Economic & Politics of Race


Despite America's having a twice-elected Black president and a growing number of elected official, there is a lag in economic advancement. LSU's Eric Voegelin Institute and Reilly Center for Media & Public Affairs hosted Wall Street Journal editorial board member and senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute, Jason Riley, and Southern University's Department of Political Science and History Chair, Dr. Albert Samuels, for a discussion on strategies to promote Black economic, social and political growth. The event was co-moderated by Justin Franklin and Tyler Hunt.


Justin Franklin Headshot

Justin Franklin, Co-Moderator
LSU Student

Justin Franklin is a political communication student with a minor in history from Memphis, Tennessee. He currently serves as the president of the National Association of Black Journalists at LSU (LSU NABJ). Justin is a member of the Rodger Hadfield Ogden Honors College.


Tyler Hunt Headshot

Tyler Hunt, Co-Moderator
LSU Student

Tyler is an undergraduate at Louisiana State University double majoring in Political Science with a concentration in Race & Politics, as well as African & African American Studies. She is a proud Baton Rouge native, born and raised, and graduate of Baton Rouge Magnet High School. She is a 2019 LSU Summer Scholars Program alumna and a former member of the Freshman Leadership Council. She is also a first cohort scholar of the Black Women’s Empowerment Initiative (established in 2019) where she currently serves on the executive board as the Chair of Public Relations & Marketing. She also currently sits on the LSU Building Names Committee. Tyler plans to graduate from LSU to pursue a career in law, government, and policy reform as well as entrepreneurship. 


Jason Riley

Jason Riley
Wall Street Journal Editorial Board
Senior Fellow, Manhattan Institute

Riley is an opinion columnist at The Wall Street Journal, where his column Upward Mobility, has run since 2016. He is also a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute and provides television commentary for various news outlets.

Riley, a 2018 Bradley Prize recipient, is the author of four books: "Let Them In: The Case for Open Borders" (2008); "Please Stop Helping Us: How Liberals Make It Harder for Blacks to Succeed" (2014); "False Black Power?" (2017); and "Maverick: A Biography of Thomas Sowell" (2021). 

Riley joined the Journal in 1994 as a copy reader on the national news desk in New York. He moved to the editorial page in 1995, was named a senior editorial page writer in 2000, and became a member of the Editorial Board in 2005. He joined the Manhattan Institute in 2015. He also worked for USA Today and the Buffalo News. 

Riley earned a bachelor's degree in English from the State University of New York at Buffalo. 

Biography provided by The Wall Street Journal.


Albert Samuels

Dr. Albert Samuels, Ph.D.
Professor and Chair, Southern University Political Science Department

A native of Shreveport, Dr. Samuels is the Jewel L. Prestage-Kellogg Professor of Political Science and History. Since joining Southern in 1999, Dr. Samuels has taught courses in American government, state and local government, constitutional law, civil liberties, the American presidency, race relations, Louisiana politics, politics and religion, international relations and comparative government.

Dr. Samuels is the author of Is Separate Unequal: Black Colleges and the Challenge to Desegregation, which received the Best Book Award from the Race and Ethnicity Section of the American Political Science Association. He is a frequent commentator on national, state and local politics and has served as an elections analyst for local radio and television stations.

Dr. Samuels holds a B.A. in political science and M.A. in social sciences, both from Southern University. In 1998, he earned a Ph.D. in political science from Louisiana State University.