Politics & Polls #156: Black Youth and the Criminal Justice System Featuring Carl Suddler

Oct 09 2019
By Brillian Bao
Topics Politics
Source Woodrow Wilson School

Racism affects our criminal justice system — from policing methods to prison-system structures to punishments issued for different crimes. More than 50 years after the publication of the Kerner Report — which investigated the 1967 race riots — many of the same problems of institutionalized racism persist today.

Carl Suddler joins Julian Zelizer in this episode to discuss the racialized nature of the criminal justice system, which is the topic of his new book, “Presumed Criminal: Black Youth and the Justice System in Postwar New York.” The book examines history of policies and strategies that led to the criminalization of black youth, including stop-and-frisk policing and no-knock warrants, and media coverage of black youth and crime.

Suddler is an assistant professor in the Department of History at Emory University. Prior to joining to Emory faculty this year, Suddler was an assistant professor of African American history at Florida Atlantic University and a postdoctoral fellow at the James Weldon Johnson Institute for the Study of Race and Difference at Emory. His research focuses on the intersections of youth, race, and crime and on the consequences of inequity in the United States. Suddler is also a contributing writer for the Conversation and Bleacher Report and has published work in the Journal of American History, Journal of African American History, American Studies Journal, and The Washington Post.


Zelizer has been among the pioneers in the revival of American political history. He is the Malcolm Stevenson Forbes, Class of 1941 Professor of History and Public Affairs at Princeton University and a CNN political analyst. He has written more than 900 op-eds, including his popular weekly column for CNN.com and The Atlantic. This year, he is the distinguished senior fellow at the New York Historical Society, where he is writing a biography of Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel for Yale University's Jewish Lives Series. He is the author and editor of more than 19 books including, “The Fierce Urgency of Now: Lyndon Johnson, Congress, and the Battle for the Great Society,” the winner of the D.B. Hardeman Prize for the Best Book on Congress. In January 2019, Norton published his new book, co-authored with Kevin Kruse, “Fault Lines: A History of the United States Since 1974.” In spring 2020, Penguin Press will publish his other book, “Burning Down the House: Newt Gingrich, The Fall of a Speaker, and the Rise of the New Republican Party.” He has received fellowships from the Brookings Institution, the Guggenheim Foundation, the Russell Sage Foundation and New America.