Laurie Green is an associate professor of history at the University of Texas at Austin, where she is also affiliated with the Center for Women's and Gender Studies, the African and African diaspora studies department, and the American studies department. She teaches courses on civil rights history from a comparative perspective, women's history, social and cultural history, and the history of gender, race, and national identity in twentieth-century America. Her first book, Battling the Plantation Mentality: Memphis and the Black Freedom Struggle (2007), won the Philip Taft Labor History Book Award and was a finalist for the OAH Liberty Legacy Foundation Award. Her current book project is entitled "The Discovery of Hunger in America: The Politics of Race, Poverty, and Malnutrition after the Fall of Jim Crow."
Beginning in 1967 with the "discovery of hunger" in the Mississippi Delta by a committee of U.S. senators, the shocking existence of hunger and malnutrition within the so-called "affluent society" became one of the key targets of antipoverty activism and legislation of the era. This conflict attracted more public attention than nearly any other aspect of the War on Poverty, yet it has been nearly invisible in historical accounts of this period. This lecture also highlights the significance of this conflict for shaping ideologies of race in the post-civil rights era. Other themes can include gender and the mass media.