Pointing to Institutions’ Ties to Slavery, Speakers Call for Federal Reparations
Prof. William Darity, public policy, Duke University, and Kirsten Mullen, a folklorist and art consultant, addressed racial discrimination and its profound effect on economic inequality in the United States at a lecture Thursday...
Darity, an economist and researcher with over 200 published articles, focused on economic stratification and inequality, explored how discriminatory legislation and unequal education have greatly hampered the upward mobility of African Americans. He said reparations for African Americans are just and necessary.
“The wealth gap originates in the initial failure to provide ‘the 40 acres and a mule’ that was promised to the ex-slaves and has been perpetuated by the theft and destruction of black property that has been accumulated for many years, making it very difficult for black families to transfer resources to the next generation that would create the foundation for a greater wealth,” he explained.
Darity added that the historian’s task is “to explain how we arrived at where we are today” and “to explore where we should go,” referencing the work of Prof. Edward Baptist, history, Columbia University.
“I think the work of historians is central to making the case for black reparations in America,” he said. “It is the work of historians that already has functioned and can continue to function to overturn a set of claims that have been mobilized to block the reparations effort.”