Reparations for Historic Inequities Policy Guide

Published By
Well Being In the Nation Network

While Black Americans make up 13 percent of the U.S. population, they own only 2.6 percent of the country’s wealth. The average White household has a net worth of $800,000 more than the average Black household. These inequities stem directly from slavery and its aftermath. Former slaves were not given free land while many White Americans were. During Reconstruction, the prosperity of Blacks suffered from violence, including massacres and the bombing of the Black Wall Street of Tulsa. By the 1900s, racism continued in housing policies, including redlining. When it started, Social Security excluded agricultural and domestic workers who were more likely to be Black. The GI Bill offered college tuition, home loans, and unemployment benefits to White veterans, but not to Black veterans. These inequitable public policies created the wealth gap between White and Black people.

Other populations in the U.S. also experience inequities based on how they were treated. Native Americans have the highest poverty rate of any group in the U.S. Native Americans have received some reparations, mostly land returns or compensation for lands taken. The U.S. has also given reparations to other groups, but there has never been a national effort to provide reparations for slavery.

The below policies are reparations--ways to recognize and make amends for these injustices.

Data & Metrics

Collage of images of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color with teal, olive green, golden yellow, and burnt orange transparent overlays. Bold white text on charcoal background at the top reads
BIPOC Health Equity Library
Published on 09/27/2022
Photo of an Indigenous person holding a drum. Behind them is a scene of a lake and forested mountains.
Indigenous Knowledge Library
Published on 08/04/2022
Banner graphic reads Campus Well-Being" with a photo of two Black college students walking and talking." style="margin: 0 auto;">