Abstract

In 1965, Daniel Patrick Moynihan, then an official in the Johnson administration, published The Negro Family: The Case for National Action, better known as the Moynihan Report. He was influenced by his participation in two conferences organized by the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in the mid-1960s, as well as two issues of its journal Dceda-lus, on the topic of “The Negro American.” Arguing that the “damaged” family structure of African Americans would impede efforts to achieve full racial equality in the United States, the Moynihan Report launched an explosive debate that helped fracture a fragile liberal consensus on civil rights. Geary examines the report alongside the Dcedalus project, establishing its roots in the racial liberalism of the mid-1960s and connecting it to efforts by liberals to address the socioeconomic dimensions of racial inequality. He considers the close relationship between scholarship and public policy that existed at the time and reflects on the ways liberal ideas about race have changed in the decades since.

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