LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Monday night the Crescent Hill community held a conversation about race and segregation.
The group Empower West invited author Richard Rothstein to speak about his book The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America.
The book theorizes that racially segregated neighborhoods are not solely the result of government policies.
Rothstein's book attempts to debunk the myth that America's cities came to be racially divided through de facto segregation, in other words through individual prejudices, income differences, or the actions of private institutions like banks and real estate agencies.
Instead, the books claims that de jure segregation, the laws and policy decisions passed by local, state, and federal governments, is the cause for the actually discriminatory patterns that we see today.
"Today, when we look in our urban cities we see segregated communities and blight all over these communities because that was by design," Dr. Frank Smith Jr., Ex-vice president of Simmons College of Kentucky, said. "So his posture is that the government caused this, and its going to take the government to fix it."
Smith said the next step is uplifting communities through economic development.
Empower West is encouraging residents to read the book during Black History Month.
Richard Rothstein is a research associate of the Economic Policy Institute and a fellow at the Thurgood Marshall Institute of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund and of the Haas Institute at the University of California (Berkeley).