I believe that it helps balance out the workforce onto a point, but it does not completely wipe away the past. The best way to forget about the past is to move on. Both sides, "white folks" and minority groups, must admit injustice was done in the past, no one race is superior to the next and move on. Start integrating all groups into culture in society through school, media, and etc.
Affirmative action more than justly compensates for past wrongs because of the fact that we have many things in place to ensure that African American citizens can live an equal, and privilidged life comparable on an equal level to that of any other race in the United States of America.
Affirmative Action was never designed to justly compensate past wrongs. It was to ensure that we do not go forward perpetuating those wrongs by creating a place for racial minorities that were historically discriminated against. It has been used with great effect toward that purpose. It was never meant, and never will be, a form of reparation.
Firstly, affirmative action only addresses an imbalance between white folks and minority groups in the workplace. It does nothing to address any past wrongdoing. It only pushes disadvantaged groups ahead a bit such that their continued presence becomes the norm. Secondly, it is not really possible to make up for past wrongs done to a minority group through legislation. No one can do that. The best we can do is to address unequal treatment in places where it is institutionalized and let the effects filter down. Affirmative action is no apology, but it is probably the best we can do.