1968 was a watershed year for social justice policy. By then, major pieces of civil rights legislation had prohibited discrimination in the workplace, public accommodations, federal agencies, and the voting booth. With this legislation established, Martin Luther King Jr. turned to economic security, bringing the plight of the impoverished to the attention of the nation through the Poor People’s Campaign of 1967–68. 1968 was the year President Lyndon Johnson created the Urban Institute to “help solve the problem that weighs heavily on the hearts and minds of all of us—the problem of the American city and its people.” He charged Urban to accomplish this goal through evidence that could inform public policy. Over its 50 years, Urban has produced extensive evidence about the status of the nation’s social and economic progress and potential policies that could advance mobility. This brief highlights some of the issues researched and potential solutions.
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