The book selected for the June meeting is The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America by Richard Rothstein.

This book, published in 2017, has received a great deal of acclaim and attention.  The author argues that American cities and communities came to be racially divided through the laws and policies of the federal, state and local governments (de jure segregation) rather than through individual prejudices, income differences, or the actions of private institutions, such as banks and real estate agencies (de facto segregation).

 

Rothstein shows how this process of de jure segregation began in the 1920's with explicit racial zoning.  He describes many forgotten government laws and policies, e.g., the GI Bill that granted subsidies to white veterans while denying them to African-American Gi's.

 

One of the great strengths of the book is the great weight of evidence presented--laws and policies most lawyers are not familiar with.  Rothstein also suggests some possible remedies.