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Henry Browne Blackwell

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Henry Browne Blackwell
Born May 4, 1825
Bristol, Gloucestershire, England
Died September 7, 1909
Dorchester, Massachusetts, United States
Occupation Activist
Spouse(s) Lucy Stone
Children Alice Stone Blackwell

Henry Browne Blackwell or sometimes Henry Brown Blackwell (May 4, 1825 – September 7, 1909) was a U.S. advocate for social and economic reform. He was one of the founders of the Republican Party and the American Woman Suffrage Association. He published Woman's Journal starting in 1870 in Boston, Massachusetts with Lucy Stone.[1][2][3]

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  • John T. Dunlop Lecture: Angela Glover Blackwell


Good evening. I'm Diane Davis, the Chair of the Department of Urban Planning and Design here at the GSD. And I'm honored to welcome you all to this wonderful event, the annual John T Dunlop Lecture. This is a very special event for us here at the GSD, but most particularly for my department, Urban Planning and Design-- not just because of the importance of the issue of housing, and in particular affordable housing, to many of the faculty and students in our department, but also because tonight's event has been organized and planned in collaboration with the Joint Center for Housing Studies. This relationship between the Joint Center and Urban Planning and Design is absolutely critical to the mission of our department. And with the intellectual and financial support, as well as the sponsorship, of the Joint Center's faculty and research staff, we've been making great strides collectively, I think, in advancing our understanding of the challenges associated with providing housing in the context of just, equitable, and sustainable cities. For precisely that reason, I'm really thrilled that tonight's keynote speaker is Angela Glover Blackwell. But I'm not going to introduce Angela. My job here is to introduce Chris Herbert, the Managing Director of the Joint Center and a lecturer in our department. Chris is a very generous and inspiring colleague and leader of the center. He's also a first-rate scholar. And we are fortunate to have the center in his hands, relatively newly-- since 2015. Doctor Chris Herbert has an extensive experience conducting research related to housing policy and urban development, both in the US and abroad. And we've shared some interesting discussions about Mexico-- a country that I'm working on-- looking at affordable housing with some support from the center. A key focus of Chris' research has been on the financial and demographic dimensions of home ownership, and the implications for home ownership policy of the recession, housing bust, and foreclosure crisis. Chris is also an editor of several volumes that focus on housing. But I'm not going to spend too much time talking about Chris's great contributions, because there's somebody else waiting in line that we really want to hear a little more about. So without further ado, I'll turn it over to Chris to introduce the rest of our speakers. [applause] Thank you, Diane. This is a named lecture, and so it comes with a certain amount of pomp and circumstance. So I appreciate the series of introductions that we're going through. I do want to thank Diane. The Joint Center works very closely, as she said, with the Department of Urban Planning and Design. And so we were very pleased this past year when Dean Mostafavi appointed Diane Chair of the Department. As a member of the department, Diane had been a valued colleague and a strong supporter of the center. And now in her new role, I'm very much looking forward to the joint pursuit of our missions to advance education and research on urban issues. And we're also looking forward to engaging the university and the broader community in important policy discussions, such as the event we're here for tonight. So I'm very pleased that Diane was the one who got to introduce us and welcome us to the GSD. On behalf of the Joint Center, it is my privilege to welcome our distinguished faculty, students, and the broader community to the 16th John T. Dunlop Lecture. Among the benefits of this annual lecture is that it provides us with an opportunity to recall and pay tribute to Professor Dunlop for his many important contributions to the world of academia, policy, and industry. John was a remarkable man, marked by tremendous intellect, strategic vision, and unflagging energy. He applied his skills in a long, distinguished career as an academic, a dean, a mediator, a labor secretary, and advisors to presidents over the span of many decades. And among his many accomplishments, Professor Dunlop was also instrumental in helping to support the Joint Center through the years, as he recognized the importance of a Harvard Center that focuses on the centrality of housing-- not just in the lives of families and individuals, but also to the building of community, and as a vital engine of our economy. And among the many ways that John helped to support the center, perhaps the most notable was that he was instrumental in establishing our Policy Advisory Board, which includes senior executives from leading firms from across the housing industry. And in that regard, I'd like to spend a special welcome to our current Policy Advisory Board members, who are meeting here in Cambridge today and tomorrow. It's a pleasure to bring the Policy Advisory Board over here to the GSD after having spent the afternoon meeting at the Kennedy School. And I want to take this opportunity to publicly acknowledge and thank the Policy Advisory Board for their support of the Center and for the mission of promoting housing research and education here at Harvard. [applause] The timing of the Dunlop lecture to coincide with this annual Cambridge meeting of our advisory board is no accident, as it also pays tribute to Professor Dunlop's goal of bringing together the worlds of academia, policy, and industry to engage in a dialogue, to seek solutions to the nation's most pressing housing challenges. So we are pleased to see so many people here tonight from the University and the broader community. And Professor Dunlop's lasting impact on the world outside the walls of academia is also reflected in the sponsorship of this lecture by the National Housing Endowment. The National Housing Endowment has been sponsoring this lecture since its inception in 1999. We're very proud and grateful to the National Housing Endowment for this 16-year partnership. So in that regard, I have the privilege of introducing to you now Brian Pastore, who is the chairman of the National Housing Endowment. He would like to say a few words on behalf of NHE. [applause] Good evening, and welcome. My name is Roger Pastore, Chairman of the National Housing Endowment. And I'm honored to be here this evening amongst the housing professionals and guests as we celebrate the 16th annual John T. Dunlop Lecture. I've already made comments earlier in the day, and had the privilege of meeting Angela Glover Blackwell just before we came up here. And I'm looking forward to your remarks this evening, as we all are. This series has welcomed a veritable who's-who of the housing industry. And once again, we are privileged to partner with Harvard University and Joint Center for Housing Studies for this event. As Chris said, John Dunlop was a friend and mentor to so many of us in the industry-- a champion for labor-management relations, a leader in housing and construction related industries. The Joint Center and the National Housing Endowment was proud to organize this annual lecture series to honor John's life and commitment to the industry. He's greatly missed. The endowment has always supported opportunities to educate, train, and conduct research in the field of residential construction. Over the course of our history, we've awarded over $13 million in scholarships and grants to support the best and brightest in the home-building industry. A great portion of those awards have gone to our flagship initiative, the Home Builder Education Leadership Program, commonly known as HELP. These multi-year grants provide much-needed financial support to colleges and universities to create or expand residential construction management programs, and to increase the number of qualified housing management professionals entering this industry. In addition, we are exploring how the endowment can expand our initiatives to address the growing problem of labor shortage that was discussed today in the PAB Round Table. That's a growing issue, and we're seeing how we can help that. In addition to HELP, the endowment funds doctoral research, joint conferences, seminars, and curriculum development, the annual State of the Nation's housing report, and, of course, this lecture. Before we begin, I want to recognize two individuals. The first is Isaac Heimbinder, a former trustee of the National Housing Endowment who has helped the Endowment fund this lecture for the past five years, and Bernie Glieberman, who's here this evening, the policy advisory board member who, since 2011, has helped the National Housing Endowment sponsor the State of the Nation's housing report. We want to thank both of these gentlemen for their generosity and support. [applause] So without further ado, and on behalf of my distinguished fellow Trustees of the National Housing Endowment, I welcome all of you here this evening to the 16th annual Housing Endowment John T. Dunlop lecture. Thank you. Chris. [applause] OK, so now it is my great pleasure to introduce Angela Glover Blackwell to actually deliver the 16th annual John T. Dunlop lecture. Over its history, as Roger mentioned, the Dunlop lecture has featured a variety of perspectives on critical housing issues, and has featured distinguished leaders from the worlds of home-building, finance, policy, and advocacy. And collectively, if we look back over those lectures from the past 15 years, it really presents a mosaic of the many ways in which housing is so central to the health of our economy, to the lives of individuals and families, and to the strength of our communities. But if you look at those lectures, too, in each individual year, I think you'll see that they highlight issues that are most salient at that point in time. Over the past year, we've seen a number of tragic events and a variety of significant social science research that has drawn our collective attention to the importance of where one lives as a critical determinant of one's opportunities in life, framing, as it does, your access to jobs and education and ability to maintain your health and to live a safe and secure existence. And ultimately, while those issues seem to conjure up more concerns about education and safety and the like, housing is central to all of these issues. And it is housing that is the fundamental link between people and place. Angela Glover Blackwell has long been a leading voice in both drawing attention to the importance of place in creating opportunities in life, and in lifting up examples of what works to create sustainable communities that allow everyone to participate and prosper. Given her nationally recognized leadership in this area, we could think of no one more fitting to deliver this year's Dunlop lecture. Angela is the Chief Executive Officer of PolicyLink, an organization she founded in 1999 with a mission of advancing economic and social equity. Under her leadership, PolicyLink has become a leading voice in the movement to use public policy to improve access and opportunity for all low-income people in communities of color, particularly in the areas of health, housing, transportation, education, and infrastructure. Guided by the belief that those closest to the nation's challenges are central to finding solutions, PolicyLink relies on the wisdom, voice, and experience of local residents and organizations. The organization shares its findings and analysis through publications, its website, online tools, convenings, national summits, and briefings with national and local policymakers. Prior to founding PolicyLink, Angela was Senior Vice President of the Rockefeller Foundation. And prior to that, she founded Urban Strategies Council, which was involved in community building in Oakland, California. A lawyer by training, Angela worked for a decade in the public interest law firm Public Advocates dedicated to serving the underserved. She serves on numerous boards, is a frequent commentator for national media, and is the author of several books and articles, including Uncommon Ground: Race and America's Future, and a contributor to Ending Poverty in America: How to Restore the American Dream. Please join me in welcoming Angela Glover Blackwell to deliver this year's lecture, Policy in Place: Building Communities of Opportunity. [applause] Thank you very much it is an honor-- a great honor-- to do this and deliver this lecture. I appreciate being asked to do it. And I particularly appreciate the topic and the interest that obviously exists around thinking of housing and the way that it impacts our lives. I have personal experience with a lot of the issues that I'm going to be talking about. So I wanted to start off by telling you my personal story, because it took me a long time to realize that my personal story had anything to do with my work. I grew up in a segregated St Louis, Missouri in the 1950s and the early 60s. And I know that segregation and racism there were harsh from talking to my parents, from reading about St Louis, from doing research around St Louis to find out about things that relate to my work. But I didn't personally experience it, because I grew up in a complete black community where the places where we played, and learned, and prayed, and volunteered were all black. I rarely came in contact with any people who were not black. The only time that I did is when my mother would take me downtown to shop, or perhaps when we would go to a grocery store. But for the most part, I lived in a black community. And while I have lived many places-- not just in this country, but around the world-- I have never lived any place more integrated than the 4900 block of Terry Avenue. And it was integrated because of segregation. All the black people lived in the same general community. We lived right in the center of the block. My parents were teachers. To the right, there was a man who had a tiny construction company. I remember whenever he