The publication A Dream Foreclosed coincides with both the 50th anniversary of MLK’s “I Have Dream” speech and the 50th anniversary of the terrorist attack on Birmingham’s 16th Street Baptist Church. Black history seems to struggle within the parameters set by those two historic events: the celebrated vision of how things can be and the all too ignored nightmare of how things often are.
In A Dream Foreclosed, Laura Gottesdiener looks hard at both and does so in the larger context of African Americans’ search for home. To write the book she traveled the country and stayed in neighborhoods devastated by bankers. She tells stories from the silenced part of our country, stories from black families that are fighting against the American Dream gone wrong—families fighting foreclosure, fighting eviction, fighting bankers who want to physically take away their home.
Laura reminds us that not a single Wall Street banker has been arrested for the countless acts of fraud and foreclosure abuse that have contributed to the more than ten million people being evicted from their foreclosed homes since 2007, with millions more foreclosures currently pending. That ten million people have been thrown out of their homes—the equivalent of the entire population of Michigan—with almost no coverage of their stories or perspectives is itself a testament to corporate influence over public policy and national debate. A Dream Foreclosed: Black America and the Fight for a Place to Call Home puts a human face on this vast under-reported crisis. And it portrays the raw verve, non-commercial commitment and civic power marshaled when neighborhoods come together to defend a neighbor’s home from foreclosure and repossession by banks.