The Closing Door is the first major critique of the effect of conservative policies on urban race and poverty in the 1980s. Atlanta, with its booming economy, strong elected black leadership, and many highly educated blacks, seemed to be the perfect site for those policies and market solutions to prove themselves. Unfortunately, not only did expected economic opportunity fail to materialize but many of the hard-won gains of the civil rights movement were lost. Orfield and Ashkinaze painstakingly analyze the evidence from Atlanta to show why black opportunity deteriorated over the 1980s and outline possible remedies for the damage inflicted by the Reagan and Bush administrations.
"The Closing Door is a crucial breath of fresh air . . . an important and timely text which will help to alter the 'underclass' debate in favor of reconsidering race-specific policies. Orfield and Ashkinaze construct a convincing argument with which those who favor 'race-neutrality' will have to contend. In readable prose they make a compelling case that economic growth is not enough."—Preston H. Smith II, Transition