Knight Center director writes on presidents and racism

How have American presidents fared in confronting racism?

Poorly, according to Knight Center director Eric Freedman and former Detroit Free Press journalist Stephen Jones, who teaches history at Central Michigan University.

President Theodore Roosevelt and Booker T. Washington at the White House in 1901.

In a new column for The Conversation, Freedman and Jones say the anger over racial injustice that erupted in the wake of George Floyd’s killing has forced Americans to confront their history, including the role of presidential leadership – and lack of leadership – on racial issues. An honest assessment of American presidential leadership on race reveals a handful of courageous actions, they write, but an abundance of racist behavior, even by those remembered as equal rights supporters.

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