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

Do Now (in Classroom): After reading Section I, 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.

After reading Section I & II

  • Summarize the article so far.
  • In a paragraph, what is the central idea of each section?
  • What questions do you have about the article so far? Do your own "mini-QFT" – you can start with the words/phrases that confused you, but move to open-ended questions