New book on Flint water crisis explores “toxic legacy” of racist policies | Michigan Radio

New book on Flint water crisis explores “toxic legacy” of racist policies

Jul 27, 2018


As state officials continue to investigate the actions that caused the Flint water crisis, it is clear there were missteps made across all levels of government. 

To this date, 15 current and former government officials have been charged in connections to this disaster.

The Poisoned City: Flint’s Water and the American Urban Tragedy, by Detroit journalist Anna Clark, describes in great detail what happened, and who was responsible.

She joined Stateside’s Lester Graham to discuss why she wrote the book and what she learned through her research. 

Clark has extensive experience reporting on cities, infrastructure, and urban policy. She says she brought all of that knowledge together to provide a comprehensive look at the Flint water crisis. 

In the book, Clark writes, “Lead is one toxic legacy in America’s cities. Another is segregation, secession, redlining, and rebranding: this is the art and craft of exclusion.” She argues that America explicitly built its cities on a separate but equal policy, and that the country has yet to deal with the legacy of those policies.

“The official laws might be off the books now, but we can see just with our own eyes how the legacy is still with us; how people are still living separately and unequally," Clark said. 

Until we challenge the legacy of those policies with as much "purpose, intention, and energy" with which they were put into place, she said, "we don’t have any hope for dismantling it."

Listen above to hear the full interview with author and journalist Anna Clark. 

This post was written by Stateside production assistant Sophie Sherry. 

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