Eminent Domain & African Americans

“Eminent domain has become what the founding fathers sought to prevent: a tool that takes from the poor and the politically weak to give to the rich and politically powerful,” concludes Dr. Mindy Fullilove in her report titled, “Eminent Domain & African Americans: What is the Price of the Commons?”

Eminent Domain & African Americans is the first in a series of independently authored reports published by the Institute for Justice, Perspectives on Eminent Domain Abuse, which examine the different aspects of eminent domain abuse from the vantage point of noted national experts.

In this study, Dr. Fullilove, a research psychiatrist at the New York State Psychiatric Institute and a professor of clinical psychiatry and public health at Columbia University, examines the effects of eminent domain abuse on the African American community. Focusing specifically on the Federal Housing Act (FHA) of 1949, Dr. Fullilove finds that “[b]etween 1949 and 1973 … 2,532 projects were carried out in 992 cities that displaced one million people, two-thirds of them African American,” making blacks “five times more likely to be displaced than they should have been given their numbers in the population.”

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