1619: “Justice,” by Nikole Hannah-Jones
“A truly great country does not ignore or excuse its sins. It confronts them, and then works to make them right. If we are to be redeemed, we must do what is just.”
Hi Book Clubbers! Our seven-month journey is coming to a close. This week, we’re reading the last chapter of the book, a powerful conclusion that challenges us to take concrete steps to advance justice.
For your reference, here’s our schedule.
This week, let’s read “Justice,” by Nikole Hannah-Jones. In her essay, Ms. Hannah-Jones first summarizes one of the book’s central arguments – that Black Americans have served as the perfecters of our democracy. She acknowledges that the civil rights laws of the Reconstruction era and the 1960s banned explicit racial discrimination, “merely guarantee[ing] Black people the rights they should have always had.” But Ms. Hannah-Jones emphasizes that our country has never addressed the root of lasting inequality: the gap in wealth, created by hundreds of years of oppression, made worse by affirmative action policies for white people. If true justice and equality are ever to be achieved in the United States, the country must finally take seriously what it owes black Americans. It is time for reparations.
Ms. Hannah-Jones writes:
We cannot change the hypocrisy upon which we were founded. But we can atone for it. We can acknowledge the crime. And we can do something to try to set things right, to ease the hardship and hurt of so many of our fellow Americans. It is one thing to say you do not support reparations because you did not know the history. But you now have reached the end of this book, and nationalized amnesia can no longer provide the excuse. None of us can be held responsible for the wrongs of our ancestors. but if today we choose not to do the right and necessary thing, that burden we own.
Read “Justice,” by Nikole Hannah-Jones.
Clear your calendar for our last discussion on Sunday, August 14. It would be great to see you all there and for us to finish strong. If you can’t make it, please let me know! We’ll miss you.
Thank you and have a great week!