The sharpest contrast in American communities is that between black and white neighborhoods. There is no greater spatial distinction in our cities. Everyone is aware of it. Would-be homebuyers shop accordingly; parents pick schools accordingly; employers hire accordingly; drivers plan routes accordingly–that is, when homebuyers, parents, employers, and drivers have some choice in the matter.
This great segregation of black and white, scholars had thought, was produced in the twentieth century. New research reveals a more complex story, as described in my latest column for the Boston Review — here.