The History of Reparations


From Origin Of Everything.

In 2014, writer Ta-Nahisi Coates’ article for The Atlantic “The Case for Reparations” went viral. Tracing everything from the racial terror of slavery to the rampant housing discrimination of the 20th century, Coates made the case for financial reparations for the descendants of those who were enslaved in the US. However, the argument for reparations extends back much further than 2014 and also has significance beyond the Black American community. Today Danielle talks about one of the most controversial topics moving through American politics for over 150 years.

Special thanks to our Historian Harry Brisson and Archivists Rachel Brice, Jafra D. Thomas, and Alex Hackman on Patreon! Join them at

Created and Hosted by Danielle Bainbridge
Produced by Complexly for PBS Digital Studios

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Origin of Everything is a show about the undertold histories and cultural dialogues that make up our collective story. From the food we eat, to the trivia and fun facts we can’t seem to get out of our heads, to the social issues we can’t stop debating, everything around us has a history. Origin of Everything is here to explore it all. We like to think that no topic is too small or too challenging to get started.

Works Cited:


Caste: The Origins of our Discontents Isabel Wilkerson

Torpey, J. (2006). Making whole what has been smashed: on reparation politics. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press.

Eric Foner, Reconstruction: America’s Unfinished Revolution, 1863-1877

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