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Stanford Economist Gavin Wright to present, “The Civil Rights Revolution in the South: Who Won, Who Lost?”

Date: 04/19/2012
The American Civil Rights revolution has been an inspiration to oppressed minorities around the world and is now an essential component of both national and regional civic culture. But was it also a revolution in economic life? Do such movements improve prospects for marginalized communities at the expense of others, or is there a net benefit to all members of society? Stanford University’s Gavin Wright will address these topics in his invited talk, “The Civil Rights Revolution in the South: Who Won, Who Lost?”at PSU’s annual Harold Vatter Memorial Lecture. WHEN: Thursday, May 10, 4:30–6:30pm. Gavin Wright’s talk will be followed by a question-and-answer period and a reception. WHERE: Gathering Room, Native American Student and Community Center, Portland State University, 710 SW Jackson St., Portland, Ore. (Map it: COST: Free and open to the public. ABOUT: Contrary to many pessimistic accounts, economic gains for black Southerners were real and substantial, sufficient to reverse a 50-year pattern of black migration out of the South, Wright says. He will also argue that with few exceptions Southern whites also benefited economically from desegregation. Thus the Civil Rights Revolution was not a program of redistribution, but rather reintegration of African-Americans into the economy of the South. “Gavin Wright is one of those excellent economic historians whose work not only helps us to understand our past and the way it shapes the present—as in his notable book Old South, New South describing the one hundred year legacy of slavery for the economy of the U.S. South—but also provides insight into enduring questions relevant for the future,” said Mary King, professor of Economics at Portland State. “In his study of the economic impact of the ‘Civil Rights Revolution,’ Professor Wright demonstrates the widespread economic benefit of inclusion, that almost everyone and the society as a whole is better off when previously marginalized groups are more fully incorporated into economic life,” King said. Find books by Gavin Wright here! Additional sponsors of Gavin Wright’s talk at PSU include Black Studies, History, Sociology, Toulan School of Urban Studies and Planning, the Portland Center for Public Humanities and the Portland State University Library.

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