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#249: What Is Owed

In a 1967 speech, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said, “It didn’t cost the nation anything to in
The Highlighter
#249: What Is Owed
By Mark Isero • Issue #256 • View online
In a 1967 speech, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said, “It didn’t cost the nation anything to integrate lunch counters. It didn’t cost the nation anything to integrate hotels and motels. It didn’t cost the nation a penny to guarantee the right to vote. Now we are in a period where it will cost the nation billions of dollars to get rid of poverty, to get rid of slums, to make quality integrated education a reality. This is where we are now. The fact is that there has never been any single, solid, determined commitment on the part of the vast majority of white Americans to genuine equality for Negroes.”
In this week’s outstanding lead article, “What Is Owed,” Nikole Hannah-Jones, a self-identified pessimist, acknowledges that this current moment, 50-plus years later, offers a genuine opportunity for change. Employing extensive evidence from American history, Ms. Hannah-Jones convincingly makes the case that the United States barred Black Americans from opportunities to acquire the wealth necessary to achieve economic justice, while simultaneously advantaging white Americans. The logical next step, she argues, is for the federal government to pay reparations to Black Americans.
Loyal readers, if you can, please make time to read this important essay. I highly recommend it. If it moves you, or if you want to talk about it, hit reply and share your thoughts with me.
As always, thank you for your readership, and I hope that you find value in all four pieces in this week’s issue. Please enjoy!

What Is Owed: Without Economic Justice, There Can Be No True Equality
The Trayvon Generation
Photo for The New York Times by Anthony Geathers.
Photo for The New York Times by Anthony Geathers.
Unbecoming American
Going Varsity In Mariachi
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