Alan Curtis | National Civil Rights Museum

Catalyst for Change

"The Kerner's fiftieth" 

A Conversation with Dr. Alan Curtis

Thursday, January 10, 2019  •  6:00Pm
Free & Open to the Public


Dr. Alan Curtis is the co-editor of the Eisenhower Foundation’s Fifty Year Update of the 1968 National Advisory Commission on Civil Disorders, known as the Kerner Commission which was a response to the urban protests of the nineteen sixties and concluded that American was heading toward “two societies, one black, one white – separate and unequal.”  He will speak on the 2018 Fifty Year Update of the Commission concludes that the nation has made relatively little progress in reducing poverty, inequality and racial injustice since 1968.

A Brief One-on-One with Dr. Alan Curtis

Alan Curtis is the founding president and CEO of the Eisenhower Foundation in Washington DC.  He has had a long history of delving into policies effecting racism and poverty.  As a teenager, he was inspired by John F. Kennedy’s call-to-action “ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.”  In college, he marched in civil rights campaigns, and took a break from graduate school to work on a national violence commission after the assassinations of Kennedy and Martin Luther King. Jr.  

With Fred Harris, the lone surviving member of the original Kerner Commission, Curtis has co-edited the book, Healing Our Divided Society: Investing in America Fifty Years after the Kerner Report.  The new report presents evidence of proven policies around education, employment, housing and urban development and criminal justice.  The book recently received the extraordinary recognition, Choice Magazine’s Outstanding Academic Titles, an exclusive list of the best sources reviewed in the previous year. The list is highly regarded in the academic community, used by librarians to identify the most innovative and valuable titles for collection.

He served as Executive Director of President Jimmy Carter’s interagency Urban Policy Group and as Urban Policy Advisor to HUD Secretary Patricia Roberts Harris, the first African-American woman to be appointed a Cabinet Secretary.   Earlier, he served as a Task Force Co-Director on President Lyndon Johnson’s National Commission on the Causes and Prevention of Violence, formed after the assassinations of Dr. Martin Luther King and Senator Robert F. Kennedy.  He holds a bachelor’s degree in economics from Harvard, a master’s in economics from the University of London and a PhD in criminology and urban policy from the University of Pennsylvania. 

The Eisenhower Foundation is the private section continuation of the Kerner Commission and the Violence Commission.  The Foundation’s national evidence based Quantum Opportunities youth development model presently is being replicated in the Bronx in New York and on the South Side of  Chicago.

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