America’s neighborhoods, 45 years after the passage of the Equal Housing Act, remain segregated. In Milwaukee, our most segregated city, 81 percent of African-Americans would need to move in order for Wisconsin’s largest city to be perfectly integrated; in New York, our largest city, 79 percent would have to move.
Segregation remains in place in part because of prejudice and private sector discrimination, about which I will say more below. But it is also a legacy of Federal policy–a policy that is reviewed in the “This American Life” story, The Missionary. The Missionary was George Romney, who, as Richard Nixon’s HUD secretary, tried to reverse the awful legacy of American housing finance policy with respect to African-Americans. Nixon, being who he was, blocked Romney.