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CANCELED: Red State, Blue City: A Front Row Look at ‘Back Row America’

Wednesday, April 29, 2020, 67:30 p.m.

McNally Amphitheatre
140 West 62nd Street
New York, NY 10023
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Join us for the 2020 Russo Family Lecture.

A panel of powerful writers with first-hand knowledge of working-class people in hardscrabble communities across America share their stories and experiences of one of the most iconic and misunderstood segments of U.S. society.

The white, rural, Trump supporter has become a caricature that distorts and obscures reality. In fact, many in our overstressed underclass are not white. They live in cities like New York as well as in the heartland. They may support Trump—or no one in particular. They are alienated from a society that has little use for them, except as a convenient talking point.

In this discussion, journalists, memoirists, and a historian explore the economic and social devastation, and the faith and culture, of what Chris Arnade calls “back row America.”


Chris Arnade is the author of Dignity: Seeking Respect in Back Row America, a series of photo essays and true stories illuminating inequality and addiction from the Bronx to California.

Monica Potts is an Arkansas-based writer working on a book about the women of her rural hometown. She wrote a 2019 New York Times essay about her neighbors’ “go-it-alone mythology” and “Donald Trump’s unbeatable appeal.”

Steven Stoll, Ph.D., a Fordham history professor and author of Ramp Hollow: The Ordeal of Appalachia, will moderate the discussion.

A reception and book signing will follow the event.