Why and How American Race Relations Have Changed Over Time (in 30 minutes!)

For history delivered at breakneck speed (this could keep your workout just as fast as the new Metallica album), download Michael Klarman’s January 21 presentation at the University of Virginia.  Klarman is a Harvard Law professor and the author of From Jim Crow to Civil Rights: The Supreme Court and the Struggle for Racial Equality and Unfinished Business: Racial Equality in American History.

If you’d rather read than listen, he organizes his presentation around 8 key points:

  1. Race relations have not only moved forward – it’s been progress and regress;
  2. African Americans have needed to struggle – it’s not a history of White handouts;
  3. Conditions have needed to be ripe for racial progress;
  4. Racial progress has often been an unintended consequence;
  5. Whites have often had ulterior motives for progressive positions;
  6. The North-South dynamic has influenced relations;
  7. The Supreme Court has been on the wrong side as often as not;
  8. The Supreme Court’s decisions have reflected prevailing public opinion rather than changed it.

Miller Center Forum: Unfinished Business: Racial Equality in American History


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