would construct anything, my dad would take us to see it. And it was often so small. And I would wonder, why are we looking at this? And we were looking at it because Mr. Perry's company built it. To the other side, there was a man who was a janitor in a church. Next, on both sides, there were physicians, though I never had to go to the doctor's office. The doctors would just stop by our house for whatever it was that we needed. On the other side of one was a minister. On the other side of the other was another teacher. Across the street, there were multiple-family homes. And I remember the Mullens. The father was not there. The mother was on welfare. We called it AFDC back then. There were people who lived on the other side of the street who had other jobs that didn't make quite as much money. But we all lived in the same neighborhood. The block behind us was just as diverse. The block on the other side was a little lower income, but not completely a poor neighborhood. It was interesting growing up in that environment, because everything that we needed was there. This was a community of opportunity, despite the fact that it was completely segregated. When our family moved in, we were the second black family to move in, the first having moved in the day before. That was the Perry's. Within two years, all of the white people were gone except for one family. And even though the white people were gone, all of the amenities stayed. We still had grocery stores. We still had drug stores. The park was still wonderful. There was a pool in one of the parks. The neighborhood was safe. Gradually over time, all of that changed to by the time my parents moved out of the 4900 block of Terry to join me and my family in Oakland, California, when we went home to visit them, we were appalled at what had happened. There were no grocery stores. By the time I was in college, my parents were driving out to the suburbs to go to the grocery store. The park was not usable. No one would go there to walk. The streets were not safe. The corner store where we had gone just to buy candy had long since closed after the man who ran it had been beat up. And it was a poor neighborhood by that time, with all of the things that you can possibly imagine. But I saw what happened. And so when I reflect back on my time in St Louis, what I think about is how important community was. Community protected the children who were living there from the sting and burn of racism. Wasn't enough for those adults, though. They also wanted us to experience the best that St Louis had to offer. I remember us going to the outdoor opera, and our parents and the adults would sit around the perimeter, protecting us from anybody who might try to diminish us, so that we were still having a black experience, even at the outdoor opera. When there was something special at the museum, we had a special docent who took us around to make sure that we saw it. It was an extraordinary experience. It was about place. It was a community of opportunity. And so now when I think about housing, I have no trouble understanding that housing policy is education policy. We went to a good school-- because of racism, again. The reason the school was so good in that segregated neighborhood is because the only thing that the educated adults had that they could choose as professions, for the most part, was to teach. So I had English teachers and Spanish teachers and Journalism teachers who, in another time, would have been senators, and Pulitzer Prize journalists, and diplomats. But they all taught me and my brothers and my friends. We lived in a neighborhood that had a good school. We lived in a neighborhood where we could walk to school, and get exercise. We lived in a neighborhood where there were doctors, and physicians, and easy access to the health care that we needed. We lived in a neighborhood with a rich and robust social fabric. And that social fabric served as a buffer for the black community. People who could go out, and they knew who the people were who were head of the City Council, the wards-- I forget what they called it in St Louis. But they had those political connections. I now go to neighborhoods that are all black and poor. And I see none of that. And I can separate out the fact that even under harsh conditions, living under the racial segregation of the 1950s, it was possible to have a community of opportunity. Where you live in America has become a proxy for opportunity. And for too many people who are of color and low-income, there are no opportunities available to them because of their address and their ZIP code. We have been doing some work around the new rule affirmatively furthering fair housing. And one of my colleagues pointed out-- because she knew us from St Louis and she's heard me tell my St Louis story-- two ZIP codes in St Louis-- one in which the life expectancy is 16 years longer than the other. And the ZIP codes are right next to each other. But one is white. And the other is black-- one in which 52% of the population lives below the poverty level right there in St Louis. Where you live is a proxy for opportunity. And we have to do something about that. There is an urgency associated with it that requires that we act now, and that we act in the face of complications and complexity. Because it's a complex story that I'm standing here telling you. This is a complex story, and we can't let that push us into a single silo and a single strategy. We can't let it cause us to throw our hands up. We have to dig in and figure this out. Because this is an amazing moment. I've been doing this work for a long time now. I started working as a professional in the 1970s. And I see now that there is a ripeness for the change that we have all wanted for so long, that I have never seen before. The conversation that we're having about inequality is really quite extraordinary. It never dawned on me, when Occupy Wall Street first hit the news, that we would still be talking about inequality five years later. And that, rather than becoming something that's turning into commercials-- which is usually what happens with a trend in this country-- first it's an important thing, then it gets in the commercial, and then it's forgotten. well, that hasn't happened to the conversation about inequality. It's gotten broad and it's gotten deep. We've moved away from just talking about the 1% and the 99% to really looking at inequality, and racial justice, and thinking about these issues in a very deep way. And we're understanding that it's not just inequality. It's toxic inequality. We're experiencing toxic inequality that's hollowing out the middle class, that's baking in poverty, that's stalling social mobility. It's an inequality that we have to be concerned about nationally-- not just for a few, but for the many. And we're understanding that inequality, which I have come to understand was something that was accepted as a good and positive thing by economists for many years, that economists are changing their minds about that. The IMF has done a study of 100 nations, and found that for every 10% decrease in inequality, there was a 50% lengthening in a growth period. Manuel Pastor and Chris Benner in Southern California have done a study of 100 regions in the United States. And it found exactly the same thing-- reducing inequality expands the period of growth. The Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland has been making similar pronouncements. So we're at a point where it's not just people who would consider themselves leftist talking about the problems with inequality. The International Monetary Fund and the Federal Reserve are talking about inequality and how it's bad for growth. We've got that going on. That conversation isn't lessening. And it's getting deeper. At the same time, the tragedy of Michael Brown in Ferguson, and Freddie Gray in Baltimore, and Eric Gardener in New York-- and we could go on with the names. I don't want to take you completely down into that frame of mind, having to think about the worst part of the nation. But coming out of something that has been happening every 28 hours for who knows how long-- that all of a sudden this is a national conversation-- that every time it happens, it gets on the news and it stays on the news-- and people are dis-aggregating the problem, and understanding what's underneath what we're seeing in terms of police killing of black men who are unarmed. The report that came out of the Justice Department and the report that came out of Ferguson has been quite extraordinary in laying bare the racism, the discrimination, the unfairness, the inequity. And people are talking about it. People send me these things. I get five or six copies of the report in a single day. People are talking about it. I rarely go to a dinner any place, made up of any racial mix, where people are talking about it-- talking about racism, talking about what it means to be a poor person of color in America. And people are feeling ashamed. And it's a good thing that people are feeling ashamed, because they should. And so we have taken these incidents-- once again, Black Lives Matter, "I can't breathe"-- whatever the phrase might be, it's getting into the culture in a way that people feel that they should be asking themselves whether their profession is a corporate one, whether they're producing something to sell, whether people are in City Hall, whether it's a civic organization-- whatever it is people do, they're asking, what are we doing about this issue that is front and center in America? Maybe at last we can deal with the problem of racism and exclusion, and move forward. That's the moment that we're in. It's a moral issue for sure. We knew that Pope Francis would say something about inequality in America. We would have been surprised if he had not, because it is a moral issue for sure. But it is also an economic issue. It is also an issue of democracy. It is also a national issue. And we are understanding that while we always will be talking about providing access to opportunity and inclusion for people, because it is immoral to leave them behind, we're starting to realize that the nation is going to be left behind if we don't get this right. Because something else is happening in this moment, and that is rapidly shifting demographics. We assume-- it was common knowledge-- that by 2050, the majority of people in the United States would be of color. We were quite surprised when we heard the number was really 2042. It's been adjusted now. It's 2044. But it's coming very fast. But for many places, it's already here. Ever since the summer of 2012, the majority of babies born in this country have been of color. The majority of children in the public school system in the United States are of color. The majority of children in this country under five are of color. And by the end of this decade, 2019, the majority of all children in this nation 18 and under will be of color. By 2030, the majority of the young workforce will be of color. And by 2044, the majority of people will be of color. But it's even more stark than that, because the median age for people who are white is 42. The median age for people who are Latino-- the fastest growing group among groups of color-- is 27. And so we have an older population that is white. We have a younger population that is of color. So if you think about schools, if you think about leadership, if you think about work, if you think about workforce, we actually are becoming a nation of color much more rapidly than the census is telling us. Therefore, if we want to be a nation to stand on the world stage, proud of our middle class, we have to invest in people of color. Because if they don't become the middle class in this country, there will be no vast and stable middle class. If we really do want to deal with the issues of climate, and begin to live in denser populations, and use public transportation, and reuse our built environment, we're going to have to learn to live together. We're going to have to get used to riding next to, sitting next to, living next to the other. We've got some work to do to get there. If we really want to continue to be able to stand on the world stage in the global economy, we need to take advantage of the most extraordinary asset you could have in a global economy. And that is to be a world city. What could be better than to be connected to the globe through language, through culture, and all of those things? So what has always been a moral imperative has become an economic imperative. And if we are going to be proud of our democracy, it has to be a democracy that can thrive in the face of difference. And so it's also a democratic imperative that we finally get the equity agenda right. What do I mean when I say equity? Just and fair inclusion into a society in which all can participate, prosper, and reach their full potential. And we know how to do it. We know it requires affordable housing-- affordable housing that links people to opportunity. And that can happen in several ways. People can live in communities that are rich with opportunity because the housing is affordable there. And we can make sure that every community is a community of opportunity, so that the places where people live connect them to good schools, to good jobs, to transit that can connect them to wherever it is they need to get. Where you live not only determines all of those things, but it determines how long you live, and how well you live while you live. Connect people to places where they're not around asthma triggers, where they are not suffering the stress and the trauma of the violence that really eats away at health and life expectancy. We can do that, but we also need to make sure that we're thinking about using our transportation policy to connect people to opportunity wherever it might be in the region. We know that it requires investments in infrastructure. We need to do that for the people who are being left behind and left out. But the nation needs to invest in its infrastructure. And if it's going to do that, it needs to do it in a way that produces equity, asking where are we putting the infrastructure? Are we putting broadband where we need it? Are we putting transit where we need it? Where are we putting the infrastructure? Are we dealing with the equity agenda as we're making the infrastructure investments? Are we connecting people to jobs? Are we connecting them to apprenticeship programs? We need to ask, are we