The Color of Law

The Color of Law

A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America

Richard Rothstein

The FHA had its biggest impact on segregation, not in its discriminatory evaluations of individual mortgage applicants, but in its financing of entire subdivisions, in many cases entire suburbs, as racially exclusive white enclaves. Frank Stevenson was not denied the opportunity to follow his job to Milpitas because the FHA refused to insure an individual mortgage for him. Vince Mereday was not denied the opportunity to live in Levittown because a VA appraiser considered his individual purchase too risky for a mortgage guarantee. Rather, in these and thousands of other locales, mass-production builders created entire suburbs with the FHA-or VA-imposed condition that these suburbs be all white.

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