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

4.44  ·  Rating details ·  178 ratings  ·  43 reviews
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 s ...more
Hardcover, 424 pages
Published April 20th 2020 by University of North Carolina Press
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Nick Jordan
Jun 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I can’t remember the name right now for our syndrome of reading our own history as something that had to unfold the way it did rather than as something we chose again and again, even though we could have chosen differently.

This book lays out 400 years of those choices we’ve made, and then it gets practical. I can’t remember a book I’ve read so simultaneously devastating and hopeful.

Reading it theologically, it also speaks powerfully to what justice, truth, reconciliation, peacemaking, and the po
Jul 09, 2020 rated it really liked it
I initially rated this 3.5 stars but revised it to 4 stars after some time passed and I could assess it through the lens of other books. The reasons for 3.5 stars initially were not because the book is poorly-written, or not important in our day, or not convincing. The reasons are simple. Only the introduction and the last 3 chapters actually focus on the mechanics of reparations (how much, for how many, for how long, and who would qualify), and that was the intriguing content I wanted from the ...more
Lawrence Grandpre
Jun 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A very good book. Answers many of the most common questions around reparations. Balances focus on history while also looking forward to what reparations might look like in concrete terms.
Orazie Slayton
Aug 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This book clearly outlines why repartitions are owed to African Americans. I never thought of but now am in complete agreement
Aug 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is not only the best researched and focused history of racism I've ever read, but more importantly it's a compelling and absolutely engaging argument for reparations. This book approaches the subject by looking not only at anecdotal evidence of racism in America, but also examines statistical data that makes any argument in opposition to reparations difficult to sustain. These authors anticipate all the major arguments against reparation and answer them with clear and well-reasoned rebuttal ...more
Must read book for those interested in racial inequality in the US

The book is a super recount of the story of racial inequality in the US since colonial times. Importantly, the book emphasizes how institutions were shaped to preserve said inequality, and how the political choices at each juncture prevented the implementation of changes that set the black population in equal terms with respect to the rest of the society. It also shows how that institutional path was not the only one available, an
Jul 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Easy to read! You could read it! You should read it!
Oct 03, 2020 rated it really liked it
Thoroughly researched and quite detailed history especially of white terrorism during Reconstruction and beyond. Only the last two chapters were specifically focused on reparations - one on overcoming objections and the other on various models for calculating an amount and particulars about administration. (The administration proposal did not sit well with me, but I'm sure there are other ways to implement this without creating a huge bureaucracy.) My biggest take-away: all the times we could ha ...more
Nick Klagge
I reviewed this book alongside Wilkerson's book _Caste_:
Jul 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Comprehensive in terms of making the case for reparations; could have used more on implementation and moving forward.

I didn't need to be sold on the idea of reparations - The West Wing did that when I was in college - but I still appreciate the massive undertaking of gathering data to demonstrate that to others.

The book is divided into easy to mange parts and chapters, much of which focuses on African-American history in the US, primarily before about 1900. The parts about the Civil War were esp
Aug 30, 2020 rated it liked it
3.5 stars

Darity and Mullen provide in abundance historical accounts of slavery from its origins all the way through to its long-lasting and pervasive effects today. They give countless examples of unfulfilled promises during the reconstruction period following the civil war and trace the punitive effects of racist policies that proliferated after that time. They discuss each and every failure of the US government to address systemic racism to a degree I had never seen in a book discussing the is
The history and ideas and rigor of this book are amazing and clear and well argued. I think I should probably go back and get the actual book rather than just listening. Overall this is a really important work.

