Public Books: The Big Picture: America’s real estate developer in chief

A native of Queens, Donald Trump was the son and heir to Fred Trump, a scrappy and ruthless developer of housing for New York’s white working and middle class. An outer-borough nativist and one-time Klan supporter, the senior Trump profited mightily from the federal government’s massive intervention in the real estate industry, which began in the Great Depression. His fortune was premised on strict racial segregation, a process whose legacies still shape the geography of urban and suburban America.

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