The Unmet Promise of Equality and the Color of Law

Unmet Promise: New Jersey’s Schools 5th Most Segregated in U.S. in 2011-2012

A February 28, 2018 New York Times opinion piece, “The Unmet Promise of Equality,” by Fred Harris examines America’s progress since the findings of The National Advisory Commission on Civil Disorders, known as the Kerner Commission after its chair, Governor Otto Kerner, Jr. of Illinois.

The Kerner Commission was an 11-member commission established by President Lyndon B. Johnson in Executive Order 11365 to investigate the causes of the 1967 race riots in the United States and to provide recommendations for the future.

“Our nation is moving toward two societies, one black, one white – separate and unequal,” was the warning of the Kerner Commission on March 1, 1968.

“In many ways, things have gotten no better — or have gotten worse — since 1968. Public schools have been re-segregating for decades.”

New Jersey is listed as the 5th most segregated state in the country based on the percentage of each region’s black students in schools with a student body that is more than 90 percent minority in 2011-2012.

There is good news in that we know today what does and doesn’t work.

  • What doesn’t work is” Subsidized housing that reaches only one-quarter of eligible low-income citizens” but what does work is “Subsidized housing for all eligible citizens.”
  • What doesn’t work is “Continued neglect of fair-housing laws” but what does work is “Rigorous enforcement of those laws.”

On Wednesday, May 16, 2018, Monarch Housing Associates in partnership with Seton Hall University Law School, the Anti-Poverty Network of NJ, and NJ Institute for Social Justice will host a Public Policy Forum on The Color of Law.

Please save the date for this important event and opportunity to delve deeper into the issue of segregation. The Forum will include the opportunity to discuss how we can all work to further advance fair housing in New Jersey. Registration for the May 16 event to be held at Seton Hall Law School in Newark will begin in early April.

The NYT opinion piece was written by Fred Harris and Alan Curtis. Harris, a former senator from Oklahoma, is a professor emeritus of political science at the University of New Mexico and the lone surviving member of the Kerner Commission.

Curtis is the president and chief executive of the Eisenhower Foundation, the private-sector continuation of the 1968 Kerner Commission and the 1969 National Violence Commission. The two are the co-editors of “Healing Our Divided Society: Investing in America Fifty Years After the Kerner Report.”



The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America

May 16th Forum on The Color of Law

The Unmet Promise of Equality

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