The City of Columbia and Local Partners Present A Four Part Community Conversation on The Color of Law

Thursday, November 19th, 2020

The City of Columbia and local partners have worked together to host four virtual sessions on the book The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America. The purpose of these sessions is to explore the concepts presented in the book to understand their role in shaping Columbia and explore ways we can address the effects of past policies to create a more equitable community.

The first session will take place on December 10, 2020 from 6:00pm to 8:00pm, where the discussion will be centered around gentrification and other urban renewal efforts and how Columbia’s neighborhoods changed because of it.

Panelists for the first session, to be moderated by Warren Bolton, include:

  • Mattie Johnson Roberson, Former Ward One Resident, President of the Ward One Reunion Organization
  • Franchot Brown, Former Ward One Resident, Civil Rights Lawyer
  • Joe Darby, Former Wheeler Hill Resident, Civil Rights Activist
  • Rebecca Liebson, Reporter, The State
  • Stuart Andrews, Attorney, Civil Rights Activist

To participate in the virtual forum, visit:

  • Session 2 will be held on January 7, 2021, where the topic will be the effects of redlining on today’s disparities.
  • Session 3 will be held on January 21, 2021, featuring a discussion with The Color of Lawauthor Richard Rothstein (This program is made possible thanks to funding from the Dominion Energy Charitable Foundation and SC Humanities.).
  • Session 4 will be held on February 4, 2021, where the topic is Where Do We Go from Here: Innovative Solutions from Today’s Mayors.

Additional details for these sessions will be provided closer to their dates.

The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America recovers a forgotten history of how federal, state, and local policy explicitly segregated metropolitan areas nationwide, creating racially homogenous neighborhoods in patterns that violate the Constitution and require remediation. It’s author, Richard Rothstein, is a Distinguished Fellow of the Economic Policy Institute and a Senior Fellow (emeritus) at the Thurgood Marshall Institute of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund.

For more information on how to access The Color of Law, visit

The Color of Law public forum initiative was developed by City of Columbia Councilwoman Tameika Isaac Devine.

"We are at a pivotal time in our nation's history,” said Councilwoman Devine. “With the national discussions about systemic racism, racial inequities and economic challenges that face our communities, I think it is important to understand the role government has played in where we are today and what steps can be taken to ensure a more equitable city where all residents can thrive." 

Partners for the four part discussion include Richland Library, Historic Columbia, Columbia SC 63, Dominion Energy Charitable Foundation, SC Humanities, Center for Civil Rights History and Research, African American Studies Program at The University of South Carolina, and the Institute for African American Research at the University of South Carolina.

“As Richland Library embarks on its yearlong Let's Talk Race community initiative, we are grateful for our partnership with the City of Columbia,” said Executive Director Melanie Huggins. “Elevating the stories of local residents and engaging in authentic conversations with our neighbors are the ways we will create an inclusive community and meaningful change.”

"This critically important initiative provides all of us an opportunity to explore the rich histories of neighborhoods in Columbia and the often unjust circumstances that led to their demise. These stories matter, and now we have an opportunity to learn from them as we battle persistent inequities in our community."  Bobby Donaldson (Columbia SC 63: Our Story Matters & Center for Civil Rights History and Research)

“The issues addressed by Richard Rothstein in the Color of Law are key to understanding the systems that undermine equal access to housing, education, and resources in our community, state, and country. By using this book as a lens to view SC’s capital city, we have the opportunity to understand and subsequently address inherently unequal systems,” said Robin Waites, Executive Director of Historic Columbia.