Most Americans grow up learning about the civil rights movement from a very young age, but the stories we tell about the March on Washington, Dr. King’s speeches, and the Civil Rights and Voting Rights Acts of 1964-65 leave out the very real ways that the Jim Crow system continues to shape our world today. In this episode of The Road to Now, Ben’s friend and colleague Louis Woods joins us to explain how federal policies in the 20th century, and particularly the GI Bill, excluded Black Americans from some of the most important sources of wealth acquisition in American history. We also talk about how the legacy of racism lives on in the economy, society, and even in the way we teach music.
Dr. Louis Lee Woods, II, is Associate Professor of African-American History and Director of the Africana Studies Program at Middle Tennessee State University. His research pays particular attention to the connection between discriminatory historical federal housing policies and contemporary racial wealth, health and educational disparities. Links to the articles discussed in this episode are available on his MTSU faculty page.
For more on the history of racial discrimination in housing, including map overlays of many American cities, check out the website “Mapping Inequality: Redlining in New Deal America.”
This episode was edited by Gary Fletcher.