Aim: How can we use our historical and economic knowledge to understanding a challenging text?

Do Now: What do you think “reparations” are?

We began by examining problems in terms of the Factors of Production: land, labor, capital, and entrepreneurship.

We learned to see the relationships between these in terms of supply and demand. We learned as Economists to think of cost as Opportunity Cost, a measure of what is sacrificed in order to get what we want.

We saw how supply and demand work in the market to set prices, for everything from sneakers to oil.

We followed the economic history of the United States, beginning with Mercantilist conquest and the slave trade.

We examined the economic debates at the founding of the United States, and the extraordinary contributions of “a bastard, orphan, son of a whore and a Scotsman, dropped in the middle of a forgotten spot in the Caribbean.”

We learned the little-known history of the slave market and racial violence in New York City.

We learned about Sharecropping and Jim Crow, economic and political systems designed to keep African Americans subservient agricultural labor in the wake of the Civil War.

We followed African-Americans as they journeyed North, looking for a better life. We saw the reality of their arrival.

We have followed immigrants and migrants, slaves and free people, some driven from their homes and some desperate seeking a place to call their own.

From the beginning, prosperity in North America was extracted from stolen land, by the forced labor of stolen peoples. It is a history of plunder.

The Case for Reparations

Ta-Nehisi Coates

Ta-Nehisi Coates is a national correspondent at The Atlantic, where he writes about culture, politics, and social issues. He is the author of the memoir The Beautiful Struggle.

  1. When did the Second Great Migration occur?
  2. What is “redlining?”
  3. What does buying houses on contract remind you of?
  4. How much was Clyde Ross overcharged for his house?
  5. What were Clyde Ross' jobs? How long did he do them for?
  6. How did North Lawndale residents fight back?
  7. What was the average overcharge price?
  8. What was the “Race Tax”?
  9. According to Jack Macnamara, who created the ghetto?
  10. How did the Contract Buyers League work?
  11. What is the difference between buying a house on contract and a mortage?
  12. What was the short-term result of the payment strike?
  13. What was the long-term effect on North Lawndale?