john powell

john a. powell is the Gregory H. Williams Chair in Civil Rights and Civil Liberties at Moritz College of Law, Ohio State University, and executive director of The Kirwan Institute for Race and Ethnicity. Stephen Menendian, Christy Rogers, and Caitlin Watt contributed research assistance for this article.

Recent Articles

Race, Place, and Opportunity

Where we live influences our life chances. Too many blacks still live in concentrated poverty.

We live our lives trying to gain as much opportunity as our circumstances will allow. Space and place have always been important to pathways (and roadblocks) to opportunity, but they became even more important for the distribution of opportunity after World War II, when national policies began to shape the racial dimensions of housing and economic development. Today, we live with the legacies of a deliberately segregated past. Where you live usually determines the school your children attend, your degree of neighborhood safety, your access to public transportation or highways, the availability and quality of finance and credit, your employment opportunities, and your social network. These spatial arrangements of opportunity are contoured by our past, and if not changed, they will have serious implications for our future. The geography of opportunity has significant influence on the choices available to us as well as on the shape of the culture we inhabit. Unfortunately, in our society...