Making the Second Ghetto: Race and Housing in Chicago 1940-1960

University of Chicago Press
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In Making the Second Ghetto, Arnold Hirsch argues that in the post-depression years Chicago was a "pioneer in developing concepts and devices" for housing segregation. Hirsch shows that the legal framework for the national urban renewal effort was forged in the heat generated by the racial struggles waged on Chicago's South Side. His chronicle of the strategies used by ethnic, political, and business interests in reaction to the great migration of southern blacks in the 1940s describes how the violent reaction of an emergent "white" population combined with public policy to segregate the city.

"In this excellent, intricate, and meticulously researched study, Hirsch exposes the social engineering of the post-war ghetto."—Roma Barnes, Journal of American Studies

"According to Arnold Hirsch, Chicago's postwar housing projects were a colossal exercise in moral deception. . . . [An] excellent study of public policy gone astray."—Ron Grossman, Chicago Tribune

"An informative and provocative account of critical aspects of the process in [Chicago]. . . . A good and useful book."—Zane Miller, Reviews in American History

"A valuable and important book."—Allan Spear, Journal of American History
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About the author

Arnold Richard Hirsch was born on March 9, 1949. He received a bachelor's degree in 1970 and a Ph.D. in history in 1978 from the University of Illinois at Chicago. His best-known book, Making the Second Ghetto: Race and Housing in Chicago, 1940-1960, was published in 1983. He also edited two collections, one on creole New Orleans and the other on urban policy in 20th-century America. He began teaching history at the University of New Orleans in 1970 and was an emeritus professor there at the time of his death. He died from complications of Parkinson's disease and Lewy body disease on March 19, 2018 at the age of 69.

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University of Chicago Press
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Published on
Apr 3, 2009
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History / United States / State & Local / General
Political Science / Public Policy / City Planning & Urban Development
Social Science / General
Social Science / Sociology / Urban
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Updated second edition examining how the real estate
industry and federal housing policy have facilitated the development of racial
residential segregation.

Traditional explanations of metropolitan
development and urban racial segregation have emphasized the role of consumer
demand and market dynamics. In the first edition of Race, Real Estate, and
Uneven Development Kevin Fox Gotham reexamined the assumptions behind these
explanations and offered a provocative new thesis. Using the Kansas City
metropolitan area as a case study, Gotham provided both quantitative and
qualitative documentation of the role of the real estate industry and the
Federal Housing Administration, demonstrating how these institutions have
promulgated racial residential segregation and uneven development. Gotham
challenged contemporary explanations while providing fresh insights into the
racialization of metropolitan space, the interlocking dimensions of class and
race in metropolitan development, and the importance of analyzing housing as a
system of social stratification. In this second edition, he includes new
material that explains the racially unequal impact of the subprime real estate
crisis that began in late 2007, and explains why racial disparities in housing
and lending remain despite the passage of fair housing laws and
antidiscrimination statutes.

Praise for the First

“This work challenges the notion that demographic change
and residential patterns are ‘natural’ or products of free market choices … [it]
contributes greatly to our understanding of how real estate interests shaped the
hyper-segregation of American cities, and how government agencies[,] including
school districts, worked in tandem to further demark the separate and unequal
worlds in metropolitan life.” — H-Net Reviews (H-Education)

hallmark of this book is its fine-grained analysis of just how specific
activities of realtors, the FHA program, and members of the local school board
contributed to the residential segregation of blacks in twentieth century urban
America. A process Gotham labels the ‘racialization of urban space’—the social
construction of urban neighborhoods that links race, place, behavior, culture,
and economic factors—has led white residents, realtors, businessmen, bankers,
land developers, and school board members to act in ways that restricted housing
for blacks to specific neighborhoods in Kansas City, as well as in other
cities.” — Philip Olson, University of Missouri–Kansas City

“This is a
book which is greatly needed in the field. Gotham integrates, using historical
data, the involvement of the real estate industry and the collusion of the
federal government in the manufacturing of racially biased housing practices.
His work advances the struggle for civil rights by showing that solving the
problem of racism is not as simple as banning legal discrimination, but rather
needs to address the institutional practices at all levels of the real estate
industry.” — Talmadge Wright, author of Out of Place: Homeless
Mobilizations, Subcities, and Contested Landscapes
Part family story and part urban history, a landmark investigation of segregation and urban decay in Chicago -- and cities across the nation

The "promised land" for thousands of Southern blacks, postwar Chicago quickly became the most segregated city in the North, the site of the nation's worst ghettos and the target of Martin Luther King Jr.'s first campaign beyond the South. In this powerful book, Beryl Satter identifies the true causes of the city's black slums and the ruin of urban neighborhoods throughout the country: not, as some have argued, black pathology, the culture of poverty, or white flight, but a widespread and institutionalized system of legal and financial exploitation.

In Satter's riveting account of a city in crisis, unscrupulous lawyers, slumlords, and speculators are pitched against religious reformers, community organizers, and an impassioned attorney who launched a crusade against the profiteers—the author's father, Mark J. Satter. At the heart of the struggle stand the black migrants who, having left the South with its legacy of sharecropping, suddenly find themselves caught in a new kind of debt peonage. Satter shows the interlocking forces at work in their oppression: the discriminatory practices of the banking industry; the federal policies that created the country's shameful "dual housing market"; the economic anxieties that fueled white violence; and the tempting profits to be made by preying on the city's most vulnerable population.

Family Properties: Race, Real Estate, and the Exploitation of Black Urban America is a monumental work of history, this tale of racism and real estate, politics and finance, will forever change our understanding of the forces that transformed urban America.

"Gripping . . . This painstaking portrayal of the human costs of financial racism is the most important book yet written on the black freedom struggle in the urban North."—David Garrow, The Washington Post

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