creating entrepreneurial opportunities for minority and women, business people, for who will most likely hire people of color and other women? So we need to think about the jobs as we're thinking about the entrepreneurial opportunities. We know what to do. We know we need to reform our tax code, our tax system. We know the things we need to do. We know that we have to improve our public school system. Because if we're not getting ready for the future, the future will leave us behind. So we understand that place matters. Housing is key to place. We have many strategies that we have pursued to try to make sure that we're producing more housing, that the housing is affordable. But we have to ask, are we using housing as a way to improve education? Are we using it to improve health? Are we thinking of housing as a job connector? Are we thinking of housing as a wealth builder for communities that are being left behind? The wealth in the white community is 13% or 14% percent higher than the wealth in the black community. These are the kinds of things that, unaddressed, will come back to bite the nation-- not just because you're leaving people behind, but we need for people to be able to participate. The poverty rate in the black community is almost three times as high as the poverty rate in the white community. The same is true in the Latino community. The unemployment rate in the black community is more than twice that of the white community. But the question that we need to stop asking ourselves is, how are black and Latino people doing as against looking at white people? We need to ask how are black, and Latino, and Asian, and Native American people doing in relationship to what this nation needs to thrive? That's the measure. And if there's a gap there, that's the gap we need to be concerned about. Because that gap hurts us all. When we think about the benefits of equity, it is absolutely essential that we move beyond rhetoric and we begin to look at data. One of the things that we've done at PolicyLink, in partnership with Manuel Pastor and his shop at the University of Southern California, which is called the Partnership for Environmental and Regional Equity. So PolicyLink and PEER came together to maximize our organization's strengths. Manuel's shop is basically a data and research shop. But it also does policy and communications. PolicyLink is basically a policy shop and a communication shop. And we also do research. Manuel and I were talking one day just about the time that President Obama was coming into office. And we said, we need to have an organization that has all of the qualities that we have. Why don't we just merge our organizations for the purpose of beginning to tell a narrative to the nation about its future and what we need to do? And so we did. We merged for the purpose of creating the National Equity Atlas. And what the National Equity Atlas does is it looks at 150 regions throughout the United States, 50 states, and the District of Columbia. And what it asks is, what are the changing demographics? And how have they changed over time? What are the indicators of economic well being, disaggregated by race? And what would be the benefit to the nation if we were to correct the problems, if we were to close the gap-- if we were to close the gap between the incomes and the earnings of white people and those of people of color? In the part about the shifting demographics, we go from 1980 2040. So you can go to any one of those geographies and see what's going on. One of the things that we have seen, in addition to the shifting demographics, is a racial generation gap. A racial generation gap-- 80% of those people over 65 in this country are white. And about 46% of those under 18 are of color. And that's nationally. But if you go to different regions, you'll see that gap is even greater. And two of the places that have the greatest gap are Nevada and Arizona. And if you think about some of the battles that have been going on in that place, you see what happens when you have older voters who do not identify with the youth. They don't identify with the housing needs. They don't identify with the education needs. They have a real problem. So we talk about that in looking at the demographic change. We don't just look at race and ethnicity. We look at age as well. We look at issues that have to do with connectivity and production when we look at the economic issues. But the bottom line is the GDP would be $2.1 trillion higher for the nation if we could close that gap in terms of earnings. And we give that figure for every one of those regions, to really underscore that there is something that is really possible going on now-- that if we address the issues, we actually are addressing the national issues. And I can't underscore that enough. So we need a policy framework that will make a difference. We have to think about housing, but we have to think about housing in relationship to the other things that are going to be crucial to respond in this moment in time. And we have to grow good jobs. And we have to grow good jobs, and we have to make sure the jobs that already exist-- particularly for low-income people-- become good jobs. Which is why we celebrate the work of Ai-jen Poo and the work she's doing around domestic workers, home-care workers, making sure that those jobs become good jobs. But when we spend money, once we know that we have an equity imperative, we can't leave it to the poverty program. We can't leave it to the 501(c)(3) organizations. We have to say, how do we advance equity with everything that we're doing? So when Oakland, California finally came up with a plan for what to do with the abandoned Oakland Army Base-- it had been sitting abandoned for 25 years-- one plan after another. Finally, they decided they were going to really invest, and make it a logistics center. And in making that investment, they kept asking the equity question. They made a decision that, a year before they broke ground, they would put a resource center in the poorest community in Oakland to begin to train people for the jobs that were coming in a year. Don't just wait till the jobs are there and lament the fact that nobody's job-ready. If you know what the jobs are going to be, they started training people a year ahead of time. They decided that they were going to set aside 25% of the apprenticeship programs for people who were Veterans, people who were long-term unemployed, people who were formerly incarcerated. They decided that all the new apprenticeship programs would go to Oakland residents. And they had a special program to try to deal with vendors and contractors from the communities that are often left behind, to try to build that-- so using the opportunity to do something the city needed to do anyway to advance the equity agenda. We need to make sure that we're thinking about our infrastructure investments as being an opportunity to advance equity. In New Orleans, they have redone the way that they are routing, and the time frame, and the schedule, for their public transit system, to make sure it's connecting people to jobs. Because New Orleans looked up, and it saw that over 60%-- I think the number is 56-- 56% of all of the black men in New Orleans aged 16 to 64 are without work-- not unemployed-- without work. And so mayor Mitch Landrieu actually developed a plan to build on something that he had been doing to try to deal with the violence and the murders. He developed a plan to look at all the jobs they could anticipate coming online lots of them with anchor institutions, and set up a job training, a job linkage, an educational system to try to make sure that a certain portion of those jobs go to those men. So they were thinking about that, and they realized that they had a transit problem as well-- so redoing the routing to make sure that the transit system is working. In the Twin Cities, they've put in a light rail. And they've made sure that that light rail system did not just displace people. They had an affordable housing strategy along the light rail, because they could anticipate that this is going to become valuable property. Things are going to happen. Let's secure affordability even before they started on the system. They also put in three stops that they had not planned to put in when they originally designed the system, so that the entrepreneurs along the way would get the business along the way of the light rail, and not have everybody just passing by, looking out the window, wondering what that is. People could actually get off. Those are becoming destinations. That's the kind of planning we have to do. We also have to make sure that we are building the capacities of people to be ready for the jobs of the future. By 2018-- that's just a couple of years from now-- 47% of all jobs in this country will require at least an associate's degree. Only 27% of blacks and Latinos have an associate's degree, and only 14% of recent Latino immigrants. We've got to do something about that, which is what makes the Tennessee Promise an exciting idea. You know, the Governor of Tennessee has said that they now are making community college free to anybody who graduates from high school. And then, finishing the community college, you can go to the four-year institution. But you get the four-year institution for the price of two, because the first two years are free. We need to do more of that. And we need to really make sure we're creating a robust system. But we also have to remove barriers and expand opportunity because there are too many things that stand in the way. That's part of what Ferguson and Baltimore have teed up for this country-- that we now have a deeper sense of the barriers that have to do with living in a low-income community of persistent poverty than we have ever understood. Never occurred to me that the Justice Department was in cahoots with racism, in terms of who had to pay the tickets, and who had to support that system. That was shocking even to me. I knew I'd gotten a lot of tickets, but I thought that was just me. I didn't know that this was something that routinely happened. And it happens in jurisdictions all across the country. We're understanding how baked in structural racism is. We have to remove those barriers. We are understanding-- thank you Michelle Alexander-- the scandal of incarceration and the new Jim Crow. We knew that there were a lot of people being locked up, but we didn't understand how vast it was, and didn't understand how minor so many of the offenses were that got people in again, and again, and again. And we're starting to undo that. In California, we've passed Prop 47 that has reduced many felonies to misdemeanors. And not only are people no longer getting those felonies on their records, but if you were in jail for a felony that is now classified as a misdemeanor, and you have a good record, you are now coming out of the prison system in California. This is a big deal. It's only the right thing to do. But we need to make sure that people who do have records are able to access jobs. So to ban the box, so you don't have to check a box on the application for a job, is just the beginning of how aggressive we're going to have to be about incorporating people back into communities. Think about communities. Think about communities where, too often, we have put the affordable housing. We have put what housing was affordable in communities where the schools were terrible, where there were no grocery stores, where there was no job, where there was no public transit system, but also where there was not robust community and social fabric. Think about all those black and brown men who have been incarcerated. Think about them. Now think about the legacy of absence in the communities from which they were snatched-- the legacy of absence-- no fathers, no community role models, no partners, nobody. My father used to play stickball with every kid in the neighborhood-- nobody to do that. Think about that legacy of absence. We've got a lot to make up for. It takes more than a house. It takes a community. It takes people. It takes people investing in each other. It takes access to opportunity. We've got to remove barriers. And we have to build opportunity. And the good news is that, as we think about those who are most vulnerable, as we develop strategies to make sure that equity includes them, we are creating benefit for everyone. And for me, the best example of that is something that every person in this room has experienced. That's the curb cuts-- the curb cuts in the street. Those curb cuts are there because of the advocacy of people with disabilities. Happened in Kalamazoo in the 1940s, never happened again until Ed Roberts and his colleagues in Berkeley in the 1970s began to actually be aggressive advocates for getting those curb cuts, so they could actually realize the rights that people with disabilities have been able to gain. And so those curb cuts are now every place, in every city across this country. And they are there because of people with disabilities being advocates for them. But how many times have you been pushing a baby carriage, and been so happy you didn't have to pick up that contraption? How many times have you, like me, been pulling a suitcase, and you made that train because you could just keep going? How many times have workers had their burden eased, been pulling wagons and pushing carts, because those curb cuts were there? How many times have you had your shoulders come down and your mind relax when that new bike rider was traversing the neighborhood sidewalk to sidewalk, and not riding in the streets? But I bet you didn't know this-- those curb cuts have saved lives, because the curb cuts oriented people to go to the corner to cross the street. They were supposed to go to the corner, but the curb cuts orient you to exactly where it is to go-- save lives in that sense. The curb cuts are an example of when you solve problems for people who are the most vulnerable, you solve them for everybody. You solve them for everybody. [applause] And that's the moment we have now with equity. Whether we're taking thinking about education policy and how to make sure we have a robust public education system that educates children for 21st century jobs, which the nation needs to compete, but we know who we have to educate. We know who we are leaving behind. Whether we're thinking about transportation policy that connects people to jobs, and we actually can tap our full workforce, which