The Color of Law

The Color of Law

A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America

Richard Rothstein

The PWA designated many integrated neighborhoods as either white or black and then used public housing to make the designation come true—by installing whites-only projects in mixed neighborhoods it deemed “white” and blacks-only projects in those it deemed “colored.” The first PWA project, the Techwood Homes in Atlanta, opened in 1935. It was built on land cleared by demolishing the Flats, a low-income integrated neighborhood adjacent to downtown that had included 1600 families, nearly one-third of whom were African American. The PWA remade the neighborhood with 604 units for white families only. The Techwood project not only created a segregated white community, it also intensified the segregation of African American families who, evicted from their homes, could find new housing only by crowding into other neighborhoods where African Americans were already living.

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