Virtual Event: Adam Harris

presenting

The State Must Provide:
Why America's Colleges Have Always Been Unequal
—and How to Set Them Right

in conversation with NATASHA WARIKOO

Date

Sep
8
Wednesday
September 8, 2021
5:00 PM ET

Location

Join our online event (or pre-register) via the link in the event description.

Tickets

Free - $5 contribution suggested at registration

Harvard Book Store's virtual event series welcomes Atlantic staff writer ADAM HARRIS for a discussion of his book The State Must Provide: Why America's Colleges Have Always Been Unequal—and How to Set Them Right. He will be joined in conversation by NATASHA WARIKOO, professor of Sociology at Tufts University and the award-winning author of The Diversity Bargain: And Other Dilemmas of Race, Admissions, and Meritocracy at Elite Universities.

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About The State Must Provide

America’s colleges and universities have a shameful secret: they have never given Black people a fair chance to succeed. From its inception, our higher education system was not built on equality or accessibility, but on educating—and prioritizing—white students. Black students have always been an afterthought. While governments and private donors funnel money into majority white schools, historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs), and other institutions that have high enrollments of Black students, are struggling to survive, with state legislatures siphoning away federal funds that are legally owed to these schools. In The State Must Provide, Adam Harris reckons with the history of a higher education system that has systematically excluded Black people from its benefits.

Harris weaves through the legal, social, and political obstacles erected to block equitable education in the United States, studying the Black Americans who fought their way to an education, pivotal Supreme Court cases like Plessy v. Ferguson and Brown v. Board of Education, and the government’s role in creating and upholding a segregated education system. He explores the role that Civil War–era legislation intended to bring agricultural education to the masses had in creating the HBCUs that have played such a major part in educating Black students when other state and private institutions refused to accept them.

The State Must Provide is the definitive chronicle of higher education’s failed attempts at equality and the long road still in front of us to remedy centuries of racial discrimination—and poses a daring solution to help solve the underfunding of HBCUs. Told through a vivid cast of characters, The State Must Provide examines what happened before and after schools were supposedly integrated in the twentieth century, and why higher education remains broken to this day.

Praise The State Must Provide

“Adam Harris is a brilliant storyteller. He has used his unique literary gifts to synthesize two centuries of history in order to construct an historical account of higher-education that reads like a novel. The State Must Provide is a book that both taught me so much and also kept me on the edge of my seat. It is an invaluable text from a supremely talented writer.” —Clint Smith, author of How the Word is Passed

"Adam Harris shows how the dark history of America's vaunted higher education system continues to prevent true equality. He's the kind of journalist we most need: meticulous in his research, careful in his thinking, passionate in his vision. This book is powerful, quietly angry, revelatory, and utterly persuasive." —George Packer, author of Last Best Hope and The Unwinding

“Adam Harris’s definitive and necessary book shows how thoroughly the U.S. has barred Black people from its halls of higher learning, and how high those barriers remain today. Harris’s storytelling is vivid, his reporting is immaculate, and his case is damning. This book is a punch in the gut. Let it also be a line in the sand.” —Ed Yong, author of I Contain Multitudes

Adam Harris
Adam Harris

Adam Harris

Adam Harris is a staff writer at The Atlantic where he has covered education and national politics since 2018. He was previously a reporter at the Chronicle of Higher Education where he covered federal education policy and historically black colleges and universities. He is a 2021 New America Fellow and the recipient of the Rising Star Award by the News Media Alliance.

Photo Credit: Tom Coburn

Natasha Warikoo
Natasha Warikoo

Natasha Warikoo

Natasha Warikoo is Professor of Sociology at Tufts University. Her most recent book, The Diversity Bargain: And Other Dilemmas of Race, Admissions, and Meritocracy at Elite Universities, won multiple awards. In 2017 Warikoo received a Guggenheim Fellowship to study racial change in suburban America. This project culminates in a book titled Race at the Top: Asian Americans and Whites in Pursuit of the American Dream in Suburban Schools. Warikoo earned her BSc/BA in mathematics and philosophy at Brown University, and her PhD in sociology at Harvard University. She is a former high school teacher. Follow her on twitter @nkwarikoo.

 

Join our online event (or pre-register) via the link in the event description.
Event Series: Virtual Event Series

Harvard Book Store’s award-winning event series continues online! Named "Best of Boston: 2020 Best Virtual Author Series" and "2021 Best Virtual Author Series" by Boston magazine.

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