Should Current Generations Make Reparation for Slavery?
During the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, European and American colonists perpetrated one of history’s most monstrous crimes: slavery. Millions of Africans were forcibly abducted from their homes and subjected to misery, humiliation and death as part of the brutal Atlantic slave trade. However, given that those who perpetrated and profited from slavery are long dead, should reparation be made for this historic injustice? Should current generations pay for the crimes of their forebears? If so, how?
In this book, Janna Thompson illuminates this debate with skill and clarity. She uses three case studies – France’s treatment of Haiti, Britain’s role in the African slave trade, and the plight of African Americans - to address these questions in an accessible and engaging fashion. She makes a nuanced case for the necessity of reparations, but argues that the exact form they take should vary from case to case, depending on a whole range of factors, both principled and practical.
This engaging book is a concise and highly readable introduction to the issues for students of political theory and philosophy, and anyone who wishes to grapple with the complexities of reparative justice and our responsibility for the darkest aspects of our past.