Do you think reparations are just about paying Black people for the free labor our ancestors provided during slavery?  You’re not alone. 

Since the days of 40 acres and a mule, the discussion on reparations has focused on repaying Black people for years of slavery.  

However, the modern day reparations movement also looks at the harm racist laws, policies and  discriminatory practices have had  on Blacks in the 150+ years since the end of slavery.  

Since 1864, Blacks have been – and continue to be – negatively impacted by racist practices in hiring, educational policies, access to health care, housing policies, and the criminal justice system.  

Discriminatory Health Care Policies

Black people have suffered from years of inadequate healthcare, including lack of access to doctors and healthcare facilities in our neighborhoods and lack of adequate health insurance. As a result of these inequities, we suffer disproportionately from treatable diseases. 

Black people have also not had access to healthy foods and many of our people live in food deserts. 

The devastating effect of COVID-19 on Black people in disproportionate numbers is a perfect example of health disparities that we have endured for decades. 

The intergenerational psycho-cultural, mental and spiritual damages of the post-traumatic slavery syndrome are well documented by Black psychiatrists and psychologists.

Mickey Dean is a founding member of the KC Reparations Coalition
Mickey Dean is a founding member of the KC Reparations Coalition

How Could Reparations Address This Problem?  

More than just a check in hand, reparations could look to address the discriminatory health care practices. One possible solution could be to provide funds for the establishment of free local Black-controlled health and wellness centers, fully equipped with highly qualified personnel and culturally appropriate, holistic preventive, mental health and curative treatment services. 

Such centers would go a long way in addressing the healthcare challenges facing many Black communities. This is an example of non-monetary reparatory justice. 

While some people don’t believe Black people deserve reparations. In future articles I’ll explore why Black people might deserve reparative justice and look at what forms that reparations might take, including putting money in hands and paths to reparatory justice for Black people.  

Mickey Dean is a founding member of the KC Reparations Coalition, an organization that provides  information and education to the public on the reparations movement. The Coalition also supports the work of the Mayor’s Commission on Reparations. 

For more info, call 816-560-097 or email

Interested in Learning More About Reparations? 

The regular monthly meeting of the KC Reparations Coalition will be held virtually on Mon., Sept. 25, 6 p.m.

This week’s featured guest will be Dr. Ray Winbush, director of the Institute for Urban Research at Morgan State University-Baltimore. 

His book ”Should America Pay: Slavery and the Raging Debate on Reparations” is acknowledged as a seminal work on the subject of Black reparations. It has been widely used as a key reference for the modern reparations movement.

“We are fortunate to have Dr. Winbush join our upcoming coalition meeting,” said Janay Reliford, chair of the KC Reparations Coalition. “He is a noted authority on the issue of Black reparations and we look forward to him sharing his insight with us.”

The KC Reparations Coalition’s goal is to provide information and education to the public in the metro area on the reparations movement. The coalition also supports the work of the Mayor’s Commission on Reparations. The coalition is available to make presentations to community groups on the topic. To access the meeting link, send an email to For questions and more info, call 816-560-0977.