SOURCE CITATIONS ARE reported by page and full paragraph number. Sources citing evidence described in a particular paragraph are assembled in a single note identified by that paragraph. Citations applying to a description in a continuation paragraph are identified in a note referring to the page on which that paragraph began. To avoid needless repetition of citations, in cases where a description of an incident continues for more than one paragraph, source citations may be consolidated in a single note referring to the first paragraph of that description. In some cases where I felt that readers would benefit from broader contexts or from more easily accessible secondary sources, more than one source may be cited in support of a claim in the text.

Page numbers listed correspond to the print edition of this book. You can use your device’s search function to locate particular terms in the text.


When in his second inaugural address, delivered in January, 1937, President Franklin D. Roosevelt said, “I see one-third of a nation ill-housed, ill-clad, ill-nourished,” he was referring primarily to white working- and lower-middle-class families. His administration’s public housing programs were intended to address their needs. The photo shows the president handing keys to the Churchfield family for their apartment in the whites-only Terrace Village project in Pittsburgh, constructed by the United States Housing Authority and the city’s housing agency.


p. viii, ¶ 3

Civil Rights Cases 1883. The 1866 law stated that citizens of any race had equal rights to purchase or rent property and that an individual who denied such a right was guilty of a misdemeanor. The 1866 law was reenacted in 1875; it was the 1875 version that the Supreme Court specifically rejected.

p. xii, ¶ 1

Milliken v. Bradley 1974, 757; Bradley v. Milliken 1971, 587, 592.

p. xii, ¶ 3

Parents Involved in Community Schools v. Seattle School District No. 1, et al. 2007, 736. Internal quotation marks omitted.

p. xiii, ¶ 1

Freeman v. Pitts 1992, 495–96.


If San Francisco, Then Everywhere?

p. 5, ¶ 2

Record 1947, 18 (table IV), 26, 32–33; Johnson 1993, 53. Of fifty unemployed black Richmond workers surveyed in 1947, only six had worked as farm laborers before migrating to Richmond; another four had worked as independent farmers. The black migrants to Richmond were “above the average in occupational background and education, and . . . had abilities and potentials for which there was no outlet in the areas from which they migrated.” A 1944 survey of black migrants throughout the Bay Area found educational attainment of nearly nine years.

p. 5, ¶ 3

Moore 2000, 84–85; Graves 2004, unpaginated.

p. 5, ¶ 4

Johnson 1993, 128–29; Moore 2000, 84–85; Alancraig 1953, 89.

p. 6, ¶ 3

Johnson 1993, 107, 222; Record 1947, 9; Barbour 1952, 10; Woodington 1954, 83–84. Of the 13,000 African Americans remaining in Richmond in 1952, 80 percent still resided in temporary war housing, compared to about 50 percent of the white population.

p. 7, ¶ 1

Moore 2000, 89; White 1956, 2.

p. 7, ¶ 2

Wenkert 1967, 24–26; Johnson 1993, 129.

p. 8, ¶ 1

Stevenson 2007, 1-00:36:13; Moore 2007, 77; NPS online. The plant has been converted by the National Park Service into the Rosie the Riveter World War II Homefront National Historical Park, mostly commemorating the women who worked there during the war (and who were fired or pressured to quit when army veterans returned looking for jobs).

p. 9, ¶ 1

PG&E 1954, 2; Grier and Grier 1962, 4; Munzel 2015.

p. 10, ¶ 3

As whites left Richmond, the African American population grew to nearly half the city total by 1980. Since then it has declined and is now less than a quarter. African Americans have been supplanted both by low-income Hispanic immigrants and by affluent whites who have been driving up rents in parts of the city, making those neighborhoods unaffordable for low-income families. Many African Americans have left, to disperse not into integrated communities but into new increasingly African American suburbs, like Antioch.

p. 10, ¶ 4

Stegner 1947; Benson 1996, 153; Friend and Lund 1974, 19–22; Treib and Imbert 1997, 150.

p. 12, ¶ 2

Leppert 1959, 657; Williams 1960a, 11; Alsberg 1960, 637; Johnson 1960, 722, 725; German, 1955; Williams 1960b, 483. Although I have no direct evidence (e.g., a board resolution) that the real estate board had an official “blackballing” policy applied to agents who sold to African Americans in white neighborhoods, several witnesses at the 1960 U.S. Civil Rights Commission hearings in San Francisco reiterated that agents refused to sell to African Americans from a belief that blackballing would follow. Franklin Williams, a California assistant attorney general, stated that “several [brokers or agents] have told us of their fear of being ‘blackballed’ or otherwise ostracized if they practiced democracy in their business.” Williams also described that many agents believed that their real estate board deemed selling to African Americans in white neighborhoods to be an “unethical” practice, subjecting the violator to expulsion from the board. In a survey of area real estate agents, one was asked, “Can’t you sell a home to a Negro?” The agent answered, “No; not in a white area, or we would be blackballed by other realtors.”

p. 13, ¶ 1

Leler and Leler 1960.

p. 13, ¶ 3

Williams 1960a, 11; Alsberg 1960, 638–39.


Public Housing, Black Ghettos

p. 17, ¶ 2

Sard and Fischer 2008, 16 (fig. 6), Technical Appendix tables 2b, 3b2; Atlas and Dreier 1994. As of 2008, nearly one-third of all public housing units nationwide were in low-poverty neighborhoods (where fewer than 20 percent of households were poor). Only one-fourth of all units were in high-poverty neighborhoods (where more than 40 percent of households were poor). By 2008, of metropolitan area public housing units outside New York City, only 9 percent were in projects with more than 500 units, and one-third were in projects with 100 units or fewer. However, of the 9 percent of units in large projects, two-thirds were in high-poverty neighborhoods. Of the one-third in projects with 100 units or fewer, only 10 percent were in high-poverty neighborhoods.

In 1935, Secretary of the Interior Harold Ickes described the nation’s first civilian public housing as “intended to be self-liquidating. With the exception of [a few projects], the money used in financing this low-cost housing will be returned to the Treasury through the collection of rents.” As time went on, the proportion of subsidized to unsubsidized projects grew, but construction of middle-class projects continued for another two decades.

p. 18, ¶ 1

Bloom 2008, 8, 176–77, 209; NYCHA 1970; Vale 2002, 24–25, 74–80, 102.

p. 18, ¶ 2

Ben-Joseph online; Dunn-Haley 1995, 38ff; Jackson 1985, 192; Donohue 2014–15. The U.S. Housing Corporation (USHC), the federal agency with responsibility for war worker housing in the First World War, built projects for whites only in Bremerton, Washington; Bridgeport, Connecticut; Camden, New Jersey; Chester, Pennsylvania; Kohler, Wisconsin; Mare Island, California; and Wilmington, Delaware, to name a few. It is possible that some of the projects were all white because there were few African Americans working in the munitions plants that the housing served. Portsmouth, New Hampshire, though, is one example of government-sponsored segregation: African Americans were working in war-related jobs but were denied access to the Atlantic Heights housing complex that the USHC developed for white workers. In Niagara Falls, New York, the USHC built separate projects for Italian Americans and Polish Americans.

p. 19, ¶ 2

Fishel 1964–65, 114; Houston and Davis 1934, 290–91.

p. 19, ¶ 3

Fishel 1964–65; Kifer 1961, 5–31.

p. 20, ¶ 1

Kifer 1961, 27, 35–41.

p. 20, ¶ 2

Fishel 1964–65, 116; Guzda 1980, 32.

p. 20, ¶ 3

Radford 1996, 100–1 (table 4.2); Alancraig 1953, 20. Not included in these totals are two projects in Puerto Rico and one in the Virgin Islands, designated for “natives.”

p. 21, ¶ 1

Hirsch 2000a, 209; Hirsch 2005, 58–59; Connerly and Wilson 1997, 203; Miller 1964, 65; Mohl 2001, 321. The Miami civic leader was a retired judge, John C. Gramling, who negotiated with the Public Housing Administration on behalf of the Dade County Housing Authority.

p. 21, ¶ 2

Moore 2000, 14, 19–21.

p. 21, ¶ 4

Holliman 2008.

p. 22, ¶ 1

Heathcott 2011, 89–90, 94. The neighborhood was about 65 percent white in 1930; the African American population was growing and was greater than 35 percent when the neighborhood was demolished.

p. 23, ¶ 1

Hughes 1940, 30–31; ECH 2011; PWA 1939, 283 (table 15); Cleveland Historical online; Rotman online; Weaver 1948, 75–76.

p. 23, ¶ 2

Radford 1996, 100–1 (table 4.2); Weaver 1948, 74; NYT 1936. Nationwide, there was nothing hidden about the government’s explicit segregation policy. The New York Times described the Harlem River Houses as having been established to accommodate “574 Negro families.”

p. 23, ¶ 3

USHA 1939, 7–8.

p. 24, ¶ 1

McGhee 2015, 15–16, 24, 26; Busch 2013, 981–83; Busch 2015. The housing authority installed outdoor clotheslines on the Rosewood Courts site, assuming that women who resided in the project would work as domestics and laundresses for Austin’s white population. A third segregated project, for Mexican Americans, was constructed in a neighborhood adjoining the Eastside black ghetto. The city plan did not call for segregating the Mexican American population into a single zone, although the public housing project contributed to their greater isolation.

p. 24, ¶ 2

Bowly 1978, 24; Hirsch 1983. 1998, 14; Choldin 2005. The racial identification of these projects was reinforced by their naming. Julia C. Lathrop and Jane Addams were white, early-twentieth-century social workers and reformers whose careers were devoted to serving low-income white immigrant populations. Ida B. Wells, an African American, was one of the founders of the NAACP. Such use of naming to identify projects or neighborhoods by race has continued into more recent times, as many cities have renamed boulevards going through African American neighborhoods after Martin Luther King, Jr. Many fewer boulevards going through white communities are named after him.

p. 25, ¶ 3

Vale 2002, 37, 55, 80; USCCR 1967, 65.

p. 26, ¶ 1

Cunningham 16–19; Stainton and Regan 2001, 12.

p. 26, ¶ 2

Weaver 1948, 171–74. In 1945, the federal government finally accepted a small number of African American families in Willow Run housing, after setting aside a segregated section for them. In 1946, African Americans were finally permitted to live throughout the project. By this time, however, it was too late for a substantial integration program to take hold. With the end of the war, jobs at the bomber plant were disappearing, and many white families were returning home. Unfilled vacancies developed in the white sections of the project, so permitting African Americans to occupy these units did not deny any white workers and their families the preferential treatment to which they had been accustomed. Eventually, as more white families departed, many to return to the rural communities and smaller towns from which they had migrated, the Willow Run project became increasingly black. African American workers had come to Willow Run not only for jobs but also to escape racial violence and exploitation in the South. For them, returning home when bomber plant jobs disappeared was not an attractive option.

p. 26, ¶ 3

This is another example of how the government used naming to identify projects by race. Because the project was intended for African Americans, it was named after Sojourner Truth, an African American abolitionist before and during the Civil War.

p. 26, ¶ 4

Franklin Roosevelt’s administration was notorious for creating multiple agencies with overlapping jurisdictions. In a 1939 reorganization, the USHA became part of the Federal Works Agency (FWA). The FWA then was given direct responsibility for Lanham Act projects, even where there was no local housing authority participating.

