Slave wages

Photo By Tom Angel

Two Chico State University history professors, Hassan Sisay, pictured at left, and Charles Geshekter, on the right, agreed on one thing at a Jan. 11 forum: Slavery was a shameful mark on the history of the United States. There, opinions diverged as the two debated whether monetary or other reparations are warranted for the wrongs dealt African Americans. Sisay said if blacks had been paid for their labor, their descendents would be much better off financially. A precedent for reparations was set when governments started apologizing and compensating groups for past wrongs. Geshekter countered that the United States was not alone in perpetuating slave trade. He said that to seek economically unfeasible reparations serves to isolate blacks and perpetuate "victimhood … that ultimately turns out to be self-destructive." In center is moderator Joe Wills.