The Humane City: Race, Ethnicity, & Freedom in Urban America (2009)

The Humane City: Race, Ethnicity, & Freedom in Urban America

November 12, 2009
at the Newark Museum

It is for us the living rather to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced.
– The Gettysburg Address

In honor of the two-hundredth anniversary of the birth of Abraham Lincoln, we presented an entry in the federal Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission’s town hall meeting program to explore what progress has been made on the “unfinished work” Lincoln spoke of at Gettysburg.

A committee of civic partners chose our theme: the building of compassionate cities, where the challenges of diversity and social justice are confronted daily on the streets, in the schools, and along the halls of power. At this time, when more than half the world’s population lives in urban areas, we called for a dialogue on mobilizing the city’s great physical, financial, and intellectual resources for the good of its people. Is urban America poised to continue building on Lincoln’s legacy of freedom and equality of opportunity, or has it become one of the least likely places to find Lincoln’s legacy alive? On this night, a panel of distinguished scholars, civic-minded intellectuals, and public servants guided our conversation on the pursuit of the humane city.