Re: “It’s time for a national dialogue on reparations” [Dec. 19, Opinion]:
“From Here to Equality: Reparations for Black Americans in the Twenty-First Century,” by William A. Darity Jr. and A. Kirsten Mullen, further details the case for and quantifies the costs of reparations.
The book’s 17th-to-19th-century background maps slavery and the white wealth it generated far beyond the South, then catalogs Reconstruction’s backlash against Emancipation’s Freedmen’s Bureau, “40 acres and a mule” Black self-sufficiency and franchise/office holding advances. Coverage since then calculates the cumulative deficits in Black incomes and inherited multigenerational wealth, redline housing and other “routine” life experiences like education, health and law enforcement. The tab? $10 billion, and four to five times that amount owed 40 million descendants of slaves if compensatory interest is factored in.
The authors address nuances and rebuttals, but their basic argument is powerful. This decade started with watered-down provisions against vote suppression across “Confederacy” states, and ends with Black Lives Matter and choices about essential but vulnerable workers and their access to vaccines. A surviving Negro Leagues pitcher, age 96, when asked recently how he felt about Major League Baseball’s recognizing his career in its official records, answered “Where’s the check?”
Those sponsoring and endorsing H.R.40/S.1083 should include these dimensions of their advocacy.
Milt Krieger, Bellingham