Call for Articles: The Russell Sage Foundation Journal of the Social Sciences

The 50th Anniversary of the Kerner Commission Report

Samuel L. Myers, Jr., Department of Sociology, University of Minnesota
Susan T. Gooden, School of Criminal Justice, Virginia Commonwealth University

The year 2018 marks the fiftieth anniversary of the Kerner Commission Report the work on The National Advisory Commission on Civil Disorders. The Commission was established by President Lyndon Johnson in 1967 in the wake of successive summers of racial violence in America. Recent episodes of civil disorder and violent protests in American cities related to police violence and elections suggest comparisons with the 1960’s protests.

Given the renewed national attention to the problems of race relations in the United States, the upcoming 50th anniversary of the Kerner Commission Report provides an opportunity to revisit the report, its findings, and recommendations in light of contemporary political realities, social structures, and policy debates. Original empirical research papers are invited in five substantive areas covered in the final report of the National Advisory Commission on Civil Disorders and must directly address the questions of:
  • How far have we come?
  • What worked and what did not work?
  • What are the implications for the 21st Century?
Preference will be given to papers that address one or more of these questions using original empirical research.

All papers must demonstrate a clear connection between the core themes and specific recommendations of the Kerner Commission Report. Preference will be given to papers that provide a direct linkage to the success or failures of remedies proposed in the report.

Please click here for a full description of the topics covered in this call for papers.

Anticipated Timeline

Prospective contributors should submit a current CV and an abstract of their study (up to two pages in length, single spaced), plus up to two pages of supporting material (e.g., tables, figures, pictures, etc.) All abstract submissions are due no later than noon EST on March 30, 2017 to

All submissions must be original works that have not been published previously in part or in full. Only abstracts submitted through the portal above will be considered. All questions regarding this issue should be directed to Suzanne Nichols, Director of Publications, at and not to the email addresses of the editors of the issue.

A conference will take place at RSF in New York City on October 6, 2017, with a dinner for participants on the 5th. The selected contributors will gather for a one-day workshop to present draft papers (due on September 8, 2017, a month prior to the conference) and receive feedback from the other contributors and editors. Travel costs, food, and lodging will be covered by the foundation. Papers will be circulated before the conference. After the conference, the authors will submit their revised drafts. The papers will then be sent out to three additional scholars for formal peer review. Having received feedback from reviewers and the RSF board, authors will revise their papers.

The issue will be published in conjunction with a national conference commemorating the report's anniversary in fall of 2018. Authors are expected to present their final papers at this conference; travel costs, food and lodging will also be covered for paper presenters.

Papers will be published open access on the RSF website as well as in several digital repositories, including JSTOR and UPCC/Muse.