Robert L. Harris Jr.
Harris studies and tries to bring an understanding to how African Americans have come to their current cultural, socioeconomic, and political position in the United States and how they have coped with these conditions. To achieve racial progress, the public needs to appreciate the real causes of racial inequality that have roots in slavery but are not fully explained by enslavement or a "so-called" culture of poverty. The opportunity structure of the United States, which has been open to African Americans only in the past few decades, and the marking of African Americans as a despised race through law and popular culture have consequences that still exist today. Within this proscription, however, there is a story of black struggle and achievement. Harris is the author of more than 40 articles and chapters in academic journals and books. He is past president of the Association for the Study of Afro-American Life and History. His research has been supported by grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Ford Foundation, and the Rockefeller Foundation.