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The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated Amer...

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American University, McDowell Formal Lounge

4400 Massachusetts Avenue Northwest

Washington, DC 20016

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Racial segregation characterizes every metropolitan area in the U.S. and bears responsibility for our most serious social and economic problems – it corrupts our criminal justice system, exacerbates economic inequality, and produces large academic gaps between white and African American schoolchildren. We’ve taken no serious steps to desegregate neighborhoods, however, because we are hobbled by a national myth that residential segregation is de facto—the result of private discrimination or personal choices that do not violate constitutional rights. The Color of Law demonstrates, however, that residential segregation was created by racially explicit and unconstitutional government policy in the mid-twentieth century that openly subsidized whites-only suburbanization in which African Americans were prohibited from participating. Only after learning the history of this policy can we be prepared to undertake the national conversation necessary to remedy our unconstitutional racial landscape.

Richard Rothstein, author of The Color of Law, is a research associate of the Economic Policy Institute and a fellow at the Thurgood Marshall Institute of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund. His previous books include Class and Schools; Using Social, Economic, and Educational Reform to Close the Black-White Achievement Gap, and Grading Education: Getting Accountability Right.

The Exploring Social Justice Series, a program cosponsored by the American University Library, the Center for Diversity & Inclusion, and the Kay Spiritual Life Center, brings to campus exemplary leaders from diverse backgrounds who have advocated for various human rights and social justice issues.

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American University, McDowell Formal Lounge

4400 Massachusetts Avenue Northwest

Washington, DC 20016

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