Esteemed civil rights activist and author Randall Robinson will kick off the debate over whether blacks deserve reparations for the slavery during the early part of this country’s history.

The debate formally kicked off on the UW-Madison campus last year when conservative author David Horowitz placed full-page advertisements in college newspapers across the nation titled “Ten Reasons Why Reparations for Slavery is a Bad Idea–and Racist, Too.”

Robinson will give the second speech of this year’s Distinguished Lecture Series; next Tuesday, Horowitz will deliver his side of the argument.

Robinson recently stepped down as the president of the Washington, D.C.-based TransAfrica and TransAfrica Forum, both of which work to increase communication and education between the United States and Africa and the Caribbean. Through his work at the helm of these organizations, Robinson has testified before both houses of the U.S. Congress and staged daily protests for 400 days in front of the South African embassy during the Free South Africa Movement.

Robinson is also the noted author of “The Debt–What America Owes to Blacks.”

Robinson will speak tonight at 7 p.m. in the Union Theater at Memorial Union.

UW’s Latin American, Caribbean and Iberian Studies Program will host a mini-symposium Wednesday dealing with the reparations issue.

The panel discussion, featuring Midwest Director of Reparations Stan Woodward and moderated by UW professor Jane Larson, will take place at the UW Law School at 6 p.m.
Horowitz will speak at the Union Theater at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 11.