The deliberate devaluation of Black-majority cities stems from a longstanding legacy of discriminatory policies. The lack of investment in Black homes, family structures, businesses, schools, and voters has had far-reaching, negative economic and social effects. White supremacy and privilege are deeply ingrained into American public policy, and remain pervasive forces that hinder meaningful investment in Black communities.
On Tuesday, May 19, the Brookings Metropolitan Policy Program marked the release of a new book, “Know Your Price: Valuing Black Lives and Property in America’s Black Cities.” Author and Brookings fellow Andre M. Perry and his fellow panelists discussed the historical basis and present-day implications – particularly in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic – of the devaluation of Black communities. Through profiles of places like his hometown, Wilkinsburg, Pa., as well as Detroit, Birmingham, Ala., New Orleans, Atlanta, and Washington, D.C., Perry highlighted the important themes covered in his book, including the social, economic, and political assets of Black-majority cities as a means of empowerment that must be understood to build Black prosperity.