2002 Press Releases

Press Release

Thursday, April 11, 2002


Top Experts Discuss Reparations for Slavery at Boalt Hall

Contact: Erin Campbell, Communications Dept., 510-643-8010, ecampbell@law.berkeley.edu

Berkeley, CA - Experts from across the nation will gather at Boalt Hall to explore the case for slavery reparations this Friday, April 12 and Saturday, April 13. The two-day conference, Reparations for Slavery and its Legacy will begin Friday at 4 p.m. with a lecture by author Randall Robinson titled "What America Owes to Blacks and What Blacks Owe to Each Other." An internationally recognized human rights advocate and active proponent of the reparations movement, Robinson is the author of several books about the African American experience, including "The Reckoning" and "The Debt."

"UC Berkeley is once again on the cutting edge of the quest for social justice," says Robinson. "Two and a half centuries of slavery plus another century of legally enshrined discrimination have, in many ways, shaped who and what we are as a nation. An honest and thorough discussion of this reality is essential, not only for the psychological and emotional health of black Americans, but for Americans of every race, class and creed."

On Saturday experts from a variety of fields will examine reparations from legal, historical and psychological perspectives and discuss proposed legislation, lessons from other movements and future strategies. Panelists include Dale Minami, lead counsel in a case that re-opened a landmark U.S. Supreme Court case ruling and overturned the conviction of a Japanese American man who refused to be interned during WWII; Eva Jefferson Paterson, executive director of the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights; and Kristen Wells, minority counsel for the House Judiciary Committee.

"We cannot rightfully claim to be a land of equal opportunity until we have confronted the legacy of slavery in this country," says Mary Louise Frampton, a conference organizer and director of Boalt's Center for Social Justice. "The symposium gives us an opportunity to discuss this critically important issue."

The conference will take place in Booth Auditorium at Boalt Hall. Randall Robinson's lecture will begin at 4 p.m. on Friday, April 12. Panel discussions will be held from 8:45 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, April 13.