The widening racial wealth gap

MINNEAPOLIS SEEMED FULL OF OPPORtunity when Roxxanne O’Brien moved there in 1987. She was just a kid, but her mother, a teacher, had heard that the school system was stellar and that it was looking for Black teachers. She faced some racism—a neighbor forbade her son from playing with O’Brien because she was Black—but overall, the city seemed like a place where a Black family could succeed. Minnesota was, and still is, majority white, but it was also among the first states in the nation to outlaw school segregation, and its political leaders, including Hubert Humphrey, Eugene McCarthy and Walter Mondale, helped usher in some of the legislative accomplishments of the civil rights era.

But over time, O’Brien, now 37, noticed that Minneapolis seemed to have backslid on many of its commitments to integration. “We’re still segregated,” says O’Brien, a plaintiff in a class-action lawsuit against the state that alleges public-school students are being denied an adequate education because of segregation by race and socioeconomic status in the Minneapolis and St.

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