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Why Did U.S. Cities Resegregate?

Georgetown Law professor Sheryll Cashin’s latest book is an unsparing accounting of the collapse of racial integration after the Civil Rights era — and a plea for change.

A family walks past Chicago’s now-demolished Cabrini-Green public housing buildings in 2005.

A family walks past Chicago’s now-demolished Cabrini-Green public housing buildings in 2005.

Photographer: Tim Boyle/Getty Images North America

Residential segregation manages to color just about every facet of US life. It fuels the country’s sprawling suburban development, and the massive carbon footprint that lifestyle demands. It underpins struggling public schools and the increasingly toxic politics around them. It turns would-be neighbors into feared strangers, and fellow citizens into implacable political foes.  

Sheryll Cashin, a professor at Georgetown University Law Center and former White House urban policy advisor, has devoted much of her career to documenting how segregation poisons America. Her first book, 2005’s The Failures of Integration meticulously documented how even middle-income majority Black communities like Prince George’s County in Maryland became swamped by racist market and political forces.