Originally published in the JHU News-Letter. Read the full article.
The Hopkins 21st Century Cities Initiative partnered with the Haas Institute for a Fair and Inclusive Society at the University of California, Berkeley (Berkeley) to host a conference titled “Race and Inequality in America: The Kerner Commission at 50” on Feb. 28 and March 1.
The Conference sought to engage attendees in reflections on ongoing racial inequality in the U.S. Speakers visited either the Hopkins site at the Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History and Culture in Baltimore or a site hosted by Berkeley in California and spoke via livestream.
President Lyndon B. Johnson created the Kerner Commission in 1967 in response to protests both peaceful and violent that broke out in Detroit and other cities across the country that summer. He charged the Commission with investigating the cause of the riots and suggesting solutions to prevent them from occurring again.
Just over 50 years ago, on February 29, 1968 the Commission released a report which famously warned that America was “moving towards two societies, one black, one white — separate and unequal.” It attributed this disparity to a lack of economic opportunity in black urban neighborhoods resulting from white racism.