June Manning Thomas
Born and raised in South Carolina, June Manning Thomas left SC to attend college at Michigan State University (MSU). She chose urban planning as a field in part because of her memories of finding relief from Jim Crow accommodations in big cities such as Miami and Atlanta. She has taught at MSU, Cleveland State University, and University of Michigan (UM), and was eventually named the Mary Frances Berry Distinguished University Professor Emerita of Urban Planning, at UM.
Her books and articles have studied spirituality and planning, racial inequities in urban planning, planning history, and the civil rights movement. Titles include Planning Progress: Lessons from Shoghi Effendi; the co-edited Urban Planning and the African American Community; Redevelopment and Race: Planning a Finer City in Postwar Detroit; and the co-edited The City after Abandonment (2013). The latest is Struggling to Learn: An Intimate History of School Desegregation in South Carolina (University of South Carolina Press, 2022).
Struggling to Learn
A semi-autobiographical history of civil rights struggles to educate Black children and desegregate public schools.
Planning Progress: Lessons from Shoghi Effendi
Spiritual principles necessary to plan successfully as revealed in plans led by Shoghi Effendi.
Redevelopment and Race
The history of the role of racial inequity in Detroit’s urban planning decisions about redevelopment.
Thomas has researched racial equity in urban planning, helped increase diversity in planning education, trained future urban planners, and helped them assist localities to plan for better futures. Her books and articles have studied spirituality and planning, racial inequities in urban planning, planning history, and the civil rights movement.
Faculty or teaching awards
Writing or service awards
Your book makes a strong case that America’s “Greatest Generation” was the Martin Luther King generation of your parents and their contemporaries and forebears.
—ROBERT FISHMAN, UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN
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