The Skimmer

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

Family Properties: Race, Real Estate and the Exploitation of Black Urban America By Beryl Satter Metropolitan Books; 495 pages

For African Americans in 1950s Chicago, buying a house was nearly impossible. Federal mortgage insurance didn't cover homes in integrated neighborhoods, making getting a loan difficult; in black neighborhoods, predatory sellers jacked up prices and forced buyers to pay outrageous monthly fees or face eviction. The resulting financial strains only compounded black Chicagoans' housing problems and drove their neighborhoods into decline. Satter, a history professor at Rutgers University, illustrates her lucid analysis of race and class on Chicago's West Side with the...

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