The FDR Library Is Telling the Story of Everyone
August 4, 2023
An honest interrogation of racism in the New Deal.
The Roosevelt Rundown features our top stories of the week.
The Truth about Race and the New Deal
For generations, FDR’s success in reshaping the American economy has been a model for what transformative, public-minded policymaking can look like.
His failings have been just as instructive. As we explore in our research, that transformation did not include all Americans, and explicitly excluded or compromised the well-being of Black Americans in ways that still reverberate throughout society.
In a new special exhibition, “Black Americans, Civil Rights, and the Roosevelts, 1932-1962,” the FDR Presidential Library and Museum offers critical perspectives on the administration’s policies and practices, and of the Roosevelts themselves.
And as Jennifer Schuessler writes about the exhibition for the New York Times, “. . . it makes one thing clear: Where opportunities expanded, it was because Black Americans demanded it.”
“Presidential libraries aren’t just about the name on the building,” FDR Library Director William A. Harris told Schuessler. “They have to tell the story of everybody.”
Black activism was, and is, central to that story.
Read more of the New York Times’s coverage: “At the Roosevelt Library, an Unflinching Look at Race.”
How Industrial Policy Actually Works
“[W]hat we were promised by neoliberalism is not what we’re getting . . . leading to this resurgence of industrial policy as a means of managing the economy in a way that leads to actual prosperity,” Roosevelt’s Isabel Estevez says on a new episode of Pitchfork Economics.
New research has positive things to say about that approach.
In a working paper, Dani Rodrik, Réka Juhász, and Roosevelt Fellow Nathan Lane synthesize recent industrial policy work that finds “such policies—or historical accidents that mimic their effects—have often led to large, seemingly beneficial long-term effects in the structure of economic activity,” as they write for Project Syndicate.
What We’re Reading
Is Good News Finally Good News Again? [feat. Roosevelt’s Mike Konczal] – New York Times
Unregulated AI Will Worsen Inequality, Warns Nobel-Winning Economist Joseph Stiglitz – Scientific American
What We’re Talking About
Great jobs report.
Monthly job growth over the past two months is exactly in line with average job growth across 2018-2019. That's great given how far the recovery is. Also it's very hard to flag overheating given 2018-2019 is a benchmark that Powell has been using. pic.twitter.com/CIRxHSHqy1
— Mike Konczal (@mtkonczal) August 4, 2023