“Everybody does better, when everybody does better”

Reflections from former Senator Fred Harris on race and poverty 50 years after the Kerner Commission at our National Conference on Local Governance.

Former U. S. Senator Fred Harris is a widely published author and professor emeritus of political science at the University of New Mexico, where he continues as director of the UNM Fred Harris Congressional Internship Program.

Harris was twice elected from Oklahoma as a progressive and reform-minded United States Senator (1964-1971). He was the most active member, and is now the only surviving member of President Lyndon Johnson’s National Advisory Commission on Civil Disorders (Kerner Commission), appointed partly at Harris’s suggestion following the terrible riots in the African American sections of many American cities during the summer of 1967, and which famously found (March 1, 1968) that “Our nation is moving toward two societies, one white, one black, separate and unequal.”


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