Samuel L. Myers, Jr., Director and Professor, Roy Wilkins Center for Human Relations and Social Justice at the Hubert H. Humphrey School of Public Affairs, University of Minnesota
Janet Smith (University of Illinois-Chicago, award committee chair) and Samuel L. Myers, Jr.

Award Recipient

Samuel L. Myers, Jr. (University of Minnesota)

The Urban Affairs Association (UAA), the international professional association for urban scholars, researchers and public service professionals, convened its 47th Annual Conference in Minneapolis, Minnesota, April 19-22, 2017. More than 750 participants, representing universities, research institutions, non-profit organizations, and public and private organizations/institutions from around the world met to discuss 21st century issues impacting urban populations and places. Conference participants represented institutions from North America, South America, Europe, Asia, and Africa. The University of Minnesota served as the local sponsor for the event.

During the conference, awards were presented in recognition of outstanding scholarship and service. Among those honored was Samuel L. Myers, Jr. (University of Minnesota). Myers was awarded the 2017 Marilyn Gittell Activist Scholar Award.

The UAA-SAGE Marilyn Gittell Activist Scholar Award was established to highlight field-based urban scholarship and promote the dissemination of work by activist urban scholars. The award is co-sponsored by SAGE Publishing and UAA. The inspiration for this award is the career of Dr. Marilyn Gittell, former Director of the Howard Samuels Center and Professor of Political Science at The Graduate School at City University of New York. Dr. Gittell was an outstanding scholar and a community activist who wrote seminal works on citizen participation, and was founding editor of Urban Affairs Quarterly, (now known as Urban Affairs Review). Thus, the award seeks to honor the contributions of a scholar whose research record shows a direct relationship between activism, scholarship and engagement with community(ies).

Award Committee Assessment

The committee unanimously selected Samuel Myers of the Roy Wilkins Center for Human Relations and Social Justice, Humphrey School of Public Affairs, University of Minnesota for the 2017 award. His trajectory and breadth of work brings to light the real material conditions of racial income inequality, providing insight along many different dimensions. We appreciated especially his political economic analyses that reveal, challenge and inform the discursive battles shaping policy that produce racial income inequality. Whether tackling the structural conditions shaping test scores or home mortgage loan rejections, Samuel is the epitome of activist scholarship and characteristic of all we seek in knowledge production in the UAA. The committee discussed racial economic inequality as a critical issue today for us all to face head on, and Samuel’s efforts in the past and now provides us the tools to challenge it from multiple angles. More importantly, he provides us guidance for change.

Award Committee

Chair Janet Smith, University of Illinois at Chicago; Kitty Kelly Epstein (Holy Names University and Fielding Graduate University); Celina Su (Graduate Center, City University of New York)

Award Winner Bio

Samuel L. Myers, Jr., is the Director and Professor, Roy Wilkins Center for Human Relations and Social Justice at the Hubert H. Humphrey School of Public Affairs, University of Minnesota. His research has focused on racial earnings inequality, racial disparities in crime, discrimination in home mortgage lending and consumer credit markets, racial and ethnic disproportionality in child welfare systems, faculty underrepresentation in STEM fields, and racial disparities in government contracting.

At the University of Minnesota, Myers holds concurrent appointments in the Applied Economics Ph.D. Program and the graduate minor in population studies. He maintains an affiliation with the Institute of Ethnology and Anthropology at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (Beijing, China) where he was in residence in 2008-2009 and is a visiting lecturer at the National Law School of India University (Bangalore, India). He received his Ph.D. in economics from MIT and his undergraduate degree from Morgan State University.