While giving a keynote address at a conference, entitled “Universities and Slavery: Bound By History” at Harvard University, writer Ta-Nehisi Coates discussed reparations.
Coates, a known proponent of reparations made the case to the audience that progress on racial issues requires institutions to repay their debts to enslaved people.
“I think every single one of these universities needs to make reparations,” he said to wide applause. “I don’t know how you get around that, I just don’t. I don’t know how you conduct research that shows that your very existence is rooted in a great crime, and just say ‘well,’ shrug—and maybe at best say ‘I’m sorry’—and you walk away. And I think you need to use the language of ‘reparation.’ I think it’s very, very important to actually say that word, to acknowledge that something was done in these institutions.”