In Colored Property, David M. P. Freund shows how federal intervention spurred a dramatic shift in the language and logic of racial integration in residential neighborhoods after World War II-away from invocations of a mythical racial hierarchy and toward talk of markets, property, and citizenship.
Freund traces the emergence of a powerful public-private alliance that facilitated postwar suburban growth across the nation with federal programs that significantly favored whites. Then, showing how this national story played out in metropolitan Detroit, he demonstrates how whites learned to view discrimination not as an act of racism but as a legitimate response to the needs of the market. Illuminating government's powerful yet still-hidden role in the segregation of U.S. cities, Colored Property presents a dramatic new vision of metropolitan growth, segregation, and white identity in modern America.
Winner of the Organization of American Historians' Ellis W. Hawley Prize (2008), the Urban Historical Association's Kenneth Jackson North American Best Book Award (2007), and the Urban Affairs Association's Best Book Award (2009)
About the Author
David M. P. Freund is associate professor of history at the University of Maryland, College Park.
Table of Contents
1 The New Politics of Race and Property 1
Part I The Political Economy of Suburban Development and the Race of Economic Value, 1910-1970
2 Local Control and the Rights of Property: The Politics of Incorporation, Zoning, and Race before 1940 45
3 Financing Suburban Growth: Federal Policy and the Birth of a Racialized Market for Homes, 1930-1940 99
4 Putting Private Capital Back to Work: The Logic of Federal Intervention, 1930-1940 140
5 A Free Market for Housing: Policy, Growth, and Exclusion in Suburbia, 1940-1970 176
Part II Race and Development in Metropolitan Detroit, 1940-1970
6 Defending and Defining the New Neighborhood: The Politics of Exclusion in Royal Oak, 1940-1955 243
7 Saying Race Out Loud: The Politics of Exclusion in Dearborn, 1940-1955 284
8 The National Is Local: Race and Development in an Era of Civil Rights Protest, 1955-1964 328
9 Colored Property and White Backlash 382
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Over the course of the twentieth century, the federal government oversaw a massive intervention into the housing market that was deliberately structured, from the beginning, on the assumption that whites should be suburban homeowners and blacks should not be. This allowed whites, collectively, to build huge amounts of government-backed wealth and at the same time to tell themselves that their successes were the result of the free market, which naturally required the exclusion of blacks because blacks were, by definition, bad for property values, like other kinds of blight. By denying blacks credit and opportunity to purchase homes at the highly subsidized federal rates, and diverting resources from the cities to the suburbs, government policies worsened, solidified, and naturalized the economic and social disparities they purported only to acknowledge neutrally. At the same time, public housing was resource-starved and strangled, like low-income housing more generally, as unwarranted government intervention into the free market. Is anyone reminded of ¿get the government¿s hands off my Medicare¿? If you believe in the existence of white privilege, his restating of how it (1) existed and (2) was made to seem like the natural result of economic laws gets repetitive, but sometimes repetition is necessary, given the collective desire to forget.