Free To Choose Network | Old Parkland Conference
Old Parkland Conference

In 1980, the Institute for Contemporary Studies sponsored a conference with a variety of alternative perspectives on issues facing Black Americans. This became known as the Fairmont Conference and resulted in the publication of the Fairmont Papers, an influential volume recognized for being a powerful voice in the public discussion.

Extending the Fairmont Conference legacy, Glenn Loury, Jason Riley, Ian Rowe, and Shelby Steele partnered to organize the Old Parkland Conference, a gathering in Dallas, Texas, featuring prominent leaders, researchers, and intellectuals, discussing a variety of issues affecting Black Americans today.

See below for clips from the conference featuring powerful and controversial perspectives on education, dignity, violence, community, and more.

Jon Ponder on Building Trust with Police
Jon Ponder discusses his success in building powerful community relationships between ex-convicts and police officers.
Glenn Loury on the Dignity of Standards
Glenn Loury discusses the evolving standards of affirmative action and their effects on the dignity of Black Americans.
Roland Fryer on Race, Violence, and Data
Economist Roland Fryer reports on the controversial findings resulting from his research on the patterns behind race and police violence.
Ian Rowe on the Role of Excellence in Schooling
Ian Rowe discusses the little-known history and tragic fate of 5,000 schools committed to Black excellence.
Shelby Steele on Freedom
Shelby Steele reflects on the unique challenges posed by having freedom after four centuries of oppression.
Jason Riley on Black Progress
Jason Riley compares two paths towards economic progress for African-Americans in modern America.
To learn more about Old Parkland, visit the links below:

American Enterprise Institute – About the 2022 Old Parkland Conference

Hoover Institution – Event Page for 2022 Old Parkland Conference


Highlighting a Historical Moment

The Black Alternatives Conference was held in December 1980 at the Fairmont Hotel in San Francisco. Thomas Sowell and his close friend Walter Williams, with their mutual mentor, Milton Friedman, organized a conference to bring together alternative perspectives on the topics of racism, inequality, and opportunity for Black Americans. It became a historic two-day event, later known as the Fairmont Conference.

Thomas Sowell on Results v. Intentions
In his keynote address, Thomas Sowell implores us to focus on facts, not rhetoric, when it comes to solutions for the disadvantaged in the black community.
Milton Friedman on Capitalism v. Discrimination
Milton Friedman explains how affirmative action can’t eradicate prejudice and argues that society can make better progress by understanding human nature.
Tony Brown on Jesse Jackson v. Marva Collins
Tony Brown shares the stories of heroes in the black community who created powerful changes without government support.
Walter Williams on Black America at a Crossroads
Walter Williams reflects upon the conclusion of the Fairmont Conference and its impact on the future for black communities in America.