Panel will explore Uneven Ground: The Foundation of Housing Inequality in Durham on Feb. 23

 February 16, 2024

Feb. 23 Panel Graphic

As a followup to the Feb. 22 Sanford Distinguished Lecture by Pulitzer Prize winner and author Isabel Wilkerson, the public is also invited to join a related exhibit, panel talk and reception on Feb. 23 about local housing.

The panel and exhibit, "Uneven Ground: the Foundation of Housing Inequality in Durham, N.C," explore the historical roots and contemporary effects of inequality in Durham.

Robert Korstad, a professor emeritus in public policy and history, leads the exhibit related to his scholarship. Korstad will lead a related panel discussion on local housing and give an exhibit talk on Feb. 23 beginning at 4 p.m. at the Sanford building.

The panel will feature Duke and Durham representatives talking about the city's housing challenges and hopes, with a reception to follow. 

The panel event will be the kickoff to Sanford’s inaugural Black Policy Conference beginning on Feb. 23.

Korstad will guide a panel of Durham experts, including chair of the Braggtown Community Association Vanessa Mason-Evans, District 29 North Carolina Rep. Vernetta Alston and Durham City Council Member Nate Baker.

Each figure is deeply involved in efforts to tackle housing inequality in Durham. Their diverse perspectives and experiences promise to enrich the conversation and offer tangible insights into potential pathways for change. In addition to the discussion, the panelists will invite questions from the audience.

Immediately following the panel at 5:15 p.m., there will be a reception in the Sanford building and exhibit walk in the Rubenstein building, where the Uneven Ground project is on display, with panelists available to provide context to the exhibit.  

Uneven Ground Project

"Uneven Ground: The Foundations of Housing Inequality in Durham, NC," is curated by faculty member Bob Korstad and his dedicated team of activists, including Melissa Norton, Kimber Heinz, Tim Stallman and Tia Hall. This exhibit meticulously traces the historical trajectory of housing disparities in Durham from colonial times to the 1970s, shedding light on the evolution of white privilege and showcasing acts of resistance by marginalized communities. The urgency of addressing housing inequality in Durham today cannot be overstated. Despite some progress, there is a growing consensus that the situation is worsening rather than improving. Developed in 2018, the exhibit was part of the Bull City 150 project in 2019, during the city's 2019 sesquicentennial and is relevant today.

Drawing upon his extensive expertise as a historian of the South, with a particular emphasis on North Carolina, Korstad brings to the table a wealth of knowledge gleaned from his numerous publications, including critical works such as "To Right These Wrongs: The North Carolina Fund and the Battle to End Poverty and Inequality in 1960s America" and "Fragile Democracy: The Struggle Over Race and Voting Rights in North Carolina." His collaborative efforts with colleague Jim Leloudis, particularly in their joint course at Duke/UNC examining poverty alleviation programs in Durham and Orange counties, provide a solid foundation for this event.

This event serves as the opening session for the Black Policy Conference, underscoring its significance within broader conversations surrounding social justice and public policy. Attendees can anticipate an intellectually stimulating and thought-provoking dialogue that seeks to analyze historical injustices and catalyze meaningful action toward a more just and equitable future.

Register for the panel and exhibit talk on Feb. 23.