Writer and journalist Ta-Nehisi Coates and social justice icon Angela Davis will join a panel of civil rights leaders, scholars, and lawyers for a conference at Northeastern University on reparations for the descendants of lynching victims.
Hosted by the university’s Civil Rights and Restorative Justice Project and the Africana Studies Program, the virtual conference on Tuesday will bring together families of descendants with longstanding leaders of reparations movements in the United States, as well as racial justice activists and scholars.
Coates and Davis will be among a lineup of speakers that includes Margaret Burnham, university distinguished professor of law at Northeastern; Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee; and artist Dread Scott.
Initiatives to redress the harms of slavery have been discussed for well over a century, whether in the form of financial recompense or formal apologies. But this conference takes place at a time when public officials across the country are making a renewed effort to repair past wrongs within their communities.
“There is a widespread racial reckoning occurring across our country in the wake of the George Floyd event,” says Burnham, who founded and directs the Civil Rights and Restorative Justice Project at Northeastern’s School of Law. “There’s increased sensitivity and increased appetite to learn about the history behind the George Floyd murder. And those of us who have been studying and organizing in this arena for a long time need to step up to the plate and inform that conversation.”