Housing, History, and Schools of Thought
In this section, we review concepts and analyses of residential segregation and housing market discrimination developed by various schools of thought. Racial residential segregation has rarely been analyzed in terms of objective relations of production, distribution, and exchange giving rise to segregation and public policies that support and reinforce it. Instead, most analyses have considered only formal, sometimes merely superficial, relationships between patterns of settlement and subjective beliefs and attitudes. More recently, the historical urban modeling work of David Gordon provides promising approaches for a more comprehensive study of housing segregation.
Before the Civil War, racial segregation in the United States was ironically not a major social problem. 1 With the end of slavery, however, the question of how to assimilate free blacks into mainstream society became a thorny political and social issue. 2 In an address delivered in Peoria in 1854, Abraham Lincoln summarized what would become post-slavery conventional wisdom:
Free them, and make them politically and socially our equal? My own feelings will not admit of this; and if mine would, we well know that those of the great masses of white people will not. Whether this feeling accords with justice and sound judgment,