Former Baltimore Sun reporter Antero Pietila will discuss his new book, Not in My Neighborhood: How Bigotry Shaped a Great American City (Ivan R. Dee, March 2010), at the Enoch Pratt Free Library tonight at 6:30 p.m. as part of the Writers LIVE at the Library series. The event will be held in the Poe Room of the Central Library on 400 Cathedral Street in Baltimore.
Not in My Neighborhood focuses on the city of Baltimore to show how cities have been shaped by racial discrimination against African Americans and Jews and touches upon such topics as eugenics, white supremacy, discriminatory housing policies, and predatory lending. Pietila concentrates on the practice of “blockbusting,” which involved paying a black tenant to move into an all-white neighborhood, prompting white residents to sell their homes for less than the market value, and reselling the houses to African Americans at above-market prices and usurious terms. In a recent article in the Baltimore City Paper, Pietila said, “I talk about the changing financing pattern that administers blockbusting, which I interpret as not only a racial instrument, but also as an instrument for the wholesale dumping of substandard housing after World War II.”