This book shows how a century of redlining, disinvestment, and the War on Drugs wreaked devastation on Black people and paved the way for gentrification in Washington, DC. In Before Gentrification, Tanya Maria Golash-Boza tracks the cycles of state abandonment and punishment that have shaped the city, revealing how policies and policing work to displace and decimate the Black middle class.
Through the stories of those who have lost their homes and livelihoods, Golash-Boza explores how DC came to be the nation's "murder capital" and incarceration capital, and why it is now a haven for wealthy White people. This troubling history makes clear that the choice to use prisons and policing to solve problems faced by Black communities in the twentieth century--instead of investing in schools, community centers, social services, health care, and violence prevention--is what made gentrification possible in the twenty-first. Before Gentrification unveils a pattern of anti-Blackness and racial capitalism in DC that has implications for all US cities.
Tanya Golash-Boza is the Executive Director of the University of California Washington Center and a proud graduate of DC Public Schools. She is the founder of the Racism, Capitalism, and the Law (RCL) Lab and a Professor of Sociology at the University of California, Merced. She has spent her scholarly career working to understand why racial and economic disparities exist, how racism intersects with capitalism, and how our legal system upholds these inequities. She is the author of over 50 articles and six books. Her latest book is Before Gentrification: The Creation of DC’s Racial Wealth Gap (University of California Press, 2023).
Golash-Boza will be in conversation with Sabriya I. Williams. Williams is poised and driven with 20 years of experience working to close the disparities gap amongst people of color. Sabriya is a wife, mother, sister, daughter, and proud graduate of Dunbar High School. Sabriya grew up in a family where social activism was modeled by her mother and she has continued in that vein. Sabriya is a founding member of the #SheWillRise movement, whose work led to appointment of the first Black woman on the Supreme Court.