Cover of The Color of Law

A powerful, disturbing history of racial segregation in America

The Color of Law: A forgotten history of how our government segregated America
Richard Rothstein Liveright Publishing

Reviewed by David Oshinsky
New York Times June 20, 2017

In the summer of 1950, with Americans reeling from the news of North Korea’s invasion of South Korea and Senator Joseph McCarthy’s ever expanding “Red hunt” in Washington, Time magazine ran a disarmingly cheerful cover story about the nation’s housing boom, titled: “For Sale: A New Way of Life.” Featuring the builder William Levitt, who had recently transformed some Long Island potato fields into a sprawling complex of starter homes — two bedrooms, one bath and an extension attic for $7,990 — it spoke reverentially of the development’s parks and playgrounds and many rules. “Fences are not allowed,” Time noted. “The plot of grass around each house must be cut at least once a week,” and laundry couldn’t be hung outside “on weekends and holidays.”

One rule, however, was conveniently absent from the piece. Homeowners in Levittown were forbidden to rent or sell to persons “other than members of the Caucasian race.”…Read the full New York Times review

 

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