Recently named by the New York Times as one of the 100 notable books of 2017, Richard Rothstein’s The Color of Law: A forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America is an explosive, alarming history that finally confronts how American governments in the twentieth century deliberately imposed residential racial segregation on metropolitan areas nationwide. Join us for an evening with the author, who will discuss the findings described in his new book and will hold a post-lecture conversation with local expert Dr. Karen Gibson, author of “Bleeding Albina: A History of Community Disinvestment, 1940–2000.”
The Color of Law documents how American cities from San Francisco to Boston became so racially divided, as federal, state, and local governments systematically imposed residential segregation through a variety of policies. Those policies were supplemented by racially purposeful government programs that depressed African American incomes, making escape nearly impossible from neighborhoods of concentrated disadvantage. Properties in African American neighborhoods frequently had higher assessed-to-market-value ratios, resulting in higher property tax payments. The federal government certified unions that excluded African Americans from membership, denying them full participation in the economic boom that followed World War II.
“Rothstein is brilliant and has the kind of fine understanding of the machinery of government policy as it relates to housing that I deeply envy.”
—ta nehisi Coates, in The Atlantic
Richard Rothstein is a research associate of the Economic Policy Institute and a fellow of the Thurgood Marshall Institute of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund and of the Haas Institute at the University of California (Berkeley). In addition to The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How our Government Segregated America, he is the author of Grading Education: Getting Accountability Right (2008); Class and Schools: Using Social, Economic and Educational Reform to Close the Black-White Achievement Gap (2004); and The Way We Were? Myths and Realities of America’s Student Achievement(1998).
Ability Accommodation Information
This event provides the following accommodations:
- Handicap Accessible
Dr. Karen J. Gibson is an Associate Professor in the Nohad A. Toulan School of Urban Studies and Planning at Portland State University. She has an M.S. in Public Management and Policy from Carnegie Mellon University and a Ph.D. in City and Regional Planning from the University of California at Berkeley. Before joining the Toulan School, she was a post-doctoral fellow with the Center for Africanamerican Urban Studies and the Economy (CAUSE) at Carnegie Mellon's Department of History. Her scholarship seeks to answer questions about the political economy of racial economic inequality in the urban setting. In Portland, research topics include urban redevelopment policy; community economic development; and housing policy and neighborhood change in the Portland's historic African American community, the Albina District (1940 – present). She teaches courses on community economic development, housing, and urban studies. Her publications have appeared in Cities, Feminist Economics, Transforming Anthropology, the Journal of Planning Education and Research, and the Oregon Historical Quarterly.
Pittmon's [Residential Security] Map of Portland, Ore. and vicinity, compiled from records on file in the offices of the city and county engineers.
Copyright and published by Armena Pittmon, 1934, Portland.
Vanport City, 1942, Kaiser Permanente Heritage Resources.
Oregonship album #4, M-342, Vanport City
Urban League c1950s
Albina Residents Picket against the Emmanuel Hospital Expansion project at the Portland Development Commission, 1973.
Oregon Journal Collection, CN 023743