National Symposium Addresses Race In American Society Past and Present

Sarah Lawrence College is hosting a national symposium and a lecture series addressing issues on race in the U.S. Leading national scholars will convene on April 13 for a full day of discussions on the New Deal and its role in creating two classes of citizenship. Lectures on April 3 and April 24 explore the complexities of race in American society. For more information please call (914) 395-2412.

  • Innovators in educational policy Daryl Ogden and Augustus Trowbridge conduct a discussion on combating racial inequality in America’s schools on April 3.
  • The April 13 symposium addressing New Deal racial politics brings together for the first time 13 scholars whose combined research on the topic comprises a formidable body of work. Among them are Harvard Sitkoff of the University of New Hampshire, A New Deal for Blacks; Struggle for Black Equality; Michael Katz of the University of Pennsylvania, One Nation Divided and Ira Katznelson of Columbia University, When Affirmative Action Was White.
  • Robin D.G. Kelley, a prolific scholar in African-American studies and professor at Columbia University and UCLA, lectures on success narratives and racial violence on April 24.

Sarah Lawrence College professor of history Komozi Woodard and Brooklyn College professor of political science Jeanne Theoharis are convening the symposium “Rethinking New Deal Racial Politics: Citizenship, Public Policy & the American Welfare State,” presenting several views of history that place the New Deal at the center of a critical turning point for the destiny of “whites” and “non-whites”, particularly African-Americans, in the United States. (Please see full program below.) The symposium will consider New Deal politics and policies that enlarged “social citizenship” through major programs – Social Security, Unemployment Insurance, Public Welfare, Farm Relief, the G.I. Bill – large scale regional investments that transformed the South from the Cotton Belt into the Sun Belt, and public investment and policy in urban and housing development that included pioneering home ownership programs and mortgage finance – all of which largely excluded “non-whites”.

“The Complexities of Race in American Society,” an ongoing lecture series, continues with a roundtable discussion on “Combating Racial Inequality in America’s Schools” led by Daryl Ogden, an administrator with Project GRAD and Augustus Trowbridge, co-founder of Manhattan Country School, in the Heimbold auditorium at 4:30 p.m. on April 3. Robin D.G. Kelley, a prolific scholar in African-American studies, delivers his talk “The Pursuit of Happyness: Notes on Success Narratives and Racial Violence” on April 24 at 1:30 p.m. in Titsworth Lecture Hall. Earlier lectures were presented by Kim Williams, author of Mark One or More: Civil Rights in Multiracial America, and Harvard professor Thomas Shelby.

Political science professor David Peritz, organizer of the lecture series, said “Understanding both the persistence and transformations of race and racism remains a major challenge for anyone committed to what Lincoln termed the founding proposition of our society: the ideal of equality. Racial differences and inequalities persist in American society. They are reproduced in complicated and subtle ways in arenas like the public schools and popular culture, despite the genuine achievements of the Civil Rights movement in changing important aspects of our law, culture and society. At the same time, the meanings and content of the categories that organize race in America are increasingly contested.”
Program: Rethinking New Deal Racial Politics: Citizenship, Public Policy & the American Welfare State
Friday, April 13, 2007
Reisinger Auditorium
Sarah Lawrence College

11:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.

Opening Remarks: Komozi Woodard

Panel 1: Rethinking the Racial Politics of New Deal Citizenship

Ira Katznelson, Columbia University
Craig Wilder, Dartmouth College
Nancy Weiss Malkiel, Princeton University
Harvard Sitkoff, University of New Hampshire
Moderator: Jeanne Theoharis, Brooklyn College

1:00-2:00 Lunch

2:00-4:00 Panel 2: Whose Safety Net? / Rethinking the Racial Politics of Social Welfare from the New Deal to the Great Society

Michael Katz, University of Pennsylvania
Annelise Orleck, Dartmouth College
Premilla Nadasen, Queens College
Mary Poole, Prescott College
Moderator: Komozi Woodard, Sarah Lawrence College

4:00-4:30 Coffee Break

4:30-6:30 Panel 3: The Making of a Middle Class: Rethinking the Racial Politics of Public Investment, Job Creation and Housing Policy

Gail Radford, University of Buffalo
Leslie Brown, Washington University
Adriane Lentz-Smith, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
Moderator: Tim Tyson, Duke University

Concluding Remarks: Jeanne Theoharis

Background on some of the presenters:

Michael Katz, The Price of Citizenship; One Nation Divided; The Undeserving Poor; In the Shadow of the Poorhouse
Ira Katznelson, When Affirmative Action Was White; City Trenches; Black Men, White Cities
Premilla Nadasen, Welfare Warriors
Annelise Orleck, Storming Caesar’s Palace: How Black Mothers Fought Their Own War on Poverty; Common Sense & a Little Fire: Women and Working-Class Politics in the United States, 1900-1965
Gail Radford, Modern Housing in America: Policy Struggles in the New Deal Era
Harvard Sitkoff, A New Deal for Blacks; Struggle for Black Equality
Jeanne Theoharis, Not Working: Latina Immigrants, Low-Wage Jobs and the Failure of Welfare Reform; Freedom North; Groundwork
Nancy Weiss Malkiel, Farewell to the Party of Lincoln: Black Politics in the Age of FDR; Whitney M. Young, Jr., and the Struggle for Civil Rights
Tim Tyson, Radio Free Dixie; Blood Done Sign My Name
Craig Wilder, A Covenant of Color: Race and Social Power in Brooklyn
Mary Poole, The Segregated Origins of Social Security: African Americans and the Welfare State
Komozi Woodard, A Nation within a Nation; Freedom North; Groundwork; and The Black Power Movement