From Here to Equality

Reparations for Black Americans in the Twenty-First Century

By William A. Darity Jr., A. Kirsten Mullen

424 pp., 6.125 x 9.25, appends., notes, index

  • Hardcover ISBN: 978-1-4696-5497-3
    Published: April 2020
  • eBook ISBN: 978-1-4696-5498-0
    Published: March 2020

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Awards & distinctions

2021 Lillian Smith Book Award

2021 Association for the Study of African American Life and History Book Prize

2020 Ragan Old North State Award for Nonfiction, North Carolina Literary and Historical Association

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 slaveholders to the newly emancipated enslaved. But neither Reconstruction nor the New Deal nor the civil rights struggle led to an economically just and fair nation. Today, systematic inequality persists in the form of housing discrimination, unequal education, police brutality, mass incarceration, employment discrimination, and massive wealth and opportunity gaps. Economic data indicates that for every dollar the average white household holds in wealth the average black household possesses a mere ten cents.

In From Here to Equality, William Darity Jr. and A. Kirsten Mullen confront these injustices head-on and make the most comprehensive case to date for economic reparations for U.S. descendants of slavery. After opening the book with a stark assessment of the intergenerational effects of white supremacy on black economic well-being, Darity and Mullen look to both the past and the present to measure the inequalities borne of slavery. Using innovative methods that link monetary values to historical wrongs, they next assess the literal and figurative costs of justice denied in the 155 years since the end of the Civil War. Finally, Darity and Mullen offer a detailed roadmap for an effective reparations program, including a substantial payment to each documented U.S. black descendant of slavery. Taken individually, any one of the three eras of injustice outlined by Darity and Mullen--slavery, Jim Crow, and modern-day discrimination--makes a powerful case for black reparations. Taken collectively, they are impossible to ignore.

About the Authors

William A. Darity Jr. is the Samuel DuBois Cook Professor of Public Policy, African and African American Studies, and Economics at Duke University.
For more information about William A. Darity Jr., visit the Author Page.

A. Kirsten Mullen is a writer, folklorist, museum consultant, and lecturer whose work focuses on race, art, history, and politics.
For more information about A. Kirsten Mullen, visit the Author Page.

Reviews

"Essential to any debate over the need for and way to achieve meaningful large-scale reparations."--Kirkus Reviews

"A worthwhile compendium on an extremely important topic."--Library Journal

"Reparations are having a moment...In From Here to Equality, William A. Darity and A. Kirsten Mullen draw on both journalistic and scholarly sources to make a strong case for cash payments to Black descendants of slaves...a rich historical account of how the economic inequalities between Black and white Americans were created and perpetuated through centuries of slavery and the legally enforced systems of discrimination and political disfranchisement that followed...Darity and Mullen provide a detailed analysis of the deep disparities in wealth, income, education, and other measures of well-being that have persisted since emancipation."--The Nation

“A timely and vital contribution to national discussions about reparations. . . . [Darity and Mullen] force readers to confront how anti-Black racism has and continues to impede the financial well-being of African Americans and provide a blueprint for addressing these injustices.”--Black Perspectives

“This book underscores slavery’s deleterious impact on descendants of America’s four million enslaved persons emancipated in 1865. . . . [The authors] propose that Congress institute reparations for Black persons who can document that they had at least one enslaved ancestor in the US after the formation of the republic. . . . Part history, part economics, and part advocacy, this book will appeal to a broad readership.”--CHOICE

"Simply put: The best historical, conceptual, and empirical case for reparations for Black Americans."--Ibram X. Kendi