Accounts differ regarding the number killed or wounded in the Sojourner Truth riot. I rely here on Robert Weaver’s (1948, 92–94) because his is closer to contemporaneous. If, as other accounts have it (e.g., Funigiello 1978, 99, citing Shogan and Craig’s 1964, The Detroit Race Riot), large numbers were killed, not wounded, I assume that Weaver would have known about it. Weaver was the most important African American official of the federal government during World War II, responsible for monitoring the interests of African Americans in employment, training and housing. Sugrue (1996, 2005, 74), closely confirming Weaver, reports that “at least 40 people were injured, 220 arrested, and 109 were held for trial—all but three black.” Other accounts of the Sojourner Truth incident include Goodwin 1994, 326–27; White 1942; Foreman 1974.

p. 27, ¶ 2

Sugrue 1996, 2005, 80, 85; Sugrue 1995, 569, 571–72.

p. 27, ¶ 3

Weaver 1948, 199–200. A more recent account (Broussard 1993, 175–76) seems to contradict Weaver’s and states that the Hunters Point project was thoroughly integrated. I accept Weaver’s claim of segregation because it is nearly contemporaneous and because Weaver was in a position to know (and was probably involved in) the controversy over segregation in Hunters Point (see note to page 26, ¶ 4, above). For the role of Robert Weaver, see Hill 2005. Possibly Broussard categorized Hunters Point as integrated because it included both black and white units, although the project was internally segregated. The description of Hunters Point as integrated may stem from the period just after the war when, as in Willow Run in Michigan (see note to page 26, ¶ 2, above), vacancies in the white units developed as the occupants found private housing and African Americans were permitted to occupy the vacant units.

p. 28, ¶ 2

Broussard 1993, 177, 179, 222; Johnson, Long, and Jones 1944, 22; Banks v. Housing Authority of City and County of San Francisco 1953; Weaver 1948, 168–69; Alancraig 1953, 74–75.

p. 29, ¶ 2

France 1962, 39–40, 58 (n. 23); Wirt 1974, 251; Link 1971, 53; Alancraig 1953, 93–96; Broussard 1993, 223–225; Banks v. Housing Authority of City and County of San Francisco 1953; Quinn 1960, 550. There is no other plausible explanation than hypocrisy for policies that announced nondiscrimination and then fulfilled the promise by admitting only a few other-race families to segregated projects. In 1939, for example, the New York City Housing Authority adopted a nondiscrimination policy, but like policies in Boston and San Francisco, it, too, was nominal, assigning a token few other-race families to otherwise single-race projects to support a claim that they were integrated. In the borough of Queens, the Housing Authority built the Woodside Houses in 1949, a project for white middle-class families in a mostly white neighborhood, but included a handful of African American families. A few miles away, the South Jamaica Houses, built in a mostly African American neighborhood, included a handful of whites. The Housing Authority explained that its policy was to respect “existing community patterns” and that it had concluded that the South Jamaica project should house minorities because it was “located in a neighborhood having a preponderance of colored people” (Bloom 2008, 87). The most prominent example of a tormented public official in this regard was Elizabeth Wood, who led the Chicago Housing Authority from 1937 to 1954, all the while urging board members to cease segregating while dutifully implementing its discriminatory policies. She was eventually fired by the Chicago Housing Authority for disclosing these conflicts to the press (see also discussion and note here).

p. 31, ¶ 1

Davies 1966, 108; Julian and Daniel 1989, 668–69; Hirsch 2000b, 400–1; von Hoffman 2000, 309. At the time of the debate, Douglas and Humphrey were freshmen senators, having been elected to their first terms only six months earlier. They became national leaders of the liberal wing of the Democratic Party. It must have been particularly galling to Senator Humphrey to feel that he had to compromise with segregation to get the housing bill passed. The previous year, as mayor of Minneapolis, he had defied President Truman and his party leadership at the Democratic National Convention by leading liberals in a demand that the party platform denounce racial segregation. Losing the fight in committee, he took it to the floor of the convention. He told delegates, “I do not believe that there can be any compromise on the guarantees of the civil rights . . . in the minority report.” In defiance of southern states’ insistence on their right to impose racial segregation, he added: “The time has arrived in America for the Democratic Party to get out of the shadow of states’ rights and to walk forthrightly into the bright sunshine of human rights.” The delegates adopted his minority report, leading to a walkout of southern Democrats and their formation of a separate party (the Dixiecrats) that ran South Carolina governor Strom Thurmond as a 1948 third-party presidential candidate, on a pro-segregation platform. Defying all predictions, President Truman won reelection against Republican Thomas Dewey, Dixiecrat Strom Thurmond, and Henry Wallace, who ran a left-wing campaign as a Progressive Party candidate. Humphrey was elected to two more Senate terms, then went on to win election as Lyndon Johnson’s vice-presidential running mate in 1964. But when Humphrey himself ran as the Democratic presidential nominee four years later, he lost liberal support because of what many of his friends and allies believed was his compromise of principle in refusing to speak out against President Johnson’s pursuit of victory in the Vietnam War. It contributed to his defeat by Richard Nixon for the presidency.

The 1949 Housing Act was intended as a slum clearance as well as a public housing measure. It required the demolition of one slum unit for every public housing unit built. Although this provision was not always followed, the legislation would do little to add to the supply of housing for African Americans. This is another reason for skepticism about the wisdom of Douglas’s and Humphrey’s compromise with segregation.

p. 32, ¶ 2

Hirsch 2000b, 401, 406, 417–18.

p. 32, ¶ 3

von Hoffman 2000, 320.

p. 32, ¶ 4

James v. Valtierra 1971; Murasky 1971, 115–16; UPI 1971; Herbers 1971. States that required some form of referendum prior to construction of public housing included Alabama, California, Colorado, Iowa, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, Oklahoma, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, and Wisconsin.

p. 33, ¶ 1

USCCR 1961, 111.

p. 33, ¶ 2

Hirsch 2000a, 218; Abrams 1955, 30–32.

p. 33, ¶ 3

Bartelt 1993, 135–36; Hogan 1996, 48.

p. 34, ¶ 1

Kennedy v. Housing Authority of Savannah 1960.

p. 34, ¶ 2

Flournoy and Rodrigue 1985.

p. 34, ¶ 4

Hills v. Gautreaux 1976; Polikoff 2006, 98, 148, 153; Orfield 1985.

p. 35, ¶ 2

In 1987, more than a decade after the Supreme Court case, President Ronald Reagan nominated Bork to fill a Supreme Court vacancy. A fierce controversy ensued in the Senate, and Bork failed to win confirmation.

p. 36, ¶ 1

PRRAC 2005; Daniel & Beshara online; Banks v. Housing Authority of City and County of San Francisco 1953; Berger 1998; Mohl 2001, 345. A Home Box Office miniseries, Show Me a Hero—based on the 1993 book by Lisa Belkin, Show Me a Hero: A Tale of Murder, Suicide, Race and Redemption—describes the resistance of Yonkers to the federal appeals court decision and the city’s eventual half-hearted compliance.

p. 36, ¶ 2

Abrams 1951, 327; Hirsch 2005, 59–60; Nixon 1973. But Nixon’s was an exaggerated stereotype. Segregated public housing perpetuates racial isolation, with all the attendant problems that characterize low-income minority neighborhoods where disadvantage accumulates. But from the perspective of families in desperate need of housing, segregated housing is preferable to none. The long waiting lists for public housing in most cities are testament to the continued desirability and popularity of public housing for families whose incomes are too low to purchase or rent housing in the private market. The choice should not be, as it was for Congress in 1949, between segregated high-rise public housing and no housing. The choice should be between segregated public housing and integrated (by race and income) public housing in integrated neighborhoods.

p. 37, ¶ 2

Johnson 1993, 105.


Racial Zoning

p. 39, ¶ 1

Logan et al. 2015, 26 (fig. 4); Logan and Stults 2011. Residential racial segregation is difficult to define and thus to measure precisely. The most common demographic description is the “index of dissimilarity” that calculates the share of African Americans living in a neighborhood with other groups, compared to their share of their metropolitan area. This index, however, shows an increase in “integration” when poor Hispanic immigrants move into a predominantly black neighborhood. For understanding the de jure segregation of African Americans, the dissimilarity index is not a useful tool. What we should be most concerned with is the extent to which African Americans and the white majority live among one another. By this standard, integration decreased in both rural and urban areas in every region of the country from 1880 to 1950, when measured by the chances of having an opposite-race neighbor or by the share of opposite-race residents who lived in a resident’s neighborhood, i.e., the exposure of whites and blacks to one another. An analysis of population in ten of the largest American cities from 1880 to 1940 finds that in 1880, the neighborhood (block) on which the typical African American lived was only 15 percent black; by 1910 it was 30 percent, and by 1930, even after the Great Migration, it was still only about 60 percent black. By 1940 the local neighborhood where the typical African American lived was 75 percent black. Another analysis, using a different definition of neighborhood, found that in 1950 the average African American nationwide lived in a neighborhood that was 35 percent white, a figure that remains approximately the same today.

p. 41, ¶ 2

Hennessey 1985, 103–10; Smith 1994, 144–50; Simkins 1944, 63, 270; Kantrowitz 2000, 69, 121, 143; Dew 2000; Kingkade 2015. These historical accounts differ on the details of how many were killed, the order of the attacks by the Red Shirts, resistance by African Americans (who were organized into a militia), actions of the governor, and the precise location of the events. Older versions are more sympathetic to Tillman. It can be assumed only that the text here is approximately correct.

p. 41, ¶ 4

Loewen 2005, 9; Lang 1979, 50, 57.

p. 42, ¶ 1

Lang, 1979; Ogden 2007.

p. 42, ¶ 2

Loewen 2005; Palm Beach online. Explicit town ordinances were not unknown. The Historical Society of Palm Beach County reports: “A 1939 Guide to Florida said of Belle Glade, ‘A municipal ordinance requires that all Negroes, except those employed within the town, be off the streets by 10:30 p.m. On Saturdays they are permitted to remain in the business district until midnight.’ Other towns had similar restrictions.”

p. 42, ¶ 3

This book can’t delve into the history of this period in detail, but it is no secret and has been told by several popular writers. Sixty years ago, C. Vann Woodward described the growth of segregation in The Strange Career of Jim Crow. More recently, in Redemption, Nicholas Lemann recounted the violent suppression of African Americans as Reconstruction ended. James Loewen’s Sundown Towns tells how, throughout the nation, African Americans were violently expelled and then barred from communities where they had previously lived. Loewen has assembled substantial information on racial violence in towns throughout the nation and has posted it online. The Montana page on this site as of January 2017 is at For information on other states, click on the map at

p. 43, ¶ 2

Wolgemuth 1959, 159–67; King 1995, 9–17; Weiss 1969, 63–65; NYT 1914; Kifer 1961, viii; Chicago Defender 1932.

p. 44, ¶ 2

NYT 1910.

p. 44, ¶ 3

Pietila 2010, 24; Power 1983, 303–4.

p. 45, ¶ 1

Crisis 1917; Silver 1997, 27, 32; Power 1983, 310; Rabin 1989, 106; Wehle 1915.

p. 45, ¶ 2

Buchanan v. Warley 1917. The Court’s opinion, by Justice William R. Day, also acknowledged that racial zoning denied African Americans equal protection, but this was not the basis of the Court’s decision.

p. 46, ¶ 1

Whitten 1922; Randle 1989, 43; Rabin 1989, 107–8; Freund 2007, 66; Atlanta 1922, 10.

p. 46, ¶ 2

Bowen v. City of Atlanta 1924.

p. 46, ¶ 3

Thornbrough 1961, 598–99; Harmon v. Tyler 1927.

p. 47, ¶ 1

Richmond v. Deans 1930; Williams 2015.

p. 47, ¶ 2

Birmingham v. Monk 1950; Williams 1950; Greenberg 1959, 278.

p. 47, ¶ 3

Greenberg 1959, 278; Palm Beach online; Dowdell v. Apopka 1983; Rabin 1987.

