Introduction: The Storyteller

Poor, poor Morton Grodzins.

Who? Exactly.

Grodzins was a political science professor at the University of Chicago who wrote an article titled “Metropolitan Segregation” for Scientific American in 1957. In it, he discussed the phenomenon that when enough black people moved into a city neighborhood, white people moved out to the suburbs. “White flight” was the term for it then. But at what point did white people leave? After just one or two black families moved in? No, it took more than that. To really inspire an exodus, there had to be a larger number: a “tipping point.”

Did you catch that?

More than 40 years ago, Grodzins coined the phrase “tipping point” and published his ideas about it. He died just a few years ...

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