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California Historical Society Presents Gene Slater


Thursday, September 8 | 5:30 pm

Join author Gene Slater as he discusses his book, Freedom to Discriminate, in which he uncovers realtors’ definitive role in segregating America. Drawing on confidential documents from leaders of the real estate industry, Slater reveals how realtors systematically created and justified residential segregation. To defend all-white neighborhoods against the civil rights movement, realtors put the right to discriminate at the center of individual liberty, effectively redefining and weaponizing “freedom.” This far-reaching strategy peaked when realtors successfully campaigned for a California constitutional amendment that would permanently prohibit fair housing. Freedom to Discriminate traces the increasingly aggressive ways realtors justified their practices, and how America’s divides and current debates are rooted in the history of segregated neighborhoods.

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About the Speaker

Gene Slater

Gene Slater

Gene Slater has served as senior advisor on housing for federal, state, and local agencies for over forty years. He cofounded and chairs CSG Advisors, which has been one of the nation’s leading advisors on affordable housing for decades. He has advised on housing issues in thirty states. His projects have received numerous national awards, and in the aftermath of the financial crisis in 2009 he helped design the program by which the United States Treasury financed homes for 110,000 first-time buyers. He received degrees from Columbia, MIT, and Stanford, as well as a mid-career fellowship from Harvard. He has lived and worked in New York, Boston, rural Wisconsin, Chicago, and the San Francisco Bay Area, where he currently resides.


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