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February 08, 2021 BLACK HISTORY MONTH

Reparations Roundtable

The conversation about reparations for American chattel slavery is increasingly noticeable, compelling and urgent to many people and institutions in our country. The ABA is part of the conversation, in that ABA policy supports a commission to study reparations. Notwithstanding the many challenges of getting started, and the "slippery slope" arguments that can easily derail a productive dialogue, the conversation is progressing and gaining momentum. We have a wealth of new ideas, new language and new ways of describing our society, all of which are fortifying the work of reparations advocates and changing hearts and minds on this topic.

This panel brings together speakers who educate us about: 

  1. societal responses to gross human rights injustices around the world; 

  2. the US history of efforts to face, make amends and direct redress for chattel slavery; 

  3. a current-day example of a municipality or institution undertaking a reparations program; 

  4. an economic perspective; and 

  5. legal frameworks for reparations. 

We are not debating whether to have a reparations conversation. We are having it. We are studying reparations. This conversation is action, to educate, memorialize, make whole and prevent continuing and future harm.


  • Anna Myriam Roccatello, Deputy Executive Director and Director of Programs, International Center for Transitional Justice
  • Nkechi Taifa, Founder and Principal, The Taifa Group, LLC; Member, National African American Reparations Commission; Founding Member, National Coalition of Blacks for Reparations in America (N’COBRA)
  • Keeshea Turner Roberts, Adjunct Professor and Supervising Attorney, Fair Housing Clinic, Howard University School of Law; Co-Chair, African American Affairs Committee, ABA Section of Civil Rights and Social Justice


  • Barrett Holmes Pitner, Founder and Philosopher-In-Chief, The Sustainable Culture Lab; Lecturer, The George Washington University; Contributor, The Daily Beast and BBC

Co-Sponsors: ABA Center for Human Rights, ABA Center for Public Interest Law, ABA Commission on Hispanic Legal Rights & Responsibilities, ABA Commission on Homelessness & Poverty, ABA Commission on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity, ABA Death Penalty Representation Project, ABA Diversity and Inclusion Center, ABA Law Student DivisionABA Section of State and Local Government Law, ABA Tort Trial & Insurance Practice Section, ABA Young Lawyers Division


Transcript: Reparations Roundtable

ABA policy to create a Commission to study and make findings relating to the present day social, political, and economic consequences of both slavery and the denial thereafter of equal justice

Black reparations and the racial wealth gap

The Case for Reparations

Forms of Justice: A Guide to Designing Reparations Application Forms and Registration Processes for Victims of Human Rights Violations

H.R. 40 and the Path to Restorative Justice Hearing

The Legal Basis of the Claim for Slavery Reparations

More Than Words: Apologies as a Form of Reparation

Reparations – Has the Time Finally Come?

Viewpoint: US must confront its Original Sin to move forward

What Is Owed

Why we need reparations for Black Americans

National African-American Reparations Commission

National Coalition of Blacks for Reparations in America (N'COBRA)

United Nations. A/RES/60/147. Basic Principles and Guidelines on the Right to a Remedy and Reparation for Victims of Gross Violations of International Human Rights Law and Serious Violations of International Humanitarian Law. Resolution adopted by the General Assembly on 16 December 2005. [Theo van Boven Principles]

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