Betsy Leondar-Wright

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This article is about the scholar, activist and author. For the political consultant, see Betsey Wright.
Betsy Leondar-Wright
Betsy Leondar-Wright in Black Oak, Arkansas.png
Leondar-Wright at Black Oak Books, Berkeley
Born Betsy Wright
(1956-01-15) January 15, 1956 (age 60)
Summit, New Jersey, U.S.
Occupation author, activist
Nationality American
Education Princeton University
Alma mater Boston College
Subject Classism, Economic stratification, economic justice
Notable awards Gustavus Myers Outstanding Book Award[1]
Spouse Gail Leondar-Wright

Betsy Leondar-Wright (born January 15, 1956) is an economic justice activist,[2] sociologist,[3] and author, who writes on class and economic inequality.[4]

Early life and education[edit]

Leondar-Wright was raised in a middle class family, and dropped out of Princeton University to become a full-time activist.[5] She completed her Bachelor of Arts, MA and PhD in Sociology at Boston College.[3]


She was a member of Movement for a New Society (MNS) where she was a member of the Keystone Alliance, organizing rallies and occupations at the Limerick, PA Nuclear Power Plant.[6] While involved with MNS, she published the "Study Guide on Multinational Corporations and the World Economy.”[7]

From 1986 to 1988 she was Program Coordinator at Women for Economic Justice, where she organized a coalition for pay equity for women. From 1988 to 1993 she was Executive Director at the Anti-Displacement Project, an affordable housing organization; three of the tenant groups she organized bought and now manage their apartment complexes as permanently affordable housing. From 1994 to 1997 she served as Executive Director of the Massachusetts Human Services Coalition.[8]

From 1997 to 2006 she was Communications Director for United for a Fair Economy, where she co-authored The Color of Wealth: The Story Behind the U.S. Racial Wealth Divide.[9]

She serves on the board of Class Action, a non-profit that raises consciousness about class and money. As Program Director from 2010 to 2015, she edited the blog “Classism Exposed”.[10]

Current work[edit]

Currently she is an assistant professor of sociology at Lasell College.[11] Her current research and writing focus on cross-class alliances in movements for social change. Her 2012 PhD dissertation focuses on class culture differences in U.S. social change groups. Her latest book, "Missing Class: Strengthening Social Movement Groups by Seeing Class Cultures" was published by Cornell University Press in April 2014 and was made into a website, the Activist Class Cultures Kit [1].

Personal life[edit]

She and her spouse, progressive book publicist Gail Leondar-Wright, are one of the first lesbian couples to be legally married in the United States.[12]

Publishing history[edit]

Date(s) Role Title
1996 co-author Mass Billions: The Changing Role of Federal Support for Human Services in Massachusetts for the Massachusetts Human Services Coalition[8]
1999 co-author Shifting Fortunes: The Perils of the Growing American Wealth Gap for United for a Fair Economy[13]
1999, 2007 co-author Classism curriculum design, chapter in Teaching for Diversity and Social Justice, co-written with by Felice Yeskel[14]
2004 co-author Black job loss deja vu: think the typical job-loser in today's economy is a white computer programmer whose job has been outsourced to India? Think again. An article from Dollars and Sense
2004 author Climbing the White Escalator[15]
2004 co-editor The Wealth Inequality Reader in Dollars and Sense[16]
2005 co-author Who are the elites? Chapter in Inequality Matters
2004–2006 co-author three annual "State of the Dream" reports on racial inequality for United For a Fair Economy
2005 author Class Matters: Cross-Class Alliance Building for Middle-Class Activists[17]
2006 co-author The Color of Wealth:The Story Behind the U.S. Racial Wealth Divide - winner of the Gustavus Myers Outstanding Book Award[1][18]
2014 author "Missing Class: How Seeing Class Cultures Can Strengthen Social Movement Groups

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "The Color of Wealth - United for a Fair Economy". The New Press. Retrieved 2010-11-29. 
  2. ^ "Focus on Affirmative Action - Today's Guests are: Betsy Leondar-Wright". African American Policy Forum. Retrieved 2010-11-29. 
  3. ^ a b "Besty Leondar Wright, Ph.D. Student" (PDF). Boston College Sociology Department. Retrieved 2010-11-29. 
  4. ^ Leondar-Wright, Betsy (Class Matters: Cross Class Alliance-Building or Middle Class Activists). "What Middle-Class Activists Give Up". Retrieved 2010-11-29.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  5. ^ Caldwell, Tracey-Kay. "Class Matters". BellaOnline - the Voice of women. Retrieved 2010-11-29. 
  6. ^ Davidon, Ann Morrissett. "The U.S. anti-nuclear movement". Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. Retrieved 2010-11-29. 
  7. ^ "Movement for a New Society Records, 1971-1988". Swarthmore College. Retrieved 2010-11-29. 
  8. ^ a b Wright, Betsy; Phyllis Fisher; Merrill Kaitz; Jane Collins (September 1996). 'Mass Billions: The Changing Role of Federal Support for Human Services in Massachusetts. Massachusetts Human Services Coalition. ISBN 978-0-9655371-0-0. 
  9. ^ "Betsy Leondar-Wright". Class Matters. Retrieved 2010-11-29. 
  10. ^ "Contributors". Classism. Retrieved 2010-11-29. 
  11. ^
  12. ^ Lombardi, Kristen (May 2004). "Familiar Ring". The Boston Phoenix. Retrieved 2010-11-29. 
  13. ^ Leondar-Wright, Betsy (March 1999). Shifting Fortunes: The Perils of the Growing American Wealth Gap. United for a Fair Economy. ISBN 978-0-9659249-2-4. 
  14. ^ Leondar-Wright, Betsy. Teaching for Diversity and Social Justice. 2nd Ed. Routledge. ISBN 978-0-415-95200-2. 
  15. ^ Leondar-Wright, Betsy (May 4, 2004). "Climbing the White Escalator". Retrieved 2010-11-29. 
  16. ^ The Wealth Inequality Reader in Dollars and Sense. September 2004. ISBN 978-1-878585-45-5. 
  17. ^ Leondar-Wright, Betsy (April 2005). Class Matters: Cross-Class Alliance Building for Middle-Class Activists. New Society Publishers. ISBN 0-86571-523-8. 
  18. ^ The Color of Wealth: The Story Behind the U.S. Racial Wealth Divide. The New Press. June 2006. ISBN 1-59558-004-2. 

External links[edit]