we need to be competitive-- whether we're thinking about housing-- we're thinking about housing in communities of opportunity that is affordable. We're thinking about strategies in places where we have affordable housing, to make sure they're communities of opportunity. And as we finally accept that, even in America, cities are coming back-- places where we have been throwing them away for decades-- they are coming back. As we begin to invest in those cities, assume that you're going to be successful. Know that you're part of the wave of a resurgence of cities. Bake in affordability right from the beginning, and we won't have to worry about gentrification. We won't have to worry about people being displaced because of it. And as you're thinking about anything you do, think about jobs, because the best way to build a mixed-income community is to increase the incomes of the people who already live there. That's the very best way to do it. Think about jobs in all of those instances, because we are at a moment where, to unlock the promise of the nation, we have to unleash the promise in all of us. That's where we are now. Thank you. [applause] Thank you for that. But I have a little time to answer questions if you have any. I hope you do. I get to use this? Good. And step here. If you were suddenly empowered, and you had the ability to make a major policy change that would further many of the issues you just discussed so eloquently, what would that single policy change be? That's always a tough question, because we need to do so much. I don't think I can responsibly answer that question without talking about education. Because we know-- we all know-- how important education is. And we know that education should be cradle to career. We're not talking K-12 anymore. We're talking cradle to career. If we really made the investment from cradle to career, and we made sure that every child born has the opportunity to reach his or her potential, that we made sure that their parents can go in and get reeducated, can get educated for the first time, we made sure that we actually assumed that children can learn whatever it is they need to learn, we would transform the nation. Now, there are other things we need to do. But if you make me pick one, I've got to go to education. Now, if you give me five, I'll get it all in. Yes. You need-- may I take you the mike? Thanks. Thanks. You gave us a very, I think, interesting story-- your own personal story, and talked about the changing demographics of your neighborhood and the community there. And one of things I want to ask you about is the impact of the Inclusive Communities decision in the Supreme Court over the summer. Because I think as some of these urban communities have-- we've seen a lot of reinvestment happening. And you touched on gentrification. And I think one of the other trends that we're going to see-- we've begun to see-- is that communities of color, and communities of low income-- communities are being pushed out into inner-ring suburbs and suburban areas. And I think, in some sense, this is really what the Inclusive Communities decision is about-- is trying to encourage mixed income and mixed race communities in suburban areas. So do you think that that is going to be an important trend that we're going to see? And what sort of policy implications is that going to have, both for continuing urban reinvestment, if we have not as much funding coming in to some of the disinvested urban communities? And then what policy ramifications does it have, also, for some of the suburban communities, where we're going to see an increase in affordable housing being developed? So one thing to point out is that the trend of black and brown people moving to suburban communities has been going on for a long time. Black and Latinos stayed in cities, and they kept hanging in there. And they kept hoping they would get better. And the schools got so bad, the streets got so dangerous, people left. And so it didn't surprise me one little bit that it was Ferguson and not Saint Louis-- didn't surprise me one little bit. Because you actually tend to get uprisings when people are hopeful and doing the right thing. When we had the uprisings after the Civil Rights legislation had passed, going to Watts and other places, lots of people were shocked, because they felt that the country was making progress. We were passing civil rights legislation. People had rights and things they'd never had before. And that's when Watts opened up. So it didn't surprise me that it was Ferguson, because people moved to Ferguson trying to do the right thing-- trying to get away from St Louis trying to find places where the schools would be better, where they would have more jobs, where they would be respected. And they didn't find any of that. They found schools that were now being underinvested in, police who were harassing them, no jobs available. And so it's been going on for a long time. That's why we actually have so many people now in the suburbs who are poor. We actually have more people poor in the suburbs than we have in cities. So it's been going on for a long time. The question is not moving to an area that has been previously white, or moving to an area that's suburban. What we need is for people to move to opportunity. A friend of mine, John Powell, when he was at the Kirwan Institute, they actually did a study that showed that people who were black and brown were moving away from opportunity when they left cities, not moving to opportunity. They were moving to declining inner-ring suburbs while the opportunities were elsewhere. So I hope that what we will see is more resources available for people to have information to move to opportunity when they are making a move, and not just move to the place where they happen to know someone, which is likely the reason you know somebody there is because it's not an opportunity community. People move from the place you know to a place that's already on its way down before you move there. The other thing we need to really focus on is making sure that the bottom line is connecting people to opportunity. Therefore, if a community is becoming a community of opportunity, it is the right thing to do to figure out how to keep people there who were there during the bad time. They deserve to be there during the good time. Just makes no sense to have grocery stores coming in, schools starting to improve, relationships with the police getting better, and the very people who were crying and begging and fighting for that can no longer live there. So we have to not be knee-jerk in the way that we think about this. We need to be informed. We need to be thoughtful. And we need to have goals that we're trying to get to, and a way to measure whether or not we're doing it. Yes. You've talked a lot about the complexity of the issues. I'm in the School of Public Health. And so the issues that you talked about are health and education and housing, and how complex it is, and how it's very easy to walk away. But we're here with a lot of housing professionals. But if we go over to Fenway or Longwood area, we're with a lot of public health professionals. If we go somewhere else, we're at the school of education. Could you talk about how to break silo, so we don't just talk about where we live, learn, work, and play matters? But how do we actually professionally, when we're being trained in silos, we really have departments professionally in silos, so we're not really working interconnectedly-- only when it makes very obvious sense, like asthma and housing in some places, but not really to address the fundamental issues that you've discussed. I actually feel that what you have pointed out is true and changing. I don't know how fast it's changing. But I know that it's changing. One of the things that's causing it to change is the notion of collective impact-- the idea of collective impact, which really forces you to identify the outcomes that you want, and then think about all the actors who have to participate to get to those outcomes. It's interesting to me that collective impact is what people in communities have always understood-- that they have always tried to tear themselves apart to fit into a conversation with a case manager over in Social Services, and then fit in with a public health nurse over at the public health department, and then go to somebody else who is supposed to be doing that in the school system. People knew that their issues were intertwined, interrelated, and you couldn't talk about one without the other. Collective impact has now caught up with the insights that people in community have always had. And they're trying to figure that out, so that once you get out of school into the workplace, the people who will soar are the ones who get it. Because there's not much use now for people working in cities or in counties who don't understand the interrelationships, people who can talk the language of houses, and talk the language of public health, and understand the contribution of public interest lawyers, and talk to people who are making transportation decisions. Those are the ones who rise to the top. Those are the ones who get the promotions. Those are the ones who move forward. And so I think that pressure to be trained for the real world, for the real skill, for the real things that are valued, I think that's starting to happen. I know there are lots of programs now in professional schools where people are crossing silos. But there are many things moving in that direction, and some fabulous examples. I always recommend King County in Washington as a place where they really are on top of this. But at Alameda County in California and other places, I'm seeing extraordinary stuff. Yes. You mentioned Baltimore. My family and I live in Baltimore. We moved to Baltimore, my wife and I did, in large measure-- and at the time or just after the riots of 1968. What do you say to us? Between my wife and I, we've probably been on or chaired a dozen boards. We have many friends who have contributed a great deal of time, energy, and money to try and improve education, social programs, and housing in Baltimore. And here we are 45 years later, and the same thing happens that had happened in 1968. Why shouldn't we just give up? I hope you don't give up. This same story could be told every place. My husband and I have lived in Oakland, California for 35 years. And when we first moved there, we got involved. And we've been involved. And Oakland is now one of those communities that's starting to be gentrified. And so we're fighting that fight now. But we have never invested as we should to try and solve these problems. When we had the uprisings in Baltimore and Detroit, and in Los Angeles, and all these other places, the response has never been to peel away the onion, and understand, at the core, what is wrong and how do we fix it. We haven't done that before. And so there's no reason to give up with the notion of this can't be fixed. The question is, why don't we step up to fix it? Because we know what it takes. We are not a poor country. And we need to stop acting like one. We are not a poor country, and we need to stop acting like one. It's going to take a lot of money to fix the problems in Baltimore. The schools are terrible. And it's going to take a lot of money to fix those schools. The housing is not opportunity housing. It's not in places where young people can feel safe. What's happened between the police departments and young people has been going on for decades. I know something about the efforts that Johns Hopkins has made to try to use what it's doing to engage and train. But they're not doing nearly enough. They're not doing nearly enough. It's going to take more than the hospital to solve that problem. There's a lot of money getting spent in Baltimore around various things. And if you go and you look at who's working on the sites, and who the contractors are, you realize that we're still missing opportunities. And so my response is, it has to be frustrating when you come back to the table again, and again, and again. But if you ask yourself have we ever had a real honest conversation about how we got here? I taught a class at NYU around housing in the 21st century-- race-class housing in 21st century American cities. And one of the things the students did was they looked at the red lining maps. And then they looked at communities of concentrated poverty. And they were exactly the same. They were exactly the same. How could that be? So we haven't really talked about racism. We haven't peeled back that onion. We haven't done a true assessment of what it's going to take. We haven't allocated the money to do what it's going to take. And until we do that, we're going to keep fooling around. I contend, though, that this might be the last chance that we have to get it right-- that this is the moment. We're talking about inequality. We're talking about race. We're having the demographic change happen. We have decades of finding out what works-- decades. We have been working on this with foundation dollars, with special government programs, with faith-based programs. You show me a problem, and I can show you someplace where they've found what works. What we need to do is disaggregate it, understand it, put it in policy, and take it to scale. Here's one other thing we didn't have all the other times we've been working on it-- I am amazed at the people who are leading foundations these days. They are people of color, but not just people of color. They are people of color and people who are white who have been in the business of creating change. It's not just the lawyer for a wealthy family. It is people who really know what works. And they are working together, and they're pushing their money out there. When you look at the kinds of positions that people are in now to be able to really influence what happens, we also have a cadre of leaders who are committed with capacity. I think we have everything we need. What we're lacking is the public will and the political will, but we can build that. [applause] Please join me in thanking Angela. [applause] So I think with that, our evening is adjourned. Thank you very much for coming to tonight's lecture. As I said, the lectures collectively provide a mosaic of housing issues. And Angela has really, I think, provoked a lot of thought about the way in which housing creates opportunities in different communities. Thank you very much for coming.


