The Kerner Commission at 50 Conference



Kerner Commission Conference at 50 flierA conference exploring race, segregation, and inequality 50 years after the release of the historic Kerner Commission Report.

From #BlackLivesMatter to the Supreme Court, issues of race, segregation, inequality, the legacy of slavery, and who belongs in America and who America belongs to, is as salient today as it was 50 years ago. Join the conversation at the #Kerner50 conference. 

Who: More than a dozen relevant experts, scholars, and ex-members of the Kerner Commission 

What: Three-day conference exploring race, segregation, & inequality

Where: UC Berkeley (main); Johns Hopkins University (satellite)

When: Feb. 27 - March 1, 2018




The 50th anniversary of the Kerner Commission report on Civil Disorders falls on March 1, 2018. The 50th anniversary of the Fair Housing Act occurs two months after that, along with the sesquicentennial of the 14th Amendment. 

The Haas Institute is organizing a national conference to be held February 27-March 1, 2018 to commemorate and investigate the Commission and its contemporary significance.

We are in the midst of a re-awakened awareness of the extent of racial segregation, inequality, and police brutality and violence, the precise themes and areas of inquiry of the Commission. Appropriately, the Kerner Commission has received renewed attention of late, including citation by the Supreme Court in its decision upholding the use of disparate impact claims in fair housing cases.

Keeping discussion of these issues alive is the Movement for Black Lives, as well as ongoing protests on college campuses, state capitols, and elsewhere over monuments and legacies of slavery and segregation.

Our 50th anniversary conference will not only examine the history, legacy, successes and failures of the commission, as well as its findings and analysis, but envision what a contemporary Kerner Commission report might look like. From leading scholars in relevant fields and disciplines, as well as several staff members of the original commission, we are calling for papers to be compiled into a landmark retrospective yet deeply relevant contemporary report on race in American society.

Among those scheduled to participate in the conference are Shaun Donovan, who served as the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development under President Obama, as well as former US Senator Fred Harris, who is the only surviving member of the Kerner Commission.

The conference will be co-hosted at UC Berkeley and at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. Most of the speakers will be participating at the Berkeley location, but all events will be live streamed via video-link at both locations.

Date: February 27 - March 1, 2018
Location: Pauley Ballroom, UC Berkeley


John Charles "Jack" Boger, former Dean of the University of North Carolina’s law school (2006-2015), & former staff counsel for the NAACP Legal Defense Fund.


Shaun Donovan, US Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (2009-2014), and former Director of the Office of Management and Budget (2014-2017).


Chris Edley, former Dean of the UC Berkeley law school (2004-2013), & former professor at Harvard Law.


Linda Darling-HammondPresident of the Learning Policy Institute, & Charles E. Ducommun Professor of Education Emeritus at Stanford University.


Fred Harris, former US Senator from Oklahoma (1964-1973), & the only surviving member of the 9-member Kerner Commission.


Rucker JohnsonAssociate Professor in the Goldman School of Public Policy at UC Berkeley.


Betsy JulianFounder and Senior Counsel at the Inclusive Communities Project (ICP) in Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas.


Bill Kellereditor-in-chief of The Marshall Project, & former correspondent for The New York Times (1984-2014). He served as the Times' executive editor from 2003 to 2014.

John Koskinen, former head of the IRS (2013-2017), & former Non-Executive Chairman of Freddie Mac (2008-2011).


Myron Orfield, Earl R. Larson Professor of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties Law at the University of Minnesota, and Director of the Institute on Metropolitan Opportunity.


Victor Palmieri, Deputy Executive Director of the Kerner Commission Staff.

john a. powellDirector of the Haas Institute for a Fair and Inclusive Society at UC Berkeley, the Robert D. Haas Chancellor’s Chair in Equity and Inclusion, & Professor of Law and Professor of African American and Ethnic Studies.

Richard Rothstein, Senior Fellow at the Haas Institute, a research associate at the Economic Policy Institute, & a former senior fellow at the Chief Justice Earl Warren Institute on Law and Social Policy at UC Berkeley’s law school.

