Reparations Resource Guide

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“The past is all that makes the present coherent, and further…
the past will remain horrible for exactly as long as we refuse to assess it honestly.”'
' —James Baldwin, Notes of a Native Son

Background: The Case for Reparations

“Two hundred fifty years of slavery. Ninety years of Jim Crow. Sixty years of separate but equal.
Thirty-five years of racist housing policy. Until we reckon with our compounding moral debts, America will never be whole.”

—Ta-Nehisi Coates, The Case for Reparations

"crimes against humanity need to be repaired by our humanity"
—Carl Redwood, Jr. at the 2020 Pittsburgh Racial Justice Summit

We cannot build a human rights city on the foundations of atrocities committed in the establishment of this nation. Advancing remedies for past human rights atrocities and their lasting impacts is a process that will require work by everyone in our society to become informed and to foster dialogues that can generate understanding, empathy, and commitment to collective healing. This resource page aims to support those working to advance human rights in our communities by addressing this important challenge.

  • Early Reparations Advocacy of Callie House: House was co-founder of the National Ex-Slave Mutual Relief, Bounty and Pension Association in 1898 and author of a widely circulated pamphlet Freedmen’s Pension Bill: A Plea for American Freedmen (1891).
  • "The Case for Reparations" Ta-Nehisi Coates The Atlantic, June 2014.
  • Dr. Raymond Winbush, Belinda's Petition: Excellent primer on reparations.
  • The Debt: What America Owes Blacks by Randall Robinson.
  • "Making Good on the Broken Promise of Reparationsby Katherine Franke, New York Review of books
  • “The Rise of the Reparations Movement” Martha Biondi, Radical History Review 87:5-18. (2003)
  • WHYY: The Reparations Debate: Should the descendants of slaves be paid reparations by the federal government? Proponents of this idea say that the effects of slavery are still relevant today, and that the American government should provide some form of additional support to offset these disadvantages. Opponents either balk at the idea that slavery still affects African-American communities, or see the concept as an impractical political non-starter. The Democratic candidates for president are weighing in, many of whom have expressed interest in considering the idea. Today on the show, we’ll talk about reparations and the politics around them with Princeton assistant professor of African American studies KEEANGA-YAMAHTTA TAYLOR, and ADOLPH REED Jr., professor of political science and economics at the University of Pennsylvania.
  • Racial Equity Tools for Community Reparations-This site provides links related to reparations and how they might be applied to remedy the consequences of enslavement and the subsequent disadvantages that have accumulated over time to people of color as a result of U.S. government policies.

Key Demands

Different groups are putting forward ideas about the difficult question of how our society might carry out a commitment to repairing the harms of past human rights violations. Of course, this is a difficult task that will require many conversations, public education and consciousness raising, and dedicated leadership.

The following demands are included in the National African American Reparations Commission (NAARC) Preliminary 10 Point Reparations Program. This document is meant for Review, Revision and Adoption as a Platform to Guide the Struggle for Reparations for People of African Descent in the United States

  1. A Formal Apology and Establishment of a MAAFA/African Holocaust Institute
  2. The Right of Repatriation and Creation of an African Knowledge Program
  3. The Right to Land for Social and Economic Development
  4. Funds for Cooperative Enterprises and Socially Responsible Entrepreneurial Development
  5. Resources for the Health, Wellness and Healing of Black Families and Communities
  6. Education for Community Development and Empowerment
  7. Affordable Housing for Healthy Black Communities and Wealth Generation
  8. Strengthening Black America’s Information and Communications Infrastructure
  9. Preserving Black Sacred Sites and Monuments
  10. Repairing the Damages of the “Criminal Injustice System”

Other groups have also been engaged in this work, including:

  • National Coalition of Blacks for Reparations in America (N'COBRA) N’COBRA was founded September 26, 1987, for the purpose of spreading information and supporting of the long-term goal of gaining reparations for African Americans. Founders of N’COBRA include National Conference of Black Lawyers, The New Afrikan Peoples Organization, and the Republic of New Afrika. After its founding the organization grew and now has chapters in various parts of the world including Africa, Europe, Central America, South America, and the United States.

International Institutions and Resources


Pittsburgh Organizing

Peoples Campaign for Reparations and Black Self-Determination- This Pittsburgh-based initiative is leading a series of community forums on this theme to help organize and build momentum for reparations for Black residents of Pittsburgh. The Campaign is seeking an official apology, among other demands such as land and financial resources to support community development and racial equity. It is working to build alliances among diverse groups in the city to build political will to address historical harms in order to realize justice and equity for Pittsburgh's Black community.

Other Resources and Links