Radio Atlantic: The Fight for Reparations

Vann R. Newkirk II discusses the Juneteenth congressional hearing on reparations.

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On Wednesday—for the first time in a decade—Congress held a hearing on reparations for slavery. It was a crystallizing moment for an issue that has gained prominence since Ta-Nehisi Coates’s 2014 Atlantic essay.

Coates and others testified before a House committee on June 19th—Juneteenth—a day the nation celebrates emancipation from slavery. Every year, the Atlantic staff writer Vann R. Newkirk II writes a Juneteenth essay. He joins Isaac Dovere to discuss the history of the holiday, the importance of the hearing, and where the fight for reparations stands now.

Listen For:

  • Why is the end of slavery celebrated on June 19th?

  • What were the arguments made in the historic congressional hearing on reparations?

  • Where does the debate go from here—and does it become an issue in the presidential race?