Two small nits:
- the organization of the book is neither strictly chronological nor strictly conceptual, and so there's a lot of backward and forward referencing and some repetition.
- the whole point of the book is that reparations are due, not only because of slavery but also because of c
Jul 28, 2020 rated it really liked it
This book is not as much what I thought and hoped it would be. At first, this is certainly a scholarly work and so much of it was spent building the case on why reparations. When it finally got to the plan around how to do reparations, there was just a chapter. I had hoped a lot more would have been spent explaining the best way to roll out a plan and envisioning a future where the benefits of it would be explained. I wanted to start with the idea of yes let’s do reparations and now how best to ...more
Bridget Jensen
Aug 01, 2020 rated it really liked it
Too bad Ta-Nehisi Coates already used the title "The Case for Reparations" for his 2014 article in The Atlantic since that would be a better title for the book since most of it is a look back at how Blacks in America were not only used to build the wealth of White Americans during the eras of slavery and Jim Crow but have had their efforts to build wealth thwarted even in more recent times. Only the last couple of chapters talk about what reparations might actually look like. By then, the argume ...more
Sep 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Darity and Mullen offer such an incredible look into America’s history. While this book is a roadmap to reparations for American Descendants of Slavery (and many other atrocities), the vast majority of the book meticulously documents horror after horror to make the case. Hard at times to even imagine that all of this was taking place in the ‘land of the free,’ but it is simply the truth. It is a miracle that some families have managed to get where they are despite the plunder and downright evil ...more
Nov 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I like to think I am relatively well read on the subject of race-related issues in U.S. culture, and consider myself, for a white guy, to be fairly well versed in the African American experience. However, this book was full of information that I was only half aware of, and it made many connections between its topic points that I had not thought of in this way before. Oddly enough, the weakest part of this book may be the how-to-make-reparations-work part (which is NOT that weak, really). It is t ...more
William Darity and Kristen Mullen document in exhausting detail to make the case for reparations. Beginning with the history of slavery Darity and Mullen document the harassment and oppression and murder black people in America experienced in slavery, Jim Crow, lynching, and murder. They share statistics that clearly illustrate the wealth gap between whites and blacks and tie that gap to the 400 years of racial oppression. In the final chapter, he reviews he notes that the conversation has shift ...more
Kari Barclay
Jun 16, 2020 rated it really liked it
Darity and Mullen's work delves deep into the history behind past attempts at reparations and their justification. It's certainly not a how-to guide or survey of the contemporary reparations landscape, which was what I was looking for. Rather, it builds an enormous fortress of an argument based on historical precedent. ...more
Glauber Ribeiro
Jul 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A necessary and important book.a scholarly treatment of the urgent need to provide reparations for slavery in the USA.

My only, small criticism, is that although considerable space is given to establishing the need for reparations (the why), a much smaller prob of the book deals with the mechanism (the how) of reparations.
Paul Werner
Jul 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing
An important read for those of you interested in social justice and history. A very well laid out understanding of the history leading up to present day. If you don’t know if reparations for black Americans is necessary, I recommend this as a read. This is very inciteful and may give perspective to the possibility. Take the time to read it and consider it.
Patrick Bair
Sep 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Solid and convincing history of the Black experience in this country, from enslavement through wars, Reconstruction and Jim Crow, through today. The history NOT taught (sadly) in public school. Important to understanding the modern civil rights fight, Black Power movement, BLM, etc. Unquestionably, the best book on the effects of race and racism I've ever read. ...more
Dec 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The authors provide a thorough history of the injustice of White supremacy in America and lay out an excellent case for reparations as well as a clear plan for how to implement them. An excellent companion to read with Michelle Alexander’s The New Jim Crow - or to read after you’ve watched the documentary 13th.
Jan 08, 2021 rated it really liked it
This was a great read for someone who wants a history of race relations in this country. The reason I give this four stars is because this book actually outlines reasons for reparations and gives detailed action items that we can take to get there, as well as actual tangible ideas for moving forward.
Jay Bryan
Jul 13, 2020 rated it really liked it
A good survey of the horrors of slavery and Jim Crow. The injustices visited on Blacks in America from the beginning to this day has resulted in their having a small fraction of the wealth of white Americans, and the authors make a strong case that reparations are owed. Nevertheless, selling monitary reparations to descendants of the enslaved on the scale that the authors envision will be a very hard sell politically. It would be more practical to propose lesser monitary reparations, together wi ...more
Sep 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Magisterial history of the economic oppression of Blacks historically, not just until emancipation but all the way on up to the present. All of that data makes the very detailed and flexible proposals for reparations that are presented seem not only plausible but also morally necessary.
Scott Schneider
Nov 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Much of the book is a review of the horrors of slavery and Jim Crow justifying the need for reparations. Much I already knew but they do a great job reviewing the evidence. The end on reparations is compelling. I don't see Congress ever approving reparations, so what is our alternative. ...more
Jan 21, 2021 rated it it was amazing
A necessary read.
I used 3 colors of pen and a highlighter.
made notes in the margins.
Attended a Zoom discussion group.
Sought out other articles re: reparations.
It was more about laying detailed case for reparations vs a how-to/what they should look like. Heavily footnoted.
Kate Picher
Jul 01, 2020 rated it liked it
The subject matter was interesting, but the writing was difficult. I finished it in about an hour.
Glauber Ribeiro
Jul 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A necessary and important book.a scholarly treatment of the urgent need to provide reparations for slavery in the USA.

My only, small criticism, is that although considerable space is given to establishing the need for reparations (the why), a much smaller prob of the book deals with the mechanism (the how) of reparations.
Anne Wrider
Jul 25, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Lots of information

For those of us who have never thought seriously about reparations, this is a foundational book. It is fairly massive, but worth the work.
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William A. "Sandy" Darity, Jr. is an American economist and researcher. He is currently the Arts and Sciences Professor of Public Policy in the Sanford School at Duke University and was the Cary C. Boshamer Professor of Economics and Sociology at the University of North Carolina. Darity was a visiting scholar at the Federal Reserve's Board of Governors in 1984, and from 1989 to 1990 was a fellow a ...more

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