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

The Color of Law Identifies Local, State and Federal Policies Responsible for America’s Segregated Cities

In 2017, Richard Rothstein’s The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America was one of ten finalists on the National Book Awards’ long list for the best nonfiction book of 2017.

The National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC) has announced that Rothstein will be a speaker at its 2018 Housing Policy Forum.

The Economic Policy Institute writes that “In The Color of Law (published by Liveright in May 2017), Richard Rothstein argues with exacting precision and fascinating insight how segregation in America-the incessant kind that continues to dog our major cities and has contributed to so much recent social strife-is the byproduct of explicit government policies at the local, state, and federal levels.”

Rothstein is a former columnist for the New York Times, a research associate at the Economic Policy Institute, and a Fellow at the Thurgood Marshall Institute of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund.

Writes the Economic Policy Institute, “Rothstein has spent years documenting the evidence that government not merely ignored discriminatory practices in the residential sphere, but promoted them.”

Its review continues with  “The impact has been devastating for generations of African-Americans who were denied the right to live where they wanted to live, and raise and school their children where they thought best.”

In May 2017, Rothstein was interviewed by Terry Gross on NPR’s Fresh Air.

“Rothstein’s new book, The Color of Law, examines the local, state and federal housing policies that mandated segregation. He notes that the Federal Housing Administration, which was established in 1934, furthered the segregation efforts by refusing to insure mortgages in and near African-American neighborhoods – a policy known as ‘redlining.’ At the same time, the FHA was subsidizing builders who were mass-producing entire subdivisions for whites – with the requirement that none of the homes be sold to African-Americans.”

Speaking with Terry Gross “The segregation of our metropolitan areas today leads … to stagnant inequality, because families are much less able to be upwardly mobile when they’re living in segregated neighborhoods where opportunity is absent,” Rothstein says.

“If we want greater equality in this society, if we want a lowering of the hostility between police and young African-American men, we need to take steps to desegregate.”

Also in May 2017, Ta-Nehisi Coates, national correspondent for The Atlantic interviewed Rothstein.

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

Economic Policy Institute Review

Terry Gross’ interview with Richard Rothstein

Ta-Nehisi Coates interview with Richard Rothstein

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