The Urban Affairs Association (UAA), the international professional association for urban scholars, researchers and public service professionals, convened its 49th Annual Conference in Los Angeles, April 24-27, 2019. More than 1,000 participants, representing universities, research institutions, and non-profit, public, and private sector organizations, from around the world, met to discuss current issues impacting urban populations and places. Conference participants represented institutions from North America, South America, Europe, Asia, and Africa. Local sponsors for the event included:

  • The University of California, Los Angeles | Luskin School of Public Affairs
  • The University of California, Irvine | Urban Planning and Public Policy
  • California State University, Los Angeles | Pat Brown Institute for Public Affairs

Mehrsa Baradaran During the conference, awards were presented in recognition of outstanding scholarship and service. Among those honored was Mehrsa Baradaran (University of Georgia). Baradaran was awarded the 2019 Best Book in Urban Affairs Award for The Color of Money: Black Banks and the Racial Wealth Gap.Thirty-three books were nominated for the Best Book in Urban Affairs Award this year. The authors of these books represented several different disciplines and a variety of urban topics.

Award Committee Assessment:

“The award committee announces Mehrsa Baradaran’s book, The Color of Money: Black Banks and the Racial Wealth Gap, as the winner of the Urban Affairs Association Best Book Award for 2019. Baradaran’s book describes the creation, maintenance, and perpetuation of the racial wealth gap by focusing on black banks as generators of wealth in the black community. Baradaran provides an eloquent portrait and useful historical background about the difficulties black banks in American cities have had to overcome to remain resourceful since Emancipation. The book also addresses the contemporary challenges facing black banking such as dealing with the wealth gap, the control of the black dollar, and housing segregation. Baradaran’s focus on black banking and community self-reliance provides a compelling case for how wealth and money are central elements for explaining social inequality. Her book provides a very significant contribution to this longstanding issue, and exemplifies the best hallmarks of urban scholarship.” 

Award Committee:

Michael Glass, Committee Chair (University of Pittsburgh), Claire Poitras (INRS Urbanisation Culture Société), William Keating (Cleveland State University), and Philip Garboden (University of Hawaii-Manoa)

Award Winner:

Mehrsa Baradaran is Associate Dean and Robert Cotten Alston Chair in Corporate Law at the University of Georgia School of Law. She is the author of numerous articles about finance and inequality. Her most recent books are How the Other Half Banks: Exclusion, Exploitation and the The Threat to Democracy (Harvard Press) and The Color of Money: Black Banks and the Racial Wealth Gap (Harvard/Belknap).