Early life

Henry Blackwell was born May 4, 1825, in Bristol, Gloucestershire, England, the seventh of nine children of Samuel Blackwell and Hannah Lane Blackwell. Blackwell's father, a sugar refiner whose livelihood conflicted with his abolitionist principles, experimented with making beet sugar as an alternative to slave-grown cane sugar. In 1832, the family – including eight children and their father's sister Mary – emigrated to the United States. The family settled first in New York, where Blackwell's father established a sugar refinery and the ninth child was born, and then just outside New York in Jersey City.[4] Blackwell's father took an interest in the nascent abolition movement, and William Lloyd Garrison other leaders were visitors in the family's home. Blackwell's eldest sister, Anna, participated in the emerging agitation for women's rights, attending the 1837 Anti-Slavery Convention of American Women and drafting its letter to John Quincy Adams thanking him for his support of women's right to petition.[5]

After fire destroyed the refinery and the Panic of 1837 destroyed remaining resources, the family moved to Cincinnati in 1838, where Blackwell's father intended to establish another refinery. However, within months of their arrival, he died, leaving the family destitute. Blackwell's mother, aunt, and three elder sisters opened a school in their home, while thirteen-year-old Henry and his brother Sam took clerking jobs. In 1840 Blackwell was sent to Kemper College in St. Louis with the intent that he should become a lawyer. But financial difficulties forced him to return home and resume clerking. Around 1845 he became a partner in a flour mill business, in which he managed operations of three mills. Within a year he had made enough profit to purchase a small brick house in Cincinnati's Walnut Hills section, which remained the Blackwell family home until they moved east in 1856.[6]

 Blackwell as a young adult
Blackwell as a young adult

Seeking a business in which he might achieve financial independence, Blackwell next tried sugar refining. When that failed, a visiting English cousin persuaded him to accept a loan with which he and brother Sam purchased half interest in a Cincinnati wholesale hardware business. In 1850, at the age of twenty-four, Blackwell became the traveling partner of Coombs, Ryland, and Blackwells, making semi-annual two-month-long horseback journeys through Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois, selling hardware to country merchants and collecting payments due the firm.[7]

All the Blackwell siblings had been imbued with a philosophy of personal improvement and working for the betterment of mankind, as well as a deep interest in literature, languages, music, and art. Possessing a special passion for literature, Henry Blackwell wrote poetry in his spare time and always carried several books with him to make every spare moment "useful" and "self-improving."[8] He was a founding member of the Literary Club of Cincinnati, whose members discussed literature and debated issues of the day. He and fellow club member Ainsworth R. Spofford made business trips together, during which they relieved the tedium of slow travel by reading aloud to each other the works of Bacon, Shakespeare, Aristotle, and Plato.[9] Through this club, whose early members included not only Spofford, who would become chief librarian of the Library of Congress, but also Rutherford B. Hayes and Salmon P. Chase, Blackwell formed lasting friendships with men who played prominent roles in the history of Ohio and the nation.

