Paying reparations for slavery is possible – based on a study of federal compensation to farmers, fishermen, coal miners, radiation victims and 70 other groups

Linda J. Bilmes and Cornell William Brooks

Though America has yet to begin compensating Black Americans for past and ongoing racial harms, our new research published in the Russell Sage Foundation Journal in June 2024, refutes one of the key arguments against making reparation payments – that they would be too difficult and expensive for the federal government to administer.

We discovered hundreds of cases and analyzed more than 70 programs in which the federal government pays what we term “reparatory compensation” to millions of Americans.