The legacy of Robin M. Williams Jr. in the short twenty-first century

Douglas S. Massey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This essay describes Robin M. Williams Jr.'s maturation from a precocious college student to a fully formed sociological researcher by describing various personal and professional encounters with significant events of the twentieth century. I reflect on the ways the historical cataclysms of depression and war galvanized Williams and his peers to work toward radical change, both in their lives and in the world about them. The result was a remarkable societal transformation that improved the lives of ordinary citizens in many and diverse ways. The essay concludes with the hope that sociologists will once again be in the vanguard of social action, as Robin Williams was during his long career of teaching, research, and public criticism.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)328-332
Number of pages5
JournalSociological Forum
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2008

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Sociology and Political Science


  • Civil rights
  • Inequality
  • Public policy
  • Robin M. Williams Jr.
  • Social action
  • Social history


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