Blackwell siblings

Henry Blackwell's eldest sister, Anna Blackwell (1816-1900), became a poet, translator, and journalist. She was a member of the Brook Farm community in 1845 but settled in France thereafter, where she translated the works of the French socialist Fourier and the novels of Georges Sand. She was also a contributing correspondent for several newspapers in the United States, India, Australia, South Africa, and Canada.[10]

Marian Blackwell (1818-1897) taught school in her younger years but became a semi-invalid and lived with and looked after other family members.[10]

The best-known of Blackwell's siblings was Elizabeth Blackwell (1821-1910), the first woman to earn a medical degree in the United States. In 1853 she founded the New York Dispensary for Poor Women and Children, and in 1857, with sister Emily and Maria Zakrzewska, established the New York Infirmary for Indigent Women and Children.[10]

Samuel Charles Blackwell (1823-1901), only a year and a half older than Henry, was bookkeeper and businessman, best known as the husband of Antoinette (Brown) Blackwell, the first woman ordained as a minister in the United States and prominent speaker and suffragist.[10]

Henry had four younger siblings. Emily Blackwell(1826-1910), who was the third woman to earn a medical degree in the United States. In addition to co-founding the New York Infirmary, she helped organize the Women's Central Association of Relief, which selected and trained nurses for service in the Civil War.[10]

Sarah Ellen Blackwell (1828-1901) was an artist and author best known for writing the first full-length biography of Anna Ella Carroll.[10]

(John) Howard Blackwell (1831-1866) returned to England and worked in iron manufacturing with a cousin, then joined the East India Company. His death at the age of 36 was a blow to the entire family.[10]

George Washington Blackwell (1832-1912), the only Blackwell sibling born in the United States, became a land agent under Henry's tutelage in the 1850s, studied law in New York City, and took over Henry Blackwell's real estate business in the late 1860s.[10]

Courtship and marriage

Blackwell was smitten by Lucy Stone when he heard her speak at an antislavery meeting in New York in May 1853, moving her audience to tears with what became known as her "fugitive mother" speech. He followed her to Massachusetts and obtained a formal letter of introduction from William Lloyd Garrison.[11] Although Stone gladly accepted him as a friend, she rejected him as a suitor because she believed marriage would require her to surrender control over her self and prevent her from pursuing her chosen work. But Blackwell, not having been rejected personally, determined to convince Stone that marriage to him would require sacrifice of neither individuality nor career. He maintained that a marriage based on equality would enable each of them to accomplish more than they could alone. He, too, wanted to work for the good of humanity, but believed he must wait until he had attained the freedom to command his own time and action-- "pecuniary independence," which he expected to achieve in three years.[12]

Through correspondence over the summer, Blackwell and Stone discussed the nature and faults of the marriage institution and the benefits of a true, ideal marriage.[13] Then, eager to demonstrate how he could help Stone accomplish more, Blackwell offered to arrange a lecture tour for her in the west (then the mid-western states of Indiana, Illinois, and western Ohio and Kentucky). She accepted, and he wrote to business acquaintances to engage halls and place newspaper notice while personally printing and mailing broadsides for posting. From mid-October 1853 through the first week of January 1854, Stone lectured on women's rights in more than ten cities in five states, including Cincinnati, Louisville, Indianapolis, St. Louis, and Chicago. Newspaper reports described her enthusiastic reception by the largest audiences ever assembled in some of the cities, as well as the deep influence she was having on those who heard her. During an intimate rendezvous before she returned east, Stone expressed not only her deep gratitude to Blackwell for making her success possible, but also a genuine affection. Nevertheless, she remained resolute about never placing herself in the legal position occupied by a married woman.[14]

As the long-distance courtship continued, Blackwell shifted his arguments to how couples could shape their own marriages, regardless of society's laws. After nine additional months of correspondence and brief meetings, Blackwell met Stone in Pittsburgh for a clandestine three-day rendezvous, after which Stone agreed to marry him.[15]

Through continued correspondence the couple set the terms of a private agreement aimed at protecting Stone's financial independence and personal liberty. Blackwell proposed that their marriage be like a business partnership in monetary matters, with husband and wife being "joint proprietors of everything except the results of previous labors." Neither would have claim to lands belonging to the other, nor any obligation for the other's costs of holding them. While married and living together they would share earnings, but if they should separate, they would relinquish claim to the other's subsequent earnings. Each would have the right to will their property to whomever they pleased unless they had children. Blackwell advised Stone to secure all her money in the hands of a trustee for her benefit.[16] Stone agreed to everything except the issue of marital support. She refused to be supported by Blackwell and insisted on paying half of their mutual expenses. Despite Blackwell's strenuous objection, Stone remained adamant.[17]

In addition to financial independence, Blackwell and Stone agreed that each would enjoy personal independence and autonomy: "Neither partner shall attempt to fix the residence, employment, or habits of the other, nor shall either partner feel bound to live together any longer than is agreeable to both." And Blackwell agreed that Stone would choose "when, where and how often" she would "become a mother."[18] This was Blackwell's way of agreeing that Stone would control their sexual relations as advocated by Henry C. Wright, a copy of whose book Marriage and Parentage; Or, The Reproductive Element in Man, as a Means to His Elevation and Happiness,[19] Stone had earlier given to Blackwell and asked him to accept its principles as what she considered the relationship between husband and wife should be.[20]

Protest against marriage laws

Blackwell also proposed that as part of their marriage ceremony, he would "renounce all the privileges which the law confers upon me which are not strictly mutual" and "pledge myself to never avail myself of them under any circumstances."[21] The wedding took place at Stone's home in West Brookfield, Massachusetts, on May 1, 1855, with Stone's close friend and coworker Thomas Wentworth Higginson officiating. During the ceremony, Blackwell read the protest that both had signed:

While acknowledging our mutual affection by publicly assuming the relationship of husband and wife, yet in justice to ourselves and a great principle, we deem it our duty to declare that this act on our part implies no sanction of or promise of voluntary obedience to such of the present laws of marriage as refuse to recognize the wife as an independent, rational being, while they confer upon the husband an injurious and unnatural superiority, investing him with legal powers which no honorable man should possess. We protest especially against the laws which give the husband:
1. The custody of the wife's person.
2. The exclusive control and guardianship of their children.
3. The sole ownership of her personal and use of her real estate, unless previously settled upon her or placed in the hands of trustees, as in the case of minors, idiots, and lunatics.
4. The absolute right to the product of her industry.
5. Also against laws which give to the widower so much larger and more permanent interest in the property of the deceased wife than they give to the widow in that of the deceased husband.
6. Finally, against the whole system by which the legal existence of the wife is suspended during marriage, so that, in most States, she neither has a legal part in the choice of her residence, nor can she make a will, nor sue or be sued in her own name, nor inherit property.
We believe that personal independence and equal human rights can never be forfeited except for crime; that marriage should be an equal and permanent partnership and so recognized by law; that until it is so recognized, married partners should provide against the radical injustice of present laws by every means in their power.
We believe that where domestic difficulties arise, no appeal should be made to legal tribunals under existing laws, but that all difficulties should be submitted to the equitable adjustment of arbitrators mutually chosen.
Thus, reverencing law, we enter our protest against rules and customs which are unworthy of the name since they violate justice, the essence of law.[22]

News of the Stone-Blackwell marriage sped across the country after Higginson sent an announcement and copy of their protest to the Worcester Spy. While it drew amused ridicule from some commentators who viewed it as a protest against marriage itself, it inspired other couples to make similar protests part of their wedding ceremonies.[23]

On Sunday, September 14, 1857, Blackwell was at home for the birth of the couple's daughter, Alice, delivered by Blackwell's sister Emily. Two years later, while the family was living temporarily in Chicago, Stone miscarried and they lost a baby boy.[24]

Business and investments

In January 1856, Blackwell and his brother Sam sold their interests in the hardware company, and the entire family moved east. In October, Blackwell took a position with C. M. Saxton and Company, publisher of agricultural books. During his first year with the company, as he traveled through the west selling books to farmers’ libraries, he developed a new venture for the company – selling a collection of books suitable as a basic library for district schools. After consulting with the Illinois superintendent of schools, he compiled a list of appropriate books, arranged for special terms from publishers, and obtained a contract from the state of Illinois authorizing the firm to sell to school districts. However, when the Panic of 1857 threatened the firm's survival, Blackwell withdrew until the company could reorganize. During the interlude, he worked as a bookkeeper for the Vanderbilt steamship line.[25] When he returned to the book company at the end of August 1857, Augustus Moore had taken sole ownership and the firm was renamed the A.O. Moore Company. Moore put Blackwell in charge of the "school libraries" enterprise, and in the spring of 1858 Blackwell established an office in Chicago from which he obtained endorsements, arranged publicity, corresponded with school officials in each of the state's one hundred counties, and hired agents to canvass the state. So successful was the venture that Blackwell contacted school officials in other states about introducing the books there and Moore doubled his salary to $3,000. The following year, Stone and their daughter accompanied him to Chicago, where the family lived for nine months while Blackwell managed the school libraries venture. When they returned in the fall of 1859, Moore's failing health forced him to sell the company, and Blackwell left as well.[26]

During the 1850s land boom, the entire Blackwell family were avid land speculators, purchasing land first in Illinois and later in Wisconsin, Iowa, and Minnesota. In December 1853, a group of Cincinnati businessmen hired Blackwell to be their agent in purchasing 640-acre sections of land in Wisconsin, which the government was selling on easy terms. As compensation, Blackwell received ten percent of the land he registered. By the time he married in the spring of 1855, Blackwell owned more than forty-eight hundred acres of Wisconsin land in addition to land he had purchased elsewhere.[27]

