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ERIC Number: EJ987598
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2012
Pages: 6
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-0895-6855
"Why Is This the Only Place in Portland I See Black People?": Teaching Young Children about Redlining
Johnson, Katharine
Rethinking Schools, v27 n1 p19-24 Fall 2012
As in many historically black neighborhoods in the United States, the gentrification of northeast Portland rests on an older history of economic injustice perpetrated by banks, realtors, governments, and white property owners. Redlining was one piece of an elaborate puzzle denying people of color access to housing and to wealth. The term refers to the practice many banks used to designate "undesirable" areas of a city by drawing a red line around those neighborhoods on a city map. These areas were largely inhabited by African Americans and/or other people of color. The banks were loath to provide loans for property inside the red line, claiming the loans were too high risk or were for sums too low to be worth the bank's effort. This artificially devalued property inside the red lines. Low property values and the inaccessibility of financing for homeowners encouraged ownership by absentee landlords, who often let property fall into decline. Ignoring their importance as centers of African American business, religion, politics, and culture, whole neighborhoods were deemed "blighted," which made it even more difficult to secure loans. Until a 1948 Supreme Court decision, it was legal for property owners to establish deeds that could not be transferred to nonwhites or Jews. In some cases, the Federal Housing Authority made its assistance contingent on the use of these restrictive covenants, claiming a need to protect property values. By the 1950s, references to race were removed from the code, but redlining lived on. By one means or another (including subprime loans), discriminatory lending and real estate practices have continued. In this article, the author describes how improvisation helped 1st and 2nd graders bring the Civil Rights Movement home to Portland, Oregon, as they learn about the redlining that helped determine the neighborhood around their school. (Contains 2 resources.)
Rethinking Schools, Ltd. 1001 East Keefe Avenue, Milwaukee, WI 53212. Tel: 414-964-9646; Fax: 414-964-7220; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Early Childhood Education; Elementary Education; Grade 1; Grade 2; Primary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Oregon