Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Pre-Review: Tanner Colby's Some of My Best Friends Are Black

I attended the infuriating and fascinating discussion of Tanner Colby's new book Some of My Best Friends Are Black tonight at the Kansas City Public Library.  It contains a section devoted to the story of how here in Kansas City real estate developer J.C. Nichols capitalized on racist whites' fears of having black neighbors by creating subdivisions that excluded people of African descent from owning property.  And Block Buster realtors would bait widowed white women into selling their homes dirt cheap, out of fear that the neighborhood was "turning black", leading to white flight from the urban core to the suburbs.  

At the end of the discussion, an African American man stood in the audience and held up the deed to his house, which he had purchased in the 1990s.  The deed, dating back to when the house was built in 1902, clearly states that people of African descent may not reside on the property.  He stood there and read it to us.  And when he finished, he smiled.  Because now the house is his.

I can't wait to read the book.