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Kenneth T. Jackson, the historian, will examine the reasons for residential segregation by race and class in American cities and suburbs when he delivers three lectures Oct. 14, 21, and 28 at Columbia University.
"We just assume that poor people will live in one place and rich people in another," Professor Jackson said recently. "What is it about the American system and its history that created this common assumption and what has put other countries on different courses? By concentrating the poor in particular cities we make sure that nothing will be done about them. The American people could have made other choices; they still can."
Dr. Jackson, the Jacques Barzun Professor of History and the Social Sciences at Columbia, will deliver the fourth annual Leonard Hastings Schoff Memorial Lectures, presented by Columbia's University Seminars. He will speak on three consecutive Mondays at 8 P.M. in the Rotunda of Low Memorial Library on campus near Broadway and 116th Street. They are free and open to the public.
Titled "Gentleman's Agreement: Political Balkanization and social Inequality in America," the lectures will be given:
The gentleman's agreement in the title is a reference to the well-known 1947 film, based on the novel by Laura Z. Hobson, about a man's personal discovery of subtle and insidious societal prejudice. Professor Jackson will focus on the very different circumstances of Newark, N.J., Darien and New Canaan, Conn., and White Plains, N.Y.
"Our society somehow assumes that such developments are natural and inevitable, when in fact they occurred because of specific public policy decisions," said Dr. Jackson.
Chairman of Columbia's Department of History, Professor Jackson is editor of the best-selling and critically acclaimed The Encyclopedia of New York City. He is the author of Crabgrass Frontier: The Suburbanization of the United States, which won the Francis Parkman and Bancroft prizes, and other books. He has taught at Columbia since 1968 and has won the Mark Van Doren Award for "humanity, devotion to truth and inspiring leadership," given by the students of Columbia College.
He has twice chaired the University Seminar on the City, one of 77 discussion groups on a broad range of contemporary issues and scholarly subjects that meet regularly on the Columbia campus and attract experts and specialists from across the region. The Schoff Lectures were created in 1993 by a bequest from the Leonard Hastings Schoff and Suzanne Levick Schoff Memorial Trust. A book based on Professor Jackson's lectures will be published with the support of the Twentieth Century Fund.