cases in which European Jews and Japanese-Americans received reparations after WWII. Winbush details the forgotten practice of "whitecapping," where black rural landowners were permanently driven off their land by whites in the early 2oth century. And journalist Molly Secours confronts her own white privilege. With passages that detail slaveholder atrocities and resulting governmental benefits, the text is generally sobering and direct, though activist Tim Wise gets points for metaphoric ingenuity by referring to racism's legacy as a type of "historical herpes" that's infected Americans. Winbush also includes three essays that are anti-reparations, but John McWhorter offers the group's only comprehensive rebuttal. Beyond pro or con, most of the pieces here are more deeply concerned with having its readers confront their notions of accountability by looking at our collective past and present.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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