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Black Families Five Decades After the Moynihan Report

This forum, a partnership of the Urban Institute and Fathers Incorporated, is funded by the Open Society Foundations’ Campaign for Black Male Achievement.

The family, “battered and harassed by discrimination,” is “the fundamental source of the weakness of the Negro community,” declared the landmark 1965 analysis, The Negro Family: The Case for National Action. Penned by Assistant Secretary of Labor Daniel Patrick Moynihan (later a senator from New York), the report is considered by many the most poignant collection of statistical analysis and social commentary in modern times—not because of what it revealed, but because of how close it came to the truth.

Do the truths of five decades ago still hold today? Have the daunting statistics of the 1960s improved or worsened? Over the years, have the unsettling circumstances of black families become part of the white and Hispanic experiences? What must fathers and others do to improve family well-being? And what policy pathways await national action?


Gregory Acs, director, Income and Benefits Policy Center, Urban Institute

Michelle Alexander, author, The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness

Kenneth Braswell, executive director, Fathers Incorporated

Ronald Mincy, director, Center for Research on Fathers, Children and Family Well-Being, Columbia University

Helen Mitchell, director, strategic planning and policy development, Office of U.S. Representative Danny Davis

Janks Morton, producer, What Black Men Think

Jeffrey Shears, director, Social Work Research Consortium, Department of Social Work, University of North Carolina

Charlotte Margaret Simms, director, Low-Income Working Families project, Urban Institute

Related Documents

Moynihan Short Presentation

Moynihan Long Presentation

Moynihan Extra Material

Moynihan Forum Transcript

1965 Moynihan Report Revisited: Video

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Date & Time Friday, February 22, 2013

  • Vice President, Income and Benefits Policy
  • Nonresident Fellow