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Charles J. Ogletree, Reparations for the Children of Slaves: Litigating the Issues, 2 U. Mem. L. Rev. 33 (2003).

Abstract: Reparations presents one of the most controversial issues facing race relations in America today. It is controversial, in part, because it involves something more than the usual attempt to resist the roll-back of civil rights gains of the 1950s and 1960s. Instead, reparations requires an active, forward-looking response to America's baleful history of slavery and racial intolerance. The central demand of reparations--that we ameliorate the condition of African Americans who continue to suffer because of discrimination present at the founding of our country and continuing today--provokes understandably strong reactions in many people of all races. My goal is not so much to make a moral case for reparations, or present a detailed legal analysis setting forth the basis for any potential lawsuit. Instead, I want to give you a sense of why this it the most important work that I have done. I will provide a general overview--the historical impetus behind African American reparations litigation in general and where that litigation stands today. Then, I will describe the legal team assembled under the rubric of the Reparations Coordinating Committee. I am one of the Committee's co-chairs, and I will talk a little about our effort, the litigation in which we hope to engage, the sort of outcome that we expect, and what we are trying to accomplish.