Historian Gavin Wright to Keynote Symposium on Economics of the Civil Rights Movement


Gavin Wright, a leading economic historian of the U.S. South, will be the keynote speaker Wednesday, March 23 at a symposium organized around his book, “Sharing the Prize: The Economics of the Civil Rights Movement in the American South.”

The symposium will take place from 4-6 p.m. in the Cape Cod Lounge, Student Union Building.

Wright is William Robertson Coe Professor emeritus of American economic history at Stanford University and a visiting professor at Yale University.

In his book, Wright argues that the civil rights movement was an economic as well as a moral and legal revolution, opening new opportunities in education, employment and occupational status for African-Americans, primarily in the South. He argues that white southerners also benefited from the civil rights revolution and explores why they for so long defended a system that was not in their own best economic interest.

Commentators will include John H. Bracey, Jr., Afro-American studies, Gerald Friedman, economics, and Katherine Newman, provost and sociology.

Carol E. Heim, economics, will moderate. There will be time for questions and discussion, and a reception open to all will follow.

Called "Sharing the Prize: Reconsidering the Economics of the Civil Rights Movement,” the symposium is sponsored by the departments of Afro-American studies, economics, history, political science and sociology; Center for Public Policy and Administration; Political Economy Research Institute; Social Thought and Political Economy Program; Institute for Teaching Excellence and Faculty Development, and the Office of the Provost.