Late in the Civil War, the Union general William T. Sherman confiscated four hundred thousand acres of land from Confederate planters and ordered it redistributed, in forty-acre lots, to formerly enslaved people—a promise revoked by President Andrew Johnson almost as soon as it was made. More than a hundred and fifty years later, the debate on what America owes to the descendants of slaves, or to people robbed by the legal discrimination that followed, still rages. David Remnick talks with Ta-Nehisi Coates and Susan B. Glasser about how reparations has become a major focus in the 2020 Democratic primary contest. And we’ll visit Georgetown University, where students have chosen to take reparations upon themselves.
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