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The Black Butterfly

The Harmful Politics of Race and Space in America

Lawrence T. Brown

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The best-selling look at how American cities can promote racial equity, end redlining, and reverse the damaging health- and wealth-related effects of segregation.

The world gasped in April 2015 as Baltimore erupted and Black Lives Matter activists, incensed by Freddie Gray's brutal death in police custody, shut down highways and marched on city streets. In The Black Butterfly—a reference to the fact that Baltimore's majority-Black population spreads out like a butterfly's wings on both sides of the coveted strip of real estate running down the center of the city—Lawrence T. Brown reveals that…

The best-selling look at how American cities can promote racial equity, end redlining, and reverse the damaging health- and wealth-related effects of segregation.

The world gasped in April 2015 as Baltimore erupted and Black Lives Matter activists, incensed by Freddie Gray's brutal death in police custody, shut down highways and marched on city streets. In The Black Butterfly—a reference to the fact that Baltimore's majority-Black population spreads out like a butterfly's wings on both sides of the coveted strip of real estate running down the center of the city—Lawrence T. Brown reveals that ongoing historical trauma caused by a combination of policies, practices, systems, and budgets is at the root of uprisings and crises in hypersegregated cities around the country.

Putting Baltimore under a microscope, Brown looks closely at the causes of segregation, many of which exist in current legislation and regulatory policy despite the common belief that overtly racist policies are a thing of the past. Drawing on social science research, policy analysis, and archival materials, Brown reveals the long history of racial segregation's impact on health, from toxic pollution to police brutality. Beginning with an analysis of the current political moment, Brown delves into how Baltimore's history influenced actions in sister cities such as St. Louis and Cleveland, as well as Baltimore's adoption of increasingly oppressive techniques from cities such as Chicago.

But there is reason to hope. Throughout the book, Brown offers a clear five-step plan for activists, nonprofits, and public officials to achieve racial equity. Not content to simply describe and decry urban problems, Brown offers up a wide range of innovative solutions to help heal and restore redlined Black neighborhoods, including municipal reparations. Persuasively arguing that, since urban apartheid was intentionally erected, it can be intentionally dismantled, The Black Butterfly demonstrates that America cannot reflect that Black lives matter until we see how Black neighborhoods matter.

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The Black Butterfly

Lawrence T. Brown

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Reviews

Reviews

A must-read book.

The Black Butterfly: The Harmful Politics of Race and Space in America is a complex book that will both intrigue and shock you. You will find yourself both grateful for his research and frustrated that it hasn't yet reached the right hands. It's not every day that a blueprint is created to directly address the issues of an urban city. This book is not only an eye-opener, but also a call to action, and a reminder of the work that needs to be done to heal a city with many open wounds.

A provocative book.

With clear and succinct writing, buttressed by rigorous research and copious examples, Dr. Brown casts an unflinching light on the problems Baltimore suffers as a hyper segregated city. Only when a critical mass of concerned citizens is made aware of the issues raised in this book, can change begin.

The book provides a helpful tool for public affairs educators seeking to incorporate discussions of race into the classroom and steps to connect public administration theories of performance, budgeting, and management into a hands-on analysis of cities. It details a process to learn both about spatial inequity and to implement the next steps toward the remediation of historical trauma.

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About

Book Details

Release Date
Publication Date
Status
Preorder
Trim Size
6.125
x
9.25
Pages
384
ISBN
9781421445441
Illustration Description
4 line drawings
Table of Contents

Introduction to Racial Equity
Track 1. The Trump Card
Track 2. This Is America
Track 3. The "Negro Invasion"
Track 4. Ongoing Historical Trauma
Track 5. Black Neighborhood Destruction
Track 6. Make Black

Introduction to Racial Equity
Track 1. The Trump Card
Track 2. This Is America
Track 3. The "Negro Invasion"
Track 4. Ongoing Historical Trauma
Track 5. Black Neighborhood Destruction
Track 6. Make Black Neighborhoods Matter
Track 7. Healing the Black Butterfly
Track 8. Outro: Organize!
Album Credits
Appendixes
Notes
Index

Author Bio
Lawrence T. Brown
Featured Contributor

Lawrence T. Brown, PhD, MPA

Lawrence T. Brown (BALTIMORE, MD) is an equity scientist, urban Afrofuturist, and the director of the Black Butterfly Academy, a racial equity education and consulting firm. In June 2018, he was honored by Open Society Institute–Baltimore with the Bold Thinker award for sparking critical discourse regarding Baltimore's racial segregation. He is currently a research scientist in the new Center for...