The Atlantic Presents Ta-Nehisi Coates' "The Case for Reparations": Jeffrey Goldberg to Interview Coates at Sixth & I on June 12

“It is as though we have run up a credit-card bill and, having pledged to charge no more, remain befuddled that the balance does not disappear. The effects of that balance, interest accruing daily, are all around us.”

Washington, D.C. (June 2, 2014)— Just days before the 50th anniversary of the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964,  Atlantic National Correspondents Ta-Nehisi Coates and Jeffrey Goldberg will sit down to discuss “The Case for Reparations,” Coates’ powerful cover story in the magazine’s June issue on Thursday, June 12 at 7PM at Sixth & I Historic Synagogue. The product of nearly two years of reporting, Coates’ piece—released May 22 to overwhelming reader response and critical praise—argues for America to reckon with the “moral debt” it has accrued: first for centuries of slavery, deepened by segregation, discrimination, and racist housing policies that persist to this day.

The hour-long discussion will focus on the narrative Coates weaves in “The Case for Reparations,” and what the public response to his story says about the country’s readiness to contend with the consequences of a history of racism. The focus of his piece is Chicago’s West Side; he traces that neighborhood’s skyrocketing poverty, infant-mortality, unemployment, and homicide rates to the redlining officially mandated by the Federal Housing Administration after World War II. In moving interviews, Coates documents the predatory loans that were the only choice available to would-be black homeowners in Chicago—and the countermovement, the Contract Buyers League, that sprung up in the late 1960s seeking, in essence, reparations.

Goldberg is himself an expert on the subject of reparations. For many years, he covered the controversies surrounding reparations to Jews victimized by Nazi Germany, and by Swiss and German banks, during the Holocaust.

Tickets are available now on Sixth & I’s website.

A sampling of praise for Coates’ “The Case for Reparations”:

  • “This is the piece that everyone will be talking about for the next two weeks—or the next twenty years. So you might want to make some time to read it now.” —Dan Savage, American author and nationally syndicated advice columnist
  • “Meanwhile, Ta-Nehisi Coates has done something extraordinary. ‘Must read’ is nowhere near strong enough.” —A.O. Scott, New York Times film critic
  • “‘AN AMERICA that asks what it owes its most vulnerable citizens is improved and humane,’ writes the indispensable Ta-Nehisi Coates in this month's Atlantic cover story.” —The Economist
  • "You must read it yourself. No, really, you must. The essay's length—more than 15,000 words—makes it difficult to absorb all at once, but the length is plainly part of the point." —Gawker
  • “‘The Case for Reparations’ is a bold beginning to the greater conversation we must have on the damages wrought by racism that still need repair in our nation. That anyone in 2014 would be pleading, as Coates is, to simply talk honestly about the implications behind centuries of proven history of one group oppressing another, is astonishing. More remarkable still could be what happens as a result of him asking the question.” — The Guardian

Additional event details follow. For media tickets or further information, please contact the press leads below.


Thursday, June 12, 2014
7:00 p.m., ET (Doors open at 6:00 p.m.)
Sixth & I
600 I Street, NW
Washington, D.C. 20001

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