Making It: How Immigration, Diversity, and Tolerance Have Kept New York City on Top of the World Since 1945
Talk by Prof. Kenneth Jackson
A remarkable 60 percent of New Yorkers are immigrants or children of immigrants. New York City is America’s classic immigrant city, a major historic gateway for the country’s eastern and southern European arrivals a century ago and a major receiving center today. The city’s immigrant history, extraordinary diversity of its current immigrants, and institutions have combined to make it a city like no other in the United States. Renowned historian Kenneth Jackson traced the New York’s immigrant past and present to uncover the reasons behind the city’s greatness.
Kenneth T. Jackson was the Director of the Herbert H. Lehman Center for American History and the Jacques Barzun Professor Emeritus of History at Columbia University, where he has also chaired the department of history. A graduate of the University of Memphis (B.A., magna cum laude, 1961) and the University of Chicago (M.A., 1963; Ph.D., 1966), he served for three years as an officer in the United States Air Force before joining the Columbia faculty as an assistant professor in 1968. Promoted to associate professor in 1971, to full professor in 1976, and to the Andrew W. Mellon professorship in 1987, he assumed the Barzun professorship, which honors one of the nation’s most distinguished men of letters, in 1990. He has served as president of the Urban History Association (1994–1995), the Society of American Historians (1990–2000), the Organization of American Historians (2000–2001), the New York Historical Society (2001–2004), and the New York Academy of History (2015–present). He has been a Fulbright Lecturer in Germany, Australia, and Japan and a visiting professor at Princeton, UCLA, and the George Washington University.
A past or present member of the editorial boards of numerous professional journals, Professor Jackson is the general editor of the Columbia History of Urban Life, thirty volumes of which had appeared as of 2018. He was the editor-in-chief of the Dictionary of American Biography from 1990 to 1996, and of the Scribner’s Encyclopedia of American Lives from 1996 to 2005. He is the co-author with Camilo J. Vergara of Silent Cities: The Evolution of the American Cemetery (Princeton Architectural Press, 1989). His other books include The Ku Klux Klan in the City (Oxford, 1967); Atlas of American History (Scribner's, revised edition, 1978); Cities in American History (with Stanley K. Schutz: Alfred A. Knopf, 1972); and American Vistas (with Leonard Dinnerstein), which went through seven editions between 1970 and 1998. His latest book, written in collaboration with David Dunbar, is Empire City: New York Through the Centuries (Columbia, 2002). Professor Jackson's best known publication, Crabgrass Frontier: The Suburbanization of the United States (Oxford, 1985), was a selection of the History Book Club and was the subject of special sessions of the American Historical Convention in 1985, the Southern Historical Convention in 1986, and the Organization of American Historians Convention in 1998. It won both the Francis Parkman and the Bancroft Prizes, and the New York Times chose it as one of the notable books of the year. By 2018, it had been reprinted five times in hardcover and forty times in paperback.