Polymath Edward Tufte once remarked that “the point of the essay is to change things”. With The Case for Reparations, scholar and author Ta-Nehisi Coates cleaves close to this ideal. Reminiscent of the writings of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Mr. Coates has constructed an argument of tremendous factual and moral clarity, which coaxes our conscience towards conversation, nudging us towards that more perfect union.
To say that the piece resonated with readers after it appeared in The Atlantic is an understatement. Book stores quickly sold out of copies of the magazine. Online, the piece garnered more visits to The Atlantic Website in a single day, than any other article has, ever. I immediately pegged the writing as historically significant, and uber journalist Bill Moyers dubbed the work “a must read for every American”.
If you ask me, however, simply reading The Case for Reparations is selling it short, as Mr. Coates is clearly calling for dialogue. I’d like to think that The Monday Evening Book Group is well-suited for this sort of thing. In that spirit, here’s hoping that you’ll join me in honoring Mr. Coates’ request, when we gather on February 9, 2015 @ 6:30 in the Holden Room. As ever, copies of the work are available at any of the library’s numerous help desks.