Columbia News Video Forum

Leading Scholars Discuss 'Forty Acres and a Mule: The Case for Black Reparations'

Leading scholars offer an overview of the state of the reparations movement, the idea that America owes a debt to African-Americans because of slavery; an assessment of its future, and the legal strategy behind reparations. This research conference is cosponsored by Columbia's Institute for Research in African American Studies and the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture.

Adjoa Aiyetoro
 
Adjoa Aiyetoro

Adjoa Aiyetoro, N'COBRA
The Reparations movement seeks acknowledgment that the transatlantic slave-trade and chattel slavery are crimes against humanity, whose effects still reverberate today, says Adjoa Aiyetoro, of N'COBRA, National Coalition of Blacks for Reparations in America. Aiyetoro reads from a selection of her articles on the subject of reparations.

Real (17:22)Video
Allen Guelzo
 
Allen Guelzo

Allen Guelzo, Eastern University at St. Davids
"The litigation option is more likely than the legislative option to provide both division and failure -- division because of the cultural symbolism at stake, and failure because of the long odds against the success of litigation, no matter what immediate satisfaction it may seem to offer," says Allen Guelzo of Eastern University at St. Davids.

Real (21:46)Video
Calvin Moore
 
Calvin Moore

Calvin Moore, Bowdoin College
Calvin Moore, visiting assistant professor of sociology and anthropology at Bowdoin College, discusses the legal strategies and obstacles of the Reparations movement. According to Moore, the federal government has a legal and moral imperative to right the wrongs of discrimination.

Real (26:32)Video
Cathy Cohen
 
Cathy Cohen

Cathy Cohen, University of Chicago
"One check won't do it," says Cathy Cohen, director of the Center for the Study of Race, Politics and Culture at the University of Chicago. She argues that Reparations needs political as well as economic goals. Without political means to protect marginalized African Americans, "society preserves the hierarchy it claims it wants to eradicate using the rhetoric of equality," she says.

Real (20:40)Video
Charles Ogletree
 
Charles Ogletree

Charles Ogletree, Harvard University
"The evidence of Black exploitation isn't new, it's been hidden for hundreds of years, and we are in the process of uncovering it," says Charles Ogletree, Harvard Law School Jesse Climenko Professor of Law and a prominent legal theorist. Reparations are a key component in the reformation of the American society and the deliverance of disadvantaged peoples across the globe, he says.

Real (21:37)Video
Daedria Farmer Paellman
 
Daedria Farmer Paellman

Daedria Farmer-Paellman, Legal Researcher
Legal Researcher Daedria Farmer-Paellman reviews her efforts to hold companies responsible for their roles in the slave economy. A recognition that chattel slavery was a crime against humanity would remove any kind of statutes of limitations from filing an action against these companies that benefited from the slave-trade, she says.

Real (17:15)Video
Irma McClaurin
 
Irma McClaurin

Irma McClaurin, Fisk University
Never before has a people been so nearly completely stripped of its social heritage as the American slave, says Irma McClaurin of Fisk University. The "two-headed hydra" of slavery and cultural loss has left African Americans bereft of a past, but it has also forced them to innovate and generate a rich new culture, she says.

Real (14:22)Video
Ronald Waters
 
Ronald Waters

Ronald Waters, University of Maryland College Park
"This is not just an outwardly directed movement. It is a movement which challenges the very foundation of who we are as a people," says Ronald Waters of the University of Maryland College Park.

Real (18:39)Video

Shot: Nov 7, 2002
Published: Mar 10, 2003
Last modified:Mar 07, 2003