p. 48, ¶ 4

Flint 1977, 50, 103, 114, 119, 207, 322, 345–57, 394; Gordon 2008, 122–28.

p. 51, ¶ 1

Freund 2007, 76–78; Chused 2001, 598–99; Advisory Committee on Zoning 1926.

p. 51, ¶ 2

American City Planning Institute 1918, 44–45; Freund 2007, 73–74. Olmsted Jr. was the son of Frederick Law Olmsted, the renowned nineteenth-century park designer. In using the term “racial divisions,” Olmsted Jr., like many national planning leaders in those years, was referring to distinctions between whites and European immigrants as well as between whites and African Americans. The Protestant, mostly Anglo-Saxon elite considered southern and central Europeans (including Catholics like Italians and Slavs, and Jews) to be “swarthy” and “dark-skinned” and of a different race than northern Europeans. Over time, however, the elite and its planners came to accept European immigrants as “white” (although subject to some continued prejudice), but firm opposition to “mingling” with African Americans persisted.

p. 51, ¶ 3

Hancock 1988, 200–1. The quotation comes from a memorandum that Bettman, the lead author, issued in 1933 for the American City Planning Institute, of which he was then a member.

p. 52, ¶ 1

McEntire 1960, 245.

p. 52, ¶ 2

Freund 1929, 93.

p. 52, ¶ 3

Euclid v. Ambler 1926, 394–95; Freund 2007, 83.

p. 53, ¶ 2

Dailey v. Lawton 1970.

p. 53, ¶ 3

Arlington Heights v. Metropolitan Housing Corp.1977; Mandelker 1977, 1221 (n. 15).

p. 54, ¶ 2

Collin and Collin 1997, 226–27.

p. 55, ¶ 3

Sides 2003, 113; Los Angeles Sentinel 1947c; Los Angeles Sentinel 1947a; Los Angeles Sentinel 1947b.

p. 56, ¶ 1

Collin and Collin 1997, 227–28.

p. 56, ¶ 2

Collin and Collin 1997, 230; Clinton 1994.


“Own Your Own Home”

p. 60, ¶ 1

Vale 2007, 20; Cannato 2010; Hayward 2013, 121–22.

p. 60, ¶ 2

Hutchison 1997, 194; Better Homes in America, 1926; NYT 1922; Pelo 1922. The American Construction Council was founded in 1922 at the behest of Secretary of Commerce Herbert Hoover, with Roosevelt as its first president. This was the first public activity that Roosevelt, formerly the Democratic candidate for vice president in 1920, undertook after contracting polio. Roosevelt’s purpose was the “building up of public confidence in the construction industry,” something that was supposedly lacking because of poor employment conditions owing to the seasonal nature of construction work, where wages and employment were good in the summer months and poor in the winter. It is difficult to understand how Roosevelt planned to overcome this obstacle. He suggested that somehow he would manage to move labor from states like New York to states like Georgia in the winter and the reverse in the summer. Such shifting of labor around would, he said, result in lowered construction costs. Roosevelt proposed to accomplish this by getting representatives of all the industries and labor unions that were involved in construction around a table, with Secretary Hoover at the head, to work out a solution. I won’t speculate about the feasibility of Roosevelt’s idea. Suffice it to say that the American Construction Council didn’t last long. But what I find most interesting about this incident is the presence of Roosevelt, as the construction industry representative, on Hoover’s Better Homes advisory council. It suggests that, as early as 1922, a working relationship existed between future president Hoover and future president Roosevelt around their joint commitment to getting working- and middle-class white Americans into single-family units.

p. 60, ¶ 3

Freund 2007, 75; Hutchison 1997, 193; Wright 1981, 197–98; Lands 2009, 126. I say that Better Homes representatives “probably” told this to audiences because I have not been able to identify the source of Wright’s reference to avoidance of “racial strife” as a benefit of homeownership. I infer that the source was a pamphlet published by the Better Homes organization or by the Commerce Department giving guidance to local Better Homes committees. Understandably, Professor Wright no longer has copies of documents she used in her research thirty-five years ago.

p. 61, ¶ 1

Hoover 1932, xi; Hoover 1931.

p. 61, ¶ 2

Ford 1931, 615, 617; Gries and Taylor 1931, 92–95. These public and private leaders probably also considered European immigrants as persons to be avoided. See note to p. 51, ¶ 2, above.

p. 61, ¶ 3

Ecker 1932, 46; Kushner 2009, 31.

p. 62, ¶ 2

Johnson 1932, 114–15. The frontispiece of the report was an admiring photo of the “Paul Laurence Dunbar Apartments for Negroes at Harlem, New York City,” an illustration of good housing for African Americans. The Dunbar Apartments had been built by John D. Rockefeller a few years before the Hoover conference.

p. 63, ¶ 2

Jackson 1985, 196–97.

p. 63, ¶ 4

Freund 2007, 115.

p. 64, ¶ 2

Jackson 1985, 200.

p. 65, ¶ 1

FHA 1936, Part II, Section 233; FHA 1935, Sections 309–12.

p. 65, ¶ 2

Jackson 1985, 207; Abrams 1955, 30; FHA 1935, Section 229; FHA 1938, Part II, Section 909 (e), Section 935. Highway planners shared this objective. In Chicago, for example, they modified the original design of the Dan Ryan Expressway, shifting it by several blocks for the purpose of creating a “firewall” between the slowly expanding African American area and white neighborhoods.

p. 65, ¶ 3

FHA 1938, Part II, Section 951.

p. 66, ¶ 1

FHA 1947, Part II, Section 12, 1215 (4) (d), Part III Section 13, 1315, 1320 (1), 1320 (2); Hirsch 2000b, 413; FHA 1952, Section 131. In its 1947 Underwriting Manual, the FHA made deferral to the racial prejudices of a neighborhood’s residents a federal government principle. Having removed from this edition an absolute declaration that racial mixing made lending in a neighborhood too risky, the manual stated that additional risk was “not necessarily involved” in neighborhood racial change. When would such additional risk be involved? Only if the FHA “determined [that] the mixture will render the neighborhood less desirable to present and prospective residents.”

p. 66, ¶ 2

Freund 2007, 130–31.

p. 66, ¶ 3

Williams 1959; Hirsch 2005, 50.

p. 69, ¶ 1

Goodwin 1994, 169, 329–30.

p. 69, ¶ 2

There were a few areas in Nassau County open to African Americans, but severe overcrowding led to unsanitary and dilapidated conditions. One such neighborhood was Bennington Park, in the Village of Freeport, where Vince Mereday’s uncle Charles settled. In 1946 the New York State Housing Commission declared Bennington Park the worst slum in the state and offered Freeport a loan to build new public housing. The loan would have cost the village nothing, because African Americans in Bennington Park were employed, and were living there not because they couldn’t afford decent housing but because they were excluded from it. Their rents in public housing would have been sufficient to enable Freeport to repay the loan without dipping into the public treasury. The village submitted the proposed loan to a referendum and permitted only Freeport property owners to vote. The property owners rejected the proposal by nearly a 2–1 margin. An interview with Charles Mereday who, like his brother Robert, worked at Grumman during the war, then formed his own trucking company at war’s end, is reported in Baxandall and Ewen 2000, 171–73.

p. 70, ¶ 1

Jackson, 231–45 (Chapter 13); Yardley 2009; Bobker and Becker 1957; Lambert 1997; Cotter 1951; NYT 1950b; NYT 1951; Williamson 2005, 48; Baxandall and Ewen 2000, 175–76. William Levitt, however, did not feel differently. He was a more-than-willing participant in an FHA policy to prohibit racial integration in suburbs for which it provided financial support. In 1950, Levitt canceled the rental leases of two white families because their children had African American playmates who visited. (The NAACP sought to enjoin the evictions, but New York State courts declined to intervene.) Indeed, Levitt told an interviewer that a desire to avoid middle-class African American neighbors was what had first motivated him to move and then to build in the suburbs: “a couple of centuries [after black people were first brought as slaves to this continent], as they moved into the north, they moved onto the same street we lived on in Brooklyn. Next to us a black assistant DA moved in. Fearing a diminution of values if too many came in, we picked up and moved out. We then got into the suburbs, into building.” Nonetheless, Levitt claimed that he was not prejudiced: “As a Jew, I have no room in my mind or heart for racial prejudice. But . . . I have come to know that if we sell one house to a Negro family, then ninety to ninety-five percent of our white customers will not buy into the community.”

A film made about another Levitt development, Crisis in Levittown, PA, shows both opposition to and support for integration by residents, with the opposition in the majority. Nonetheless, the interviews suggest that Levitt’s estimate of 90 to 95 percent being so against integration that they would refuse to purchase his homes is exaggerated, especially in view of the serious housing shortage faced by lower-middle-class white and black families. In fact, there was active and vocal resistance in the Levittowns to the builder’s and FHA’s segregation policy. In the first Long Island development, for example, a residents’ Committee to End Discrimination in Levittown distributed leaflets against “Jim Crowism.” When Levitt continued to include racial deed restrictions after the Supreme Court declared them unenforceable, the committee, along with outside civil rights groups, campaigned against his policy and, two years after the ruling, finally forced him to cease requiring the clauses.

If the FHA had made nondiscrimination a condition of all developments it financed for these families, whites who refused to purchase in an integrated Levittown for racial reasons would have had few, if any, other options.

p. 70, ¶ 2

Hirsch 2000a, 208.

p. 70, ¶ 4

Larrabee 1948, 86.

p. 72, ¶ 1

Clark 1938, 111; Weiss 1987, 147–51; Jackson 1985, 208–9, 238; Levitt v. Division Against Discrimination 1960, 523.

p. 72, ¶ 3

VerPlanck 2008; Hope 2011, 32, 58; Jackson 1985, 238; Architectural Forum 1947; Baxandall and Ewen 2000, 122; Houlihan 2010, 10–13. Another was Park Forest in suburban Chicago, built by Philip Klutznick. The FHA subsidized its construction in 1946, and although Klutznick described his project as integrated, it was 1959 before the first African American family bought a home there.

p. 73, ¶ 1

Sexauer 2003, 180, 199, 210–11, 215, 226–28, 232.

p. 74, ¶ 1

Jackson 1985, 209; Sugrue 1993, 113; USCCR 1961, 67–68.

p. 74, ¶ 2

Hirsch 2005, 55–56.

p. 75, ¶ 2

USCCR 1973, 3, 5.


