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Daily Dose of Black History

  • The Home Owners’ Loan Corporation (HOLC) was part of President Roosevelt’s New Deal from 1935-1940. They were tasked by the Administration to survey 239 cities to ascertain the condition of the neighborhoods for ultimate consideration in receiving billions of federal dollars in relief to combat the Great Depression.

    Neighborhoods were graded A-D and color-coded on a map, with a description of each area written by the surveyor. A (Green) areas were deemed minimal risk for banks and mortgage lenders, B (Blue) areas were a little older than A, but still deemed a safe bet. C (Yellow) areas were considered to be in decline and D (Red) areas were considered “Hazardous” and not worthy of federal assistance. 

    The term “Redlining” refers to the fact that these neighborhoods deemed hazardous were generally not eligible to receive relief during the Depression and beyond. Redlining maps continued to be used by private banks and insurance companies for years after the New Deal until the Fair Housing Act in 1968.

    The D-2 neighborhood in Wichita (pictured) includes the McAdams area, extends south to 1st St and is an example of an area deemed “hazardous.” In clarifying remarks, the surveyor wrote:

    "This large area contains the negro concentration of Wichita. In the north end immediately south of the packing house and stock yards district, are a number of Mexicans. Property in the area is poor, shacky, and typical of negro properties. North of Murdock and east of Washington the district becomes one of scattered frame shacks."

    Given that a significant majority of the redlined neighborhoods were largely African American, the effects of this racist practice is in full view in the segregated areas of today’s cities, so many of which continue to reflect the demographics of 90 years ago as a result of redlining.

    Redlining is at its core a perfect example of systemic racism and white privelage.

    You can explore all the original maps/comments of any city at https://dsl.richmond.edu/panorama/redlining/#loc=5/37.8/-97.9

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