The Color of Law

The Color of Law

A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America

Book - 2017 | First edition
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Publishers Weekly'sNew York Times Book Review.
Publisher: New York ; London : Liveright Publishing Corporation, a division of W.W. Norton & Company, [2017]
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9781631492853
1631492853
9781631494536
1631494538
Branch Call Number: 305.8009 ROTHSTEI
Characteristics: xvii, 345 pages : illustrations, maps ; 25 cm

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Palo Alto Reads 2020

The Library has launched Palo Alto Reads, a “one book, one community” program that encourages the reading and discussion of a selected book around themes and topics relevant to our city. This year's book selection is The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America by Richard Rothstein. Published in 2017, The Color of Law tells the history of the design and… (more)


From Library Staff

Palo Alto Reads 2020 pick! Richard Rothstein has painstakingly documented how American cities, from San Francisco to Boston, became so racially divided.

Also available as an ebook.


From the critics


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i
Internetconnect
Oct 20, 2020

great important reading you won't be sorry. such a great book.

Hillsboro_JeanineM Oct 06, 2020

Sobering! I am stunned by this book and the realization of having grown up in a country (the United States) that has essentially practiced Apartheid. In college, I became aware of Nelson Mandela and Apartheid in South Africa but I have been completely ignorant about racial injustice and enforced segregation in my own country. There's an abundance of detailed information on de jure segregation. I found it best to read a chapter then take a break as it is a lot of information to process.

p
pateljh
Sep 24, 2020

This is a reveling and disturbing book on how mistreated were African-Americans up until now! I used to blame Southern Whites for all the ills of African-Americans. This book tells us ALL OF US are equally responsible, either as direct actors or bystanders.

I think a clever law firm can bring a Class-Action Law Suite on behalf of all African-Americans for damages of hundreds of Billions of dollars from Federal, State, City governments, Banks, Insurance Companies, developers and many more!

m
mattfromthecity
Aug 17, 2020

the writing, at times, can be a little dry, wonky, and dense, but this is a very good summation of the sins of our past and should be on the "must read" shelf of anyone looking to better their understanding of not just urban, but all of modern American history, especially those of us who live in such a segregated metropolis

d
DavidSpencer99
Feb 01, 2020

When I hear a commentator like Jonah Goldberg bad-mouthing FDR’s administration, I can write it off as grousing by the losing side in America’s history of societal improvement. The Color of Law shows how the same administration promoted redlining and denied well-deserved loans in return for Southern Democrats’ support. While it’s disheartening to know how far short of our ideals we as a nation have fallen, Rothstein’s essential history shows how “we as a nation have avoided contemplating remedies because we’ve because we’ve indulged in the comfortable delusion that our segregation has not resulted primarily from state action and so, we conclude, there is not much we are required to do about it.” [p. 215] it’s good to know that liberal writers can at least own up to the shortcomings, honestly acknowledge mea culpa, and offer solutions, not merely joust with ideological windmills.

p
patcarstensen
Oct 29, 2019

It makes a good case. Unfortunately, he is also realistic about the low chances for any solutions.

a
acornsandnuts
Apr 05, 2019

An essential read.

d
domthom
Aug 08, 2018

I thought this was going to be dull at first with fact after fact. However I'm glad I stuck with the book. It really goes into why areas / cities are mapped out in certain demographics today. Many of the stories in this book are disheartening but it's also good that they're finally being brought to light. I advise others to read to get a better glance at the obstacles some were placed with and against still affecting many to this day.

l
lynelliot
Jul 15, 2018

A well-documented history of the myriad ways in which laws and policies at all levels of government intentionally created segregation in America well into the the 1960's, and in some instances even more recently. The author clearly explains the ways in which present-day segregation and racial inequality are in large part the result of these laws and policies. He also outlines some potential remedies, but his goal is first and foremost to educate all Americans about our "forgotten history." An important book.

c
cjmccl18
Apr 16, 2018

Richard Rothstein highlights policies along with anecdotes that demonstrate the racism and alienation of African Americans from the mainstream of society. With the inability to successfully integrate with policies that benefited their white counterparts, African Americans were designated to less affluent neighborhoods that didn't provide the best accommodations. While we can be proud as a country of the progress that has been made, their is still so much to go regarding equal opportunity for POC. While I don't believe this current administration has any interest in remedying or at least acknowledging it the problem, this book should emphasize the policies or cases needed to improve our country for everyone!

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