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The History of Residential Segregation in the United States, Title VIII, and the Homeownership Remedy

Teron McGrew

American Journal of Economics and Sociology, 2018, vol. 77, issue 3-4, 1013-1048

Abstract: Residential segregation was practiced by federal, state, and local governments as an instrument of racial domination in the United States throughout much of the 20th century. Systematic racial discrimination in housing was unconstitutionally developed and implemented by state and federal agencies. Laws, regulations, and private practices in the real estate industry were used to promote legally enforced residential segregation in the United States. Zoning, redlining, and blockbusting created the division of our urban landscape along the color line: black and white. Residential segregation has had debilitating impacts on African Americans in cities in terms of lost opportunities for economic prosperity and the denial of homeownership and the wealth‐building potential that comes from it. Oakland, California is at the center of this research, where urban renewal and an interstate highway destroyed whole neighborhoods in West Oakland. The Acorn Housing Project was built in the aftermath of the urban renewal program. Title VIII of the Fair Housing Act remains the most promising basis for developing strategies for African Americans to fully engage in American’s legacy of wealth building through homeownership—the American Dream. Historically, that dream was designed only for white America. The task now is to realize it for everyone.

Date: 2018
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