Freedom is Not Enough: The Moynihan Report and America’s Struggle over Black Family Life
On June 4, 1965, President Lyndon Johnson delivered what was considered to be the greatest civil rights speech of his career. Proudly, Johnson hailed the new freedoms granted to African Americans in the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and soon-to-be-approved Voting Rights Act, but noted that “freedom is not enough.” The speech was co-drafted by a political appointee in the Labor Department, Daniel Patrick Moynihan, later one of the most influential figures in the U.S. Senate. He had written a report on the deterioration of low-income black families that became famous as the Moynihan Report. Moynihan’s arguments were controversial and influential, and established the terms of a debate about social welfare policies that have endured for 45 years.
On June 10, Governance Studies at the Brookings Institution will host James Patterson, professor emeritus at Brown University to discuss his book, Freedom is Not Enough (Basic Books, 2010), a history of the report and its influence, and examine the connections between marriage, race and poverty. Following the presentation, Senior Fellow E.J. Dionne, Jr. and columnists Clarence Page and Ross Douthat will join a discussion of Patterson’s book and the crucial issues he raises.
After the discussion, panelists will take audience questions.