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In this online event for Twin Cities residents, Richard Rothstein discussed his critically acclaimed book The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America, a searing account of how federal, state, and local policy explicitly segregated metropolitan areas nationwide. Rothstein showed that these policies created racially homogenous neighborhoods in patterns that violate the Constitution and require remediation. In exposing institutional racism, he answered an important question—how did we arrive here?—and raises another one—how do we move forward? The presentation was followed by Q&A moderated by Chanda Smith Baker, Chief Impact Officer, Minneapolis Foundation.

About the speaker

Richard Rothstein is a distinguished fellow of the Economic Policy Institute and a senior fellow (emeritus) at the Thurgood Marshall Institute of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund. In addition to his most recent book, Rothstein is the author of many other articles and books on race and education, including Class and Schools: Using Social, Economic and Educational Reform to Close the Black-White Achievement Gap and Grading Education: Getting Accountability Right. He also was the national education columnist for the New York Times for several years.


Continuing the conversation

This conversation was just the beginning of our community’s effort to confront the history of racial segregation in housing and find a path forward. Here is a list of suggestions on “next step actions” that each of us, as individuals, can do to address systemic racism here at home. Thank you for your interest and please stay tuned for future events that continue this important conversation and work.

Recommended reading by Richard Rothstein –

Learn –

Take Action –

  • Check your property deeds and titles for racial covenants and consider getting them removed.
  • Identify friends who are landlords and chat with them about barriers to housing.  
  • Transcribe housing deeds with Mapping Prejudice 
  • Pursue volunteer opportunities with Alliance Housing Inc.
  • Educate yourself about the costs of housing in our community. 

Email us at events@hennepinhistory.org to share ideas to add to this list.


Missed this event?

View the recording below:


Hosts and sponsors

This event is hosted by Hennepin History Museum, Plymouth Congregational Church, Alliance Housing Incorporated, and Align Minneapolis. It is sponsored by the Minneapolis Foundation and the Pohlad Family Foundation.

Logos for Alliance Housing, Plymouth Congregational Church, Align Mpls, and Hennepin History MusuemRelated events

This event was part of a two-part series on the history of racism and housing in the Twin Cities.

We will reschedule the POSTPONED event  Looking Back to Move Forward: The Housing Crisis, a panel conversation hosted by Chanda Smith Baker, Chief Impact Officer and Senior Vice President at the Minneapolis Foundation. Stay tuned for more information.

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