Past Program and Event Videos

1968 Kerner Commission: What Can We Learn 50 Years Later? Steve Gillon and Alan Curtis in Conversation with Karen M. Turner

October 30, 2018

1968 was a year that changed our world. The year brought us both the King and Kennedy assassinations and the opening Off-Broadway of The Boys in the Band, the groundbreaking play featuring gay characters. Women’s liberation groups protested the Miss America contest and Tommie Smith and John Carlos clenched their fists in a black power salute at the Mexico City Summer Olympic Games. New York democrat Shirley Chisholm was elected as the first Black female U.S. Representative and students protested at Columbia University, in Mexico City, and around Europe. Locally, four Black boys entered Girard College after a 14-year desegregation battle and Progress Plaza was dedicated as an example of positive urban renewal and investment.

On February 29, 1968, President Johnson’s National Advisory Commission on Civil Disorders (also known as the Kerner Commission) warned racism was causing America to move “toward two societies, one black, one white—separate and unequal.”

A conversation celebrating and reflecting on 1968 and the legacy of the Kerner Commission with Steven M. Gillon and Alan Curtis, moderated by Karen M. Turner, associate professor in the Journalism Department and the director of ACCORD.

Alan Curtis is the President and CEO of the Eisenhower Foundation. Dr. Curtis was the Executive Director of President Carter’s Interagency Urban and Regional Policy Group.

Steve Gillon is the Scholar-in-Residence at HISTORY and Professor of History at the University of Oklahoma. Dr. Gillon is one of the nation’s leading experts on modern American history and politics.

This program was co-sponsored by the Klein College of Media and Communication and the Academic Center on Research in Diversity (ACCORD).

Still photography by Brae Howard.