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.
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.