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William Julius Wilson

William Julius WilsonBorn: 20-Dec-1935
Birthplace: Derry Township, PA

Gender: Male
Race or Ethnicity: Black
Sexual orientation: Straight
Occupation: Sociologist
Party Affiliation: Democratic

Nationality: United States
Executive summary: Poverty in America's inner cities

Military service: US Army (1958-60)

Harvard sociologist William Julius Wilson has studied race relations in the United States, and identified a trend of diversion between middle-class and lower-class blacks. As blacks attain success and middle-class economic status, they tend to move out of depressed urban neighborhoods, which leaves these economically deprived areas without any visible success stories, without "traditional values" leadership, and without neighbors who could provide contacts for employment possibilities. With few jobs and little leadership, it follows that American ghettos are filled with chronic, community-wide unemployment that tends to make crime appear to be a viable tactic for success.

Wilson has concluded that, as racial barriers have dissolved, the continued poverty of urban blacks is less a product of racial prejudice than a result of the changing economic landscape. His prescription for breaking this cycle of doom involves "race neutral" government-backed jobs and health programs. "Affirmative action," he writes, "has to be combined with a broader program of social reform that would emphasize social rights: the right to employment, the right to education, the right to good health."

Father: Esco Wilson (coal miner, d. 1949)
Mother: Pauline Bracy Wilson (maid)
Wife: Mildred Mary Hood (m. 31-Aug-1957, div., two daughters)
Daughter: Colleen
Daughter: Lisa
Wife: Beverly Ann Huebner (m. 30-Aug-1970, one son, one daughter)
Son: Carter
Daughter: Paula

    University: BA Sociology, Wilberforce University (1958)
    University: MA Sociology, Bowling Green State University (1961)
    University: PhD Sociology, Washington State University (1966)
    Teacher: Ass't Prof. of Sociology, University of Massachusetts at Amherst (1965-69)
    Teacher: Assoc. Prof. of Sociology, University of Massachusetts at Amherst (1969-71)
    Teacher: Assoc. Prof. of Sociology, University of Chicago (1971-75)
    Professor: Sociology, University of Chicago (1975-96)
    Professor: University Professor, University of Chicago (1975-96)
    Professor: Social Policy, Harvard University (1996-)
    Scholar: Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, Stanford University

    American Academy of Arts and Sciences
    American Philosophical Society
    American Sociological Association Past President
    Boy Scouts of America (childhood)
    Center on Budget and Policy Priorities Board of Directors
    Center for Public Integrity Advisory Council
    The Century Foundation Trustee
    National Academy of Education
    National Academy of Sciences (1991)
    President's Commission on White House Fellowships
    Priorities USA $250 (31-Dec-2011)
    Russell Sage Foundation
    Urban League
    Meritorious Service Medal (1960)
    MacArthur Fellowship (1987-92)
    National Medal of Science (May-1999)
    AAAS Talcott Parsons Prize (2003)
    Campaign for America's Future
    Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee
    Gore 2000
    Obama for America

Author of books:
The Declining Significance of Race: Blacks and Changing American Institutions (1978)
The Truly Disadvantaged: The Inner City, the Underclass, and Public Policy (1987)
The Ghetto Underclass: Social Science Perspectives (1989)
Sociology and the Public Agenda (1993)
Poverty, Inequality, and the Future of Social Policy (1995, with K. McFate, R. Lawson)
When Work Disappears: The World of the New Urban Poor (1996)
The Bridge over the Racial Divide: Rising Inequality and Coalition Politics (1999)
Youth in Cities: A Cross-National Perspective (2005, with Marta Tienda)
There Goes the Neighborhood (2006)
More than Just Race: Being Black and Poor in the Inner City (2009)

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