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Insuring Inequality: The Role of the Federal Housing Administration in the Urban Ghettoization of African Americans

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Abstract:

A reexamination of Federal Housing Administration (FHA) documents reveals that the agency played a more direct role in the ghettoization of African Americans than previous scholarship has established. The FHA went far beyond merely approving of racial discrimination, and exploring the extent to which it did so is crucial to understanding the origins of urban racial inequality in America. Agency publications, many of them largely passed over by historians, called unequivocally for the containment of African Americans in the older residential neighborhoods where they were most likely to settle after migrating to the city. The agency then disguised its leadership in advancing a national segregationist agenda by deflecting blame onto the private market for policies that it had standardized and mandated. For nearly a decade after the Supreme Court invalidated one of its core racial programs, the FHA resisted providing greater opportunities for African Americans in the housing market.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1747-4469.2007.00064.x

Affiliations: Louisiana Association of Nonprofit Organizations

Publication date: 2007-06-01

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