Expert Pitch
Binghamton University, State University of New York

Slavery reparations could help United States reclaim moral leadership

The House Judiciary Committee today plans to review and vote on House Resolution 40, or the Commission to Study and Develop Reparation Proposals for African Americans Act. Reparations could drastically improve the United States’ international standing and serve as an example to other nations on how to deal with past inequities, according to Anne C. Bailey, Slavery and Reparations expert, professor of history and director of the Harriet Tubman Center for the Study of Freedom and Equity at Binghamton University, State University of New York.

According to Bailey, the renewed focus on reparations comes at a pivotal time in recent U.S. history.

“Long considered, rightly or wrongly, as a beacon of democracy and freedom, the U.S. has in the past four years presented a different face to the world amid a retreat into “America first” policy,” said Bailey.

“Meanwhile, the recent attack on the Capitol, the killing of George Floyd at the hands of police and racial disparities highlighted in the pandemic have raised concerns about the fragility of American democracy and have put the lasting legacies of structural racism in the U.S. on full display.

“Paying reparations to Americans of African descent could, I believe, help the U.S. reclaim some moral leadership on the global stage. The U.S. is not the only country in the world with human rights abuses then or now, but it can be one of the few countries in the world that truly addresses these wrongs.”

For information on the Tubman Center's recent press on reparations and associated issues, visit

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