'The Color of Law' Investigates the Government's Role in Segregating America

Apr 25, 2018

While Milwaukee is often cited as the most segregated metropolitan area in the U.S., it’s hardly unusual. In most American cities, people of different races live in different neighborhoods and there’s a general pattern: neighborhoods near the center of a city are home to African-Americans and people of color, while the surrounding suburbs are majority white. But why?

Credit W.W. Norton & Company, Inc.

"The reality is that residential segregation in every metropolitan area in this country was explicitly created by federal, state, and local policies that were designed on their face to ensure that African-Americans and whites could not live with one another," says author Richard Rothstein. That question of segregation is at the heart of his new book called, The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America.

READ: UWM Professor: Segregation Normalized Through Institutional Structures & Practices

Rothstien is also a Distinguished Fellow of the Economic Policy Institute, an Emeritus Senior Fellow of the Thurgood Marshall Institute at the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, and a Senior Fellow at the Haas Institute at the University of California, Berkley. He'll be in Milwaukee tomorrow evening to deliver the keynote speech at the 10-year-anniversary celebration for Community Advocates Public Policy Institute. Ahead of the event, he spoke with Lake Effect’s Joy Powers: