Melvin I. Urofsky
The Affirmative Action Puzzle:
A Living History from Reconstruction to Today
This event includes a book signing
February 25, 2020
Harvard Book Store
1256 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138
This event is free; no tickets are required.
Harvard Book Store and Mass Humanities welcome MELVIN I. UROFSKY—professor emeritus at Virginia Commonwealth University and author of the acclaimed biography, Louis D. Brandeis—for a discussion of his latest book, The Affirmative Action Puzzle: A Living History from Reconstruction to Today.
About The Affirmative Action Puzzle
From acclaimed legal historian, author of a biography of Louis Brandeis, comes a history of affirmative action from its beginning with the Civil Rights Act of 1866 to the first use of the term in 1935 with the enactment of the National Labor Relations Act (the Wagner Act); from 1961 and John F. Kennedy’s Executive Order 10925, mandating that federal contractors take “affirmative action” to ensure that there be no discrimination by “race, creed, color, or national origin” to contemporary American society.
Melvin Urofsky explores affirmative action in relation to sex, gender, and education and shows that nearly every public university in the country has at one time or another instituted some form of affirmative action plan—some successful, others not.
Urofsky traces the evolution of affirmative action through labor and the struggle for racial equality, writing of World War I and the exodus that began when some six million African Americans moved northward between 1910 and 1960, one of the greatest internal migrations in the country’s history.
He describes how Harry Truman, after becoming president in 1945, fought for Roosevelt’s Fair Employment Practice Act and, surprising everyone, appointed a distinguished panel to serve as the President’s Commission on Civil Rights, as well as appointing the first black judge on a federal appeals court in 1948 and, by executive order later that year, ordering full racial integration in the armed forces.
In this important, ambitious, far-reaching book, Urofsky writes about the affirmative action cases decided by the Supreme Court: cases that either upheld or struck down particular plans that affected both governmental and private entities. We come to fully understand the societal impact of affirmative action: how and why it has helped, and inflamed, people of all walks of life; how it has evolved; and how, and why, it is still needed.
Walking from the Harvard Square T station: 2 minutes
As you exit the station, reverse your direction and walk east along Mass. Ave. in front of the Cambridge Savings Bank. Cross Dunster St. and proceed along Mass. Ave for three more blocks. You will pass Au Bon Pain, JP Licks, and TD Bank. Harvard Book Store is located at the corner of Mass. Ave. and Plympton St.
Unable to attend a Harvard Book Store author event? You can still pre-order a signed book by one of our visiting authors.
While we can't guarantee fulfillment of a signed book pre-order, our authors are almost always able to sign extra books to fulfill such orders.
Ordering a signed book on harvard.com:
- Add the book to your shopping cart and then click Checkout.
- Specify in Order Comments that you want a signed copy of the book.
- Please note: online orders for signed copies must be placed at least one business day before the event. If you are ordering the day of, please call us instead.
Ordering a signed book by phone:
- Call us at (617) 661-1515 and one of our booksellers will take your order. Specify you'd like a signed copy.
- If you are requesting a personalized inscription and/or requesting your book be shipped, we'll need to take down credit card information. If you are planning to pick up the signed book in the store, you can pay on pick-up.
Can I request a personalized inscription?
Unless otherwise noted, we are happy to take requests for the author to sign your book to a specific person, but we can't guarantee it. If you do get a personalized inscription, the book will be non-returnable. We will require credit card information when you place the order.
Do signed books cost more?
There is no extra fee for a signed book!
Do I have to pick it up in the store, or can you deliver my signed book?
As with all web or phone orders, we can hold your book for in-store pickup, or ship it anywhere in the country.
I am planning to attend an author event. Do I need to pre-order a book?
No need. We'll be selling books at the event, and nearly all of our events include a signing at the end of the talk.
More questions? Give us a call!
Mass Humanities conducts and supports programs that use history, literature, philosophy, and the other humanities disciplines to enhance and improve civic life in Massachusetts. Learn more at masshumanities.org.
Featured event books will be for sale at the event. Thank you for supporting this author series with your purchases.
Thank you for your support!
Here are a few of the ways you can support your bookstore during challenging and uncertain times.Learn More »
Shipping & Delivery
and options, locally
Support Harvard Book Store
Thank you for making a financial contribution to support Harvard Book StoreLearn More »