The 99 Percent: Poverty, Justice and Human Rights

The 99 Percent: Poverty, Justice and Human Rights
2014 to 2015
Emerging Networks

The 99 Percent: Poverty, Justice and Human Rights creates an intellectual framework for addressing the nexus between poverty and human rights and includes research as well as curricular and practice-based strategies for involving faculty, graduate students and undergraduates in and out of the classroom. The project includes scholar and practitioner speakers who will stay for week-long residencies to increase interaction with other faculty, students and community members; team teaching; innovative teaching methodologies; and creative engagement with the Duke community and beyond through existing and new Community-based Research Projects (CBRP).

The project builds on the momentum created with a 2013 Humanities Writ Large grant, RightsConnect. That grant was used to create a base of knowledge on how to teach human rights in a thoughtful, engaged way and informed a proposal for a new human rights experiential certificate. The 99 percent will model how to create enriched and new human rights courses for that certificate. Courses will be integrated with ongoing research efforts, including projects conducted through the Pauli Murray Project and Two-Way Bridges, which works in North Carolina’s Latino community. The 99 Percent will also establish a new CBRP in environmental rights with the Equal Justice Initiative.

The Community-based Research Projects will focus on the following:

  • A major goal is to develop Community-based Research Projects (CBRP) for inclusion in a future human rights experiential certificate program. One component of this effort is to devise independent studies as pilot efforts geared toward a new class and new experiential learning opportunities. A graduate student will be engaged to recruit undergraduates and then oversee and assist them in their projects.
  • The Pauli Murray Project, part of the DHRC at the Franklin Humanities Institute, is working in the Durham community to recover stories of the past and build a build ties between impoverished communities incorporating, in particular, the West End, where Murray’s house is located. This initiative will partner with the Pauli Murray Project, the Southwest Central Durham Quality of Life Project, and Self Help Credit Union to develop history-recovery projects around the civil rights movement, continuing inequality and LGBTQ identity, specifically focusing on youth of color, an underserved local population.
  • In partnership with the Nicholas School of the Environment, The 99 Percent initiative is developing a new project with the Equal Justice Institute, studying wastewater contamination in poor, predominantly African-American communities in Lowndes County, Alabama. Another project in the works, also in consultation with the Equal Justice Institute, will focus on communities along the Dan River harmed by the recent coal ash spill.

In partnership with the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies, DukeImmerse: Rights and Identities students will pursue projects around poverty in Durham’s Latino Community through the existing Two-Way Bridges program, which we piloted successfully in 2013.


William H. Chafe
Professor Emeritus
Robin Kirk
Faculty Co-Chair of the Executive Committee of the DHRC@FHI
Robert R. Korstad
Professor of Public Policy and History
Co-director, Program on History, Public Policy and Social Change
Bass Fellow
Erika Weinthal
Associate Professor of Environmental Policy
Associate Dean of International Programs, Nicholas School of the Environment