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Recommended Reading

Posted on 29. Jan, 2018 by

In honor of January being National Book Month, here is a recommended reading list from GNOFHAC staff: 

The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America
by Richard Rothstein

Rothstein details the many ways that housing segregation in communities across the United States was created and enforced by government action. The impacts of local, state and federal government policies, like racially explicit zoning laws and homeownership and underwriting policies that subsidized white flight and suburbanization while locking families of color out, continue to be seen in persistent patterns of segregation and the enormous wealth gap between white and black families. It’s essential to understand this often invisible history in order to envision what real housing justice might look like in our communities.

 – Renee Corrigan, Director of Education & Outreach


Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City 
by Matthew Desmond

Harvard sociologist, Matthew Desmond, tells the story of eight families struggling to secure housing in the poorest neighborhoods of Milwaukee. Desmond brilliantly conveys the hardships and struggle of these individuals and families to simply find a decent place to live. He dismantles the popular misconception that evictions are the result of poverty, and instead shows how they are more often the cause of it.

And if you needed another reason to pick up Evicted, President Obama included it as one of the best books he read in 2017.

 – Erica Rawles, Community Engagement Coordinator


Family Properties: Race, Real Estate, and the Exploitation of Black Urban America
by Beryl Satter

The author writes about her father, Mark J. Satter, an apartment building owner in Chicago in the ’50s. It describes how and why the once Jewish community changed to African-American, by looking at issues of debt peonage, blockbusting, segregation, and discriminatory practices at local and federal levels, and showing how each exploited the African-American community in its own unique and unscrupulous ways.

 – Michelle Morgan, Coordinator of Investigations


Freedom Is a Constant Struggle: Ferguson, Palestine, and the Foundations of a Movement
by Angela Davis

Freedom Is a Constant Struggle attests to Angela Davis’ ability to stay current and foundational in the fight for human rights. Davis stays topical as she connects movements on a global and local scale in various talks around the world. Her ability to stay up to date and keep moving seamlessly through intergenerational human rights struggles makes the book an inspiring read. All in all, this book is a reminder of the importance of the work we all do.

 – Raven Crane, Intake Specialist


How to Kill a City: Gentrification, Inequality, and the Fight for the Neighborhood
by Peter Moskowitz

How to Kill a City is on my reading list for 2018. It’s an important read because it connects the visible and visceral effects of gentrification, like rise in rent and the displacement of people, with intentional policy and economic decisions that are not written in the interest of the people they affect. 

 – Sophie Dulberg, Investigations Fellow




Normal Life: Administrative Violence, Critical Trans Politics, and the Limits of Law
by Dean Spade

Normal Life is not only a great read, but it’s also the gateway to lots of other great books written by Black and Indigenous Feminist, Trans, and Queer writers, who Spade admits are important and informative to the work he does. This book has urgency, criticism, and reiterates the need to work both inside institutions and outside to dismantle transphobia, racism, sexism, and various other forms of institutional violence.

 – Raven Crane, Intake Specialist


Righteous Lives: Narratives of the New Orleans Civil Rights Movement
by Kim Lacy Rogers

Righteous Lives explores the New Orleans Civil Rights Movement through the accounts of 25 activists, in their own words. It records the history of three generations of Civil Rights leaders and is one of the more thorough tellings of the civil rights struggle in New Orleans.

 – Maxwell Ciardullo, Director of Policy & Communications 



Root Shock: How Tearing Up City Neighborhoods Hurts America, and What We Can Do About It
by Mindy Thompson Fullilove 

Root Shock is the book that made realize that if I cared about public health, I needed to be an urban planner. It uses poignant, first-person interviews and deep public health research to track the disproportionate displacement of African American neighborhoods through the highway building and urban renewal policies of the 1950s-70s. Fullilove catalogues the psychological trauma caused to communities that were uprooted from homes, jobs, extended families, and support networks and makes a compelling case for how we avoid future policies of displacement. 
 – Maxwell Ciardullo, Director of Policy & Communications


The Warmth of Other Suns
by Isabel Wilkerson

The Warmth of Other Suns is a history of the great migration. It examines the experience of individuals who lived in the Jim Crow South and left, and what they found on the other side. Amongst many other issues, the book explores the causes and effects of residential segregation in northern cities and explains a lot about our modern day human geography, both nationwide and at the city level. 

 – Brad Hellman, Director of Homeownership Protection

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