Legacies of Slavery: An Analysis of the Dimensions of Slavery’s Post-Emancipation Effects
Over the last few years, so-called “legacy of slavery” research has made great strides in helping us to understand how the Trans-Atlantic slave trade continues to affect contemporary life. New and improved data sources have allowed this work to become increasingly complex, with a combination of sub-national, cross-national, and individual level analyses. This research focuses on the former, where a number of questions remain, namely: do the long term effects of slavery remain robust to other historical factors; does slavery exacerbate color stratification among black Americans; and does slavery have a net-positive influence on the contemporary social outcomes of white Americans? A use regression analysis and Census data to answer this questions. Ultimately, I find that the answer to questions are “yes” to varying degrees. The effect of slavery remains robust to historical covariates, though the relationship is complex. Slavery seems to exacerbate color stratification among black Americans through its disproportionately negative effect on darker skinned black people. And on four of six contemporary measures, slavery improves the life outcomes of white Americans. I discuss the implications of these findings for the future of sociological research and the discussion of reparations for black Americans.
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