Annotated Bibliography on Reparations

40 Acres and a Mule

Library of Congress

Below is a short list, by no means definitive, of reparation definitions, historical records and related legislation.


International Center for Transitional Justice:  

  • Reparations are meant to acknowledge and repair the causes and consequences of human rights violations and inequality in countries emerging from dictatorship, armed conflict, and political violence, as well as in societies dealing with racial injustice and legacies of colonization.

Movement for Black Lives

  • A process of repairing, healing and restoring a people injured because of their group identity and in violation of their fundamental human rights by governments, corporations, institutions and families.

National African American Reparations Commission (NAARC):  

  • Reparations for slavery is the application of the concept of reparations to victims of slavery and/or their descendants.

Oxford Bibliography, Reparations:

  • Reparation refers to the process and result of remedying the damage or harm caused by an unlawful act. … It can also serve as a measure to end ongoing breaches and to deter future ones, as a vehicle for reconciliation or to restore relations between the violator and injured parties, as well as a basis to repair or rehabilitate physical and psychological integrity and dignity.

Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy:

  • The point of reparations is not to make people equal to others; reparations is not defined as making the wrongly harmed equal to others. In fact, equality has little to do with reparations. People deserve reparations as a matter of right when they have been wrongfully harmed by transgression but a person may be harmed as a result of transgression and may therefore have a right to reparations and yet be better off than others.


Freedmen and Southern Society Project

  • On the evening of Thursday, the 12th day of January 1865, the following persons of African descent met by appointment to hold an interview with Edwin M. Stanton, Secretary of War, and Major-Gen. Sherman, to have a conference upon matters relating to the freedmen of the State of Georgia.  

Pew Research Center, Reparations for Slavery:   

  • Discussions about atonement for the enslavement of Black Americans has a long history in the United States. Most famously, General William T. Sherman drafted Special Field Order 15 in 1865. The order stipulated that Confederate land seized in Georgia and South Carolina would be split among formerly enslaved Black people in those states, no more than 40 acres per family.


  • An Historical Timeline of Reparations Payments Made From 1783 through 2020 by the United States Government, States, Cities, Religious Institutions, and Colleges and Universities.

Semantic Scholar, African American Reparations: A Selected Annotated Bibliography

  • This descriptive selective annotated bibliography is primarily focused on the African American experience in the U.S. in accordance with the intent of our journal in joining The Black Scholar, The Journal of African American History, Souls: A Critical Review of Black Culture, the Journal of Black Psychology, African American Learners and other scholarly publications.

UMass-Amherst: Reparations in the United States:

  • An Historical Timeline of Reparations Payments Made From 1783 through 2022 by the United States Government, States, Cities, Religious Institutions, Universities, Corporations, and Communities.


Center for American Progress, Truth and Reconciliation:

  • In order to address centuries of collective harm to African Americans, the United States must acknowledge the impacts of slavery and make an intentional choice to rebuild itself in an equitable manner., H.R.40 – Commission to Study and Develop Reparation Proposals for African Americans Act

  • This bill establishes the Commission to Study and Develop Reparation Proposals for African Americans. The commission shall examine slavery and discrimination in the colonies and the United States from 1619 to the present and recommend appropriate remedies.

NAACP, Reparations Resolution:

  • Reparations would involve a national apology, rights to the cannabis industry, financial payment, social service benefits, and land grants to every descendant of an enslaved African American and Black person a descendant of those living in the United States including during American slavery until the Jim Crow era.

National Council of Churches

  • Reparations, H.R. 40 Aligns with the National Council of Churches anti-racism campaign to A.C.T. NOW to End Racism. 

Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas), H.R. 40

  • Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, a senior member of the House Committees on Judiciary, Budget and Homeland Security, Ranking Member of the Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security and Investigations, issued this statement on the introduction of H.R. 40.

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