When Lucy Stone married into the Blackwell family, she became an eager investor too but kept her purchases and accounts separate from her husband's. In 1857 they took equal ownership in a house in Orange, New Jersey, for which they traded western lands. They later sold the house to make a down payment on a farm in Montclair, New Jersey, and traded more western land to purchase a neighboring tract.[28] After their return from Illinois in September 1859, Blackwell opened a real estate business, through which, in addition to selling and trading for clients, he traded western land for eastern properties. In this way both he and Stone became owners of a string of rental properties. While they were "land rich," they were "cash poor," so to raise funds for tax and interest payments, Blackwell briefly sold kitchen stoves manufactured by fellow abolitionist Cornelius Bramhill and then, from 1862 to 1864, was bookkeeper for the sugar refining business of one of his father's former employees.[29]

In the summer of 1864, Blackwell sold a large property whose proceeds allowed him to pay off all his debt, including the mortgage on a house he and brother George had purchased for their mother, as well as purchase property on Martha's Vineyard and invest a large sum in government bonds.[30] Additional land trades over the next few years and the rental income they produced gave Blackwell, as his daughter termed it, a "competence" that enabled him "to devote himself fully to the progressive causes which he always had at heart."[31] Around 1872, Stone told Francis J. Garrison in confidence that she and Blackwell could live on their income and thus "cheerfully give" their time and effort to the Woman's Journal.[32] Blackwell continued to dabble in business that interested him. In 1871 he was part of a presidential committee sent to Santo Domingo to explore commercial ramifications of a possible annexation, and even after annexation failed he continued to promote a model commercial base in the country.[33] Blackwell continued to be keenly interested in developing a successful alternative to cane sugar as a means of combating slavery in the West Indies. After obtaining a patent for a new refining method, he established the Maine Sugar Beet Company in 1878. Although early in its operation he telegraphed Stone: "Beet sugar manufacture a success. Slavery in Cuba is doomed,"[34] he and his partners found it impossible to obtain the quantity of sugar beets to keep the enterprise going, and shut the operation down in 1882.

Work for Woman Suffrage

In the early years of Blackwell's marriage to Lucy Stone, he assisted her work whenever his business schedule permitted. In 1855, he lectured with her in and around Cincinnati during the summer, helped her manage the National Woman's Rights Convention held in Cincinnati that fall, and arranged winter lecture engagements for her in Wisconsin, Indiana, and Ohio. In 1856, he lectured with her in the region around their summer residence in Viroqua, Wisconsin.[35] In the winter of 1857, when the tax bill came for their newly purchased house in Orange, New Jersey, Stone refused to pay on the basis of "no taxation without representation." After submitting to a public auction of household items to pay the tax and attendant court costs, Blackwell and Stone lectured together in Orange on "Taxation without Representation." It was in these February 1858 speeches that Blackwell first argued that woman suffrage was politically expedient no matter a party's principles or goals: Enfranchising women, he said, would allow Republicans to more than double their influence toward abolishing slavery, the American Party to double the number of native-born voters, and Democrats to give votes to labor.[36]

Reconstruction issues

 Announcement of Blackwell/Stone speaking engagement in Vineland, New Jersey, in 1866
Announcement of Blackwell/Stone speaking engagement in Vineland, New Jersey, in 1866

In 1866, the National Woman's Rights Convention, meeting for the first time since before the Civil War, voted itself into the American Equal Rights Association (AERA) to work for universal suffrage – the vote for both blacks and women.[37] Blackwell served as secretary of this organization during its three-year existence. In the winter of 1866-67, Blackwell and Stone lectured together on universal suffrage and formed local Equal Rights Leagues in New York and New Jersey. They also traveled to Washington, D.C., to lobby Charles Sumner against inclusion of the word "male" in the proposed Fourteenth Amendment, which would penalize states for denying black suffrage but not woman suffrage.[38] Unsuccessful in persuading Northern politicians to use this opportunity to extend the franchise to women, Blackwell published an open letter to Southern legislators titled "What the South Can Do," again arguing that woman suffrage was politically expedient no matter a party's (or in this case, a region's) goals or fears. Using estimated figures of a white male and female electorate and a black male and female electorate, he argued that the vote of white Southern women would counterbalance the combined vote of black men and women.[39]

In the spring of 1867, the AWSA received an appeal for help from Kansas, where voters would face two suffrage referenda in the fall: one for removing the word "male" from voter qualifications, along with one for removing the word "white." Blackwell and Stone left for Kansas in March and opened the campaign. They canvassed the state for two months, returned east full of optimism, and raised funds to send more speakers and tracts.[40]

After their return, Blackwell and Stone also addressed a committee of the Connecticut Legislature in support of removing the word "male" from the state constitution's voter qualifications.[41] Blackwell served a second speaking stint in Kansas in the fall, during which defeat became apparent. Upon his return east, he and Stone turned their full attention to creating a demand for woman suffrage apart from the AERA's call for universal suffrage. After holding a series of woman's rights meetings across New Jersey, they called a state convention to form a state woman suffrage society. The object of the New Jersey Woman Suffrage Association that formed in November 1867 with Lucy Stone as president was to use all available means to secure woman suffrage.[42]

At the AERA convention in May 1868, Stone presented two forms of petition to Congress, one for woman suffrage in the District of Columbia and territories, which could be established by an Act of Congress, and the second for a separate woman suffrage amendment to the federal Constitution.[43] As the petitions circulated in both the east and the west during the following months, Blackwell and Stone continued organizing a woman suffrage movement separate from the AERA and its auxiliaries. In November 1868 they helped found a New England Woman Suffrage Association and in December they helped organize state societies in Rhode Island and New Hampshire.[44] Believing their best chance for winning an amendment to a state constitution lay in Massachusetts, Blackwell spearheaded a movement to form Liberty Leagues across the state – local organizations of male suffragists who pledged to vote only for pro-woman suffrage candidates to the legislature.[45]

After passage of the Fourteenth Amendment, Congressional Republicans began drafting a Fifteenth Amendment to explicitly prohibit states from denying the vote to black men. Again Blackwell and Stone traveled to Washington to lobby for the inclusion of woman suffrage, and again their efforts failed. Meanwhile, Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony mounted a campaign opposing any suffrage amendment that did not enfranchise women – seen by many as overt opposition to the Fifteenth Amendment. Disagreement over that amendment divided the May 1869 convention of the AERA. The convention rejected resolutions opposing the Fifteenth Amendment, and when Stanton and Anthony then proposed that the AERA reorganize as a woman suffrage society, the convention accepted Stone's motion that it wait until after ratification of the Fifteenth Amendment so as not to give the appearance of opposition.

Nevertheless, two days later Stanton and Anthony formed the National Woman Suffrage Association, which immediately came out as opposed to the Fifteenth Amendment. With no notice having been given that such a society was to be formed, their critics thus excluded, and no representation from state and local woman suffrage associations then in existence, many long-time suffragists did not view the organization as legitimately "national." The New England Woman Suffrage Association appointed a committee, headed by Stone, to call a convention to form a "truly national" woman suffrage organization with delegates from each state. The American Woman Suffrage Association was formed by a national convention meeting in Cleveland, Ohio, on October 24 and 25, 1869. Blackwell drafted its constitution and was elected recording secretary.[46]

The Woman's Journal

The New England Woman Suffrage Association also established the Woman's Journal, a weekly woman suffrage newspaper that became the organ of the American, New England, and Massachusetts woman suffrage associations. Henry Blackwell donated the first $1,000 of the $10,000 raised to start the paper, was one of three trustees under whom the joint stock company was incorporated, and was always the paper's largest shareholder.[44] In 1872, both he and Stone became editors and thereafter edited the Woman's Journal together, joined by their daughter, Alice Stone Blackwell, in 1881. After Stone's death in 1893, Blackwell continued editing until his death in 1909. He never took a salary for his work on the Woman's Journal, which became the longest-running suffrage paper in the nation (1870-1917).

Campaigner and Strategist

Blackwell was an officer of the American Woman Suffrage Association (AWSA) for many years, including being its president in 1880. He was also an officer of the New England and Massachusetts Woman Suffrage Associations, all of which shared offices with the Woman's Journal in Boston. Through involvement in Republican politics, he obtained a strong endorsement of woman suffrage from the Massachusetts Republican Party in 1872.[47] As one of the American wing's most effective orators, Blackwell spoke on organizing tours, before state and local suffrage meetings and conventions, at hearings before state legislatures and constitutional conventions, and at hearings before Congressional committees.[48] He and Stone worked together on several state campaigns, including Colorado in 1877 and Nebraska in 1882. After frail health kept Stone from traveling, Blackwell continued on without her, campaigning in Rhode Island in 1887 and South Dakota in 1990.[49] One scholar characterized their work saying, "In the annals of the suffrage movement, Lucy Stone and Henry Blackwell were as much a team as Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony."[50] Stone thanked Blackwell for the "abundant and unselfish work [he did] for women," saying, "Few men would have done it, leaving business, friends, pleasure for it."[51]

Blackwell originated the AWSA's strategy of seeking partial suffrage by legislative action. Noting that state legislatures could establish women's right to both municipal suffrage (the right to vote in city elections) and presidential suffrage (the right to vote for presidential electors) through statute, he argued that such measures might be more readily gained than constitutional amendments, which after passage by a legislature had to then be ratified by the populace. He also noted that no constitutional amendment was required for Congress to establish full woman suffrage in either the District of Columbia or the territories. Believing that achieving such measures would undercut arguments against women's voting and become a permanent wedge for full suffrage, he urged that "every point gained is a great step forward."[52]

