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The color of law : a forgotten history of how our government segregated America
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Argues that laws and policies created by local, state, and federal government deliberately promoted segregation in metropolitan areas during the twentieth century, creating long-lasting consequences. - (Baker & Taylor)

de factoThe Color of Lawde jureThe Atlanticde jureThe Death and Life of Great American CitiesThe 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 Rothstein’s invaluable examination shows that only by relearning this history can we finally pave the way for the nation to remedy its unconstitutional past. - (WW Norton)

Publishers Weekly'sNew York Times Book Review - (WW Norton)

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Booklist Reviews

Recent demonstrations in cities across America against the murder of African Americans by police returned the question of segregation in housing to the fore. While the term de facto segregation is often used to assert that this is the result of private decisions or personal acts of discrimination, Rothstein argues that the real history of segregation is primarily that of explicit or de jure government policy, with personal actions secondary. From wartime public housing to the FHA refusing to insure mortgages for African Americans and many cases in between, government policy at all levels violated the Reconstruction-era constitutional amendments mandating equal protections. Ghettos were deliberately created by official policy. Rothstein provides plenty of evidence to support each example, including interviews, court cases, law codes, and newspapers, along with secondary sources on each aspect of government discrimination. There is an extensive FAQ section for further discussion. This is essential reading for anyone interested in social justice, poverty, American history, and race relations, and its narrative nonfiction style will also draw general readers. This is a timely work that should find a place in the current national discussion. Copyright 2017 Booklist Reviews.

Library Journal Reviews

Legally enforced prejudice: a research associate at the Economic Policy Institute, Rothstein carefully documents how in the last century federal, state, and local governments have systematically created and defended residential segregation through zoning laws, tax exemptions, and more.

Copyright 2017 Library Journal.

Library Journal Reviews

Conventional narratives about segregation in 21st-century America hold that persistent racial disparities are a product of de facto segregation—the summation of individual preferences—rather than de jure segregation enforced (unconstitutionally) by law. Legal scholar Rothstein (NAACP Legal Defense Fund; Univ. of Calif., Berkeley) disabuses us of this "too-comfortable notion" that the state has not incentivised, and in some cases explicitly required, discrimination against African Americans. Rather than being an accident of privately held prejudice, Rothstein's work argues that segregation across the long 20th century was a product of federal, state, and local housing and land-use policies that directly and intentionally led to the suppression of black family wealth and well-being. To support his argument, he draws on extensive historical research that documents government efforts to create and enforce segregation. Each chapter focuses on a particular tactic such as public housing, racial covenants, or state-sanctioned violence. The final section calls on citizens to accept collective responsibility and remedy state wrongs through public policy. VERDICT This indictment of government-sponsored segregation is a timely work that will find broad readership among those asking "How did we arrive here?" and "What next?"—Anna J. Clutterbuck-Cook, Massachusetts Historical Soc.

Copyright 2017 Library Journal.

Table of Contents

Preface vii
1 If San Francisco, then Everywhere?
2 Public Housing, Black Ghettos
3 Racial Zoning
4 "Own Your Own Home"
5 Private Agreements, Government Enforcement
6 White Flight
7 IRS Support and Compliant Regulators
8 Local Tactics
9 State-Sanctioned Violence
10 Suppressed Incomes
11 Looking Forward, Looking Back
12 Considering Fixes
Epilogue 215(4)
Appendix: Frequently Asked Questions 219(22)
Author's Note and Acknowledgments 241(12)
Notes 253(40)
Bibliography 293(28)
Photograph Credits 321(4)
Index 325

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