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Publisher's Summary

The definitive history of the Kerner Commission, whose report on urban unrest reshaped American debates about race and inequality 

In Separate and Unequal, historian Steven M. Gillon offers a revelatory new history of the National Advisory Commission on Civil Disorders - popularly known as the Kerner Commission. Convened by President Lyndon Johnson after riots in Newark and Detroit left dozens dead and thousands injured, the commission issued a report in 1968 that attributed the unrest to "white racism" and called for aggressive new programs to end discrimination and poverty. "Our nation is moving toward two societies," it warned, "one black, and one white - separate and unequal." 

Johnson refused to accept the Kerner Report, and as his political coalition unraveled, its proposals went nowhere. For the right, the report became a symbol of liberal excess, and for the left one of opportunities lost. Separate and Unequal is essential for anyone seeking to understand the fraught politics of race in America.

©2018 Steven M. Gillon (P)2018 Hachette Audio

Critic Reviews

"In our toxic and dispiriting time, Separate and Unequal is an important reminder that social and racial progress is uneven and subject to setbacks like the one suffered after the release of the Kerner Report. But Steven Gillon's surprising story of dogged liberal politicians and journalists also shows that well-framed social arguments can change the debate forever." (Jonathan Alter, author of The Center Holds: Obama and His Enemies)

"Racism remains a deeply troubling aspect of American history and culture, and Gillon's...excellent history of the 1967-68 National Advisory Commission on Civil Disorders, more popularly known as the Kerner Commission, provides historical insight on today's political climate...Exceptionally well-researched and timely." (Library Journal)

"Gillon's research about the Kerner Commission, bolstered by hours of interviews with the surviving members, is extremely well-documented and also offers the feel of being ripped from today's headlines.... Well-rendered popular American history that also speaks to present-day issues." (Kirkus Reviews)

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