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  • NYS Writers Institute

Rebuilding the Republic: A discussion with journalist Bob Herbert


“I think that what African Americans have done in this country has actually been heroic— that they have overcome these obstacles. And millions upon millions of Blacks have done just that.”

— Bob Herbert


For today's Rebuilding the Republic event, Writers Institute Director Paul Grondahl interviews former New York Times columnist Bob Herbert about his documentary "Against All Odds: The Fight for a Black Middle Class."

Bob Herbert championed the working poor and middle class on the Op-Ed pages of the New York Times for 18 years. Marian Wright Edelman has said, “Bob Herbert's strong, brilliant voice consistently reminds America of where we still fall short of the ideals of the nation we want to be and can become.”


He currently serves as Distinguished Senior Fellow for the progressive think tank, Demos. His books include Promises Betrayed: Waking Up from the American Dream (2007) and Losing Our Way: An Intimate Portrait of a Troubled America (2014), which Oprah’s O. Magazine called a “masterwork of reporting.”

"Against All Odds: The Fight for a Black Middle Class" (2017, U.S., 75 min.) is a documentary about the extraordinary difficulties that African Americans have faced in their efforts to establish and maintain a middle class standard of living. Herbert presents the rarely-told history of Black families as they pursue the American dream in the face of unrelenting barriers.

Cosponsored by the UAlbany Documentary Studies Program and History Department in association with History 220, “Public Policy in Modern America,” taught by Professor Lauren Kozakiewicz.

Watch the film on PBS.org (free): https://www.pbs.org/wnet/chasing-the-dream/stories/odds-full-film/

Buy these Bob Herbert books at the local, independent Book House of Stuyvesant Plaza

For more information on the Rebuilding the Republic series, visit: www.nyswritersinstitute.org/rebuildingtherepublic