Baum is a guest on The Marc Steiner Show on WEAA in Baltimore
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Baum gives talk at the Enoch Pratt Free Library in Baltimore
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Urban Studies & Planning Professor Howell S. Baum has published a new book on the history of Baltimore school desegregation. Titled Brown in Baltimore: School Desegregation and the Limits of Liberalism and published in March 2010 by Cornell University Press, the book tells the story of efforts to desegregate Baltimore schools and argues that liberalism has limitations in addressing racial issues.
The Baltimore school board voted to desegregate immediately after the 1954 Brown v. Board of Education decision. Thinking as liberals, board members adopted a policy that treated children as race-less individuals, gave students free choice of schools, and set no standards for schools’ racial makeup. Local black leaders endorsed the policy. Desegregation was modest and temporary, but school officials and black community leaders stayed with the policy. Baltimore was unusual in that no civil rights group ever sued school officials to do more to desegregate.
Liberalism had dual influences on school officials. On the one hand, its emphasis on individual equality encouraged them to desegregate quickly. On the other hand, a perspective that viewed students as individuals without race, emphasized a right of individual choice of school, and restrained government intervention into school enrollment limited school officials’ ability to desegregate in more than a legal sense. These difficulties highlight weaknesses of individualistic liberalism in grasping race conceptually and affecting racial inequalities strategically.
Baum will discuss the book in a talk sponsored by the Provost's Conversations on Diversity, Democracy and Higher Education. The talk will be held April 13 at 12pm in the Nyumburu Cultural Center, Multipurpose Room. Copies of the book will be available for purchase and signing by the author.
Other book release events:
Enoch Pratt Free Library, Baltimore, MD, April 27, 6:30-8 pm
Politics and Prose Bookstore, Washington, DC, May 8, 1 pm
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