In light of Dr. Ben Carson’s nomination as Secretary of Housing and Urban Development and the commencement of the Trump Administration, there is no better time than now to discuss the creation of the “black ghetto” and housing discrimination known as redlining.
Beginning in the early 1930s, a ranking system designed to represent neighborhoods in northern and southern states was implemented as a means to ensure segregation of blacks and whites. The system included four strata from highest to lowest; A: green; B: blue; C: yellow; D: red.
“A ratings went to properties located in “homogenous” areas—ones that (in one appraiser’s words) lacked even ‘a single foreigner or Negro’.”_Beryl Satter
Neighborhoods that were integrated, containing Jews or foreigners, were given ratings of B or C. And those with any black presence at all, regardless of class, were rated D: Red. Hence, the term redlining. The consequences of such rating ranged from outright denial of mortgages to denial of home insurance to prospective residents of “Red” neighborhoods, thereby preventing black families the right to private housing, barring them from the very thing that provides security and wealth and confining them to neighborhoods designated by local and federal government.
The most troubling fact about redlining was that its existence was not clandestine or “off the books”. These were mandates enacted and enforced by the Federal Housing Administration (created in 1934); an agency whose influence dictated how and with whom banks would invest their money. The FHA created rating maps that designated where neighborhoods fell within the housing stratum. Banks used these maps to guide their decisions on where mortgage funds would be allocated. Thus, the FHA fervently discouraged mortgage lenders from granting loans to residents of “Red” neighborhoods or black homebuyers seeking to purchase property in predominantly white neighborhoods.
Baltimore serves as an outstanding example of how housing discrimination has shaped the city’s past and current segregated neighborhoods. Following the purchase of a home in Baltimore by a black Yale Law School Graduate in 1910, local government enacted an ordinance with the supposed intention of “preserving peace, preventing conflict and ill feeling between the white and colored races in Baltimore city.” The law would become the first of many as states throughout the nation enacted similar statutes mandating the confinement of black people to certain blocks and areas.
The current segregation we witness today could be interpreted as the aftermath of such laws. However, with the creation of the Department of Housing and Urban Development 31 years after the FHA’s creation, confinement of black people to certain areas continued unabated. In an unprecedented move to end discriminatory practices by the HUD in 1970, then Secretary of HUD-George Romney- proposed a withholding of federal funds from all-white suburbs resisting integration. He was able to garner some support for his efforts, but was eventually ousted by President Richard Nixon and forced out of his position.
Government seemingly has a pattern of resistance as it pertains to nondiscriminative housing practices. This pattern has managed to suppress choice as to where one lives and stifles what wealth could be accumulated by black people upon purchasing real estate. As the pattern reoccurs, the effect compounds like interest from generation to generation and appears just as evident eighty years later.
From Ferguson to Baltimore: The Fruits of Government-Sponsored Segregation
Great article. Thanks! I’m glad to have this information to share. I lived for two years (’68 – ’70) in a ghetto in Philadelphia (Germantown), where my daughter attended public school. The school system was abominable. Luckily, she had an educated mother and was able to survive those two years of non-instruction (second and third grade). Many other children were not so fortunate.
… and the black stand around and stood around doing nothing about it other than watch it happen … GRADE F.
That’s because the vast majority of Black people don’t live in ghettos.
Redlining in California was not just Black communities. It also extended to Asian and Mexican communities. Yellow was for white ethnics, like Italians and Jews. Blue was mainly middle class whites. Green was for white areas that had restrictive covenants that prevented any other race from buying property there.
It started with them, but they were able to whitely americanize themselves and wash off the stigma…something WE will never be able to do. And we shouldn’t care to Americanize ourselves.
Get govt. out of the housing biz and let the free market be free.
It will never be free. You know that. Especially when you live in America, where Black labor paid for everything and many of their descendants got nothing out of it BUT an Italian ghetto.
SMH….some of your replies are ridiculous and shows your bias. For one thing, the early 30s were in the depression era and ancient history. Were restrictions always correct? No, but those restricting insurance access or mortgages” Yes. doing so in those areas not only could be but would be considered risky business.
Bias is as bias does. Ain’t no cure for snakebite but snake venom.
Oh bullshit, black labor paid for “everything” the biggest crock of shit I’ve seen in my life, how is that when til this day, black people are STILL less than 17% of our population? Why not brush up on some more history, of the WHOPPING 2.2 % of Americans that owned slaves almost half of the owners were black? GASP! Also read up on the LARGEST slave owner in this country, some ruthless bitch in New Orleans that treated her slaves FAR WORSE than the majority of white slave owner, I know, none of this fits your, Let’s hate whitey, we all victims narrative, also, look up the ONLY man that fought to keep his slaves, a Rich black man who got ruled down by a White Judge, oh we are such horrible folks right? SMH, Hate America do we? Well, I hear they are giving away free farms in Africa!
You know, your being a history revisionist is not helping your case at all. Black folks ain’t perfect, so GASP all you want, but the end game is: (1) This country was built on Black labor. (2) Had it not been for Black people demanding and fighting for their freedoms, white people in this country STILL wouldn’t be free. They were making all the money, they had NO INCENTIVE WHATSOEVER to end slavery, it ended because our ancestors were human and fought for the RIGHT TO BE HUMAN. And (3) Everything originated out of Black people, the alphabets, the numerical systems, the technologies, AND the law and the prophets, as well as the PROFITS.
You can pin this economic advancement back to Greece and Rome all you want to and the bottom line is Greece and Rome got everything they had and all they knew from the FAR EAST and AFRICA, including their gotdamned WHITE LIVES.
At that time, Africa was called the DARK CONTINENT, and it wasn’t because someone FORGOT TO PAY THE DAMNED ELECTRICITY BILL. Be a history revisionist until your ham falls off the sandwich, but the TRUTH WILL ALWAYS TELL ON ITSELF. If you don’t tell the truth, the DONKEYS TALK and THE ROCKS WILL CRY OUT.
You go get that Black woman’s descendants and tell us how she and her family benefited from slavery, because if you can’t, you’re going to have to explain to me how many times she had her shit stolen by whites and was lynched, too — and driven off HER land. UNLESS YOU MADE IT ALL UP, of course.
You will not find not ONE single solitary Black person in the USA who benefitted from slavery just like they’re not benefiting from the drug trade and gun and weaponry sales NOW in THIS day and age, so I’m calling bullshit on your whole history revisionist Pandora’s Box.
BTW, Black people are less than 17% of the population because 43% of those “multi-culturals” and “mixed race” and “one or more race” folks on the Census are afraid to confess THEY’RE ACTUALLY BLACK, or AFRICAN AMERICAN. Nearly half this damned country is Black, IF you include all the Black folks who swear they’re not.
Consider myself a history buff. Never read anything about this in any history book. Thank you. MW
These facts are important to know and teach or arm our children.