To succeed, older industrial cities must overcome their stark color lines


The recent opening of the National Memorial for Peace and Justice in Montgomery, Ala. provided yet another reminder of America’s long and tragic history of white supremacy.

That opening came on the heels of groundbreaking new research from the Equality of Opportunity Project that highlights racism’s continuing economic impacts. The research finds that even among children who grow up next to each other, with parents who earn similar incomes, black boys fare much worse than white boys as adults. Controlling for differences among individuals and households cannot explain away these significant racial disparities.

Perhaps nowhere is the persistence of those disparities as evident as in America’s older industrial communities (OICs), many of which have begun to stabilize and grow…

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