Part of a George Washington University symposium on race and law, this article is a response to Professor Anthony Cook’s symposium contribution on reparations. According to this writer, Professor Cook argues that only public atonement supported by economic restitution will provide reconciliation between whites and blacks. The article interprets the three steps Professor Cook puts forth to heal the wounds between blacks and whites as confession, restoration and reconciliation. While the article does not dismiss the idea of reparations, and even offers legal support for it from the fields of Torts and Trusts and Estates, it argues that reparations-seeking is not a viable strategy for the victims of racism. Among the reasons it offers is that reparations will not truly compensate slavery's descendants for all that was lost in slavery and in the hundred years of gross civil rights violations that followed it and reparations-seeking is an impractical request that will not be granted. The author proceeds to explain the loss caused by slavery and what "true reparations" might look like.
GW Paper Series
GWU Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2013-127; GWU Law School Public Law Research Paper No. 2013-127
W. Burlette Carter, True Reparations, 68 Geo. Wash. L. Rev. 1021 (2000).