Private Agreements, Government Enforcement

p. 76

In the photograph, developer Henry Doelger smiles at FHA district director McGinness as his wife positions the spike. Although the ceremony took place almost a year after the Supreme Court’s decision prohibiting enforcement of restrictive covenants, the FHA continued to finance the subdivision despite its ban on sales to African Americans.

p. 78, ¶ 1

Jackson 1985, 76.

p. 79, ¶ 3

Jackson 1985, 177–78; Nichols 1923, 174; Colby 2012, 91–93: Hayward 2013, 114–17.

p. 79, ¶ 4

Dean 1947, 430 (table II).

p. 80, ¶ 1

Weaver 1948, 250, 247; Sugrue 1995, 557.

p. 80, ¶ 2

Lyons v. Wallen 1942.

p. 80, ¶ 3

Silva 2009.

p. 80, ¶ 4

Pates 1948; Claremont Improvement Club v. Buckingham 1948.

p. 81, ¶ 1

Miller 1965b, 2–3.

p. 81, ¶ 2

Thompson 2014.

p. 81, ¶ 3

Kushner 1979, 562–66; McGovney 1945, 6–11.

p. 82, ¶ 1

Power 2004, 791–92, 801–2; Power 1983, 315; California Eagle 1943a.

p. 82, ¶ 2

Corrigan v. Buckley 1926.

p. 82, ¶ 3

Bartholomew 1932, 50, 57–58; Weiss 1989; Monchow 1928, 50, 72–73. The 1928 review written by Helen Monchow was published by the Institute for Research in Land Economics and Public Utilities. At the time, the institute was the most influential national urban planning organization. The review quoted extensively from the recent (1926) Supreme Court opinion (Corrigan v. Buckley) upholding the validity of deeds that prevented resales to African Americans: “This contention (that the covenant is void in that it is contrary to and forbidden by the 5th, 13th, and 14th Amendments) is entirely lacking in substance or color of merit. The fifth Amendment is a limitation only upon the powers of the general government and is not directed against the action of individuals. The thirteenth Amendment involving slavery and involuntary servitude, that is, a condition of enforced compulsory service of one to another, does not in other matters protect the individual rights of persons of the negro race. And the prohibitions of the fourteenth Amendment have reference to state action exclusively and not to any action of private individuals. It is state action of a particular character that is prohibited. Individual invasion of individual rights is not the subject matter of the amendment.”

p. 83, ¶ 2

FHA 1935, Part II, Sections 309–12.

p. 83, ¶ 3

FHA 1936, Part II, Sections 284 (2)–(3).

p. 84, ¶ 2

Johnson 1993, 92. For Peninsula Housing Association sources, see notes to p. 10, ¶ 4; for St. Ann sources, see notes to p. 73, ¶ 1; for Levittown sources, see notes to pp. 70, ¶ 1, and 72, ¶ 1. Dean 1947, 430–31. Hirsch 2000a, 207–9, concludes that the FHA made restrictive covenants a “virtual precondition for federally insured mortgages.” For particular loan guarantees, the FHA required restrictive covenants, but as a general policy the FHA strongly recommended such covenants. A builder could commit not to sell to African Americans even if no racial covenant was attached to the deed. The FHA did insure some loans without covenants. A very small number of loans in African American neighborhoods were FHA insured, as were a small number in integrated neighborhoods.

p. 85, ¶ 1

Dean 1947, 430.

p. 85, ¶ 2

The distinction between the legality of a private contract and the unconstitutionality of its enforcement was not considered in the 1926 decision. The 1926 case arose in the District of Columbia, so in Corrigan the Court only ruled on whether covenants were lawful under the Fifth, not the Fourteenth Amendment.

p. 85, ¶ 3

In the Washington, D.C., case Hurd v. Hodge, the Supreme Court based its decision not on the Constitution but on the Civil Rights Act of 1866. Its position was still that the Civil Rights Act of 1866 prohibited racial discrimination only by government, not by private individuals, but once federal courts got involved, enforcement of racial covenants was government action. Twenty years later, in Jones v. Mayer, the Court recognized that the Civil Rights Act of 1866 also applied to private discrimination, because Congress passed the act to implement the Thirteenth Amendment that, the Court recognized, prohibited not only slavery but the badges and incidents of slavery. Thus, while not technically accurate, it is reasonable to say that federal court enforcement of restrictive covenants, or federal agency promotion of such covenants, violated not only the Civil Rights Act of 1866 but the Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution as well.

p. 86, ¶ 2

Hirsch 2000a, 211–14; Marshall 1949, 8.

p. 86, ¶ 3

Streator 1949.

p. 86, ¶ 4

Will 1949, 1; Marshall 1949, 7–8; 12.

p. 87, ¶ 1

Will 1949, 2–3.

p. 87, ¶ 2

Hirsch 2000a, 212–13.

p. 88, ¶ 1

Hinton 1949.

p. 88, ¶ 2

Davies 1966, 125; Polikoff 2006, 113; Hirsch 2000a, 213.

p. 88, ¶ 3

Wood, 1949; Miller 1965b, 6.

p. 89, ¶ 1

Weiss v. Leaon 1949; Correll v. Earley 1951.

p. 90, ¶ 1

Making an adjustment with the Consumer Price Index for all urban consumers helps us to understand the homes’ affordability for working- and lower-middle-class families. With such an adjustment, Westlake house prices in current (2016) dollars were about $99,000 (in 1949) and $114,000 (in 1955). Damages of $2,000 paid to each of eight neighbors would total about $140,000 in current dollars. Median family income is now about $60,000, about twice what it was (in current dollars) in 1950. Property selling for about two to three times median income is affordable for working- and lower-middle-class families, especially if FHA or VA mortgages are available. Homes for sale in the Westlake subdivision of Daly City with two bedrooms and one bath are now (early 2016) being sold for $450,000 to $800,000. The difference between the current dollar price paid in the early 1950s and the sale prices of the same houses today, less any investments in home improvements, represents the equity appreciation gained by white families who bought into Westlake sixty years ago.

p. 90, ¶ 2

Barrows v. Jackson 1953; Gotham 2000, 624; Silva 2009. If you live in a single-family house built before 1953 in a major metropolitan area, go to the office of your county clerk or recorder of deeds, and ask for a copy of any deed restrictions that apply to your home. In many cases, sandwiched between landscaping and paint color specifications (or prohibitions of tanning skin, hides, or leather), you will find a racial restriction. If you want to see samples, the Seattle Civil Rights Project maintains a website that includes an inventory of whites-only suburban developments that ring that city, including examples of restrictive covenants.

p. 90, ¶ 3

Mayers v. Ridley 1972; Greenberg 1959, 283–86.

p. 91, ¶ 1

Supreme Court justices do not explain why they excuse themselves from participating in particular cases, but scholars are in agreement that in this instance the reason was that each of the three lived in homes that were racially restricted. Some or all of the six justices that participated in deciding the case may also have lived in restricted neighborhoods; declining to participate in a case is solely up to a justice.

Unlike Shelley v. Kraemer, the 1953 Barrows v. Jackson decision (extending Shelley to prohibit covenants providing monetary damages instead of eviction) was not unanimous. Among the dissenters was Chief Justice Fred Vinson, who insisted that suits to recover damages from violated covenants should be permitted to continue. A few months later, he was replaced as chief justice by Earl Warren who, after rehearing the school desegregation cases, marshaled a unanimous Court to ban separate black and white schools in Brown v. Board of Education.


White Flight

p. 93, ¶ 1

Kimble 2007, 404.

p. 93, ¶ 2

Hoyt 1939, iii, 62; Kimble 2007.

p. 94, ¶ 1

Laurenti 1960, 12–15, 37, 51–53; Laurenti 1952, 327. Charles Abrams (1951, 330) identified a 1948 Washington Business Review article by Rufus S. Lusk as the source of the statement that “the infiltration of Negro[es]” tends to appreciate property. However, Abrams’s citation is incorrect, and I have not been able to identify the source. Because Abrams was a respected and generally credible midcentury housing expert, I have accepted that his quotation from the Lusk article is accurate, although his source citation is not. Another 1948 Washington Business Review article (WBR 1948, 17), describing the increase in Washington, D.C.’s, population, did observe that “[w]hen [the Negro] first goes into a neighborhood, prices may be higher, but eventually values are apt to be depressed. This is not always true because the high class colored who now live on T Street west of 14th maintain their homes well.”

Throughout the period that the FHA attempted to exclude African Americans from white neighborhoods, other voices refuted the agency’s belief in the inevitability of property value declines associated with African American ownership or residence. In 1945, an article in another professional journal with which FHA staff would have been familiar, the Review of the Society of Residential Appraisers, stated that because of the shortage of housing available to African Americans, neighborhood home prices increased from 60 to 100 percent within three years of integration. An article in the same journal the following year stated, “It is a fact, the axiom that colored infiltration collapses the market is no longer true.” In 1952, the FHA’s own former deputy chief appraiser in Los Angeles wrote in the same journal that “it was [previously] commonly believed by nearly all that the presence of Negroes or other minorities in a neighborhood was a serious value-destroying influence. . . . There are many locations where such generalizations are no longer true.” The author of the Appraisal Journal article cited in the text, Luigi Laurenti, was a professor of economics at the University of California at Berkeley who analyzed 10,000 property transfers in San Francisco, Oakland, and Philadelphia. About half were in a test group of neighborhoods that were integrating, and the other half in a control group of neighborhoods that were all white. In a 1960 report, he stated that in 41 percent of the cases, prices in the test group and control group remained similar. In 44 percent, prices in the test group moved higher than those in the control group. In 15 percent, prices in the test group declined relative to those in the control group. Laurenti also reviewed studies of Chicago, Detroit, Kansas City, and Portland (Oregon) and found similar trends. He observed that frequently the social status of African Americans moving into white neighborhoods was higher than that of their new white neighbors.

p. 95, ¶ 1

“Vitchek” 1962; McPherson 1972; Colby 2012, 75; Baxandall and Ewen 2000, 183–86; Sugrue 1995, 560.

p. 97, ¶ 1

Satter 2009; Satter 2009b, 2, 8.

p. 97, ¶ 2

McPherson 1972; “Vitchek” 1962; Seligman 2005. I am aware of no nationwide study documenting where the contract-buying system was prevalent. The cities listed here have been identified in city-specific studies. “Norris Vitchek” stated that blockbusting was prevalent in Baltimore, Boston, Cleveland, Detroit, New York City, Philadelphia, St. Louis, Washington, D.C., “and other cities and in some of their suburbs” as well as in Chicago. He does not specifically say, however, that the blockbusting system included contract sales in all those cities, although the inflated prices to which homes were sold to African Americans, and the refusal of banks to issue conventional or FHA-insured mortgages to African American buyers, makes it likely that it did. Seligman 2005 refers to blockbusting in Buffalo. For additional discussion of contract buying, see also Coates 2014.

p. 98, ¶ 1

Satter 2004, 42; Greenberg 1959, 301; Sugrue 1993, 112; Drake and Cayton, 1945 (rev. and enlarged, 1962), 179; Taylor 1994, 180; Gordon 2008, 84–86; Moore 1963. Nationwide, local real estate boards generally threatened to expel agents and brokers if they sold to African Americans in white neighborhoods. A number of actual expulsions, without any reaction from state regulatory commissions, made the threats real. In 1921, the Chicago Real Estate Board promised that “[i]immediate expulsion . . . will be the penalty paid by any member who sells a Negro property in a block where there are only white owners.” In 1948 the Seattle Real Estate Board expelled a member for selling a home in a white neighborhood to an interracial couple. In 1955, the St. Louis Real Estate Exchange notified brokers and agents that “no Member of our Board may, directly or indirectly, sell to Negroes . . . unless there are three separate and distinct buildings in such block already occupied by Negroes. . . . This rule is of long standing [and is our interpretation of] the Code of Ethics of the National Association of Real Estate Boards.” The Missouri State Real Estate Commission considered that brokers were guilty of professional misconduct and subject to loss of license if they sold to African Americans in white neighborhoods. Note to p. 12, ¶ 2 describes the general fear among real estate agents south of San Francisco during the 1950s that they would be “blackballed” if they sold to African Americans in white neighborhoods. In 1963, the Sarasota, Florida, Real Estate Board expelled a member for selling a home to an African American physician in a white neighborhood.


