- Paperback: 528 pages
- Publisher: Picador; First edition (March 2, 2010)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0805091424
- ISBN-13: 978-0805091427
- Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 1 x 9.3 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 45 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #59,991 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Family Properties: How the Struggle Over Race and Real Estate Transformed Chicago and Urban America Paperback – March 2, 2010
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“Beryl Satter's Family Properties is really an incredible book. It is, by far, the best book I've ever read on the relationship between blacks and Jews. That's because it hones in on the relationship between one specific black community and one specific Jewish community and thus revels in the particular humanity of all its actors. In going small, it ultimately goes big.” ―Ta-Nehisi Coates, The Atlantic
“This is rich material... Satter balances personal stories, including moments of great bravery, with painstaking legal and historical research. Family Properties is transfixing from the first sentence. The pleasures here are deep and resonate ones... an instant classic.” ―Dwight Garner, The New York Times
“Satter's painstaking thorough portrayal of the human costs of financial racism is the most important book yet written on the black freedom struggle in the urban North. Family Properties is a superbly revealing and often gripping book.” ―David Garrow, The Washington Post
“Beryl Satter has taken the hard road to glory in her study of race and housing discrimination in Chicago during the 1950s and '60s. Yet somehow she has managed to stay on course, using her considerable investigative skills and unwavering sense of fairness to write a revealing and instructive book... A cautionary tale of government complicity, Family Properties follows the social historian's dictum of 'asking big questions in small places.' It reminds us that history and memory are essential tools for anyone pondering our current predicament.” ―The New York Times Book Review
“This sweeping chronicle of greed and racism combines a noble and tragic family history with a painful account of big city segregation and courageous acts of community resistance. In riveting stories and thoughtful analysis, Satter powerfully discloses how manipulation and abuse shattered lives and deepened urban inequality.” ―Ira Katznelson, author of When Affirmative Action Was White: An Untold Story of Racial Inequality in Twentieth-Century America
“Beryl Satter brings Chicago's West Side to life in this vivid history of a neighborhood fighting for survival. She gives the urban crisis a human face in unforgettable portraits of the slumlords and the activists and lawyers (including her father) who battled valiantly against them.” ―Thomas J. Sugrue, author of Sweet Land of Liberty: The Forgotten Struggle for Civil Rights in the North
“This history of a place called Lawndale, on the west side of Chicago, is an archetypal American story of struggle and rise, race and divisiveness, justice denied and then justice achieved. Clyde Ross, Ruth Wells, Mark J. Satter, Monsignor Egan, Jack Macnamara, and the others--these are American heroes. I was privileged to be briefly involved, and I'm so glad to see Family Properties, after all these years, that I could hoot with joy, and then weep.” ―David Quammen, author of Song of the Dodo: Island Biogeography in an Age of Extinction
“This is how the story of urban America after the Second World War ought to be written, with gritty realism and no illusions. Here is urban history as a drama of moral conflict and religious passion. Family Properties is a searing and deeply moving work, by a loving daughter and a great historian.” ―Robert Orsi, Professor of Religion and History, Northwestern University
“One of the most contentious issues of twentieth century America was the transformation of middle-class white neighborhoods into African-American slums. The cast of characters is familiar--unscrupulous realtors, heartless slumlords, promiscuous welfare mothers, rapacious drug dealers, corrupt politicians, discriminatory savings and loan associations, and a racist government. But Beryl Satter tells a different story, a nuanced story, and a personal story in this compelling re-examination of a phenomenon everyone knows about and no one understands. Family Properties will change the way you think about history and about causation.” ―Kenneth T. Jackson, Barzun Professor of History, Columbia University
About the Author
Beryl Satter is the author of Each Mind a Kingdom and the chair of the Department of History at Rutgers University in Newark. She was raised in Chicago, Skokie, and Evanston, Illinois, and is a graduate of the Harvard Divinity School and the Yale American Studies program. For her work in progress on Family Properties, Satter received a J. Anthony Lukas citation. She lives in New York City.
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The Jewish and white writer's father played a role in the Chicago west side housing issues when he dedicated himself to helping black families and individuals who struggled with unfair housing practices of redlining, contract selling, and others that dishonest individuals and banks practiced. He was a reputed lawyer who took many black clients cases and won, although he was often paid minimally or not at all. Yet their were blacks and whites who condemned his actions.
Blacks who struggled to pay exorbitant fees would work multiple jobs and had no time or money to maintain their homes, leading to prejudices about black homeowners and rundown homes. Whites, including the writers father who owned 4 buildings that he refused to sell because he did not want to abandon blacks who were discriminated against by law and by those who took advantage of laws to exploit, lost the value of their property and sometimes ended up being labeled slumlords as their buildings declined and they struggled to earn something from their investments. Racism and antisemitism grew in a viscious circle and the two groups both felt hurt and angry and more divided.