The racial segregation issues that were seen decades ago are still remnant in today’s world. My tour partially shows the history of Boston, but more importantly will show the racial segregation that Boston has encountered throughout its history and in the present. This will be done by talking about what redlining, and how certain public transportation stations have and are currently affecting racial segregation. Similar to the Invisible 5 Highway Project, my tour is intended to be a running tour showing the history of racial segregation and redlining of the certain location. The Invisible 5 Highway Project, created in 2006, is a self-guided audio tour between San Francisco and Los Angeles that shows the stories and history of people and communities fighting for environmental justice along the route. My project is modeled after this project in the sense that it will also be a self-guided tour showing an issue that has affecting many people and communities. By using 12 different geographical locations, I hope that by the end of the tour you will see why redlining and racial segregation was such an issue.
So, what is redlining? Redlining was a serious issue that began in the 1930’s. However, redlining didn’t just affect Boston; redlining affect 35 cities across the country. Redlining was a way to geographically discriminate again minorities mostly in inner city neighborhood. Yes, redlining was intended to discriminate against minorities, however redlining was primarily focus on African Americans. Racial segregation all started when government surveyors went around collecting data on the number of minorities in 239 cities around the country. The Federal Housing Administration was created, and suddenly government-backed mortgages became discriminated. Mortgages were given away depending on local races in the neighborhood. This meant mortgages would only be given out if that specific race fit into its categorized zone. The effects redlining and racial segregation that occurred in the 20th century are still seen today. This is mostly because this crisis deeply affected all of America for a long period of time. Redlining began at the beginning of the 1930’s and ended in the end on the 1960’s; that’s roughly forty years. This issue was discussed in “How Redlining’s Racist Effects Lasted for Decades” by Emily Badger. In the article it discusses how credit scores, home values, homeownership rates, and differences in levels of racial segregation can still be seen today where the boundaries lines were drawn nearly a century ago.
So, what specifically is a “redline?” A redline is supposed to mark line between a “red zone” neighbor hood and a green, blue, or yellow zone. A red zone was nationally known as a “hazardous zone.” Meanwhile, a green zone was the “best” neighborhood, a blue zone was “still desirable” neighborhood, and a yellow zone was a “definitely declining” neighborhood. Essentially what this means is the government took in account for number of African Americans that lived in a neighborhood. If a neighborhood had no African Americans, or discriminated races, it was marked green; this would essentially be an all-white neighborhood. The blue zone was a neighborhood where there may be a few minorities or African Americans living there, but still almost entirely still and all-white neighborhood. A yellow zone was an area where there were a lot of African American and minorities living in the neighborhood; not only that, but that amount of them were drastically increasing as well. Other than African Americans, people living in red zones were often Catholics, Jews, and immigrants from Asia and Southern Europe.
The first location of the tour is Larz Anderson. Larz Anderson Park is in Brookline, a predominately white neighborhood. At the time, it was an all-white neighborhood. I chose this park to exemplify what a park in a green zone looks like and to show all its unique features. I also chose this park because it reminded me of what a park in Levittown might look like. The next site is Jamaica Pond, a pond in between a green zone and blue zone. The rest of the locations are sites that are either in a red or yellow zone.
As you digress through the tour, if applicable at that specific site, try to visualize what the site looked like back in the time period, and how the location would look like today if red zoning and racial discrimination continued today. Try to put yourself in the shoes of someone living in that time period and live what they experienced.
I apologize for the vertical picture at the undesign the Redline tour. I didn’t take a horizontal picture at the site.