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

August 7, 2019 - Comment

One of Publishers Weekly’s 10 Best Books of 2017 Longlisted for the National Book Award This “powerful and disturbing history” exposes how American governments deliberately imposed racial segregation on metropolitan areas nationwide (New York Times Book Review). Widely heralded as a “masterful” (Washington Post) and “essential” (Slate) history of the modern American metropolis, Richard Rothstein’s

One of Publishers Weekly’s 10 Best Books of 2017
Longlisted for the National Book Award

This “powerful and disturbing history” exposes how American governments deliberately imposed racial segregation on metropolitan areas nationwide (New York Times Book Review).

Widely heralded as a “masterful” (Washington Post) and “essential” (Slate) history of the modern American metropolis, Richard Rothstein’s The Color of Law offers “the most forceful argument ever published on how federal, state, and local governments gave rise to and reinforced neighborhood segregation” (William Julius Wilson). Exploding the myth of de facto segregation arising from private prejudice or the unintended consequences of economic forces, Rothstein describes how the American government systematically imposed residential segregation: with undisguised racial zoning; public housing that purposefully segregated previously mixed communities; subsidies for builders to create whites-only suburbs; tax exemptions for institutions that enforced segregation; and support for violent resistance to African Americans in white neighborhoods. A groundbreaking, “virtually indispensable” study that has already transformed our understanding of twentieth-century urban history (Chicago Daily Observer), The Color of Law forces us to face the obligation to remedy our unconstitutional past. 13 illustrations

Comments

Anonymous says:

At last its on paper for the doubters to see! Finally, somebody takes the time to confirm what many of us had always suspected, that is was the law that prevented integration. I grew up one of the all black communities the author talked about. Made up of temporary housing left over the WW2. My Father a returning war vet, tried, again and again, to get a VA loan to get a house the only places where the houses were, the white communities where he watched white vets get their loans and move out years before. Finally my parents saved their…

Anonymous says:

The Most Important Book I May Have Ever Read I originally wrote a dissertation-length review of this book before opting to delete it and simply say: if you want to sing a recurring chorus of “there’s no f***ing way this can be true?!” while learning more than you ever thought possible, about a topic you thought you already knew a decent amount about: then you need to buy this book (and some pencils for marking up the margins). It is the most uncomfortable, disheartening, damning, and critically important book I may have ever read…

Anonymous says:

As profound as “Evicted,” a book demanding a radical rethink of how we conceive of housing segregation–and how to address it When William Julius Wilson writes that a book is “the most forceful argument ever published on how federal, state, and local governments gave rise to and reinforced neighborhood segregation,” it grabs your attention. Rothstein’s book is exactly that–a seminal work on the history of housing discrimination that is required reading for anyone who cares about the effect of residential segregation on cities and schools in our country.Rothstein demonstrates that such segregation…

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