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Book Talk | Laura Meckler | Dream Town: Shaker Heights and the Quest for Racial Equity

04/15 Monday | 5:30pm

Join the Institute for Public Knowledge and the Race and Public Space Working Group for a book talk on Dream Town: Shaker Heights and the Quest for Racial Equity with the author Laura Meckler in conversation with L’Heureux Lewis-McCoy and Renee Romano, on April 15th at 5:30 PM.

Laura Meckler is national education writer for the Washington Post, where she covers the news, politics and people shaping American schools. She previously reported on the White House, presidential politics, immigration, and health care for the Wall Street Journal, as well as on health and social policy for the Associated Press. Before coming to Washington, Laura covered state government in Columbus, Ohio. She got her start covering everything from schools and cops to the annual Pro Football Hall of Fame festival at The Repository in Canton, Ohio.

Her honors include a Nieman Fellowship at Harvard University. She received the Livingston Award for National Reporting for her coverage of organ transplantation, and she was part of a team that won the George Polk Award for Justice Reporting for a series on the life of George Floyd. She is the author of DREAM TOWN: Shaker Heights and the Quest for Racial Equity, about her hometown, a suburb of Cleveland. She lives in Washington, D.C., with her husband and two sons.

L’Heureux Lewis-McCoy is an associate professor in the Sociology of Education program in the Department of Applied Statistics, Social Science and Humanities at New York University’s Steinhardt School of Culture, Education and Human Development. His first book, Inequality in the Promised Land: Race, Resources, and Suburban Schooling examined the experiences of low income and racial minority families’ attempts at accessing school-related resources in an affluent suburb. He is currently fielding a multi-site ethnographic study in Westchester County that examines residents’ experiences with housing and schools. His larger research interests include race and racism, gender justice, and community mobilization. His research has appeared in multiple edited volumes and academic journals such as Urban Education, American Educational Research Journal, and Ethnic & Racial Studies. He is a frequent media contributor and public speaker. His insights have been included in Ebony Magazine, The Grio, The Root, US World News Report and on channels such as CNN and Al Jazeera.

Renee Romano is the Robert S. Danforth Professor of History and Professor of Comparative American Studies and Africana Studies at Oberlin College. A specialist in 20th and 21st century history of American racial politics and in the field of historical memory, she is the author of Racial Reckoning: Prosecuting America’s Civil Rights Murders (Harvard University Press, 2014) and Race Mixing: Black-White Marriage in Postwar America (Harvard University Press, 2003.) She is also the co-editor of three collections: Historians on Hamilton (Rutgers Press, 2018) and Doing Recent History (University of Georgia Press, 2012), both co-edited with Claire Potter; and The Civil Rights Movement in American History (University of Georgia Press, 2006), co-edited with Leigh Raiford.

Her public humanities work includes directing the Oberlin visit of “Courage and Compassion: Our Shared Story of the Japanese American World War II Experience,” working as a researcher for an exhibit on climate change and biodiversity loss at the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History, and serving as an advisor or consultant for the Kent State May 4th Walking Tour and Visitor’s Center, the Brooklyn Historical Society, the Maltz Museum of Jewish History, and numerous documentary film projects. Her current research explores how historical storytelling and cultural representations can be used to advocate for social and political change, especially through the technology of the exhibit. Focusing on the issue of gun violence and America’s gun culture, she will be drawing on work in psychology, communications, marketing, and museum studies to develop plans for an exhibit that empowers viewers to take action in response to the impact of firearms on American society.

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