The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America - Chapters 5 - 6 Summary & Analysis

Richard Rothstein
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Summary

Private agreements to exclude African Americans from living in white neighborhoods segregated American cities before the FHA. Following its inception, the FHA adopted the same strategies. In 1948, the Supreme Court ruled that the government could not enforce private agreements, but the FHA and other federal agencies ignored this ruling and continued to support state-sponsored segregation for at least another decade.

Restrictive covenants, language in housing deeds that forbade the resale of the home to an African American—or members of other ethnic or racial groups, were seen in the U.S. as early as the beginning of the nineteenth century and continued through the middle of the twentieth century. While difficult to enforce in court after a house had been sold, there are cases in which African American homebuyers had their purchases voided by courts. The use of restrictive covenants was pervasive across...

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