A 1968 landmark study on race, inequality and police violence — which might be just as relevant today as it was 53 years ago — is excavated in journalist and professor Jelani Cobb’s new book.

The Kerner Commission was tasked by President Lyndon B. Johnson with determining the root causes of deadly uprisings sparked by racial unrest in Newark, Detroit and other cities during the summer of 1967. The report examined not just policing but housing, unemployment, healthcare, quality of education and media.

Cobb, a staff writer with The New Yorker and professor at the Columbia Journalism School, joined Jim Braude on Greater Boston to discuss his book, “The Essential Kerner Commission Report.”

“What they said was that there needed to be other social service organizations, or outlets, that could address concerns that didn't require someone with a gun to show up,” Cobb said. “And in a very succinct way, they were encapsulating the idea that has come to be known as 'defund the police' now.”

Government reports tend to be ambivalent or noncommittal, he went on, but the Kerner report was “nothing like that.”

“They say, very bluntly, that the 'ghetto' was the creation of white America, and what white people have forgotten — but the Negro can never forget — is that the ghetto exists only because they condone it and they allow it to,” Cobb said. “And so it's a kind of moral indictment that you wouldn't anticipate. Certainly LBJ did not anticipate something like that.”

WATCH: New Yorker staff writer Jelani Cobb on Greater Boston