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The relevance of the Civil War in today's conversations about reparations in Massachusetts


On Thursday night, Northampton's City Council voted to form a commission to study reparations. They join Boston, Amherst and other Massachusetts cities and towns grappling with whether and how to atone for the impacts of slavery and systemic racism on Black Americans.

In the reparations conversation, slavery often takes center stage. Looking further back in history, the Civil War is also often talked about in terms of slavery, specifically the fight to end it in the South. But what was happening in the North?

Massachusetts ended the practice of slavery in 1783. But as author and historian Jacqueline Jones points out in her new book, "No Right to an Honest Living: The Struggles of Boston's Black Workers in the Civil War Era," while the city didn't practice slavery after that point, it didn't practice equality either.  We take a deeper dive into the implications of this reality with Jones on the show.

This segment aired on February 17, 2023.

Amanda Beland Producer/Director
Amanda Beland is a producer and director for Radio Boston. She also reports for the WBUR newsroom.


Tiziana Dearing Host, Radio Boston
Tiziana Dearing is the host of Radio Boston.



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