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Abstract

I want to begin by commending Professor Wilson for focussing his scholarly attention upon one of the more critical social problems confronting our society at this time. You will recall that in his earlier work, Professor Wilson found that the civil rights movement had made a major impact on the character of race relations in our society, particularly relative to the status of blacks. In that award-winning but controversial study, The Declining Significance of Race, Professor Wilson found two diverging trends within the black community: on the one hand, the growth of the black middle class which had benefitted from the civil rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s; on the other, a growing sector of impoverished blacks for whom that movement had seemed to leave behind. In this regard Professor Wilson is to be commended for allowing his findings from The Declining Significance of Race to focus upon those forces which demand change. If the U.S. is to make claims that it is a civilized, just or compassionate society, the condition of this sector must be addressed. It is this sector which Jesse Jackson refers to as "the least of these" as he calls for a "new direction" in the political arena so that their condition, and ours, will be dramatically improved. On the other hand,

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