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Redeeming the Promise of Abolition

Katherine Franke
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Renewed attention today to a demand for reparations for Black people in this country invites us to turn our attention to the historical context from which that demand originates. Repair takes up that invitation, offering a detailed account of the circumstances that surrounded the emancipation of enslaved African Americans in two unique contexts, the Sea Islands of South Carolina and Davis Bend, Jefferson Davis' former plantation outside Vicksburg, Mississippi. 

Repair makes the case for racial reparations in the United States by returning to a time at the end of slavery when many formerly enslaved people were provided land explicitly as a form of reparation, yet after President Abraham Lincoln was assassinated that land was stolen back from freed people and given to former slave owners. Thus begins a complicated and volatile fight for justice for Black Americans who have had to demand retribution for the crime of slavery in the US.


Katherine Franke is one of the nation's leading scholars writing on law, racial justice, African American history, and sexuality. She is a board member of Jewish Voice for Peace and chair of the Center for Constitutional Rights. Her first book was Wedlocked: The Perils of Marriage Equality (2017 NYU Press). She is the Sulzbacher Professor of Law, Gender and Sexuality Studies at Columbia University and Director of the Center for Gender & Sexuality Law.


  • Publisher: ‎Haymarket Books (October 12, 2021)
  • Language: ‎English
  • Paperback: ‎230 pages
  • ISBN-10: ‎1642594709
  • ISBN-13: ‎9781642594706
  • Item Weight: ‎9.6 ounces
  • Dimensions: ‎5.75 x 0.5 x 8 inches
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