Charles Abrams

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Charles Abrams (1902 – February 1970) was a Polish-born legendary lawyer, urbanist, and housing expert who created the New York Housing Authority.[1] He was one of the first to use, maybe the very first, to use the expression "Socialism for the rich and capitalism for the poor."[2]

In 1936, the US Supreme Court established, in New York City Housing Authority v. Muller, the Authority's right to employ the power of eminent domain for slum-clearing purposes. The decision gave a broader meaning to the term public use and represented a victory for Abrams, the Authority's first counsel.

From 1955-1959, Abrams served as head of the New York State Commission Against Discrimination, afterwards serving as president of the National Committee Against Discrimination in Housing from 1961-1965.[3]


  • Revolution in Land, Harper & Brothers, 1939; Arno Press, 1979, ISBN 9780405113161
  • A housing program for America, League for Industrial Democracy, 1947
  • The city is the frontier, Harper & Row, 1965
  • Man's Struggle for Shelter: In an Urbanizing World, Mit Press, 1966, ISBN 9780262510011
  • The language of cities; a glossary of terms, Volume 14, Viking Press, 1971

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Anna McCarthy (2003) Television, Culture, and Citizenship at the Ford Foundation Working Paper: #13 November 2003 The Cold War as Global Conflict - International Center for Advanced Studies New York University
  2. ^ Michael Harrington (1962) The Other America, p.58, quote: This is yet another case of "socialism for the rich and free enterprise for the poor," as described by Charles Abrams in the housing field
  3. ^ Henderson, A. Scott (2007). "Abrams, Charles". In Goldfield, David R. Encyclopedia of American Urban History. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications. p. 3. ISBN 9781452265537.