From Here to Equality: Reparations for Black Americans in the Twenty-First Century

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

About the book

Racism and discrimination have choked economic opportunity for African Americans at nearly every turn. At several historic moments, the trajectory of racial inequality could have been altered dramatically. Perhaps no moment was more opportune than the early days of Reconstruction, when the U.S. government temporarily implemented a major redistribution of land from former slaveholders to the newly emancipated enslaved. But neither Reconstruction nor the New Deal nor the civil rights struggle led to an economically just and fair nation. Today, systematic inequality persists in the form of housing discrimination, unequal education, police brutality, mass incarceration, employment discrimination, and massive wealth and opportunity gaps. Economic data indicates that for every dollar the average white household holds in wealth the average black household possesses a mere ten cents.

In From Here to Equality, William Darity Jr. and A. Kirsten Mullen confront these injustices head-on and make the most comprehensive case to date for economic reparations for U.S. descendants of slavery. After opening the book with a stark assessment of the intergenerational effects of white supremacy on black economic well-being, Darity and Mullen look to both the past and the present to measure the inequalities borne of slavery. Using innovative methods that link monetary values to historical wrongs, they next assess the literal and figurative costs of justice denied in the 155 years since the end of the Civil War. Finally, Darity and Mullen offer a detailed roadmap for an effective reparations program, including a substantial payment to each documented U.S. black descendant of slavery. Taken individually, any one of the three eras of injustice outlined by Darity and Mullen–slavery, Jim Crow, and modern-day discrimination–makes a powerful case for black reparations. Taken collectively, they are impossible to ignore.

Editorial Reviews

Simply put: The best historical, conceptual, and empirical case for reparations for Black Americans
- Ibram X. Kendi

Darity and Mullen challenge the United States to bear the moral weight of the legacies of slavery and deeply entrenched racism: to reject trifling, half-hearted measures and to approach—and perhaps even achieve—wholeness through reparations.
- New York Review of Books

The national dialogue on reparations has gained strength from the work of Darity and Mullen. Certainly, From Here to Equality is the most comprehensive book today on the political economy of reparations.
- The American Journal of Economics and Sociology

[From Here to Equality’s] argument will resonate . . . [and] its impressive bibliography and use of primary source material are consistent with the ever-growing studies on the subject, past and present.”
- Journal of Southern History

About the Author

William A. Darity Jr. is the Samuel DuBois Cook Professor of Public Policy, African and African American Studies, and Economics at Duke University.

 

 

 

 

 

A. Kirsten Mullen is a writer, folklorist, museum consultant, and lecturer whose work focuses on race, art, history, and politics.

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