Reggie Jackson

Historian Reggie Jackson Addresses Redlining at Recent Jewish Museum Event

Annotated speech by leading civil rights activist Ruth Zubrensky

Reggie Jackson, Head Griot of America’s Black Holocaust Museum, said that redlining, racial restrictive covenants and real estate practices, ensured segregation, not self-segregation.

In 1968, a National Fair Housing law was passed, but it was only as good as its enforcement.

If people don’t get to know other people because they don’t occupy the same space, then they listen to stereotypes.

Park and Burgess wrote a book in 1926 [University of Chicago sociologists] describing the deteriorating areas of Chicago.

A Home Owners Loan Corp., composed of industry leaders, supported capitalism, fought communism, favored amortized mortgages.

1939–40 saw the drawing of maps, the “grading” of areas that led to redlining.

In 1938 in Milwaukee, there already was redlining.  A book described each neighborhood either as: 1st “hot spots”; 2nd still good; 3rd infiltration of lower grade populations; 4th undesirable populations.

[A real estate practice in the latter areas] was to sell homes on land contracts where owners could not build up equity.

Riverwest population [reported at the time to be composed] of Polish, Mexicans, Blacks, and lower type Jews.

[This stereotyping] spawned the wealth gap.  
Most of the wealth is in your house.

From 1936 to the 1950s, The Federal Home Administration (FHA) mandated discrimination in its underwriting manual. 

98% of loans going to whites

The FHA forced lenders to use the protocols they established [resulting] in 98% of their loans going to whites.

The FHA wrote a template, used around the country, [for property owners] to sign racial restrictive covenants [which bound them] not to lend, rent or occupy [to members of stereotyped groups] based on the myth that property values would go down if this occurred.

Between 1924 −1950s, the National Association of Real Estate Boards started racial steering [only showing blacks available housing in black areas] and block busting, where whites were told they better get out, all of which led to members of stereotyped groups not being able to build wealth [in their homes.]

In 1968, the National Fair Housing Act was passed 3 days after MLK, Jr. was assassinated.  [Also in 1968,] the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Shelley vs Kramer that restrictive covenants could no longer be enforced.

President Nixon did not put a mechanism in place or use the tools he had.  The U.S. Housing and Urban Development Agency, headed by Romney’s father, took up only 2 fair housing cases.  Under President Obama, there were only 4 fair housing cases.

In 1986, the Metropolitan Milwaukee Fair Housing Council filed a housing discrimination law suit against American Family Life Insurance.  [The Court ruled] that redlining practices allowing race to be a factor in requiring] higher mortgage [and insurance] payments was discriminatory. [Some research showed] 60 million inferior policies were found [and that the federal Fair Housing Act prohibits “redlining” in insurance, just as it does in mortgage lending.]
[Until the Obama administration, the plaintiffs had to prove intent to discriminate.]  In 2008, there was a shift [no longer could claim other companies were doing the same].  

In 2011 and 2012, [cases were brought] against Associated Bank, Countrywide and Wells Fargo for writing sub-prime mortgages with intent to discriminate where the family would qualify for a prime loan.*

Redlining today:

  • Ref: ProPublica series Oct 29, 2012 by Nikole Hannah-Jones 

Living Apart:  How the Government Betrayed a Landmark Civil Rights Law with update June 25, 2015…The authors of the 1968 Fair Housing Act wanted to reverse decade of government-fostered segregation.  But presidents from both parties declined to enforce a law that stirred vehement opposition.

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Last edited by Tyler Schuster.   Page last modified on February 23, 2018

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