Robert Sampson, Henry Ford II Professor of the Social Sciences at Harvard University & former Chair of the Department of Sociology at the University of Chicago.


Julian Zelizer, frequent commentator in international and national media on political history and contemporary politics, and author of The Fierce Urgency of Now: Lyndon Johnson, Congress, and the Battle for the Great Society (2015).



(Registration details for Baltimore location to be announced later)


The Kerner Commission at 50 Conference will begin Tuesday, February 27, 2018 at 4:00pm and will go through Thursday, March 1, 2018 at 3:00pm at the following location:

MLK Pauley Ballroom on UC Berkeley campus, 2475 Bancroft Way, Berkeley, CA 94720.

See below for How To Get Here.


Pay It Forward, Businesses and Foundations: $250
You are part of a for-profit company, foundation or educational institute that has a budget for conferences or are an individual with the means to cover the actual per person cost of the conference. Register here.

Individuals: $75
This subsidized registration option is for students, UC staff and faculty, employees from smaller nonprofit organizations, or individuals who cannot afford to cover the unsubsidized registration option. Register here.

Group Discounts:
Unfortunately, we are unable to offer group registration discounts for this conference.

Scholarship Funding:
We have a very limited number of scholarships available on a first come basis if you are unable to afford the $75 registration fee. Please contact Alycia Tulloch for a link to the scholarship application. There is no application fee.  However, if your application is accepted, there will be a $25 processing fee that must be paid at the time of your acceptance of an awarded scholarship.  


The online registration system is set up to accept major credit cards.  

* If you are an individual who would like to pay by check, select that payment option during your online registration, complete and print out your registration form, and send along with a check made payable to UC Board of Regents. Write “HIFIS Kerner Conference" in the memo line and mail in advance of the conference date to:

Puanani Forbes
Haas Institute for a Fair and Inclusive Society
460 Stephens Hall
Berkeley, CA 94720-2330

If you are a campus group in the UC system and would like to pay by chartstring, please contact Puanani Forbes to receive a code for online registration.

Group Registration
If you are a paying for multiple members of a group, you can do this via Regonline and the first person registered in the group will be charged. If members of the group are paying individually (for example, with different credit cards), you must create separate registrations for each. 

Hotel Rooms
The conference is not holding a room block at a particular hotel. Below is a list of hotels in the area within close walking or BART proximity to the Kerner Commission Conference location.  

Hotel Shattuck Plaza
If you would like to reserve a room with the Bancroft Hotel, please click here.

Bancroft Hotel
If you would like to reserve a room with the Bancroft Hotel, please click here.

Oakland Marriot City Center
If you would like to reserve a room with the Bancroft Hotel, please click here.

Graduate Berkeley
If you would like to reserve a room with the Bancroft Hotel, please click here.

Berkeley City Club
If you would like to reserve a room with the Bancroft Hotel, please click here.

SenS Hotel (formerly the French Hotel)
If you would like to reserve a room with the Bancroft Hotel, please click here.

Faculty Club @ UC Berkeley

If you would like to reserve a room with the Bancroft Hotel, please click here.

Cancellation and Substitutions Policy

  • After February 1, we are unable to refund any fees for registration.
  • Cancellations requested before February 1 are eligible for a refund of all monies less a $40 cancellation fee for each registration. 
  • Failure to appear for the conference will result in forfeiture of the full registration fee.
  • Requests to substitute registrations can only be processed until February 9.


  • All conference proceedings will be wheelchair accessible with accessible parking nearby. 
  • To request disability accommodations, please contact Alycia Tulloch or leave a message at 510-642-3326 with your request. We kindly request advance notice if you have access needs.
  • CART captioning will be present at the conference. 
  • Contact Alycia Tulloch at least 14 days in advance if you have a specific request for language interpretation.


Downtown Berkeley BART to MLK Pauley Ballroom:


If you have any questions about registration, accessibility, or any of the above, please email Alycia Tulloch or leave a message on our conference line at 510-642-3326.


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