Think Justice Blog

Two Societies

The Haunting Relevance of the Kerner Commission’s Report

In an era of racial tension and violence, President Lyndon B. Johnson charged a bipartisan team, later known as the Kerner Commission, to investigate the root causes of 1967's riot-filled "Long, Hot Summer." That commission warned of the discriminatory development of "two societies, one black, one white," and made progressive recommendations to address racial disparity in America 50 years ago. Like the original Kerner Commission, the Vera Institute of Justice is committed to highlighting and eliminating persistant racial injustices. This blog series honors the 50th anniversary of the Kerner Commission's 1968 report. 

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  • Lindsey Price Jackson
    Lindsey Price Jackson
May 15, 2018

Series: Two Societies

Education: The Key to Equality

In 1968, the Kerner Commission’s landmark report acknowledged that black Americans faced persistent “economic and educational barriers.”  It revealed that, on average, black Americans completed fewer years of education and were twice as likely to be unemployed...

  • Preety Aujla
    Preety Aujla
May 07, 2018

Series: Two Societies

Contemporary Models of Equal Access to Housing

A key area of focus of the Kerner Commission was equal and high quality access to housing.  The authors of the Kerner Report saw clearly how the huge shift in American culture from city dwelling to suburban homeownership left behind many Americans—mostly peopl...

  • Preety Aujla
    Preety Aujla
May 01, 2018

Series: Two Societies

Improving Quality of Justice by Reducing Jail Populations

More than 50 years after the findings of the Kerner Commission were released, its recommendations for justice reform are even more relevant today than they were in 1968. The impact of President Lyndon B. Johnson and other politicians’ repudiation of the commis...

  • Lindsey Price Jackson
    Lindsey Price Jackson
April 23, 2018

Series: Two Societies

50 Years of Police Militarization Against Communities of Color

“Police practices” topped the list of deeply held grievances named by the individuals and communities interviewed to compile the data for the landmark Kerner Commission Report, published in 1968. After protests erupted in 1967 across the country in communities...