Gaining financial equality through community activism

Organizing Access to Capital

Advocacy and the Democratization of Financial Institutions

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edited by Gregory D. Squires

"Public advocacy is the anvil of democracy. This book documents how the traditional exercise of protest, demonstration, contention and community action has been central to changing the discriminatory financial practices of savings and loans, banks, insurance companies and governments. It is a wonderful primer about democracy at its best."
John McKnight, Professor, Director of Community Studies, Institute For Policy Studies, Northwestern University

Community activists were delighted with the passage of the Community Reinvestment Act, but they came to realize that it would take more than the word of law to bring about real change. This book gives voice to the activists who took it upon themselves to agitate for increased investment by financial institutions in their local communities. They tell of their struggles to get banks, mortgage companies and others to rethink their lending policies. Their stories, drawn from experiences in Chicago, New York, Milwaukee, Boston, Pittsburgh, and other cities around the country, offer insight into the way our political/economic system really works.



Read an excerpt from Chapter 1 (pdf).



"This book provides new insight into the community-based challenges of institutional discrimination in neighborhoods. It explores the relationships between race and capital and highlights the rewards of long-term persistent struggle. It contains lessons to be learned by both advocates and financial institutions and reminds us that we must be ever watchful and alert to practices that may erode our hard-fought success."
Shanna Smith, President and CEO, National Fair Housing Alliance

"A powerful book demonstrating community activism did not die in the 60's, but is vibrant and effective across the U.S. today!"
Joe R. Feagin, Graduate Research Professor, University of Florida, and author of The New Urban Paradigm and, with Karyn McKinney, The Many Costs of Racism

"Moreso than any other scholar, Gregory Squires' work consistently and superbly calls our attention to the continuing processes of racial discrimination in the housing market. This volume is no exception. Arguing that 'advocacy and accomplishment are pieces of the same mosaic,' the authors in this volume provide concrete examples of how credit was obtained for poor communities in Boston, the Bronx, Chicago, North Carolina, Milwaukee, and Pittsburgh and overviews of how national organizations can and do help in this process. In the quarter century since the Fair Housing Act was passed, many have remarked at how much more subtle discrimination is, but none have revealed the complexity of the processes that lead to it and the solutions required as well as this book."
Nancy Denton, Associate Professor of Sociology, SUNY Albany

"[A] breath of fresh air in an abundance of urban analysis that too often sacrifices accuracy to objectivity...this is an inspiring and enriching volume."
Contemporary Sociology



1. Introduction: The Rough Road To Reinvestment – Gregory D. Squires
2. Where The Hell Did Billions of Dollars for Reinvestment Come From? – Joe Mariano
3. Giving Back To The Future: Citizen Involvement and Community Stabilization in Milwaukee – William R. Tisdale and Carla J. Wertheim
4. Taking It to the Courts: Litigation and the Reform of Financial Institutions – John P. Relman
5. From Living Rooms to Board Rooms: Sustainable Homeownership Deals With Banks and Insurers in Boston – Thomas Callahan
6. A Citywide Strategy: The Pittsburgh Community Reinvestment Group – Stanley A. Lowe and John T. Metzger
7. Filling the Half-Empty Glass: The Role of Community Advocacy in Redefining the Public Responsibilities of Government-Sponsored Housing Enterprises – Allen J. Fishbein
8. Fighting Predatory Lending from the Ground up: An Issue of Economic Justice – Maude Hurd and Steven Kest
9. Community Reinvestment in a Globalizing World: To Hold Banks Accountable, from the Bronx to Buenos Aires, Beijing, and Basel – Matthew Lee
10. Research, Advocacy, and Community Reinvestment – Malcolm Bush and Daniel Immergluck
11. The Essential Role of Activism in Community Reinvestment – John Taylor and Josh Silver
12. Protest, Progress, and the Politics of Reinvestment – Peter Dreier
13. Epilogue: Where Do We Go From Here? – Gregory D. Squires
About the Contributors


About the Author(s)

Gregory D. Squires is Professor of Sociology at George Washington University. He has served as a consultant and expert witness for fair housing groups and civil rights organizations around the country including HUD, the National Fair Housing Alliance, the National Community Reinvestment Coalition, and many others. He also served a three-year term as a member of the Consumer Advisory Council of the Federal Reserve Board. He is the co-editor of Color and Money: Politics and Prospects for Community Reinvestment in Urban America.

Contributors: Joe Mariano, National Training and Information Center; William Tisdale and Carla Wertheim, Metropolitan Milwaukee Fair Housing Council; John P. Relman, Relman & Associates; Tom Callahan, Massachusetts Affordable Housing Alliance; Stanley Lowe, National Trust for Historical Preservation and John Metzger, Michigan State University; Allen J. Fishbein, Center for Community Change; Maude Hurd and Steven Kest, ACORN; Matthew Lee, Inner City Press/Community on the Move; Malcolm Bush and Daniel Immergluck, The Woodstock Institute; John Taylor and Josh Silver, National Community Reinvestment Coalition; Peter Dreier, Occidental College; and the editor.

Subject Categories

Urban Studies
Political Science and Public Policy



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