Bill Moyers interviews Peter Dreier, New York City
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    • The 100 Greatest Americans of the 20th Century, by Peter Dreier (Nation Books, 2012)

Please join Demos for a special event, co-sponsored by Nation Books, featuring renowned scholar and author Peter Dreier. Dreier will be interviewed by veteran journalist Bill Moyers for a discussion about his latest book The 100 Greatest Americans of the 20th Century: A Social Justice Hall of Fame.

A hundred years ago, any soapbox orator who called for women's suffrage, laws protecting the environment, an end to lynching, or a federal minimum wage was considered a utopian dreamer or a dangerous socialist. Now we take these ideas for granted — because the radical ideas of one generation are often the common sense of the next. The 100 Greatest Americans of the 20th Century looks at the ways we all stand on the shoulders of the earlier generations of radicals and reformers who challenged the status quo of their day. 

In a recent piece for the Nation, Dreier acknowledges that the groundwork laid out by activists is, in many historical cases, not appreciated until decades after the fact; the tangible results of social justice workers may take years to come to fruition. Dreier writes,

Liberals and progressives need to celebrate leaders who challenge the powerful and mobilize the masses. Thanks to these movements, America is a more humane, inclusive and democratic society than it was at the start of the twentieth century. But it is not a tale of steady progress. At best it is a chronicle of two steps forward, one step back. The struggle for women's suffrage, for example, started at Seneca Falls in 1848, but women didn't win the vote until 1920. Victor Berger, Milwaukee's Socialist Congressman, introduced the first bill for old-age insurance in 1911, but it took another twenty-four years for Congress to pass the Social Security Act. Which of today's young activists will help change the country so profoundly that future generations will honor them?

About the speakers:

Peter Dreier is E.P. Clapp Distinguished Professor of Politics and Director of the Urban and Environmental Policy Program at Occidental College. For three decades he has been involved in urban policy as a scholar, government official, journalist, and advocate. He regularly writes about American politics and public policy for the Nation, American Prospect, the Huffington Post, Los Angeles Times, and Talking Points Memo. Dreier was recently interviewed on Public Radio International's Tavis Smiley Show. Click here to listen to the interview.

Currently the host of Moyers and Company, Bill Moyers previously produced the groundbreaking public affairs shows NOW with Bill Moyers and Bill Moyers Journal. He has received more than 30 Emmys and nine Peabody Awards. His books include the bestsellers Listening to America, The Power of Myth, Healing and the Mind, The Language of Life, Moyers on America: A Journalist and His Times, Moyers on Democracy, and Bill Moyers Journal: The Conversation Continues.

The event begins at 6:30 p.m. sharp; doors open at 6 p.m. To register for the event, click here

Start: October 18, 2012 at 6:30 PM0
End: October 18, 2012 at 7:30 PM1
Where: 220 Fifth Avenue
Demos, 5th floor
New York, NY 10001