Transforming Systemic Racism: Historical Truth Telling and Reparations

Transforming Systemic Racism: Historical Truth Telling and Reparations Working Group

Recent years have seen heightened attention to the long-standing problem of institutionalized racism and its enduring impacts in Pittsburgh and around the world. This working group convenes an interdisciplinary group of scholars, students, and community leaders to explore how social science and humanities work can contribute to efforts to advance social transformation. A particular concern is to promote more globalized understandings of the institution of slavery and its impacts as well as recent global efforts to advance reparations and transform systemic racism. The group will engage in historical research to develop and advance concrete proposals for reparations, organize campus and public programming and working group activities to advance collaboration and learning on these themes, and explore ideas for furthering cross-university collaboration to promote historical truth telling and learning that can further racial justice. This is a World History Center working group for the 21-22 & 22- 23 academic years.

  • Meeting summary: Summary of conversation with Pittsburgh organizers on contemporary struggles for reparations in our city, featuring Randall Taylor, Khalid Raheem, and Rev. Dale Snyder (Bethel AME Church), Nov. 16, 2022. 

    How must we think about repairing long-standing racial inequities and structural racism in our city? What small and large initiatives are needed to promote racial healing and justice? How can teachers and scholars contribute to the cultural and political work of reparations?

  • Bethel AME Table Talks - Working Group Members joined Bethel AME’s Table Talks to broaden support for its reparations campaign based on the destruction of the Bethel AME church in the Lower Hill District in 1957.  February, March, April 2022. View the flyer for the April 2022 table talk event here. 

To learn more or to get involved in this working group, please contact Jackie Smith (

Working Group Organizing Team

Noble Maseru, Professor, Public Health Practice; Director, Social Justice, Racial Equity, and Faculty Engagement; Schools of Health Sciences 

Daniel McClymonds, Sociology- graduate student

Jackie Smith, Sociology- faculty

Sabina Vaught, School of Education, Chair, Department of Teaching, Learning, and Leading