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 –
- The New Movement to Redress Racial Segregation. A sign-up form is available at the link.
- Excerpts from “Racial” Provisions of FHA Underwriting Manual, 1936: http://wbhsi.net/~wendyplotkin/DeedsWeb/fha36.html
- “The Black Lives Next Door”, Richard Rothstein, New York Times, August 14, 2020: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/08/14/opinion/sunday/blm-residential-segregation.html
- “The Neighborhoods We Will Not Share”, Richard Rothstein, New York Times, January 20, 2020: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/01/20/opinion/fair-housing-act-trump.html
- Berry, Christopher. 2021. “Reassessing the Property Tax.” The University of Chicago, Harris School of Public Policy, March 1. https://cpb-us-w2.wpmucdn.com/voices.uchicago.edu/dist/6/2330/files/2019/04/Berry-Reassessing-the-Property-Tax-3121.pdf
- See also Berry’s interactive reports: Center for Municipal Finance, Property Tax Fairness, Interactive Reports, on-line. https://propertytaxproject.uchicago.edu/
- Avenancio-León, Carlos and Troup Howard. 2020. “The Assessment Gap: Racial Inequalities in Property Taxation.” June. Washington Center for Equitable Growth. https://equitablegrowth.org/working-papers/the-assessment-gap-racial-inequalities-in-property-taxation
- Resources for youth from The New Movement to Redress Racial Segregation:
- Brief 8 minute video about how segregation happened: https://www.facebook.com/NowThisPolitics/videos/270363507375249/
- 17-minute animated film, “Segregated by Design”: https://www.segregatedbydesign.com/
- High school curriculum unit to teach this history: https://www.zinnedproject.org/materials/how-red-lines-built-white-wealth-color-of-law-lesson
- Read The Color of Law
- Watch Jim Crow of the North documentary by Minnesota Experience TPT
- Attend upcoming events at Hennepin History Museum, including Mutual Aid Community History Workshop this Saturday, April 24.
- Visit Human Toll: A Public History of 35W exhibit, opening at Hennepin History Museum this September.
- Plymouth Congregational Church in Minneapolis invites you to explore the many programs its Racial Justice Initiative and Sunday Forum offer to the community.
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 firstname.lastname@example.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.
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.