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The ARC Of Justice

For every dollar of wealth owned by the average white household in the U.S., the average Black household possesses a mere ten cents.

It didn’t need to be this way. At several historic moments, the trajectory of U.S. racial inequality could have changed dramatically. But at each juncture, the road chosen veered away from a more just and fair America.

The ARC of Justice is an audio series from WUNC and Duke University's Sanford School of Public Policy's Ways & Means podcast that responds to the need for Acknowledgement, Redress and Closure (ARC) to remedy historical injustices that have been faced by Black Americans. Many believe we live in a post-racial society, yet economic data suggests otherwise. The series is inspired by the book "From Here To Equality: Reparations for Black Americans in the 21st Century," by economist William "Sandy" Darity Jr. and folklorist and arts consultant A. Kirsten Mullen.

Listen below or find the show wherever you get your podcasts. Find more on the racial wealth gap, including episode discussion guides, at The ARC of Justice website.

Produced in partnership with the Sanford School of Public Policy at Duke University.

Latest Episodes
  • The U.S. government and governments of other countries have paid reparations to a wide range of people and groups, for a variety of wrongs, throughout history. But reparations to Black Americans have not been paid to date. In this episode: listen in on a live conversation about reparations with some of today's top advocates for a federal rollout. How would the debt be calculated? Who would qualify? What methods might work? Would reparations fix racial inequality? | Learn more about this series and the book that inspired it, "From Here To Equality: Reparations for Black Americans in the 21st Century," at waysandmeansshow.org.
  • Throughout the nation’s history, promising signs of Black American progress have been shattered by acts of violence serving the interests of white supremacy. The extent of that violence is widespread and ongoing. From lynchings to the decimation of entire communities by white mob savagery with deadly and far-reaching consequences. Examples of this American brand of white violence affected Black wealth and Black lives in Colfax (1873) and Coushatta, Louisiana (1874), Wilmington, North Carolina (1898), Atlanta (1906), Elaine, Arkansas and Chicago (1919), in Ocoee, Florida (1920) and the Greenwood District in Tulsa, Oklahoma (1921), to name only a few. | Learn more at waysandmeansshow.org.
  • Time and again, the route to upward mobility in American society has been blocked for Black people. Consider the G.I. Bill, which provided college education and housing benefits for veterans after World War II. The G.I. Bill was a conveyor belt into the middle class for millions of white WWII veterans, but many Black veterans were excluded and subsequent generations continue to feel the effects. | Episode discussion guides for this series available at waysandmeansshow.org.
  • Home ownership played an important role in how many Americans built wealth in the 20th century. Yet, Black Americans faced significant obstacles on the path to owning a home in the same time period. In this episode, how U.S. government policies promoted residential segregation and destroyed African-American neighborhoods in the process. | Support this show with a donation at wunc.org/give.
  • The promise of “40 acres and a mule” officially was made in 1865 when the U.S. government decided that newly freed African-Americans should have a plot of land to call their own. Three years earlier, when 90% of Black Americans still were enslaved, the federal government enacted the Homestead Act and started offering free 160-acre plots of land to settlers, mostly white Americans. A tale of two promises made by the government — one kept, one broken — that helps explain the existing wealth gap between Black and white Americans. | Episode discussion guides for this series available at waysandmeansshow.org.
  • It hasn't been very long at all since we were one nation under slavery. The effects still linger. One example: Today, white households in Boston have a median net worth of about $247,000. The median net worth of a Black household in Boston is a mere $8. You read that right. What could have been done, and what could still be done, to start to close the wealth gap between white and Black Americans? Welcome to The ARC of Justice. | Learn more at waysandmeansshow.org.