Harvard symposium seeks to answer: Can reparations close the racial health gap?

rolled money bill with Lincoln's face centered and a red rubber band wrapped above and below Lincoln's eye

By Katie Mogg

Nov. 3, 2022

The enslavement of Africans in the United States has created a wealth gap between Black and white Americans today amounting to a staggering $14 trillion, according to William A. “Sandy” Darity Jr., a professor of African American Studies at Duke University.

Darity discussed that number at Harvard University on Thursday during a symposium titled “Can reparations close the racial health gap?”

The wealth gap, Darity said, places a stubborn barrier between Black Americans and their access to quality housing, employment, education, social capital, and health resources, raising the question: How can Black communities in Boston and across the nation receive reparations to ensure a more equitable society?

“The failure to provide Black American descendants of slavery with any compensation in the present moment is a tragedy,” Darity said. “If we do nothing, we will continue to set the nation on a path towards a set of genocidal practices directed at Black America.”