The AWSA campaigned widely for municipal and presidential suffrage, especially during the 1880s and 1890s. After the merger of the American and National wings in 1890, Blackwell was made chair of the united association's Committee on Presidential Suffrage. Before the woman suffrage amendment to the federal Constitution passed in 1920, eleven states had established presidential suffrage, and four of those had granted municipal suffrage at the same time.[53]

Another strategy Blackwell devised was aimed at constitutional conventions. In 1889 when the territories of North Dakota, Montana, and Washington began drafting state constitutions for entry into the Union, the AWSA mobilized to press for inclusion of woman suffrage. But Blackwell realized the chances for success were slim and devised a backup plan – persuading pro-suffrage delegates, if and when it became apparent a suffrage provision would fail, to push for a clause that would enable a future state legislature to extend suffrage to women by statute. Blackwell obtained endorsements for the strategy from leading politicians and judges in other states, traveled to the constitutional conventions, lobbied their leaders, got his resolution introduced, and was given a hearing at each one. Though the effort failed, North Dakota and Montana came very close to adopting it.[54]


Blackwell died of inflammation of the bowels in 1909.[1][55]


Alice Stone Blackwell, the daughter of Blackwell and Lucy Stone, helped her parents in editing the Woman's Journal; she became another leader for women's rights as well as for the Temperance movement and Prohibition.[56]


See also


  1. ^ a b "Dr. Henry B. Blackwell.". New York Times. September 8, 1909. 
  2. ^ "Jersey Women Voted in 1776. Used Ballot Till 1807, When Democrats Abolished It, H. B. Blackwell Says". New York Times. March 7, 1909. Retrieved 2007-06-21. Henry B. Blackwell, the venerable advocate of equal suffrage, and husband of the late Lucy Stone Blackwell, has written to Mrs. Alexander Christie, President of the Woman's Political Study Club of Bayonne, recounting some interesting researches he has made of the early struggles of women for the ballot. He says that the time of the Revolution women in New Jersey had the right to vote, but later, by various enactments, they were disfranchised. 
  3. ^ Blackwell, Henry Brown (October 20, 1877). "The Lesson of Colorado". Woman's Journal. Retrieved 2007-02-14. 
  4. ^ Wheeler, Leslie, Loving Warriors: Selected Letters of Lucy Stone and Henry B. Blackwell, 1853-1893, Dial Press, 1981. ISBN 0-8037-9469-X, pp. 21, 23.
  5. ^ Million, Joelle. Woman's Voice, Woman's Place: Lucy Stone and the Birth of the Women's Rights Movement. Praeger, 2003. ISBN 0-275-97877-X. pp. 158-59.
  6. ^ Wheeler, 1981, pp. 24-26
  7. ^ Wheeler, 1981, pp. 27-28; Million, 2003, p.177
  8. ^ Million, 2003, p. 178
  9. ^ "The Literary Club of Cincinnati, 1849-1903: Constitution, Catalogue of Members, etc." The Literary Club of Cincinnati, 1903, pp. 8, 34, 29; Jones, Robert Ralston, "Papers Read before the Literary Club Historians Evening, 1921 and 1922," Literary Club of Cincinnati, 1922, pp. 8, 12.
  10. ^ a b c d e f g h Biography in Finding Aid to Blackwell Family Papers,1832-1981, Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library, 1992; Hays, Elinore Rice. Those Extraordinary Blackwells: The Story of a Journey to a Better World, Harcourt, 1967.
  11. ^ Million,2003, pp. 153-54.
  12. ^ Wheeler, 1981. p. 43-44.
  13. ^ Wheeler, 1981, pp. 35-62.
  14. ^ Million, 2003, pp. 157-62; 181-82.
  15. ^ Million, 2003, pp. 182-85, 187-88.
  16. ^ Blackwell to Stone, Feb. 12, 1854, and Dec. 22, 1854, in Wheeler, 1981, pp. 76, 108-11.
  17. ^ Blackwell to Stone, Dec. 22, 1854, [Aug. 28, 1855], and Feb. 7, 1856, in Wheeler, 1981, pp. 110, 144, 155-56; Blackwell to Stone, Aug. 29, 1855, quoted in Million, 2003, p. 198
  18. ^ Blackwell to Stone, Dec. 22, 1854, in Wheeler, p. 109-10
  19. ^ Wright, Henry C., Marriage and Parentage; Or, The Reproductive Element in Man, as a Means to His Elevation and Happiness, 2d ed., 1855; reprint as Sex, Marriage and Society, edited by Charles Rosenberg and Carroll Smith-Rosenberg, New York: Arno Press, 1974
  20. ^ Stone to Blackwell, April 23, [1854], in Wheeler, p. 79
  21. ^ Blackwell to Stone, Dec. 22, 1854, and Jan. 3 [1855], in Wheeler, 1981, pp. 108, 115-16.
  22. ^ Wheeler, pp. 135-36.
  23. ^ Million, 2003, pp. 195-96
  24. ^ Wheeler, 1981, pp. 173, 185.
  25. ^ Million, 2003, p. 244.
  26. ^ Million, 2003, pp. 226-27, 243-44, 248, 253-57, 262; Wheeler, 1981, p. 185.
  27. ^ Million, 2003, pp. 199, 192, 221-22, 224
  28. ^ Million, 2003, pp. 199-200, 263.
  29. ^ Million, 2003, pp. 263, 269
  30. ^ Stone to Hannah Blackwell, Oct. 23, 1864, in Wheeler, 1981, p. 203; Million, 2003, p. 271-72.
  31. ^ Blackwell, 1930, p.232.
  32. ^ Stone to Francis J. Garrison, [undated, early 1870s], cited in Million, 2003, p. 312, n. 21. In 1872, Blackwell estimated that he and Stone were each worth $50,000 (Biography in Finding Aid to Blackwell Family Papers,1832-1981, Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library, 1992).
  33. ^ Merrill, Marlene D., ed. Growing Up in Boston's Gilded Age: The Journal of Alice Stone Blackwell, 1872-1874. Yale University Press, 1990. ISBN 0-300-04777-0, p. 49n.
  34. ^ Wheeler, 1981, pp. 258, 261-62, 267-69.
  35. ^ Million, 2003, pp. 197-98, 217, 219-22.
  36. ^ Million, 2003, pp. 245-46.
  37. ^ Proceedings of the Eleventh National Woman's Rights Convention, Held at the Church of the Puritans, New York, May 10, 1866. New York: Robert J. Johnson, 1866.
  38. ^ Blackwell, 1930, 201-02.
  39. ^ Hays, 1960, p. 190; History of Woman Suffrage, 2:929-31.
  40. ^ Wheeler, 1981, pp. 213-14, 217-22; McKenna, Sister Jeanne. "With the Help of God and Lucy Stone," Kansas Historical Quarterly 36 (spring 1970), pp. 13-16.
  41. ^ History of Woman Suffrage, 3: 334
  42. ^ History of Woman Suffrage, 3:479; Andrews, Frank D. "Cornelius Bowman Campbell, A Biographical Sketch." Vineland Historical Magazine 12 (1927): 247-49.
  43. ^ History of Woman Suffrage, vol. II, p. 309
  44. ^ Wyman, 1: 309-11; HWS, 3:340, 370.
  45. ^ Merk, Lois Bannister, "Massachusetts and the Woman Suffrage Movement." Ph.D. diss., Harvard University, 1956, Revised, 1961. p. 105.
  46. ^ Merk, 1961, p. 12. For the American wing's perspective on the division, see, Blackwell, 1930, pp. 206-231; Hays, 1960, pp. 202-09; and Merk, 1961, pp. 1-8, 370-75.
  47. ^ Merrill, 1990, p. 103.
  48. ^ Merk, 1961, pp.12-14.
  49. ^ Wheeler, 1981, pp. 258, 266-67, 280, 282-84, 296-303.
  50. ^ Wheeler, 1981, p. 5.
  51. ^ Stone to Blackwell, [February] 20, 1887, in Wheeler, 1981, pp. 296-97.
  52. ^ Merk, 1961, pp. 211, 217-21, 222.
  53. ^ Merk, 1961, p. 221.
  54. ^ Merk, 1961, pp. 223-229; Wheeler, 1981, pp. 312, 319-28.
  55. ^ "Simple Tribute to his Memory". The Boston Globe. September 12, 1909. Services for Henry B. Blackwell. Conducted by Rev Borden P. Bowne at Forest Hills. Ashes Will Rest in Urn With Those of his Wife. 
  56. ^ "Alice Blackwell, Noted Suffragist; Daughter Of Lucy Stone And Abolitionist Leader Dies. Editor, Author Was 92". New York Times. March 16, 1950. Cambridge, Massachusetts, March 15, 1950 (AP) Alice Stone Blackwell, internationally known women's suffrage leader, died tonight at her home after a week's illness. Her age was 92. 


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