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Reparations for Slavery and the Slave Trade

February 15, 2018

Ana Lucio Araujo, Howard University professor and historian
Moderated by Francisco Gonzales, Riordan Roett Senior Associate Professor of Latin American Studies

The Johns Hopkins SAIS community hosted Professor Ana Lucia Araujo as part of its celebration of Black History Month 2018 for a discussion on her recent book, Reparations for Slavery and the Slave Trade: A Transnational and Comparative History.

Araujo gave an overview of her research on the history of slavery, including the ways it has been memorialized or forgotten in society. She noted that much of the existing work on reparation issues was written by legal scholars and political scientists while very little has been written from the perspective of historians. Araujo spoke about the consciousness of slaves since the 18th century and how they have demanded compensation for their unlawful enslavement.

Araujo discussed international law and reparative measures to indemnify nations for wartime damages. These legal measures contain symbolic and moral dimensions alluding to national regret and apology and then actions to address those who are victims of wrongdoing. The book’s central argument considers how the demand of reparations for slavery in the slave trade can be historically addressed.

Araujo concluded by emphasizing that the debate will continue on reparations as a framework for understanding how racial inequality and the legacy of slavery remain alive and the reasons for their persistence.

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