Abigail Thernstrom

Where and when


Abigail Thernstrom is a Senior Fellow at the Manhattan Institute in New York and a member of the Massachusetts State Board of Education. Her most recent book, co-authored with her husband, Harvard historian Stephan Thernstrom, is American in Black and White: One Nation, Indivisible, which the New York Times Book Review listed as one of the notable books of 1997.

She was a participant in President Bill Clinton’s first town meeting on race and writes for a variety of journals and newspapers, including The New Republic and The Wall Street Journal.
Her frequent media appearances have included Fox News Sunday, Good Morning America, The Jim Lehrer News Hour and Black Entertainment Television.

Her 1987 work, Whose Votes Count? Affirmative Action and Minority Voting Rights (Harvard University Press) won four awards. It received the American Bar Association’s Certificate of Merit and was named the best policy studies book of that year by the Policy Studies Organization (an affiliate of the American Political Science Association). It also won the Anisfield-Wolf prize for the best book on race and ethnicity, and the Benchmark Book Award from the Center for Judicial Studies. In addition, Thernstrom is author of School Choice in Massachusetts (Pioneer Institute, 1991) and was the co-editor of The Democracy Reader (Harper Collins, 1992).

Thernstrom holds a Ph.D. from the Department of Government at Harvard University.

She serves on several boards: the Center for Equal Opportunity, the Institute for Justice, the American Friends of the Institute of United States Studies, Mass Insight and the Education Leaders Council. From 1992 to 1997 she was a member of the Aspen Institute’s Domestic Strategy Group.