Repair: Redeeming the Promise of Abolition


Product Details

$19.95  $18.55
Haymarket Books
Publish Date
5.43 X 7.87 X 0.63 inches | 0.6 pounds

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About the Author

Katherine Franke is one of the nation's leading scholars writing on law, racial justice, and African American history. Her first book was Wedlocked: The Perils of Marriage Equality. She is the James L. Dohr Professor of Law at Columbia University, where she also directs the Center for Gender and Sexuality Law.


With eloquence, skill, and an unstinting eye on justice, the second updated edition of legal scholar Katherine Franke's Repair: Redeeming the Promise of Abolition, is as powerful as it is timely. Focused on the Sea Islands of South Carolina where the promise of land after emancipation began, Franke confronts the "original sin from which the evil of structural racism has grown...". She turns to the voices of Black enslaved people themselves to make the case that the value of their labor and lives were stolen, and a debt is owed. She then imagines alternate futures, and maps a path toward reparations, not to feign some type of artificial closure, but to approximate some modicum of justice. This is a must-read book for organizers and historians alike." --Barbara Ransby

For more than one hundred and fifty years African Americans have made demands that the federal government redress and repair the catastrophic social, emotional, political and economic consequences of slavery in this nation. In this new essential book, Repair: Redeeming the Promise of Abolition, legal scholar Katherine Franke engages the original debates concerning the conditions upon which newly freed Black people would rebuild their lives after slavery. Franke powerfully illustrates the repercussions of the unfilled promise of land redistribution and other broken promises that consigned African Americans to another one hundred years of second-class citizenship. Franke passionately argues that the continuation of those vast disparities between Black and white people in U.S. society--a product of slavery itself--means that the struggle for reparations remains a relevant demand in the current movements for racial justice. --Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor, From #BlackLivesMatter to Black Liberation

Repair revisits the revolutionary era of Reconstruction, that brief moment in the sun in the words of W.E. B. Du Bois, when the redistribution of land and wealth as recompense for unrequited toil could have secured genuine freedom for Black people rather than a future of racial inequality, exploitation, marginalization, and precarity. To begin the road to repair, Katherine Franke makes a persuasive case for reparations as at least a first step toward creating the conditions for genuine freedom and justice, not only for African Americans but for all of us.--Robin D. G. Kelley, Freedom Dreams: The Black Radical Imagination

Katherine Franke argues for a type of Black freedom that is material and felt--freedom that is more than a poetic nod to claims of American moral comeuppance. Repair: Redeeming The Promise of Abolition is a critical text for our times that demands an honest reckoning with the consequences, and afterlife, of the sin that was chattel enslavement. It is a bold call for reparations and costly atonement. --Darnell L. Moore, No Ashes in the Fire: Coming of Age Black & Free in America

Katherine Franke is consistently one of the sharpest, most conscientious thinkers in progressive politics. In a time defined by crisis and conflict, Katherine is among that small number of thinkers whom I find indispensable.--Jelani Cobb, The Substance of Hope