Prof. William Darity and Ms. Kirsten Mullen Discuss Their Recent Book, "From Here to Equality, Reparations for Black Americans in the 21st Century" (December 9th)
Listeners are aware social determinants significantly explain one's health, as much as 80%. Principally among these is economic status. Wealth positively correlates with health. As listeners are, or should be, well aware 250 fifty years of slavery and a century and a half of institutionalized racism has resulted in median black household net worth equal to one-tenth that of median white household net worth - due, in part, to blacks having comparative lower rates of upward mobility and higher rates of downward mobility. (Even white high school dropouts accumulate more wealth than Black college graduates.) This past October, after 208 years of publication, the prestigious The New England Journal of Medicine finally recognized the reparations issue by publishing a "Prospective" essay by Mary Bassett and her colleagues at the Harvard Center on Health and Human Rights titled, "Reparations as a Public Health Priority." The authors concluded, “It is left to those of us in medicine and public health to argue that now is the time to act," i.e., address reparations, because they stated further, “addressing the black-white wealth gap through reparations is about saving lives."
During this 40 minute conversation, Prof. Darity and Ms. Mullen discuss moreover reparation efforts or compensated emancipation by President Lincoln and the Radical Republicans during the 1860s. They discuss related state level reparations efforts and their limitations. They discuss state and federal policies that prohibited blacks from accumulating wealth, e.g., post Civil War black codes, Jim Crow, limitations under the Homestead Act and the GI Bill and among others numerous efforts to deny blacks credit worthiness. The authors also respond or answer several of the more common criticisms levied against reparations and explain how reparations can be calculated.
Prof. William A. (“Sandy”) Darity, Jr., is the Samuel DuBois Cook Professor of Public Policy, African and African American Studies, and Economics and the Director of the Samuel DuBois Cook Center on Social Equity at Duke University. He was the Founding Director of the Research Network on Racial and Ethnic Inequality at Duke. Previously, he served as Director of the Institute of African American Research and Director of Graduate Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Prof. Darity was a visiting scholar at the Russell Sage Foundation (2015-2016), a fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences (2011-2012) at Stanford, a fellow at the National Humanities Center (1989-90) and a visiting scholar at the Federal Reserve’s Board of Governors (1984). He received the Samuel Z. Westerfield Award in 2012 from the National Economic Association, the organization's highest honor, Politico 50 recognition in 2017, and an award from Global Policy Solutions in 2017. He is a past president of the National Economic Association and the Southern Economic Association. Prof Darity has also taught at Grinnell College, the University of Maryland at College Park, the University of Texas at Austin, Simmons College and Claremont-McKenna College. He has served as Editor in Chief of the latest edition of the International Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences and as an Associate Editor of the 2006 edition of the Encyclopedia of Race and Racism (2013). He has published or edited 13 books and published more than 300 articles in professional outlets.
Ms. Kirsten Mullen is a folklorist and the founder of Artefactual, an arts-consulting practice, and Carolina Circuit Writers, a literary consortium that brings expressive writers of color to the Carolinas. She was a member of the Freelon Adjaye Bond concept development team that was awarded the Smithsonian Institution’s commission to design the National Museum of African American History and Culture. Under the auspices of the North Carolina Arts Council she worked to expand the Coastal Folklife Survey. As a faculty member with the Community Folklife Documentation Institute, she trained students to research and document the state’s African American music heritage. Kirsten was a consultant on the North Carolina Museum of History’s “North Carolina Legends” and “Civil Rights” exhibition projects. Her writing can be found in museum catalogs and journals, and in commercial media—and includes “Black Culture and History Matter” (The American Prospect), which examines the politics of funding black cultural institutions.
For information on "From Here to Equality," go to: https://uncpress.org/book/9781469654973/from-here-to-equality/.
Mary Bassett and colleagues' The New England Journal of Medicine essay is at: https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMp2026170.