New Book "Kerner Plus 40 Report" Assesses Racial Progress in America Since 1968 Kerner Commission Report

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Media Contact:Jacquie Posey | | 215-898-6460February 26, 2008

PHILADELPHIA –- The “Kerner Plus 40 Report” is an assessment of how far the nation has come in dealing with racial inequality and tensions 40 years after the seminal report issued by the National Advisory Commission on Civil Disorders, known as the Kerner Commission.

The Commission was formed to examine why race riots occurred in U.S. cities during the 1960s. It concluded that a link existed between the racial unrest and the media’s failure to fully report African-American concerns. Its most chilling words came in its assessment that the nation was “moving toward two societies, one black, one white -- separate and unequal.”

The “Kerner Plus 40 Report” is the culmination of a joint project by scholars at the University of Pennsylvania’s Center for Africana Studies, Penn’s Annenberg School for Communication, the Institute for Advanced Journalism Studies at North Carolina A&T State University and a team of journalists.

“On this 40th anniversary of the Kerner Commission report, it is time to seriously consider the more recent battles over affirmative action, the over- imprisonment of African-Americans and the reparations movement because the next storm could be right around the corner,” Tukufu Zuberi, professor and chair of sociology and director of the Center for Africana Studies Center, writes in the ”Kerner Plus 40 Report” introduction.

Zuberi and DeWayne Wickham, director of the Institute for Advanced Journalism Studies at North Carolina A&T, edited the book.

The volume contains empirical research, scholarly commentary, investigative reporting and transcripts from roundtable discussions with academics and journalists about race relations and racial equality in seven cities discussed in the original Kerner Report: Philadelphia; Cambridge, Md.; Birmingham; Los Angeles (Watts); Detroit; Newark; and Tampa.

Camille Charles, associate professor of sociology at Penn and associate faculty director at CFAS, contributed to the book and is its academic editor. Other contributors from Penn include Anita Allen, professor of law and philosophy; Mary Frances Berry, professor of history; and Michael Delli Carpini, Annenberg School for Communication dean.

Contributors from North Carolina A&T include Claude Barnes, professor of political science and criminal justice, and James Steele, associate professor of political science.