The Atlantic

Read Ta-Nehisi Coates’s Testimony on Reparations

“The question really is not whether we’ll be tied to the somethings of our past, but whether we are courageous enough to be tied to the whole of them.”
Source: Paul Marotta / Getty

Five years ago, the journalist Ta-Nehisi Coates published “The Case for Reparations” in The Atlantic, a cover story that would reinvigorate national discussion over debts owed for slavery and discrimination against black Americans. Today, on Juneteenth, he is testifying at a House hearing on H.R. 40, a bill that would establish a commission to study reparations. It’s the first such hearing in more than a decade.

Below, the full text of his opening statement as delivered:


Yesterday, when asked

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