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.
Richard Rothstein is a research associate of the Economic Policy Institute and a Fellow at the Thurgood Marshall Institute of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund. He lives in California, where he is a Fellow of the Haas Institute at the University of California–Berkeley.
How does "property" fit into designs for an equitable society? Nine-tenths of the Law examines the history of squatting and property struggles in the United States, from colonialism to twentieth century urban squatting and the foreclosure crisis of the late 2000s, and how such resistance movements shape the law. Stories from our most hard-hit American cities show that property is truly in crisis:One in five homes in Buffalo, NY, are abandoned.Our national housing vacancy rate is 14 percent. If we gave a house to every homeless person in the United States two-thirds of that stock would remain empty.In May of 2011, one in every 103 homes in Nevada was in foreclosure.
Nine-tenths of the Law expands our understanding of property law and highlights recent tactics like creative squatting ventures and the use of adverse possession to claim title to vacant homes. Hannah Dobbz unveils the tangled relationship Americans have always had in creating and sustaining healthy communities.
Hannah Dobbz is a writer, editor, filmmaker, and former squatter. In 2007 she produced a film about squatters in the Bay Area called Shelter. The film has screened widely at universities, bookstores, and community spaces, including the 2009 Three Rivers Film Festival in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Drawing on numerous studies, first-hand anecdotes, census figures, and other statistical data, Short’s work addresses the globalization of U.S. cities, the increased polarization of urban life in the U.S., the role of civic engagement, and the huge role played by the public sector in shaping the character of cities.
With deft analysis the author weaves together the themes of urban renewal, suburbanization and metropolitan fragmentation, race and ethnicity, and immigration, presenting a fascinating and highly readable account of the U.S. in the second half of the twentieth century.