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Confronting InjusticeMoral History and Political Theory$
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David Lyons

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199662555

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199662555.001.0001

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Unfinished Business: Racial Junctures in US History and Their Legacy 1

Unfinished Business: Racial Junctures in US History and Their Legacy 1

(p.47) 4 Unfinished Business: Racial Junctures in US History and Their Legacy1
Confronting Injustice

David Lyons

Oxford University Press

After abolition, freedmen received no compensation for the terrible wrongs of slavery, the post-Civil War “reconstruction” of former slave states was aborted, and the brutally exploitative and oppressive system of Jim Crow was permitted to replace slavery. From the birth of the Republic to the late twentieth century, racial subordination was supported by federal policy, which has left a legacy of disadvantage and indignity. In addition to tracing that history, this paper analyzes arguments for reparations and defends a collective approach, which it reinforces with an appeal to the ideal of equal opportunity for all children. It argues that the federal government has a special obligation to rectify those wrongs and sketches a range of programs that are needed for those purposes.

Keywords:   slavery, racism, African Americans, Reconstruction, Jim Crow, civil rights, equal opportunity, reparations

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