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What It Actually Means to Pass Local 'Reparations'

As more U.S. cities consider plans to compensate Black Americans for past wrongs, Evanston and Asheville offer two divergent models.

The East End neighborhood of Asheville, North Carolina, as it looked before Black homes, businesses and schools were demolished by urban renewal in the 1970s. Asheville’s reparations program aims to redress the harms of urban renewal by investing in Black neighborhoods. 

The East End neighborhood of Asheville, North Carolina, as it looked before Black homes, businesses and schools were demolished by urban renewal in the 1970s. Asheville’s reparations program aims to redress the harms of urban renewal by investing in Black neighborhoods. 

Photographer: Andrea Clark/North Carolina Collection, Pack Memorial Public Library, Asheville, North Carolina

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A few days after the city of Evanston, Illinois, passed a resolution to offer reparations to Black families, Duke University economics professor William Darity Jr. penned an op-ed for The Washington Post arguing that the program should not be classified as “reparations.”