The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America

The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America Author Richard Rothstein
ISBN-10 1631492853
ISBN-13 9781631492853
Year 2017-05-02
Pages 368
Language English
Publisher Liveright
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Rothstein has presented what I consider to be the most forceful argument ever published on how federal state and local governments gave rise to and reinforced neighborhood segregation William Julius WilsonIn this groundbreaking history of the modern American metropolis Richard Rothstein a leading authority on housing policy explodes the myth that Americas cities came to be racially divided through de facto segregationthat is through individual prejudices income differences or the actions of private institutions like banks and real estate agencies Rather The Color of Law incontrovertibly makes clear that it was de jure segregationthe laws and policy decisions passed by local state and federal governmentsthat actually promoted the discriminatory patterns that continue to this day Through extraordinary revelations and extensive research that Ta Nehisi Coates has lauded as brilliant The Atlantic Rothstein comes to chronicle nothing less than an untold story that begins in the 1920s showing how this process of de jure segregation began with explicit racial zoning as millions of African Americans moved in a great historical migration from the south to the north As Jane Jacobs established in her classic The Death and Life of Great American Cities it was the deeply flawed urban planning of the 1950s that created many of the impoverished neighborhoods we know Now Rothstein expands our understanding of this history showing how government policies led to the creation of officially segregated public housing and the demolition of previously integrated neighborhoods While urban areas rapidly deteriorated the great American suburbanization of the postWorld War II years was spurred on by federal subsidies for builders on the condition that no homes be sold to African Americans Finally Rothstein shows how police and prosecutors brutally upheld these standards by supporting violent resistance to black families in white neighborhoods The Fair Housing Act of 1968 prohibited future discrimination but did nothing to reverse residential patterns that had become deeply embedded Yet recent outbursts of violence in cities like Baltimore Ferguson and Minneapolis show us precisely how the legacy of these earlier eras contributes to persistent racial unrest The American landscape will never look the same to readers of this important book Sherrilyn Ifill president of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund as Rothsteins invaluable examination shows that only by relearning this history can we finally pave the way for the nation to remedy its unconstitutional past 13 illustrations

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