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The historical foundation of the reparations movement is foremost the institution of slavery. Slavery was not marginal to, or an aberration in, the formation of the United States. During the colonial period, a racialised social order evolved, as did codified slave laws and institutionalised slave practices at the level of everyday life…
The central claims and organising and legal principles of the reparations movement are laid out in the Black Manifesto. The Manifesto is premised on the historical fact that the United States was constitutionally founded on slavery and that the persistence of racial inequality and injustice in American society is derived from slavery.
The Manifesto articulates the legal principle for reparations for African Americans. According to Wade Henderson, Executive Director of the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, this principle affirms that for every wrong there is a remedy, and ... that remedy is not extinguished by time itself, particularly when the manifestations of the problem are current day and visible to all1. Judiciously, the Manifesto does not specify how to assess the damage for reparations, calling for congressional hearings to determine the basis for compensation. While the Manifesto implicates the US government as a principal benefactor and enforcer of slavery, it intentionally does not specify the form or forms of reparations, except to call for the establishment of a 'private trust', which may imply financial as well as other forms of restitution. Mazrui has delineated three categories of reparations considered during his membership of the Group of Eminent Persons. ...
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