Are Reparations A Possibility? We Asked The Experts

Front cover of book "From here to equality: reparations for Black American s in the twenty-first century"

By Jessica Washington June 16, 2023


Folks who are deeply into the fight for reparations may already know this name. Dr. William Darity, an Economist, and Duke University Professor, penned From Here to Equality: Reparations for Black Americans in the Twenty-First Century, a book making the case for reparations. And Dr. Darity has a lot to say about the plans for reparations popping up across the country.

“I think that the only effective plan for reparations must be conducted by the federal government,” he says. “piecemeal efforts at the state, local, or individual or private organization level are actually distractions and detours from the central task of getting Congress to pass comprehensive reparations.”

In his book, which he co-wrote with author Kirsten Mullen, they argued that in order to close the wealth gap, Black Americans descended from enslaved people in the United States would need $350,000 per person in reparations. Their plan estimates that it would cost the United States government $14 trillion to accomplish that goal. “The difficulty is that both the state and local governments, as well as private donors, don’t really have the capacity to meet the bill,” explains Darity. “If the minimum bill is $14 trillion, it’s noteworthy that the total budget combined for all state and local governments in the United States is less than $5 trillion.”