June Manning Thomas, Professor in Urban and Regional Planning, was named Mary Frances Berry Distinguished University Professor, University of Michigan, in 2016. Thomas writes articles and books about race relations and social justice issues related to urban planning in U. S. cities. These are the themes in J. M. Thomas and Marsha Ritzdorf, eds., Urban Planning and the African American Community: In the Shadows (Sage Press, 1996), and in Thomas’s Redevelopment and Race: Planning a Finer City in Postwar Detroit (Wayne State Univ. Press, 1997, 2nd ed. 2013), winner of the 1999 Paul Davidoff Award (Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning).
Her writing also focuses upon strategies for distressed communities in cities such as Detroit, as in the above books plus Margaret Dewar and J. M. Thomas, ed.s, The City after Abandonment (Univ. of Pennsylvania Press, 2013), and J. M. Thomas and Henco Bekkering, ed.s, Mapping Detroit: Evolving Land Use Patterns and Connections (Wayne State Univ. Press, 2015). Her book Planning Progress: Lessons from Shoghi Effendi (Association for Baha’i Studies, 1999), which received an award from that association, explored the planning and leadership styles exemplified by the Head of the Baha’i Faith during a series of global plans.
Recent research for an anticipated book-length manuscript considers racial oppression and black community resilience during the civil rights era in South Carolina. She currently serves on the Local Spiritual Assembly of the Baha’is of Ann Arbor, MI, and has served in several other volunteer capacities for the Baha’i Faith. A native of South Carolina, she has lived in Michigan for most of her adult life, with her husband, Richard W. Thomas; they have two adult children. She formerly taught at Michigan State University, where she created programs that assisted neighborhoods and community organizations in several distressed Michigan cities. More information at Univ. of Michigan faculty page.