IRS Support and Compliant Regulators

p. 100

When a few African Americans moved into the white middle-class neighborhood of Park Hill in Denver, real estate agents undertook a campaign to panic homeowners to sell at a discount. The agents then resold the homes to African Americans at a premium. Joni Noel, a white Denver schoolteacher who grew up in Park Hill, told me that in the late 1950s and early 1960s, real estate agents “were insistent and obnoxious. They called, they left cards. They knocked on the door. They mailed flyers. They had neighborhood meetings at schools, churches, and lodges. They made it very clear as they were pounding the For Sale signs in the ground next door and down the street that if we didn’t move we would be left in a ghetto and our home would be worthless and our lives would be in danger.” This activity could not have been unknown to the Colorado real estate licensing agency, but it took no action.

p. 102, ¶ 2

Spratt 1970.

p. 102, ¶ 3

Coleman 1982, 31–32.

p. 103, ¶ 1

Bob Jones University v. United States 1983, 586 (n. 24); Coleman 1982, 86, 127. The income tax system established by the Revenue Act of 1913, whose relevant provisions continue to this day, exempted from taxation churches, universities, and other “corporations, companies, or associations organized and conducted solely for charitable, religious, or educational purposes, including fraternal beneficiary associations.” The Revenue Act of 1917 permitted individual donors to deduct from their own income taxes contributions to tax-exempt organizations. Regulations of the Department of the Treasury that guide IRS decisions define charitable organizations that are eligible for tax exemption as those that, inter alia, work “to eliminate prejudice and discrimination.”

The Supreme Court has ruled that “allowance of a deduction cannot be permitted where this result ‘would frustrate sharply defined national or state policies proscribing particular types of conduct, evidenced by some governmental declaration thereof.’” Even before the Fair Housing Act of 1968, housing discrimination was unlawful under Section 1982 of the Civil Rights Acts of 1866. So although public attention was not focused on housing discrimination from the 1920s until the 1960s, granting a tax exemption to institutions that operated in violation of Section 1982 was contrary to “national or state policy” as well as a violation of the Fifth Amendment.

The Bob Jones case specifically concerned whether a racially discriminatory educational institution could receive tax-exempt status. The Court’s ruling was rooted in a recognition of national policy to eliminate school segregation, but the reasoning equally applies to government support, through tax policy, for any racially discriminatory institution.

p. 103, ¶ 2

Cote Brilliante Presbyterian Church online; Wright 2002, 77; Long and Johnson 1947, 82.

p. 104, ¶ 1

Miller 1946, 139; Brilliant 2010, 97. Neighborhood homeowners’ associations themselves are rarely tax-exempt; nor are contributions to them tax deductible. However, businesses seeking to protect their neighborhoods from integration sometimes inappropriately deducted contributions to segregation groups as business expenses. The Seattle Civil Rights Project has posted a copy of a 1948 leaflet distributed by the Capitol Hill Community Club of Seattle in which it solicited contributions for legal expenses incurred in the course of updating racially restrictive covenants in its neighborhood. The leaflet promises that contributions for this purpose are tax deductible as business expenses. I don’t know how widespread this practice was, or if it was sufficiently common that the IRS should have taken notice.

p. 104, ¶ 3

Long and Johnson 1947, 53, 83.

p. 105, ¶ 1

Plotkin 1999, 75, 118–19; Long and Johnson 1947, 74, 83. Wendy Plotkin to author, May 12, 2016.

p. 105, ¶ 3

Brilliant 2010, 94.

p. 105, ¶ 4

Hirsch 1983, 1998, 144–45; Plotkin 1999, 122–30. Arnold Hirsch concludes: “More than a passive supporter of these groups, the university was the spark and driving force behind them.”

p. 106, ¶ 2

NYT 1938; Greenhouse 1969. In 1968, twenty-four years after Parkchester opened for whites-only, the New York City Commission on Human Rights issued a formal complaint charging Metropolitan Life with a “deliberate, intentional, systematic, open and notorious” policy of refusing to rent to African Americans or Puerto Ricans. For the first twenty-two of those years, not a single nonwhite family was permitted to rent in Parkchester.

p. 106, ¶ 3

Caro 1975, 968; NYT 1947c; Weaver 1948, 227; Henderson 2000, 122; Dorsey v. Stuyvesant Town Corporation 1949; USCCR 1961, 121; Bagli 2010; NYT 1947a; NYT 1947b.

p. 107, ¶ 1

NYT 1947c; McEntire 1960, 264; Fordham Law Review 1957, 681; NYT 1950a; Buckley 2010; CUR 2011. Data for Stuyvesant Town include its adjoining twin project, Peter Cooper Village.

p. 107, ¶ 2

Caro 1975, 968. Robert Moses estimated that 37 percent of evictees from Stuyvesant Town and several similar demolitions were African American or Puerto Rican, about three times their share of the city’s population. Robert Caro, the Moses biographer, considers the Moses estimate low.

p. 108, ¶ 1

USCCR 1961, 36–37.

p. 108, ¶ 2

USCCR 1961, 42, 49–51, 45.

p. 109, ¶ 1

Davis v. Elmira Savings Bank 1896, 283. And see also Franklin National Bank v. New York 1954, 375: “The United States has set up a system of national banks as federal instrumentalities.”

p. 109, ¶ 2

Immergluck and Smith 2006.

p. 109, ¶ 3

Warren 2007; Nguyen 2011.

p. 110, ¶ 3

Bradford 2002, vii, 37, 69. Lower-income borrowers are those whose income is less than 80 percent of the median income in their metropolitan area. Higher-income borrowers are those whose income is more than 120 percent of the median. A predominantlyAfrican American (or white) census tract is one where at least 75 percent of residents are African American (or white).

p. 111, ¶ 1

Brooks and Simon 2007; Avery, Canner, and Cook 2005. Other studies (e.g., Squires, Hyra, and Renner 2009; Bocian and Zhai 2005) find similar racial disparities. These data are only suggestive. We would expect minority borrowers, on average, to have lower rates of qualification for conventional loans than white borrowers because, on average, minorities have less advantageous economic characteristics (income, assets, employment, etc.) that are relevant to creditworthiness. The data disparities, however, are so large that it is probable, though not certain, that creditworthiness alone cannot explain them.

Hispanic borrowers were also disproportionately exploited by aggressively marketed subprime loans.

p. 111, ¶ 2

Powell 2010; Donovan 2011; National Coalition for the Homeless et al. 2009.

p. 112, ¶ 2

Memphis and Shelby County 2011, 34, 33.

p. 112, ¶ 3

Baltimore 2011, 21–22.

p. 113, ¶ 1

Cleveland v. Ameriquest 2009, 26.

p. 113, ¶ 3

Stevenson and Goldstein 2016; NYT 2016. Census Bureau data show that African American homeownership rates fell from 50 percent in 2004 to 42 percent in 2016, while white rates fell only from 76 percent to 72 percent.

p. 113, ¶ 4

Some critics charged that the housing bubble and subsequent collapse was caused not merely by federal regulators’ failure to restrain irresponsible and racially targeted subprime lending but also by active federal encouragement of the practice. According to this theory, the federal government pressured banks to increase lending to low-income and minority borrowers, with the threat of government sanctions under the Community Reinvestment Act of 1974 if banks did not do so. The critics claimed that banks were unable to satisfy government regulators’ demands for more loans in minority communities without lending to unqualified homeowners. This is an unpersuasive claim. It cannot explain why, for example, so many subprime loans were issued to minority borrowers who qualified for conventional loans. The Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) applied only to banks and thrift institutions that accepted consumer deposits. Such banks represented only a small share of institutions that made subprime loans that were foreclosed after the housing bubble collapsed in 2008. Barr (2009, 172) finds that only about 25 percent of all subprime loans were made by institutions covered by the CRA. Most were made by independent mortgage bankers and brokers who were not coveredby the law. Many of those loans were then purchased by nondepository institutions, such as Lehman Brothers or Bear Stearns, who could have been under no pressure to do so by CRA regulators. Nonetheless, although the CRA could not have been responsible for the housing bubble, regulators did not interfere with racially motivated subprime targeting when banks and thrifts did engage in it.


Local Tactics

p. 115, ¶ 1

Johnson 1993, 91–93; Hayward Area Historical Society online; Stiles 2015; Self 2003, 113. David Bohannon’s leading role as a mass-production builder was confirmed by his election, in 1941, as the first president of the National Association of Home Builders. Later, his contribution to racial segregation went unmentioned when, in 1958, he was elected national president of the influential research group for planners, the Urban Land Institute (praising him as “one of the West Coast’s most successful land developers and community builders”); or when he was selected, in 1986, as the annual honoree of the California Homebuilding Foundation and a member of its Hall of Fame for having “enriched the homebuilding industry through innovation, public service, and philanthropy.”

p. 115, ¶ 2

Architectural Forum 1945; San Lorenzo Village, mid-1950s.

p. 116, ¶ 1

Devincenzi, Gilsenan, and Levine 2004, 24–26.

p. 116, ¶ 2

Moore 2000, 110. The AFSC’s Social-Industrial Committee was chaired during much of the period discussed here by Clark Kerr, chancellor of the University of California at Berkeley. He was a prominent advocate of racial integration and was also admired for refusing to fire faculty who had refused to sign an anti-Communist loyalty oath. But in 1964 he became the symbol of opposition to students’ right to “free speech” on campus, during protests against segregation and the Vietnam War. He was later denied appointment as secretary of health, education, and welfare by President Lyndon Johnson because the FBI deemed him subversive.

In 2013, Stephen McNeil, the assistant regional director of the AFSC’s western regional office in San Francisco, permitted me to comb through, read, and copy its relevant files from the 1940s and 1950s. The documents cover the AFSC’s efforts to assist Ford’s African American workers when the plant was located in Richmond and later when they sought housing in the Milpitas area. Much of the account in Section I of Chapter 8 relies on information in the minutes and correspondence of the AFSC’s San Francisco executive committee and Social-Industrial Committee, including reports of Phil Buskirk who directed these efforts, supervised by Kerr’s committee.

After my research at the San Francisco AFSC office was completed, the organization shipped all its files from this period to AFSC headquarters in Philadelphia for archiving. I cannot identify the present archive location of specific minutes, reports, and correspondence on which my account relies. However, my description of the search for racially integrated housing in the Milpitas area is based in important respects on these AFSC records, although letters and minutes are not individually described in the notes that follow here. Where publicly available sources are available, I cite them, but in many cases these are less informative than the AFSC documents.

p. 116, ¶ 3

Sources for the account of efforts to find integrated housing near Milpitas, beginning with this paragraph and continuing through the description of the opening of Sunnyhills, include, in addition to San Francisco office AFSC documents: Bernstein 1955; Bloom 1955a; Bloom 1955b; Briggs 1982, 5–9, 12; Callan 1960, 800–1; Daily Palo Alto Times 1955; Grant 1992; Grier and Grier 1960, 80–85; Grier and Grier 1962, 7–11; Hanson 1955; Harris 1955a; Harris 1955b; Oliver 1955; Oliver 1957, 3–5; Oliver and Callan 1955; San Francisco News1955; San Jose Evening News 1955; San Jose Mercury 1955; San Jose News 1957; Self 2003, 114; Stevenson 2013, 2015; UAW 1979; USCCR 1961, 136–37.

p. 117, ¶ 2

Several sources repeat the story of a town near the Ford plant that increased its minimum lot size from 6,000 to 8,000 square feet to prevent an integrated project from being built. But I’ve not been able to identify the town by name.

p. 119, ¶ 3

Mort Levine, who had been editor of the Milpitas Post at the time, told me in a March 6, 2013, interview that he did not believe that the sewer connection fees were increased for racial reasons, but rather that the original calculation had been flawed. I have no way to evaluate the accuracy of this statement, but the irregular procedure by which the meeting to raise the fee was convened, as well as the open racial motivations of other participants, suggest that the decision was at least in part racially motivated, if not entirely so.

