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Karen MillerUrban studies professor Karen Miller will discuss her history of race and economic relations in Detroit, Tuesday on campus.

Author to discuss the history of racial inequality in Detroit

In the wake of the American Civil War, many white northern leaders supported race-neutral laws and anti-discrimination statutes, but this should not be mistaken for an effort to integrate northern African Americans into the state or society on an equal footing with whites, says Karen Miller.

An associate professor of urban studies and history at LaGuardia Community College, City University of New York, Dr. Miller will discuss her book, Managing Inequality: Northern Racial Liberalism in Interwar Detroit, in a free public lecture Tuesday, April 7.

“During the Great Migration, which brought tens of thousands of African Americans into Northern cities after World War I, white northern leaders faced new challenges from both white and African American activists and were pushed to manage race relations in a more formalized and proactive manner,” says Dr. Miller, who grew up in the Detroit area.

She says the result was northern racial liberalism, “the idea that all Americans, regardless of race, should be politically equal, but that the state cannot and indeed should not enforce racial equality by interfering with existing social or economic relations.”

Tuesday she will discuss its formulation, uses, and growing political importance in Detroit between the two World Wars. The lecture runs from 2:30 to 4 p.m. in room 2173, Chrysler Hall North.