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Color of Law: The Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America

Sun, Feb 17, 2019

The Diversity Team led a 2-part study of Richard Rothstein’s The Color of Law: The Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America during the Learning Hours in February of 2019.

The Team has found this book to be one of the most powerful resources they have encountered on the nature of systemic racism in the United States and want to share the message of the book with as many people as possible.

Rothstein, who is a Research Associate of the Economic Policy Institute, a Senior Fellow of the Chief Justice Earl Warren Institute on Law and Social Policy at the University of California (Berkeley) School of Law, provides detailed background on how housing discrimination was codified in local, state and national law for decades. The long-term effect was to create segregated neighborhoods throughout the United States and deprive people of color, predominantly African-American, from building equity through home ownership in periods when this opportunity was widely available to white people.

He creates an overwhelming counter-argument to the widespread belief that segregation happened because of individual choice, and shows how crucial public policy was to create our current reality. He also shows how difficult it is to reverse housing discrimination and how even more recent legislation, such as the Fair Housing Act, have been ineffectively enforced.

First Church members are encouraged to read the book or engage with the material in some of the ways listed here:

You can find the book at your local bookstore or order it online.

Watch the video of Rothstein talking about his work that was shown at the first Learning Hour on Feb. 10.

Diversity Team member Alice Clark has created a summary of the book that you can see here…

You can also listen to an 8-minute interview with Rothstein on NPR that will give you an introduction to the ideas in the book.

Phil Porter preached on the book on February 10. You can listen to the podcast of the sermon here...
You can view a video of the sermon here...