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The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America - Richard Rothstein

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

By Richard Rothstein

  • Release Date: 2017-05-02
  • Genre: Social Science
Score: 3.5
From 168 Ratings


New York Times Bestseller • Notable Book of the Year • Editors' Choice Selection
One of Bill Gates’ “Amazing Books” of the Year
One of Publishers Weekly’s 10 Best Books of the Year
Longlisted for the National Book Award for Nonfiction
An NPR Best Book of the Year
Winner of the Hillman Prize for Nonfiction
Gold Winner • California Book Award (Nonfiction)
Finalist • Los Angeles Times Book Prize (History)
Finalist • Brooklyn Public Library Literary Prize

This “powerful and disturbing history” exposes how American governments deliberately imposed racial segregation on metropolitan areas nationwide (New York Times Book Review). Widely heralded as a “masterful” (Washington Post) and “essential” (Slate) history of the modern American metropolis, Richard Rothstein’s The Color of Law offers “the most forceful argument ever published on how federal, state, and local governments gave rise to and reinforced neighborhood segregation” (William Julius Wilson). Exploding the myth of de facto segregation arising from private prejudice or the unintended consequences of economic forces, Rothstein describes how the American government systematically imposed residential segregation: with undisguised racial zoning; public housing that purposefully segregated previously mixed communities; subsidies for builders to create whites-only suburbs; tax exemptions for institutions that enforced segregation; and support for violent resistance to African Americans in white neighborhoods. A groundbreaking, “virtually indispensable” study that has already transformed our understanding of twentieth-century urban history (Chicago Daily Observer), The Color of Law forces us to face the obligation to remedy our unconstitutional past.


  • The racial wealth gap truly is the result of state action.

    By EatSleepHoop21
    This book is a masterclass in how segregation created the racial wealth (and health gap), and how these state actions are still very much affecting today. For me, my first high school was 99% African-American, and perhaps it was youth naïveté that led me to believe that’s just how it was, but no, I went to a segregated school. The effects of housing are so entrenched in the lives of Gen X and Millenials. The only way one could think otherwise is because they’ve been misinformed...This is truth to power!
  • Don’t care kill me

    By Duck lover 27
    Noose emoji
  • Inaccurate

    By -Frank-
    Mostly inaccurate based on cherry picked information.
  • Interesting content, written in a boring manner.

    By Antivanilla
    The contents of the book are worth knowing about, but I had to force myself to read each chapter.