p. 120, ¶ 1

Although California had no open housing law at the time, Brown may have relied on the equal protection clauses of the state or federal constitutions, or perhaps on an argument based on two earlier California Supreme Court rulings (e.g., James v. Marinship1944, 739) that racial discrimination is “contrary to the public policy of the United States and this state [and that the] United States Constitution has long prohibited governmental action discriminating against persons because of race or color.” Brown’s complaint, however, never got to the stage of an actual filing.

p. 120, ¶ 3

In 1950, a provision permitting FHA insurance of loans to cooperatives was added to the National Housing Act, and in 1959 projects that were originally constructed as separate units were permitted to convert to co-ops and gain the benefits of the lower rates that followed from FHA endorsement. It was to take advantage of this provision that the UAW converted its Sunnyhills project to a cooperative. It is unclear why the FHA was willing to support integrated developments if they were organized as co-ops but not if they were individually owned. Section 213 was designed to encourage construction of lower-cost units for working-class families. Perhaps the FHA was willing to tolerate integration in lower-priced working-class developments from a belief that such a policy would not undermine its promotion of segregation in more middle-class suburbs. More likely, I think, is that administrators of Section 213 projects, favorable toward cooperatives, were more liberal on racial issues than administrators of the regular FHA program, who mostly came to the government from the real estate industry. In earlier years, when the FHA refused to endorse integrated co-ops (as in the case of the cooperative that Wallace Stegner helped to lead, or the co-op that Lombard, Illinois, families tried to establish), the cooperatives had to appeal to regular FHA administrators. Now, in the 1950s and 1960s, they had a special group within the FHA to which their banks could apply.

p. 121, ¶ 1

Milpitas Post 1955 or 1956.

p. 121, ¶ 3

Theobold 2004; Smith 1967, 600; Reagan 1967, 592. The Trailmobile plant moved from Berkeley to Fremont, a town adjacent to Milpitas. The plant manager’s explanation for not hiring African American workers may not have been well founded. The general counsel of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights asked the personnel manager of a Fremont furniture manufacturer (that also had workers who commuted from their homes in Oakland) whether absenteeism from long-distance commuting was a serious problem. The manager responded, “I think that we probably have a greater degree of tardiness and absenteeism among our employees who probably live closer in. We find that in most cases. The people across the street are the ones that are always late.”

p. 123, ¶ 1

Grier and Grier 1960, 86–87; Chester Times 1955; Chester Times 1956; Evening Bulletin 1955.

p. 123, ¶ 3

USCCR 1961, 132–34; Progress v. Mitchell 1960, 712; Lathers 1960; Time 1959; Time 1960. The federal court also found that the developer did not have “clean hands” because it proposed to maintain a quota system of 80 percent white and 20 percent black purchasers, and to require contracts to compel purchasers to resell the property only to subsequent buyers of the same race, to maintain the project’s racial balance. Such contracts would be unenforceable in court. This squeamishness about racial quotas as a means of transitioning to an integrated society has since characterized federal court approaches to race. The federal courts previously did not hesitate to approve quotas of 100 percent white and zero percent black, and they now felt no obligation to come up with practical ways to undo that history. This decision was a harbinger of today’s jurisprudence, in which Chief Justice John Roberts asserts that the way to end discrimination by race is simply to end discrimination by race.

p. 124, ¶ 3

USCCR 1961, 135–36; Creve Coeur v. Weinstein 1959, 404.

p. 125, ¶ 1

Herbers 1970; Ayres, 1971; Rosenthal 1971a; Rosenthal 1971b; Gordon 2008, 147–50; Park View Heights v. Black Jack 1972; U.S. v. Black Jack 1974, 1185 (n. 3), 1186 (internal quotation marks have been eliminated and emphasis added).

p. 127, ¶ 2

Mohl 2000, 230–34.

p. 128, ¶ 2

Schwartz 1976, 485 (n. 481).

p. 128, ¶ 3

Garrett v. Hamtramck 1974, 1239, 1246 (italics added); USCCR 1961, 100; Garrett v. Hamtramck 1975, 1156–57.

p. 129, ¶ 2

Mohl 2001, 340–44; Mohl 1987, 14.

p. 129, ¶ 3

Mohl 2000, 239.

p. 130, ¶ 1

McWilliams 1949; California Eagle 1943b; Sides 2003, 124; California Eagle 1954. A similar rezoning had been attempted several years before at the behest of economically pressed property owners who sought white renters, but it had been vetoed by Los Angeles’s mayor.

p. 131, ¶ 1

USCCR 1961, 99–100; Mohl 2000, 231; Schwartz 1976, 483; Mohl 2002, 16–18.

p. 132, ¶ 2

Busch 2013, 981–83; McGhee 2015, 6, 7, 15, 21–22; Koch & Fowler 1928, 57; Busch 2015.

p. 133, ¶ 3

Benjamin 2012b. Karen Benjamin provided additional detail and documents regarding the use of school placements to segregate Raleigh and Atlanta in e-mail correspondence and telephone calls with me in November 2015. I am especially grateful to her for providing me with a copy of the Atlanta School Board minutes of July 9, 1919.

p. 135, ¶ 1

Benjamin 2012a.

p. 136, ¶ 1

Benjamin 2013. Karen Benjamin plans to develop these accounts in greater detail in a forthcoming book, Segregation Built to Last: Schools and the Construction of Segregated Housing Patterns in the New South.


State-Sanctioned Violence

p. 139, ¶ 1

Beckles online; Moore 2000, 116–18; Barbour 1952, 26; Rollingwood Improvement Association Board 1952; Wenkert 1967, 44; Toledo Blade 1952; Milwaukee Journal 1952.

p. 140, ¶ 3

Kushner 2009, 83, 88, 91, 100–1, 116, 136–37, 140, 147, 154, 157, 163, 167–70, 175, 181–82; Yardley 2009; Bobker and Becker 1957; Weart 1957.

p. 142, ¶ 2

In 1969 York, Pennsylvania, the city to which the Myers family retreated, was the site of a violent confrontation between whites and African Americans. It resulted in the deaths of a policeman and of an African American woman who took a wrong turn and drove through a white neighborhood. The woman’s death was not investigated until 2000, when alleged perpetrators were arrested, including the city’s then mayor. A police officer in 1969, he was accused of distributing ammunition to the civilians who killed the woman, and he admitted having shouted “white power” to incite the civilians to riot. But more than thirty years after the fact, witnesses’ testimony about the distribution of ammunition was not persuasive to an all-white jury, and the mayor was acquitted; two civilians who fired shots that killed the woman were convicted.

p. 143, ¶ 4

Rubinowitz and Perry 2002, 350; Spear 1967, 22.

p. 144, ¶ 1

Tuttle 1970, 266–82; Bell 2008, 540; Rubinowitz and Perry 2002, 381.

p. 144, ¶ 3

Hirsch 1983, 1998, 52–53. Weaver (1948, 96) reports that all forty-six were arson-bombings.

p. 145, ¶ 1

Time 1951; Hirsch 1983, 200; Wilkerson 2010, 373–75; Loewen 2005, 10–11; Coates 2014.

p. 145, ¶ 2

The charges against Harvey Clark and his associates were later dropped.

p. 145, ¶ 3

Hirsch 1995, 537 and throughout; Hirsch 1983, 1998, 97–99. Donald and Betty Howard were the first African American family to move in to the Trumbull Park Homes. They could do so only because Betty Howard was fair-skinned, and the project manager accepted her application without realizing that she “might be Negro.” Once the Howards’ residence was a fait accompli and neighbors belatedly decided that the family was African American, the violence began. After the Howards moved in to Trumbull Park, the authority accepted a few other African Americans into the project. The housing authority had an official policy of nondiscrimination but followed an actual policy of segregation.

p. 146, ¶ 1

Royko 1971, 123–37.

p. 146, ¶ 2

Sugrue 1993, 111–12; Zineski and Kenyon 1968, 6.

p. 147, ¶ 1

Bauman 1987, 161–62.

p. 147, ¶ 2

Rubinowitz and Perry 2002, 381; Sides 2003, 102–6; Miller 1965b, 5; Miller 1965a, 11; Robertson 1952; Wilkerson 2010, 232, 330, 331.

p. 147, ¶ 3

Bell 2008, 543, 546–47; Smothers 1990.

p. 148, ¶ 2

Braden 1958; Fosl 1989.

p. 150, ¶ 2

Marshall v. Bramer 1987. Two perpetrators, one of whom was the brother-in-law of the Klan member at whose home a Klan rally was held, were convicted of committing the initial firebombing. The Marshalls were attempting to identify the perpetrators of the arson attack that destroyed their home. The Marshalls were unsuccessful, but if a police department where twenty officers were Klan members wanted to identify the perpetrators, it could surely have done so.


Suppressed Incomes

p. 154, ¶ 4

Wilkerson 2010, 50–54, 150–53, 160–72; Lemann 1991, 17–23, 48.

p. 154, ¶ 5

Blackmon 2008, 7, 9, 91, 94, 289, 381; McPherson 1996.

p. 155, ¶ 1

Wilkerson 2010, 161, 556.

p. 155, ¶ 3

Katznelson 2005; Wolters 1969, 143; Dowden-White 2011, 175.

p. 156, ¶ 1

Houston and Davis 1934, 291; Fishel 1964–65, 113.

p. 156, ¶ 2

Fishel 1964–65, 113–14; Katznelson 2013, 241–42; Davis 1933, 271.

p. 157, ¶ 1

Fishel 1964–65, 115; Kifer 1961, 3–61; Foreman 1974; Hills 2010, 27–28.

p. 158, ¶ 1

Wolters 1969, 143, 148–52.

p. 159, ¶ 1

Archibald 1947, 130–31.

p. 159, ¶ 2

Wenkert 1967, 16–17; Brown 1973, 1; Johnson 1993, 46–48.

p. 159, ¶ 3

Stevenson 2007, 2–00:08–13. Johnson, Long, and Jones 1944, 67; Goodwin 1994, 228. In a memo to Eleanor Roosevelt during a 1941 strike for union recognition at a Ford plant in Dearborn, Michigan, Mary McCleod Bethune (director of Negro affairs in the National Youth Administration and founder of the National Council of Negro Women) wrote that Ford had earned the loyalty of African American workers (who at first opposed and refused to participate in the strike) because Ford had employed “more Negroes in skilled and semi-skilled capacities than any other auto manufacturer.”

p. 159, ¶ 4

Wollenberg 1990, 74; Johnson 1993, 65, 69; Moore 2000, 54; Quivik undated 162ff; Goodwin 1994, 247.

p. 160, ¶ 1

Moore 2000, 59–60; Johnson 1993, 71–73; Quivik undated, 162–69; Johnson, Long, and Jones 1944, 71–72; Marshall 1944, 77; Archibald 1947, 83–84; Record 1947, 11; Broussard 1993, 157; Rubin 1972, 35.

p. 160, ¶ 2

Quivik undated, 164; Marshall 1944, 77–78; Northrup 1943, 206–8.

p. 160, ¶ 3

Postal Record 2011, 8ff. Racial discrimination by recognized federal unions was banned by Presidential Executive Order 10988, January 17, 1962.

p. 161, ¶ 2

Independent Metal Workers 1964.

p. 161, ¶ 3

Burns 1970, 123–24; Goodwin 1994, 246–53; Broussard 1993, 148–51.

p. 163, ¶ 1

Burns 1970, 264; Afro American 1942. Because he took positions such as urging the mob to refrain from violence against Andrew Wade, Ethridge had a national reputation as a racial liberal. He died in 1981, and a New York Times obituary eulogized him as “one of the most respected figures in American journalism,” adding that “[l]ong before it was fashionable, or even safe, Mr. Ethridge denounced racism and repression and condemned the poverty he saw in a nation of plenty. Small, round-faced and pink-cheeked, he spoke out in a lyrical Southern accent against prejudice and provincialism.”

