Elizabeth Warren has a plan to reform "Heirs' Property," which allows wealthy white property developers to steal Black family homes

Heirs' property is a relic of post-Reconstruction law, which allows white developers to exploit the diffuse ownership of Black family homes to steal them and kick out the people who live there. Read the rest

Heirs' property: how southern states allow white land developers to steal reconstruction-era land from Black families

Back in 2017, The Nation ran a superb, in-depth story on "heirs' property," a legalized form of property theft that allows primarily rich white developers to expropriate land owned by the descendants of Black slaves. Read the rest

Ta-Nehisi Coates makes the case for reparations to Congress

It's been five years since Ta-Nehisi Coates's groundbreaking The Case for Reparations ran in The Atlantic; yesterday, Coates appeared before Congress to celebrate Juneteenth with a barn-burning statement that starts as a response to Mitch McConnell's dismissal of racial injustice in America, but quickly becomes more than that -- a Coatesian masterclass in understanding race, America, history and the present moment. Read the rest

Reverse mortgages: subprime's "stealth aftershock" that is costing elderly African-Americans their family homes

Reverse mortgages -- complex home loans -- are aggressively marketed to elderly people, especially in African-American neighborhoods, using deceptive tactics that offer false promised to "eliminate monthly payments permanently" with "a risk-free way of being able to access home equity." Read the rest

The story of how Buffalo's oldest, best-established Black neighborhood was literally wiped off the map is a perfect parable about systemic bias -- UPDATED

Update: See below for important corrections to this story

"Fruit Belt" is a 150-year-old predominantly Black neighborhood in Buffalo that has faced a series of systemic hurdles, each worsening the next, with the latest being the erasure of its very name, with the Big Tech platforms unilaterally renaming the area "Medical Park." Read the rest

California home-buyers are increasingly reliant on parental gifts to afford their down-payments

California's housing bubble has pushed prices so high (the median Californian home sells for double the national average) that, in some cities, 48% of first-time buyers could only afford to purchase their homes because their parents gave them the downpayment. Read the rest

How an obscure law allowed white, rich developers to steal African-Americans' land for a century

After the civil war, formerly enslaved people bought about 15 million acres across the US (mostly in the south), but those landowners lacked clear legal title and also often did not have access to legal advice for estate planning -- combine that with lending discrimination (redlining) and the diasporas that scattered families across the country and that land has become easy pickings for crooked property developers and their crooked lawyers. Read the rest

Multigenerational wealth makes white Americans richer than black Americans

Black American wage disparity can be offset by education; but even though black American families -- one parent, two parent, educated, uneducated, employed, unemployed -- save more and spend less than their white counterparts, white families have substantially more wealth than black families -- college-educated white adults have 7.2 times the wealth of their black counterparts. Read the rest

Robert Moses wove enduring racism into New York's urban fabric

Robert Moses gets remembered as the father of New York's modern urban plan, the "master builder" who led the proliferation of public benefit corporations, gave NYC its UN buildings and World's Fairs, and the New Deal renaissance of the city: he was also an avowed racist who did everything he could to punish and exclude people of color who lived in New York, and the legacy of his architecture-level discrimination lives on in the city today. Read the rest

Data-driven look at America's brutal, racist debt-collection machine

In 1996, New Jersey's courts heard 500 debt-collection cases; in 2008, they heard 140,000 cases, almost all against black people, almost all of whom were not represented by lawyers. The cases were filed by vulture capitalists who bought the debt for pennies on the dollar and employed "attorneys" who filed up to 1,000 cases a day, "reviewing" each one for about four seconds. Read the rest