This week sees the release by the University of Pennsylvania Press of Beyond Civil Rights: The Moynihan Report and Its Legacy, by historian Daniel Geary. The book is a powerful new examination of Daniel Patrick Moynihan’s agenda-setting report “The Negro Family: The Case for National Action,” the 1964 document that still shapes debates about social and economic justice and the racial divide in the US. To shed new light on a report that has been read and re-read for decades, Geary scoured archives and government files for new information about Moynihan’s research and his thinking at the time he wrote the report, as well as its reception in the following decades.
By contributing to our collective understanding of a pivotal moment in America’s racial history, Professor Geary’s work makes exactly the kind of progress that the copyright system aims to promote. That doesn’t mean the system is easy to understand, however. For help navigating the thorny copyright questions that accompany any deep archival excavation, including fair use analysis and identification of US government works, Professor Geary sought out the advice of IP Clinic student attorneys Alexandra Chaffin and Jonathan Perez. Helping Professor Geary bridge the divide between the law’s broad aspirations and its sometimes narrow, technical provisions was a valuable experience for all involved, and ultimately helped give the historian the peace of mind he needed to bring this important book to light.
More about Beyond Civil Rights can be found here.