While Americans don't generally support a reparations program paid by taxpayers, this summer's events have shifted the once overlooked topic into the national debate.
One hundred and forty-two members of Congress have co-sponsored H.R. 40, the Commission to Study and Develop Reparation Proposals for African-Americans Act, compared with only two in 2014. Even Joe Biden, the presumptive 2020 Democratic presidential nominee, has said he supports the study, representing a change on the issue.
William Darity, professor of public policy at Duke University, has studied the rationale and design of reparations for more than 30 years. He says, "the present moment seems to afford more of an opportunity to move forward than any moment I've experienced in my lifetime."
This spring, Darity and his wife, Kirsten Mullen, made the most comprehensive case for a reparations program in their latest book "From Here to Equality: Reparations for Black Americans in the Twenty-First Century." They argue a meaningful program to eliminate the existing Black-White wealth gap requires an allocation of between $10 trillion and $12 trillion, or about $800,000 to each eligible Black household. But not everyone agrees that now is the time to pay reparations.