Forty Acres and a Mule in the 21st Century*

In general, a program of reparations is intended to achieve three objectives:acknowledgment of a grievous injustice, redress for the injustice, and closure of the grievances held by the group subjected to the injustice. Three types of injustices motivate a program of reparations for black Americans: slavery, the nearly century-long Jim Crow regime following Reconstruction, and ongoing discrimination. Inauguration of a reparations program on behalf of black Americans preferably will be undertaken via legislative action at the federal level, rather than by judicial fiat.Logistical issues addressed in the article include determination of the magnitude of the reparations bill and the criteria to be used to identify those eligible to receive reparations. The present day value of 40 acres and a mule can provide the foundation for the calculation of the magnitude of reparations owed to black Americans.

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