Brandeis Professor to Give Talk on Racial Wealth Gap

Issue Date: 
February 25, 2008

Thomas Shapiro, professor of law and social policy at Brandeis University, will deliver a lecture from noon to 1:30 p.m. Feb. 28 at the University of Pittsburgh’s Oakland campus.

The lecture is part of the Reed Smith Spring 2008 Speaker Series at Pitt’s Center on Race and Social Problems (CRSP), part of the School of Social Work.

His talk, titled “Closing the Racial Wealth Gap, Assets for Change,” will take place in Room 2017 Cathedral of Learning. It is free and open to the public. Lunch will be provided and registration is not required. For more information, call 412-624-7382 or visit

Shapiro directs the Institute on Assets and Social Policy and is the Pokross Professor of Law and Social Policy at The Heller School for Social Policy and Management, Brandeis University. His research interests are racial inequality, poverty, and public policy. His book The Hidden Cost of Being African American: How Wealth Perpetuates Inequality (Oxford University Press, 2004), was reviewed by The Washington Post and The Boston Globe, among others. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch named it one of its Notable Books of 2004.

Shapiro coauthored Black Wealth/White Wealth (Routledge, 1997), which received the Distinguished Scholarly Publication Award from the American Sociological Association and the C. Wright Mills Award from the Society for the Study of Social Problems, among other honors. A newer edition of Black Wealth/White Wealth, examining the most important changes in racial inequality and developments in asset policy in the past decade, was published in 2006.

A new report coauthored by Shapiro and released last month, By a Thread: The New Experience of America’s Middle Class, is a comprehensive study that measures economic stability across the American middle class.