The Origins of the Urban Crisis: Race and Inequality in Postwar Detroit

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Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon. July 18, - Published on Amazon.

Verified Purchase. This may be quite the eye opener for you, or for some may just validate what they knew all along. Institutional racism and segregation destroyed Detroit.

It's a somewhat difficult path to follow and for a lot of people they may not be able to comprehend or believe a lot of things in the book. I know I have trouble explaining it to people who say things like, "It's just their own fault," because it's an intricate tale full of subtleties in cities all over the country.

September 26, - Published on Amazon.


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Since Detroit declared bankruptcy there have been all manner of reasons put forward as to why this happened. Everything from political incompetence and corruption to failed liberal policies and the decline of the industrial sector in the United States.

This book argues that all of these theories are both right and wrong and that in many respects, Detroit was set up to be a poster child of urban rust belt decay decades ago. Event then he argues that the seeds of the eventual troubles were evident. One reason is the housing patterns in the city.

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Detroit had a sever shortage of housing during the war but due to racist policies for housing, high density apartments were not constructed due to fears that they would house the growing black population in the city that was being attracted in due to high paying defense jobs. Instead what was built was a series of low density neighborhoods that consisted of white only single family houses.

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The black population was left in horribly overcrowded substandard housing in certain parts of the inner city. This caused the city to sprawl out for miles and to have a large number of aging houses that would begin to be abandoned with the move to the suburbs and the decline in the city's population in subsequent decades. Detroit would eventually be hemmed in by surrounding suburbs that filled up with a white flight population that followed industry that was leaving the city center to get away from aging industrial infrastructure and unions.

The city proper would be left industry less with a mostly black population that due to discrimination was not allowed t move out to the suburbs in the same way and would have fewer and fewer job opportunities in the city.

The Origins of the Urban Crisis: Race and Inequality in Postwar Detroit

What is most interesting and disheartening about this book is how race was a major factor in the failure of the city. It is not surprising that race was a factor in housing and employment in Detroit. This is something that can be said about many cities. What is surprising is how it shaped Detroit from early on in its history. The current race politics in the city, which is now majority black, has been mentioned in several news stories about the current crisis.

But it needs to be pointed out that the current situation is not an accident of random chance and fate. Publication Date: April 27, List Price: Thomas J.

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Sugrue argues that institutionalized and often legalized racism resulted in sharply limited opportunities for African Americans in Detroit for most of the 20th century. He also argues that the process of deindustrialization , the flight of investment and jobs from the city, began in the s as employers moved to suburban areas and small towns and also introduced new labor-saving technologies.

The book has won multiple awards including a Bancroft Prize in In , Princeton published a new edition of the book, with a new preface discussing Detroit's bankruptcy. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Dewey Decimal. Columbia University Libraries.

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