p. 163, ¶ 2

Moore 2000, 54–55; France 1962, 68.

p. 163, ¶ 3

Broussard 1993, 151–52, 154–57; Broussard 2001, 198; Ungaretti 2012, 126–27; Angelou 1969, 2015, 258ff. It seems from the context of Maya Angelou’s autobiography that she was about sixteen when she got the streetcar job, in 1943 or 1944. She stated that she was “hired as the first Negro on the San Francisco streetcars,” but Audley Cole, a motorman, and perhaps other African Americans preceded her in 1942. Angelou may have meant that she was the first African American conductress.

p. 165, ¶ 1

Wollenberg 1981, 269–71; Moore 2000, 61; Wollenberg 1990, 78–82; France 1962, 69–72; Quivik undated, 164–66; Johnson 1993, 73; James v. Marinship 1944, 739.

p. 166, ¶ 1

Johnson 1993, 81; Foner 1974, 247; Goodwin 1994, 246–47; Whelan et al. 1997 (not paginated re: St. Louis plant); O’Neil 2010.

p. 167, ¶ 2

Katznelson 2005, 136–37; Herbold 1994–95; Onkst 1998; Turner and Bound 2002; Tygiel 1983, 59ff; Vernon 2008. The historical novel OK, Joe by Louis Guilloux (translated by Alice Kaplan) reports that African American GIs in liberated France who were accused of rape were frequently executed, while white GIs accused of identical crimes were lightly punished or sent home. If the disparity in treatment was equally extreme for discharge status, then African Americans, who were disproportionally discharged with less-than-honorable status, were disproportionately disqualified for GI Bill job training, employment, and educational benefits.

p. 168, ¶ 1

Myrdal 1944, 417–18; de Graaf and Taylor 2001, 28.

p. 168, ¶ 2

Sugrue 1993, 107–8. Even if Michigan’s law had been vigorously enforced, and it was not, 1955 was too late to enable African Americans to participate fully in the postwar employment and housing construction booms.

p. 168, ¶ 3

USCCR 1967, 119 (n. 78), 55–57; Hayes 1972, 78 (table 4-2).

p. 169, ¶ 1

Swarns 2015.

p. 170, ¶ 1

Bremer et al. 1979, 24–26. The report actually says that the chances were less than one in a thousand. Because the researchers’ data calculations are no longer available, and the possibility of a typographical error cannot be excluded, I use the more conservative estimate of one in a hundred.

p. 170, ¶ 3

Lyons 1982, 74.

p. 170, ¶ 4

Oldman and Aaron 1965, 42 (table III), 48. West Roxbury is near but not adjacent to Roxbury.

p. 171, ¶ 1

Karhl 2015, 13 (fig. 1).

p. 171, ¶ 2

Little 1973, 2 (table A), 12 (table 1.2)

p. 171, ¶ 4

Karhl 2015; Capps 2015.

p. 172, ¶ 3

Hughes 1940, 27; Clark and Perlman 1947, 30; Kimble 2007, 422; Woofter 1928, 126–27. The FHA defined overcrowding as more than one person per room and doubling-up as more than one family sharing a single housing unit.

p. 173, ¶ 2

Velie 1946, 112, 17; Weaver 1948, 119.

p. 173, ¶ 3

Weaver 1948, 36–37, 60–61.

p. 174, ¶ 1

Weaver 1948, 104, 119. Brown et al. (2003, 22–25) refer to this process as African Americans’ “disaccumulation of wealth,” in contrast to whites’ accumulation of wealth in housing.

p. 174, ¶ 3

Dunn 2013; Rosenhaus 1971; Herbert 1971; SAI 1972; Nix, undated.


Looking Forward, Looking Back

p. 177, ¶ 2

Mondale 2015; Schill and Friedman 1999; Hannah-Jones 2013; Tegeler 2013. Throughout this book, FHA refers to the Federal Housing Administration, not to the Fair Housing Act.

The floor leader for the Fair Housing Act in the Senate was Walter Mondale, a senator from Minnesota who later served as vice president under Jimmy Carter and was the Democratic nominee for president in 1984. In 1968, as they had done successfully in 1966, southern Democrats engaged in a filibuster against the bill. Senator Mondale was one vote short of the sixty-seven needed to end debate (to invoke “cloture”). The vice president at the time was Hubert Humphrey, serving under Lyndon Johnson. Recently, Mondale recalled how he got the Fair Housing Act passed in the Senate. “So I went to Humphrey, and I said, ‘What do I do?’ He said ‘call Lyndon Johnson,’ so I called the president (which you don’t do every day), and I told him our predicament. He said, ‘Well, do you know of any vote that could be cast for this where the person wouldn’t be hurt, where they would not have any trouble politically?’ And I said, ‘Well, the senator from Alaska could do it, but he’s against cloture. But he also wants a housing project in downtown Anchorage,’ and the president said ‘Thank you’ and hung up. So the next morning we’re on the floor: ‘Will we get cloture?’—most people didn’t think we would do it—and just as the vote tally was ending I saw the senator from Alaska come through the back door and vote ‘aye’ and we passed fair housing, we got the cloture on the fourth vote, no votes to spare but we got it! Then the bill went to the House.”

Enforcement of the Fair Housing Act has been weak, but neither has it been absent. Middle-class African Americans are now minimally present in many predominantly white suburbs. (Levittown is now 1 percent African American.) Under the 1968 act, individuals who had suffered from housing discrimination could file complaints with the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), but the department could attempt only to “conciliate” the parties; it had no enforcement powers. Complainants could file private lawsuits with punitive damages capped at $1,000. The Department of Justice could file civil suits against systematic perpetrators of discrimination but not on behalf of single individuals. The Fair Housing Act was amended in 1988 to establish a system of HUD administrative law judges to resolve presumptively valid complaints that came from state and local fair housing agencies, but HUD’s enforcement activities have been focused more on discrimination based on family status and disability than on race. Audit studies (where matched pairs of African American and white testers pose as potential buyers or renters and attempt to secure housing) continue to show ongoing racial discrimination in housing.

p. 179, ¶ 1

Santow and Rothstein 2012; Rothstein 2013, 14 (table 7); Orfield et al. 2016, 4–5 (table 1). The increased segregation results both from the failure to desegregate neighborhoods and from the declining share of white students in public schools. In New York State, 66 percent of African American students attend schools where fewer than 10 percent of students are white; in Illinois, 60 percent of African American students do so; in Mississippi, it is 45 percent; and in Alabama, 42 percent.

p. 180, ¶ 4

Data are from the Census, with additional analysis by Valerie Wilson, an economist at the Economic Policy Institute.

p. 182, ¶ 1

Baxandall and Ewen 2000, 131, 164. Wealth from the sale of a home consists of the sale price, less the purchase price and any investments made in remodeling during the intervening years. While remodeling was frequently extensive for homes bought in the post–World War II period by returning veterans and other lower-middle-class families, the cost of this remodeling was sometimes modest. Many of the urban men who participated in suburbanization during this period were skilled workers who had craft knowledge and maintenance skills, and who remodeled their homes themselves or with help from neighbors, with less subcontracting costs than might have been expected.

p. 183, ¶ 3

The same is true for children whose parents have incomes anywhere in the distribution. In a perfectly mobile society, not only would the poorest children have the same chance as anyone else to be rich, but the richest children would have the same chance as anyone else to be poor. This is all a bit oversimplified, however. Even in a fully equal opportunity society, if a large number of lower-earning immigrants came to the country, native children born to lower-earning parents would have a better-than-random chance of having adult incomes higher in the income distribution. And conversely, if a large number of higher-earning immigrants came to the country, native children born to lower-earning parents would have a worse chance of having adult incomes higher in the income distribution. A second qualification is that if low-earning parents typically have more children than higher-earning parents, then children born to lower-earning parents would have a better chance of having adult incomes higher in the income distribution. Because we have recently had more lower-wage immigrants than higher-wage immigrants, and because lower-income parents do have more children than higher-income parents, these two qualifications offset each other, if not perfectly.

p. 184, ¶ 1

Lopoo and DeLeire 2012, 6 (fig. 3). These estimates compare the average income of parents over a five-year period with the average income of their children when these children were approximately the same age as the parents were when the initial income data were collected.

p. 184, ¶ 2

Lopoo and DeLeire 2012, 20 (fig. 15). Part of the explanation for the lower mobility of African Americans than whites is probably that, comparing African Americans and whites who are poor during a five-year period of their adulthood, African Americans are more likely than whites to be poor both before and after that five-year period. African American poverty is more likely a permanent or long-term circumstance than white poverty.

p. 184, ¶ 3

Federal Reserve Board online. Microdata analysis by Valerie Wilson of the Economic Policy Institute.

p. 185, ¶ 2

Lopoo and DeLeire 2012, 15 (fig. 11).

p. 185, ¶ 3

Lopoo and DeLeire 2012, 21 (fig. 15).

p. 185, ¶ 5

Wilhelm 2001, 141 (table 4.2).

p. 186, ¶ 2

Sharkey 2013, 27 (fig. 2.1), 38 (fig. 2.6).

p. 187, ¶ 1

Sharkey 2013, 39.

p. 187, ¶ 2

Morsy and Rothstein 2015; Rothstein 2004.

p. 189, ¶ 1

Baltimore Sun 1975; Gutierrez et al., 30.

p. 189, ¶ 2

Dresser and Broadwater 2015.

p. 190, ¶ 2

Leviner 2004; Khadduri, Buron, and Climaco 2006, 7.

p. 190, ¶ 3

McClure, Schwartz, and Taghavi 2014; Sard and Rice 2014, 35 (fig. 7); Sard and Rice 2016, 26 (table A-1). The tax credit and Section 8 programs also support housing for senior citizens; projects for the elderly are more likely to be found in middle-class neighborhoods. The text refers only to family units.

p. 191, ¶ 1

ICP 2008.

p. 191, ¶ 2

Texas Dept. of Housing v. Inclusive Communities Project 2015.


Considering Fixes

p. 194

Bernestine Williams moved to Plano with a higher-value Section 8 voucher, the result of the 1985 civil rights lawsuit Walker v. HUD against the Dallas Housing Authority and HUD. She raised her two children in Plano. College is typical for students who attend schools in integrated communities like Plano, and both of her children are now in college. This is the type of outcome for which the housing mobility programs aim.

p. 195, ¶ 2

Levine et al. 2014; Levine and Stark 2015; American Psychological Association 2015, 27; Wells, Fox, and Cobo 2016. One set of experiments gave groups of financial experts information about the underlying characteristics of simulated stocks. Racially and ethnically diverse groups estimated values for the stocks that were closer to their true values than racially and ethnically homogenous groups. In a brief filed with the Supreme Court in a recent affirmative action case, the American Psychological Association presented summaries of research demonstrating that in discussion groups, “the presence of minority individuals stimulates an increase in the complexity with which students—especially members of the majority—approach a given issue.”

p. 196, ¶ 4

CDC 2016; Edozien 2004. The nationwide asthma rate for African American children is 13.7 percent, for white children 7.6 percent. The New York City health commissioner reported in 2004 that while asthma rates overall were declining, “[t]he asthma hospitalization rate among children under 5 years of age living in low-income neighborhoods is four times that of children living in high-income neighborhoods.” In that year, asthma was the leading cause of absenteeism in New York City schools.

p. 199, ¶ 1

Danzer et al. 2012, 288, 492, 506.

p. 199, ¶ 4

Lapsansky-Werner et al. 2016, 304, 431–32, 449. The boldface emphasis of “de facto segregation” is how the textbook presents the term, expecting that this will help students remember the importance that the textbook authors assign to the concept.

p. 200, ¶ 2

Sewall (online) attempts to keep track of the most commonly used textbooks. I’ve looked at many, but not all, of the textbooks he lists.

p. 201, ¶ 1

For a summary account of Romney’s Open Communities plan, and its fate, see Santow and Rothstein 2012. It draws on Romney 1969; Herbers 1969; Lilley 1970; Bonastia 2006; Danielson 1976; McDonald 1970; Lamb 2005, and Lemann 1991, 209.

p. 203, ¶ 2

Sharkey 2014, 925 (table 2). The data are from 2000. Sharkey defines a middle-class family as one with annual income of at least $30,000, and a “severely disadvantaged” census tract as one where the concentration of welfare receipt, poverty, unemployment, female-headed households, and young children is more than two standard deviations above the national average.

p. 204, ¶ 2

This is not intended as a fully developed proposal. Metropolitan areas with smaller African American populations would require a different fair share definition. Perhaps, for example, metropolitan areas with a black population of 10 percent should define their suburbs as segregated if their African American population is less than 5 percent.

p. 205, ¶ 1

Racioppi and Akin 2015; O’Dea 2015; Krefetz 2000–1; Herr 2002; Smart Growth America 2016; Massey et al. 2013. In New Jersey until 2008, towns (in practice, towns with wealthier residents) were permitted to evade this requirement by paying other towns to assume their fair share obligations. Legislation prohibiting this arrangement was adopted in 2008. In 2015, the New Jersey Supreme Court, confronted with foot-dragging by wealthy towns and by the governor, removed responsibility for planning fair share developments from towns and made this a judicial function.

