Lesson Plan

What are Reparations and Should We Enact Them?

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GRADE LEVEL: High School

COMMON CORE STANDARDS: Reading, Writing, Speaking and Listening, Language

SEL STANDARDS*: Social Awareness, Responsible Decision-Making

Recommendations on Slavery Reparations

In September 2020, California passed a bill to establish a task force to study and make recommendations on slavery reparations. The bill (AB 3121) is the first of its kind in any state. While California is the first state to pass such legislation, the issue of reparations has a long history in the United States. Since 1989, federal legislation has been introduced many times, including H.R. 40, the “Commission to Study and Develop Reparation Proposals for African Americans Act.” H.R. 40 proposes to study reparations and recommend appropriate remedies. It has been introduced in Congress several times but has never made it out of Committee.

Reparations was addressed during the 2020 Presidential Democratic primary, with several candidates endorsing federal studies of reparations or acknowledging the importance of the issue.

About the Lesson Plan

This lesson provides an opportunity for students to learn more about the history and rationale for reparations and reflect on their own point of view as well as consider the opinions of others.

Learning Objectives:

  • Students will define and describe reparations.
  • Students will learn about the rationale for reparations for slavery and its historical context.
  • Students will reflect on their own and others’ opinions about reparations and express their views verbally and in writing.