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Sat Apr 17, 2021, 01:47 PM

A Dream Deferred: The Lasting Legacy Of Racist Redlining In Mississippi And The Deep South

For many Black Americans in the Deep South, homeownership is still a dream deferred.

A region marked by a history of racial violence and targeted exclusionary policies like redlining continues to see widening racial homeownership disparities. The U.S. government agency, Home Owners Loan Corporation introduced redlining in 1935, when it drew literal red lines on maps to delineate the perceived riskiness of making mortgage loans, and in fact directed lenders to “refuse to make loans in these areas [or] only on a conservative basis.”

Redlining policies allowed banks and mortgage lenders to deny loans based strictly on the borrower’s race and where they lived. These efforts successfully supplied housing to white, middle-class families, while simultaneously preventing Black families from gaining equity in homeownership and building generational wealth. Redlining was made illegal in 1968 with the passage of the Fair Housing Act. The Community Reinvestment Act of 1977 was intended to address its harms, but redlining’s legacy persists.

$352 Million in Lost Wealth from Mississippi Communities of Color

Redlining still influences the racial makeup of neighborhoods today. In fact, Black homeowners are nearly five times more likely to own a home in a formerly red-lined neighborhood than in neighborhoods considered more valuable or green-lined neighborhoods. This also has a direct relationship to stifling ability to build wealth. For example, in Birmingham, Ala., Black residents make up the majority of former red-lined areas and have lower incomes and property values.

While lenders no longer make loans based on a map marked with red or green lines, Black Americans still face discrimination, and predatory mortgage loans disproportionately affect them. Leading up to the 2008 foreclosure crisis, Black families were provided loans on less favorable terms than white families nationwide, even with similar credit profiles.

Read more: https://www.mississippifreepress.org/11089/a-dream-deferred-the-lasting-legacy-of-racist-redlining-in-the-deep-south/

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