The Massachusetts 40B program, adopted in 1969, overrides local exclusionary zoning laws in jurisdictions where less than 10 percent of existing housing is “affordable”—i.e., where rents or purchase payments can reasonably be made by families whoseincome is 80 percent or less than the area’s median income. For developers to take advantage of this flexibility, at least 25 percent of the units in their projects must be permanently affordable, after federal subsidies for low- and moderate-income housing have been used. Since the law’s passage, the number of jurisdictions where less than 10 percent of their housing stock is affordable has declined.

p. 206, ¶ 1

Schwartz 2010.

p. 206, ¶ 2

Boger 1993.

p. 207, ¶ 2

Berdahl-Baldwin 2015; Donovan 2015; Darrah and DeLuca 2014. The criteria for participation in the Baltimore program are somewhat more complex than described here but not substantially different.

p. 208, ¶ 3

Berdahl-Baldwin 2015. Other cities with modest programs that assist voucher holders in moving to lower poverty areas include Buffalo, Chicago and Cook County (Illinois), Cincinnati, Connecticut cities that are highly segregated, Minneapolis, Philadelphia, Richmond (VA), San Diego, Seattle (King County), Yonkers, and perhaps others.

p. 208, ¶ 4

Sard and Rice 2014, 38, 51, 53–57; Metzger 2014, 556; McClure, Schwartz, and Taghavi 2014, 3.

p. 209, ¶ 1

Analysis of Housing Choice Voucher eligibility and use from Census and HUD administrative data was provided to author by Alicia Mazzara and Barbara Sard of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, May 23, 2016.

p. 209, ¶ 3

Section 8 priorities are presently established for emergencies—for families that must move because of domestic violence, or for homeless families, for example. I do not suggest that a priority for families willing to move to high-opportunity communities should replace emergency preferences, but it should follow them.

p. 209, ¶ 4

Sard and Rice 2014, 38, 51, 54. Perversely, targeting the voucher amount to a metropolitan-wide median rent also results in voucher amounts that are too high for low-income minority neighborhoods. Landlords in those neighborhoods frequently raise their rents above what market conditions support in order to capture this excessive payment.

p. 210, ¶ 1

HUD 2016.

p. 210, ¶ 2

Sard and Rice 2014, 38, 50–53. Section 8 is also needlessly bureaucratic. HUD requires a special health and safety inspection of apartments before voucher recipients can rent them. This is a well-meaning rule, but there can be more efficient coordination between municipalities’ regular building and health inspections and the standards established by HUD.

p. 210, ¶ 3

Sard and Rice 2014, 56–57.

p. 210, ¶ 4

For a summary of other advisable reforms in government housing programs, see Tegeler, Haberle, and Gayles 2013.

p. 211, ¶ 1

Kirp 1982, 123.

p. 211, ¶ 2

Rubin 1972, 79.

p. 211, ¶ 3

Rubin 1972, 78, 127–33; Kirp 1982, 121, 123, 128–29, 138.

p. 212, ¶ 1

Kirp 1982, 130–43.

p. 212, ¶ 2

Hamachi 1954, 96.

p. 212, ¶ 3

Kirp 1982, 142–44.


Frequently Asked Questions

p. 220, ¶ 1

Wolgemuth 1959, 166; Unger 2015.

p. 220, ¶ 2

Foreman 1974; Guzda 1980, 32.

p. 220, ¶ 3

Roosevelt online; Goodwin 1994, 370–71.

p. 220, ¶ 4

White 1942, 214.

p. 221, ¶ 1

Ashmore 1989, 307; Mayer 1993, 275–76, 380. In an interview over two decades later, Hutchins recalled that Shelley v. Kraemer was decided “a few months” after he decided not to resign. Hutchins’s memory, or the notes of his biographer, Milton Mayer, were faulty. Shelley v. Kraemer was decided nine years after he made this decision, and during those nine years, the segregation of Chicago’ South Side became more rigid.

Segregation wasn’t the only issue where Hutchins chose to go along rather than follow his conscience. He was also a pacifist and opponent of American participation in World War II, yet he acceded to requests of the military that he oversee the project to develop the atomic bomb. Mayer was a tough interviewer, and his exchange with Hutchins about the atomic bomb, following their discussion of segregating the university area, is worth reflecting upon before being tempted to succumb to a “standards of the time” explanation for racial segregation:

Mayer: I think you care . . . that you’ve been against an awful lot of things that cause war, but when war comes and the bugle blows, it’s Hutchins in the front line.

Hutchins: That’s right.

Mayer: With that prospect before you, would you do the same thing again?

Hutchins: No.

Mayer: Why not?

Hutchins: Because I’m brighter now. . . . You get bright too late. There are all kinds of things that I would have done and would not have done if I had been as bright as I am now. Perhaps contributing to the segregation of Chicago was one of those things.

p. 226, ¶ 4

Kennedy 2013, 18; Boddie 2015. In June 2016 the Supreme Court rejected Abigail Fisher’s challenge to affirmative action, but ongoing criticisms of affirmative action will undoubtedly continue.

p. 227, ¶ 5

Katznelson 2013, 159–60; Goodwin 1994, 163. Roosevelt told NAACP leader Walter White, “If I come out for the anti-lynching bill, they [the southerners in Congress] will block every bill I ask Congress to pass to keep America from collapsing. I just can’t take that risk.”

p. 228, ¶ 2

Larson 2011, 30–31, 38, 39, 130, 235; Goodwin 1994, 100, 173, 397; Olson 2013, 381–82. New Deal leaders were not only bigoted against African Americans; many were also anti-Semitic. In the 1930s, a number of Franklin Roosevelt’s State and War Department officials were personally sympathetic to Hitler’s persecution of Jews in Germany, even if they thought Hitler a bit extreme in his methods. Those officials had little inclination to admit Jewish refugees to the United States or to make impeding the operation of Hitler’s death camps a military concern. William J. Carr, assistant secretary of state in charge of the consular service in the Roosevelt administration, referred to Jews as “kikes” and, after a visit to Detroit, complained that the city was full of “dust, smoke, dirt, Jews.” To make it difficult, if not impossible, for Jews fleeing Germany to enter the United States, the State Department rigidly enforced a law that required immigrants to provide a police affidavit from their home countries attesting to their good character, a requirement with which Jewish refugees from Nazi Germany could not comply. The diary of Breckinridge Long, head of the State Department’s visa department, was “filled with invective against Jews, Catholics, New Yorkers, liberals, and in fact everybody who was not of his own particular background.” William F. Dodd, the American ambassador to Germany, said that while he did not “approve of the ruthlessness that is being applied to the Jews here [in Germany] . . . I have said very frankly that they [the Germans] had a very serious problem. . . . The Jews had held a great many more of the key positions in Germany than their numbers or their talents entitled them to.” In a meeting with German foreign minister Konstantin von Neurath, Dodd assured him: “[W]e have had difficulty now and then in the United States with Jews who had gotten too much of a hold on certain departments of intellectual and business life.” Dodd went on to assure Neurath that some of his State Department colleagues “appreciated the difficulties of the Germans in this respect but they did not for a moment agree with the method of solving the problem which so often ran into utter ruthlessness.”

p. 228, ¶ 3

Weaver 1948, 217; Kushner 1979, 599 (n. 118).

p. 229, ¶ 4

For whites, the comparable numbers are 38, 44, and 93 percent. Data on educational attainment are from the U.S. Department of Education, National Center on Education Statistics. The high school completion rate includes students who dropped out and studied for and then took a high school diploma equivalency exam. This may include some who studied for and took the exam while in prison. There is some evidence that labor market outcomes for holders of a diploma equivalent are worse, on average, than outcomes for holders of regular diplomas. However, if dropouts disproportionately come from the bottom of the cohort achievement distribution, then outcomes for holders of equivalency exams are probably better than those of comparable students who remained in school and got regular diplomas. Both for those who took the exam in prison and those who took it without being incarcerated, studying for the equivalency exam is evidence of strong motivation and responsibility.

p. 229, ¶ 5

Lyons and Pettit 2011, 258; Alexander 2010, 6–7, 97; Braman 2004, 33, using data from the Washington, D.C. Department of Corrections, estimates that three in four African American men in that city can expect to spend some time in prison during their lifetimes.

p. 230, ¶ 1

Morsy and Rothstein (2016).

p. 230, ¶ 2

Morsy and Rothstein (2015, 19–22) summarize what is known about racial differences in lead absorption and its effects.

p. 231, ¶ 3

Hamilton et al. 2015, 43 (table 16).

p. 231, ¶ 4

Wang and Parker 2014, 6, 33, 34.

p. 232, ¶ 2

Wang 2012, 9; Merton 1941, 232. Data on marriages of African Americans in 2010 include heterosexual marriages to non-African American partners, including whites, Asians, Pacific Islanders, and Hispanics. A few of these partners were Asian, Native American, or others, but most were white. In 1941, Robert K. Merton reported, “In our samples, such pairings [Negro male—white female] are from three to ten times as frequent as the Negro female—white male combination.”

p. 234, ¶ 1

Wang 2012, 8, 9.

p. 234, ¶ 2

Waters and Pineau 2015, 6–7. A panel of the National Academy of Sciences reviewed the problem, concluding, “The hypothesis of ethnic attrition [that more assimilated Hispanics are less likely to identify themselves as Hispanic] suggests that there is in fact educational progress in the third generation, but it is difficult to measure it well.”

p. 235, ¶ 1

Miller 1946, 138. Native Americans have a yet different historical and constitutional experience.

p. 235, ¶ 2

Rothstein 1998; Bowdler 2008.

p. 238, ¶ 1

Coates 2014; Coates 2016a; Coates. 2016b; Conyers 2015. Coates recommends legislation introduced by Representative John Conyers (D-MI) in the 2015 congressional session to establish a commission to consider reparations for African Americans. The proposed legislation uses both “remedies” and “compensation” to describe its purpose, calling for a commission to “acknowledge the fundamental injustice” experienced by African Americans, and “to make recommendations to the Congress on appropriate remedies.”

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