This fall, the Roberson Project on Slavery, Race, and Reconciliation has hosted a reading group and two panel discussions on the topic of reparations. The reading group is meeting for a series of five sessions.
On Oct. 28, a panel discussion about educational institutions engaging in Black reparations was held with two people who have been in the thick of the movement for reparations in higher education, Ebonee Davis of Virginia Theological Seminary and Miles Aceves-Lewis of Georgetown University.
On Nov. 9, a second panel with Sewanee faculty members Mark Hopwood (philosophy), Matthew Mitchell (history), and Katherine Theyson (economics) will present their interdisciplinary perspectives on reparations for African Americans.
On Nov. 18 and 19, William A. Darity Jr. and Kirsten Mullen, authors of From Here to Equality: Reparations for Black Americans in the Twenty-First Century, will visit the Sewanee campus. The book is considered the most thought-provoking recent case for granting reparations to the descendants of the enslaved.
The debate over granting reparations has intensified over the last decade, with a few universities and seminaries now beginning to institute programs that directly benefit persons with ancestral ties to the enslaved. Yet many people today do not understand the complexities of this debate or realize that demands for slavery reparations date back to the 1700s.
This series of events related to reparations and/or featuring authors Darity and Mullen are sponsored by the Roberson Project in conjunction with the Department of Economics, the campus chapter of the NAACP, the Ayres Multicultural Center, and the Program in Southern Studies. Support is provided by the offices of the Vice Provost for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion and of the University Chaplain. Additional funding comes from the University Lectures Committee, the School of Theology Lectures Committee, and a Legacies of American Slavery grant to the Roberson Project from the Council of Independent Colleges.