Harvard scholar on urban poverty to deliver Martin Luther King Jr. lecture

William Julius Wilson, Ph.D., one of the nation’s leading scholars on race and urban poverty, will deliver this year’s Martin Luther King Jr. celebration lecture at 4 p.m. Jan. 19 in the Eric P. Newman Education Center, 320 S. Euclid, on the Washington University School of Medicine campus.


The lecture, which is free and open to the public, is sponsored annually by the School of Medicine’s Office of Diversity Programs.

Wilson, the Lewis P. and Linda L. Geyser University Professor at Harvard University, will present “Framing the Issue: Political Discourse and Race Relations in the Barack Obama Era.”

A sociologist by training, Wilson is director of the Joblessness and Urban Poverty Research Program at Harvard’s Malcolm Wiener Center for Social Policy. He also is one of only 19 University Scholars at Harvard, the highest professional distinction for a Harvard faculty member.

“We are quite fortunate to have Dr. Wilson here on the eve of President Obama’s inaguration,” says Will Ross, M.D., associate dean for diversity and associate professor of medicine. “He is highly respected in his field and has published extensively on the subject of race and urban poverty.”

Wilson is the author of “The Declining Significance of Race,” winner of the American Sociological Association’s Sydney Spivack Award; and “The Truly Disadvantaged,” named one of the best books of 1987 by The New York Times Book Review. He also wrote “When Work Disappears: The World of the New Urban Poor,” which was selected as one of the notable books of 1996 by The New York Times Book Review.

A MacArthur Prize Fellow from 1987 to 1992, Wilson has been elected to the National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the National Academy of Education, the American Philosophical Society, the Institute of Medicine, and the British Academy. In June 1996, he was selected by Time magazine as one of America’s 25 Most Influential People.

He also is a recipient of the 1998 National Medal of Science, the highest scientific honor in the United States, and was awarded the Talcott Parsons Prize in the Social Sciences by the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2003.

Wilson joined the Harvard faculty in 1996. Previously, he served as the Lucy Flower University Professor and director of the University of Chicago’s Center for the Study of Urban Inequality.

He earned a Ph.D. in sociology in 1996 from Washington State University.

Free parking for the lecture is available on surface lots, and validated parking is available in the North Garage, 224 S. Euclid Ave., or the Metro Garage, 4526 Children’s Place. Please bring your parking ticket to the EPNEC lobby.

For more information or to RSVP, contact Michelle Patterson at (314) 362-6854 or mpatterson@wustl.edu.

Washington University School of Medicine’s 2,100 employed and volunteer faculty physicians also are the medical staff of Barnes-Jewish and St. Louis Children’s hospitals. The School of Medicine is one of the leading medical research, teaching and patient care institutions in the nation, currently ranked third in the nation by U.S. News & World Report. Through its affiliations with Barnes-Jewish and St. Louis Children’s hospitals, the School of Medicine is linked to BJC HealthCare.