The Center for Social Solutions at the University of Michigan is leading a group of college and university scholars in an effort to examine possible avenues to provide reparations for African Americans and Indigenous people. Reparations refers to compensation, which may include a national apology, educational, housing, and healthcare programs, and financial redress from the U.S. government to Native Americans for genocide and African Americans for the detrimental effects of slavery and beyond.
The project, which will span three years, creates and leverages a national network of college and university-based humanities scholars working in partnerships with community-based organizations to develop research-informed reparation plans for each location. The network will consist of nine geographically dispersed and organizationally different colleges and universities and involve community fellows as well as local organizations in a collaborative public history reckoning designed to offer tangible suggestions for community-based racial reparations solutions.
In addition to the University of Michigan, the following colleges and universities will be participating in the project:
Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh
Emory University in Atlanta
Spelman College in Atlanta
Concordia College in Moorhead, Minnesota
Connecticut College in New London
Wesleyan College in Macon, Georgia
Wofford College in Spartanburg, South Carolina
Historian Carol Anderson the Charles Howard Candler Professor of African American Studies at Emory University and one of the leaders of the program, stated that “our scholars will be working with community partners to listen and assess the toll that slavery, Jim Crow and its modern iteration have taken on the Black community. They will then work toward crafting a series of policy recommendations for reparations to address those losses. Healing requires accountability. The point is to thrive, not just survive.”
The project was funded by a $5 million grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.