Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Arts



First Advisor

Dr. Michael S. Pritchard

Second Advisor

Dr. Insoo Hyun

Third Advisor

Dr. John Dilworth

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Open Access


The question that is posed in this thesis is this: Do blacks have a moral claim for reparations for past indiscretions, such as slavery and legalized segregation? A second question dependent on an answer to this first is: If it is decided that blacks do have a claim to reparations, to whom can they make this claim? The first question will be answered through the clarification of the terms compensation and reparation, the exploration of current compensatory programs (such as Affirmative Action) that have claimed reparations as justification for the implementation of compensatory policies, and answering many of the current arguments against reparations. The thesis will conclude that African Americans have a moral claim, and therefore are owed reparations.

The second question will be answered through implementing a synoptic view of history and introducing and defining key concepts such as 'inheritance of wealth,' 'inheritance of racist practices,' and 'community.' This thesis will further conclude that blacks can look to the white community as a whole as well as the government as groups who owe them reparation.