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Reintroducing the Seat at the Nebraska Table! Redlining in Nebraska - Past and Present

We’re excited to reintroduce you to our podcast Seat at the Nebraska Table, community conversations to inform, connect, and build a more inclusive and engaged Nebraska. Tune in to our first two episodes on our SoundCloud here. 

Join Riley Wilson, Nebraska Table’s Statewide Organizing Coalition Coordinator, and Dr. Terri Crawford and Scmheeka Simpson, co-producers of the Divisible Documentary, as they outline the historical roots and present-day implications of redlining.

The term ‘Redlining’ comes from federal homeownership programs that arose out of 1930s New Deal era policy. The Federal Housing Administration created maps that color-coded neighborhoods that were used to indicate the “safety” of insured mortgages. Black neighborhoods and places close to Black neighborhoods were outlined in red and classified as “too risky” for investment. 

Dr. Crawford and Simpson discuss how this process was codified by surveyors across the country by systematically placing value on property and thus neighborhoods based purely on what the communities who lived there looked like. They emphasize the intent that was used to protect the white, wealthy communities against the “encroachment of detrimental influences.” 

“Surveyors outlined neighborhoods they considered toxic or harmful infiltrations because of the people who lived in or who had proximity to them. The closer you were to Black or brown people, the more likely you were to be redlined. That is how they began to correlate the value of property with who lived there, and this still echoes today,” says Schmeeka Simpson. 

The effects of this systematic racist discriminatory practice caused a severe disinvestment of resources from redlined areas resulting in serious disparities in wealth, education, and health outcomes, creating enduring barriers to the prosperity of redlined communities. 

“The policy was designed to do exactly what it did. So, to undesign the redline we need to dismantle the system that created these conditions and rebuild something new,” says Dr. Crawford

Listen to the podcast episodes here. 

To further enrich your understanding of this critical issue and complement the podcast episode. we’ve compiled a list of additional resources. 

Resources referenced in the episodes: 

Divisible Documentary: Watch the Divisible Documentary at the Omaha Film Festival, March 1st! 

Undesign the Redline Exhibit: Attend the undesign the redline exhibit at UNO. The exhibit is open to the public for unguided tours on Thursday from 9 am - 4 pm. Sign up for an upcoming guided tour here

The Omaha Housing Affordability Action Plan: View the Omaha Housing Affordability action plan 

Greenlining Fund by Front Porch Investments: Investment fund looking to direct funds specifically into redlined neighborhoods. 

Additional resources: 

The Color of Wealth in Boston: Report published by Duke University detailing the disparity of median family income between Black, Latinx, and white communities. 

Mapping Inequality: An interactive digital project showcasing historical redlining maps of cities in Nebraska and across the country. 

A 'Forgotten History' Of How The U.S. Government Segregated America: An interview with Richard Rothstien regarding his 2017 book “The Color of Law”

The devaluation of assets in Black neighborhoods: In the Omaha/Council Bluff Area the prices of homes in Black neighborhoods, aka areas that were redlined, are over 40% less than those in other neighborhoods. This site includes a map of devaluation rates for property in Black neighborhoods in metro areas across the U.S. 

Booklist relating to redlining and housing in the U.S: Booklist put together by Teaching for Change that recommends books for all age groups on the topic of gentrification and housing in the U.S. 

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