The Color of Money

Black Banks and the Racial Wealth Gap

When the Emancipation Proclamation was signed in 1863, the black community owned less than one percent of the United States’ total wealth. More than 150 years later, that number has barely budged.

According to a new book by Mehrsa Baradaran, The Color of Money, this absence of wealth isn't just a failure to atone for oppression imposed by slavery and Jim Crow — it's the product of contemporary acts to maintain their legacies.

Today, the racial wealth gap persists in building wealth for those who already have it and sowing debt among those who don't. Many policies animated by this trend — fees and fines levied my municipal governments and the criminal justice system; residential segregation; the rise of predatory payday lenders — disappear mainstream banks from communities of color, pass off responsibility of investment in their wealth, and enforce conditions that disproportionately push them from profit to poverty.

Join New America NYC and the NYU McSilver Institute for Poverty Policy and Research for a conversation with legal, business, and racial equity leaders on the fight for economic justice and how to pioneer strategies that reform how government works — and who it serves.


Scott M. Stringer @NYCComptroller
Comptroller, City of New York


Mehrsa Baradaran @MehrsaBaradaran
J. Alton Hosch Associate Professor of Law, University of Georgia School of Law
Author, The Color of Money: Black Banks and the Racial Wealth Gap

Blondel Pinnock @blondel
Senior Vice President and Chief Lending Officer, Carver Federal Savings Bank

Anne Stuhldreher @AnneStuhldreher
Director of Financial Justice, City and County of San Francisco
Fellow, New America CA

Clyde Vanel @clydevanel
Assembly Member (D-33), State of New York

Michael Lindsey @DrMikeLindsey
Director, McSilver Institute for Poverty Policy and Research, New York University

Copies of Mehrsa Baradaran's The Color of Money: Black Banks and the Racial Wealth Gap will be available for purchase. Seating is available on a first-come, first-served basis. Follow the conversation online using #ColorofMoney and by following @NewAmericaNYC and @NYUMcSilver.

This event is presented in partnership with the NYU McSilver Institute for Poverty Policy and Research.