What enables people to overcome extraordinary obstacles, tragedy, and trauma?
What kinds of strength and innovation exist in marginalized communities?
Which indigenous solutions to social problems show the most promise?
Since the American founding, the innovation and promise of limited government has depended on a thriving ecosystem of “voluntary associations,” first documented by Alexis de Tocqueville. Such emergent organizations of human effort built entire towns, addressed an endless variety of social problems, and, notably, enabled countless members of a formerly enslaved race to both survive and thrive in a time when much of the country remained largely hostile to their presence.
While acknowledging the reality of real obstacles, tragedy, and trauma, it is also true that lower-income people and communities are not defined or confined by difficult circumstances and the capacity to improve their lives and those around them when given the chance to succeed.
Under the direction of Senior Fellow Dr. Anthony Bradley, professor of Religious Studies at the King’s College, the Woodson Center for the Study of Resilience will disrupt the prevailing tendency to view lower-income Americans, and Black Americans in particular, through the lens of pathology and supposedly insurmountable external limitations by serving as a virtual repository for research, writing, discussion and media engagement on resilience. It will do this by partnering with likeminded institutions to make the four decades of the Woodson Center’s work on upward mobility and neighborhood revitalization available to students, researchers, journalists, and the general public; by drawing greater attention to the successes of neighborhood-level solutions; and by identifying and filling gaps in current resilience-driven research.