Healing our divided society : investing in America fifty years after the Kerner Report

ed. by Fred Harris and Alan Curtis Temple, 2018

469p index, 9781439916025 $99.50, 9781439916032 $24.95, 9781439916049

LC Call Number: E


This collection of expert voices (Harris is the last surviving member of the Kerner Commission; Curtis is equally esteemed as an expert on this subject) brings powerful messages regarding the destructive consequences of the inequalities and discriminatory policies that shape life in the US. As an appraisal of contemporary injustice and inhumanity, the volume certainly stings. But because it contextualizes its detailed reporting and analysis with reference to the half-century-old report of the famous Kerner Commission, it also teaches sober lessons about the politics of change, the limits of conscience, and the subversive persistence of oppression. Attention to the racial divide is foremost, as the editors and authors grapple with the Kerner warning that separate and unequal societies—one white and one black—were becoming entrenched in the US. To explore evidence of economic disparities, educational gaps, housing restrictions, and criminal justice excesses in use of force and incarceration is to confront the enormity of race privilege, situated in a system of explosive class inequality, and the balance of gains versus setbacks since the Kerner response to urban violence is not encouraging. Yet just as the Kerner Commission urged the US to scale up programs with promise, this volume also delivers a dense package of recommendations based on proven progress from across the nation.

Summing Up: Highly recommended. Lower-division undergraduates through faculty.

Reviewer: R. Zingraff, James Madison University

Recommendation: Highly recommended

Readership Level: Lower-division Undergraduates, Upper-division Undergraduates, Graduate Students, Researchers/Faculty

Interdisciplinary Subjects: African and African American Studies

Subject: Social & Behavioral Sciences - History, Geography & Area Studies - North America

Choice Issue: sep 2018 vol. 56 no. 1

Choice Review #: 56-0365