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These three Bay Area cities once had laws against African American homeownership


Did you know that Richmond, Milpitas, and Palo Alto all had subdivisions where it was illegal for African Americans to own a house?

Those are some of the racist policies Richard Rothstein takes on in his book The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America.


Many of the Bay Area’s segregated, low income neighborhoods can be traced directly back to discriminatory housing policies either created or enforced by local, state and federal authorities.

Richard Rothstein moderated a panel discussion on housing this week at conference Race and Inequality: TheKerner Commission at 50 hosted at UC Berkeley. And he talked about the racist legacy of American housing policy on the KALW program Your Call with KALW’s Rose Aguilar.

"This was all the product of government policy. It was not something that happened naturally, it was not something that happened by accident, it was not, as we commonly think, something de facto. It was a legal creation."

Click the audio player above to listen to the full story

Crosscurrents Housing & Homelessness
Rose Aguilar has been the host of Your Call since 2006. She became a regular media roundtable guest in 2001. In 2019, the San Francisco Press Club named Your Call the best public affairs program. In 2017, The Nation named it the most valuable local radio show.