PBS NewsHour – Can DNA tests help repair social ruptures from transatlantic slavery?

In 2002, descendants of African slaves filed a historic class-action lawsuit in U.S. federal court demanding reparations from financial, railroad, tobacco, insurance and textile companies that had benefited from their predecessors.

Reparations lawyer Deadria Farmer-Paellmann was tasked with proving direct links between the plaintiffs and the slave trade, so she submitted to the court DNA tests that traced their ancestry to Africa.

According to Alondra Nelson’s book, “The Social Life of DNA: Race, Reparations, and Reconciliation after the Genome,” Farmer-Paellmann said the testing had proven “beyond a doubt that there was a fiduciary relationship between the plaintiffs’ ancestors and the defendants’.”

When asked by NewsHour Weekend’s Hari Sreenivasan what happened, Nelson replied, “I haven’t received my check yet, Hari.”

Read More at PBS NewsHour.

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