Finding the Lines

Once upon a time, the Home Owners Loan Corporation, the New Deal era agency that refinanced struggling mortgages. graded neighborhoods based on race, country of origin and other more practical and less discriminatory methods. This practice, known as “redlining”  looks different in every community. Hence, while there are lessons for everyone in this article, it’s best to study your city’s history for yourself. Today I’m sharing a resource to help you do that.

This is Potatoes and it’s the Wednesday series on The Black Urbanist. It’s when I take Tuesday’s current event and add a stat or a deeper commentary through images. It’s also the holiday season and I’m sure you are either hosting all your family or you are getting ready to be one of those poor souls invading the airports and train stations and roads that the news always talks about on holidays. Take some stress out of your trip by using Expedia to book a good deal on your flight, rental car, hotel or all three. Click here  for more information and know that your purchase will support The Black Urbanist and help me keep writing these posts! 

Slate’s history blog, The Vault, is compiling a bunch of the old “redlining” maps (and is looking for more). While every city is not represented yet, several are and they all provide a comprehensive view of how redlining was actually applied throughout the country.

As I mentioned in this previous post, in my hometown of Greensboro and in several other places around North Carolina, areas were segregated, but that did not keep African-Americans from owing homes. Many of my family members owned land and farmed on it. Yet, other factors contributed to segregation and unequal housing practices. Even today, those suburban-style neighborhoods built as black neighborhoods have lower property values and fewer services than identical built-for-whites neighborhoods.

Take a look below at the map of Durham, one of the closest maps to me and check out the other maps currently on Slate’s list.

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This post is part of my participation in #NaBloPoMo, the time of the year when bloggers come together to pump out daily content and connect. Find out more about that project and how I’m participating, here and here.

About Kristen Jeffers

I'm Kristen. Almost five years ago, I got tired of not seeing black women as nerded out about trains, better streets, riding bikes, walking not just out of necessity, tall buildings, old buildings and honestly a lot of other things. I was in grad school for community and economic development (ok, it’s actually an MPA), and I wanted to make sure people knew I existed and that I could help them do this thing called placemaking better. Five years later, I’m still doing that, although not from my hometown of Greensboro, NC, but from Kansas City, MO. I spend most of my time in Kansas City promoting better biking and walking infrastructure metro-wide with BikeWalk KC and the Kansas City B-cycle. But I also wrote a book A Black Urbanist (you can grab that over on the right) and sometimes I give speeches and help other communities tell their stories at design charrettes and public meetings. I’ve also written or appeared in all of the major “urbanist” publications, either as a subject or as a writer, as well as most of my hometown papers as subject or writer as well.