30th Annual MLK Celebration Leadership Award Recipient: J. Phillip Thompson

J. Phillip Thompson

Associate Professor, Department of Urban Studies and Planning (DUSP), MIT

30th Annual MLK Leadership Award

J. Phillip Thompson is an Associate Professor in the Department of Urban Studies and Planning (DUSP).
J. Phillip Thompson is an Associate Professor in the Department of Urban Studies and Planning (DUSP).

J. Phillip Thompson is an Associate Professor in the Department of Urban Studies and Planning (DUSP). He was recognized with a faculty MLK Leadership Award for his important intellectual contributions on the themes of social capital, health and racial ideology.

Prof. Thompson came to MIT in 2000 as an MLK Scholar and joined the faculty of DUSP in 2002 as associate professor of urban politics and community development.

He received a B.A. in Sociology from Harvard University in 1977, a M.U.P. from Hunter College in 1986, and a PhD. in Political Science from the City University of New York Graduate Center in 1990.

Prof. Thompson worked as Deputy General Manager of the New York Housing Authority, and as Director of the Mayor’s Office of Housing Coordination. He is a frequent advisor to trade unions in their efforts to work with immigrant and community groups across the United States.

His most recent academic work includes a 2004 review of public health interventions in poor black communities (written with Arline Geronimus) published in the Du Bois Review, entitled “To Denigrate, Ignore, or Disrupt: The Health Impact of Policy-induced Breakdown of Urban African American Communities of Support,” an article entitled “Judging Mayors” in the June 2005 issue of Perspectives on Politics, and Double Trouble: Black Mayors, Black Communities and the Struggle for Deep Democracy (Oxford University Press, 2005).

Prof. Thompson has taught at Columbia, Barnard, Yale University and CUNY, and is a senior policy advisor to PolicyLink, a think tank that links research and policy development with a network of 150 community organizations.

At MIT, Prof. Thompson worked closely with the development of the department's Practica subjects, which engage MIT students and faculty in assisting distressed communities.

"He addressed the issues of race, class and power in ways that have energized and galvanized the diverse student body in DUSP," wrote Professor Lawrence Vale, head of DUSP, and Carolyn Makinson, executive director of the Center for International Studies, in their nomination letter.

"Phil was instrumental in linking students to the real world of race and politics and elevating the dialogue with his extraordinary intellectual breadth and his ability to engage outside speakers in a way that was provocative but never contentious," Vale and Makinson wrote.

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