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.
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?
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