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

    • 3.7 • 201 Ratings
    • $13.99
    • $13.99

Publisher Description

New York Times Bestseller • Notable Book of the Year • Editors' Choice Selection

One of Bill Gates’ “Amazing Books” of the Year

One of Publishers Weekly’s 10 Best Books of the Year

Longlisted for the National Book Award for Nonfiction

An NPR Best Book of the Year

Winner of the Hillman Prize for Nonfiction

Gold Winner • California Book Award (Nonfiction)

Finalist • Los Angeles Times Book Prize (History)

Finalist • Brooklyn Public Library Literary Prize

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.

May 2
W.W. Norton & Company, Inc.

Customer Reviews

Dr. Strangelove! ,

Eye Opening

The Color of Law masterfully makes the case that segregation of contemporary neighborhoods is not de facto, but instead de jure, segregation attributable to the efforts of elected state and federal officials. I picked this book up to broaden my understanding on Red Lining policies and white flight, but I walked away with much more information. Mob intimidation, loan denials, pernicious public works projects, forced relocation efforts, etc. The list is innumerable in how African American communities were forcefully segregated. The lasting symptoms of this de jure state sanctioned violence are seemingly everlasting and deeply corrupting. No matter your political disposition, this is a valuable read. Richard Rothstein has strongly convinced me that some form of rectification must occur.

Antivanilla ,

Interesting content, written in a boring manner.

The contents of the book are worth knowing about, but I had to force myself to read each chapter.

EatSleepHoop21 ,

The racial wealth gap truly is the result of state action.

This book is a masterclass in how segregation created the racial wealth (and health gap), and how these state actions are still very much affecting today. For me, my first high school was 99% African-American, and perhaps it was youth naïveté that led me to believe that’s just how it was, but no, I went to a segregated school. The effects of housing are so entrenched in the lives of Gen X and Millenials. The only way one could think otherwise is because they’ve been misinformed...This is truth to power!

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