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The Lessons And Missed Opportunities Of The Kerner Report47:37
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In this July 15, 1967 file photo a National Guard officer passes the smashed window of a Black-owned flower shop in riot-torn Newark, N.J. The last surviving member of the Kerner Commission says he remains haunted that the panel's recommendations on U.S. race relation and poverty were never adopted, but he is hopeful they will be one day. (AP Photo,File)
In this July 15, 1967 file photo a National Guard officer passes the smashed window of a Black-owned flower shop in riot-torn Newark, N.J. The last surviving member of the Kerner Commission says he remains haunted that the panel's recommendations on U.S. race relation and poverty were never adopted, but he is hopeful they will be one day. (AP Photo,File)

More than 50 years ago, the Kerner Commission Report laid bare the racism and structural inequalities that led to uprisings in the 1960s. More than 50 years later we’re still dealing the same issues. What exactly was in the Kerner report and how can we apply those lessons today?

Guests

Fred Harris, former Democratic senator from Oklahoma (1964-1973). He is the last surviving member of the Kerner Commission.

Elizabeth Hinton, incoming professor of history, law and African American studies at Yale. Author of “From the War on Poverty to the War on Crime: The Making of Mass Incarceration in America.” (@elizabhinton)

From The Reading List

New York Times: "George Floyd’s Death Is a Failure of Generations of Leadership" — "The circumstances that led to the police killings of George Floyd — and thousands of other citizens over the years — could have been avoided if our elected officials in the 1960s had responded to protesters’ demands for socioeconomic inclusion."

Planet Money: "What A 1968 Report Tells Us About The Persistence Of Racial Inequality" — "In summer of 1967, African Americans protested, marched, and rioted in cities across the country."

New Yorker: "The History of the 'Riot' Report" — "On February 14, 1965, back from a trip to Los Angeles, and a week before he was killed in New York, Malcolm X gave a speech in Detroit."

KQED: "Opportunity Lost: The 1968 Government Report on White Racism That America Chose to Ignore" — "Floyd's death follows a long succession of high-profile police killings of unarmed African Americans, especially young men, who are disproportionately targeted by law enforcement and far more likely than anyone else to be brutalized or killed during such encounters."

Chicago Tribune: "Column: From 1960s to a new century, the song remains the same" — "Nearly 53 years ago, an 11-member presidential commission was appointed to determine the cause of rioting, looting and violence in a number of American cities from 1965 to 1967."

Smithsonian Magazine: "Study Shows Little Change Since Kerner Commission Reported on Racism 50 Years Ago" — "Half a century ago, a special commission assembled by President Lyndon Johnson was tasked to better understand the causes of racial unrest in the nation."

This program aired on June 24, 2020.

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