Document Type


Publication Date



The most controversial, and most intriguing, remedy sought by proponents of slavery reparations involves massive redistribution of wealth from whites to blacks within the United States. This is not to say that reparations proponents have focused only on racial redistribution. Some have called for an official apology from the U.S. government. Others seek the creation of a foundation or institute, funded by U.S. tax dollars, to be devoted to furthering the interests of African Americans, including the funding of K- 12 educational programs for black children and the funding of general civil rights advocacy to counteract the lingering effects of racism in American society. In a relatively new twist, some state governments have passed laws requiring companies to disclose the extent to which they or their predecessor companies were involved in or benefited from the practice of slavery; and some local governments - notably, Chicago, Los Angeles, and Detroit - have adopted ordinances requiring companies seeking to do business with the city's government to disclose any profits they received from slavery. A similar slavery "accounting" was also one of the remedies sought in the recent lawsuits brought by slavery descendants against corporations alleged to have historical ties to slaveiy. Nevertheless, at the core of most slavery reparations proposals are calls for either cash or in-kind transfers from whites to blacks. Such redistributive programs will be the focus of this Article.