Wednesday, June 3, 2020
With financial support from the Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences’ International Keynote Speakers Support Fund
This keynote presentation returns to the 1969 publication of the Black Manifesto, one of the most radical documents produced from within the Black Power Movement in the United States, as part of a broader consideration of faith-based demands for reparations. As a means for providing restitution for historically oppressed peoples, reparations have been placed back on the radar of contemporary American politics, at least within liberal and leftist circles. But the Black Manifesto, which called for $500,000,000 from white Christian churches and Jewish synagogues on the grounds of complicity and profiteering from slavery and racism, is a particularly rich historical source. The document – and the myriad responses to it – are worth revisiting for what they tell us about the often-tense relationships among the historical realities of racism and lingering forms of systemic discrimination, one the one hand, and the requirements for racial reconciliation and the prospects for transformational social change, on the other.
- Angela D. Dillard, Professor of Afroamerican and African Studies, University of Michigan