Baltimore native Ta-Nehisi Coates to testify at House slavery reparations hearing next week

Ta-Nehisi Coates will be one of the witnesses at a House panel on reparations for slavery next week.

Writer and Baltimore native Ta-Nehisi Coates and actor Danny Glover are set to testify before a House panel about reparations for slavery, a topic that has not had a hearing since 2007, on Wednesday.

The House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Civil Liberties in a statement on its website said the hearing is being held “to examine, through open and constructive discourse, the legacy of the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade, its continuing impact on the community and the path to restorative justice.” The date is set for June 19, also known as Juneteenth, a cultural holiday that celebrates the emancipation of slavery in America.


Former Democratic Rep. Jon Conyers of Michigan initially proposed a study of reparations in 1989 and was a longtime sponsor of House Resolution 40. He continued to introduce the bill every session until he resigned in 2017.

The resolution’s new sponsor, Texas Democratic Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, introduced it earlier this year and pushed for next week’s hearing. In February, House speaker Nancy Pelosi said that she supports a reparations study.


Glover is known for his starring roles in the “Lethal Weapon” movies, “The Color Purple” and “A Rage in Harlem.” He has long been a political activist as well. Coates won his second National Magazine Award for “The Case for Reparations,” a cover story he wrote in The Atlantic in 2014 that reintroduced the topic.

Coates’ childhood inspired his work along with his father, W. Paul Coates, a member of Baltimore City’s Black Panther chapter and founder of Black Classic Press, an African American book publishing company based in Baltimore.

Coates could not immediately be reached for comment.