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Litigation

2003

Georgetown University Law Center

African Americans

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Full-Text Articles in Law

A History Lesson: Reparations For What?, Emma Coleman Jordan Jan 2003

A History Lesson: Reparations For What?, Emma Coleman Jordan

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

A major difficulty facing the reparations-for-slavery movement is that to date the movement has focused its litigation strategies and its rhetorical effort upon the institution of slavery. While slavery is the root of modern racism, it suffers many defects as the centerpiece of a reparations litigation strategy. The most important difficulty is temporal. Formal slavery ended in 1865. Thus, the time line of potentially reparable injury extends to well before the period of any person now living. The temporal difficulty arises from the conventional expectations of civil litigation, which require a harmony of identity between the defendants and the plaintiffs ...