How Federal Housing Programs Built Segregation in St. Louis

St. Louis Public Radio details the work of a local researcher who says the segregation of today's St. Louis is the result of deliberate, decades-long federal housing policy.

1 minute read

March 15, 2016, 11:00 AM PDT

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell


"A researcher with the Economic Policy Institute says the federal government needs to recognize that it played a deliberate role in creating racially segregated neighborhoods in cities like St. Louis," according to an article by Camille Phillips.

The researcher, Richard Rothstein, recently presented at the Missouri History Museum Symposium, "[drawing] a direct line between today’s segregated schools and neighborhoods and two federal housing programs from the 1930s, 40s and 50s: public housing and subsidized construction."

The article presents more of the details of Rothstein's argument, which traces roots back to the 1930s and finds effects in St. Louis neighborhoods Desoto-Carr and projects like Pruitt-Igoe. Rothstein also argues that Section 8 vouchers and low-income housing credits "are presently used to reinforce segregation."

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