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The Bankruptcy of Detroit: What Role did Race Play?

Publication Abstract

Farley, Reynolds. 2015. "The Bankruptcy of Detroit: What Role did Race Play?" City and Community, 14(2): 118-137.

Perhaps no city in the United States has a longer and more vibrant history of racial conflict than Detroit. It is the only city where federal troops have been dispatched to the streets four times to put down racial bloodshed. By the 1990s, Detroit was the quintessential "Chocolate City-Vanilla Suburbs" metropolis. In 2013, Detroit became the largest city to enter bankruptcy. It is an oversimplification and inaccurate to argue that racial conflict and segregation caused the bankruptcy of Detroit. But racial issues were deeply intertwined with fundamental population shifts and employment changes that together diminished the tax base of the city. Consideration is also given to the role continuing racial disparity will play in the future of Detroit after bankruptcy.


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