The Color of Money: Black Banks and the Racial Wealth Gap

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Finalist, Georgia Author of the Year Award
A Seminary Co-op Notable Book of the Year
Chosen by American Banker as one of the 12 Summer Books for Bankers

When the Emancipation Proclamation was signed in 1863, the black community owned less than 1 percent of the United States' total wealth. More than 150 years later, that number has barely budged. The Color of Money pursues the persistence of this racial wealth gap by focusing on the generators of wealth in the black community: black banks. By studying the conduct and policies of these institutions over time, Mehrsa Baradaran challenges the myth that black communities could ever accumulate wealth in a segregated economy.

"A deep accounting of how America got to a point where a median white family has 13 times more wealth than the median black family."
--The Atlantic

"Extraordinary... Baradaran focuses on a part of the American story that's often ignored: the way African Americans were locked out of the financial engines that create wealth in America, and the way the rhetoric of equal treatment under the law was weaponized, as soon as slavery ended, against efforts to achieve economic equality."
--Ezra Klein

"Black capitalism has not improved the economic lives of black people, and Baradaran deftly explains the reasons why."
--Los Angeles Review of Books

Publication Date: 
March 11, 2019