Samuel DuBois Cook Center on Social Equity

Text ' Shame of Chicago'
Courtesy of Bruce Orenstein

One of the few paths to homeownership for Chicago’s black community in the 1950s and ‘60 was home sale contracts. African American buyers would make payments toward the purchase of a home, but the seller held the deed until the home was paid off in full. Buyers had the illusion of a mortgage without the protection of a mortgage.

Courtesy of Aaron Pruzaniec

The Great Recession is behind us, and business is booming: new business especially. After a major slump, entrepreneurs are opening shop every month, from mom-and-pop stores to high-growth tech firms. But not all aspiring business owners are able to create the companies they would like to. 

The black community owned 0.5 percent of America’s wealth at the end of slavery, and today that number has barely increased. A typical white household is 10 times wealthier than a typical black household, and the racial wealth gap is growing.

Image of scholar William (Sandy) Darity
Duke University Sanford School School of Public Policy

Why are some people rich and others poor? Answering this elusive question has been the lifelong work of economist William (Sandy) Darity. Darity was an observant child, and from an early age he picked up on how wealth disparities divide communities.