Volunteer group hopes to educate and undo Charlottesville’s historical redlining

Volunteer group hopes to educate and undo Charlottesville’s historical redlining
Charlottesville City Hall (FILE) (Source: WVIR)

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - The lines that marked discrimination are clearly drawn on old maps of Charlottesville. Researchers are using them to open people’s eyes about a shameful part of our history.

The Jefferson School African American Heritage Center is focusing on a decades-old problem that kept people of color from living in white neighborhoods around Charlottesville and into Albemarle County.

Redlining was created by the federal government coming out of the Great Depression in the 1930s and 40s,” Mapping Cville Director Jordy Yager said.

Yager says lines were drawn around different neighborhoods on maps to separate whites and Blacks.

“They created an organization called the Homeowner’s Loan Corporation,” she said.

That, and community-based racial covenants, further restricted homes being sold or rented to people other than Caucasians.

Eventually outlawed in 1968m Yager says the lasting impacts continue: “So your neighborhood predicts life outcomes, whether it’s health, education, job employment, income, everything. They can actually look at your zip code, look at your block, and tell you with a 90% chance where you’ll end up,” she said.

Understanding and working to correct the redlining can help create contemporary equities.

Mapping Cville is an entirely volunteer-based project working to undo this history. Now, the project is expanding its scope out of Charlottesville, where years of research have been done, and into Albemarle County.

“We hope to launch in the summer a crowdsource program to really engage with people and get out there and teach them about this history,” Yager said.

The history of redlining and racial covenants led to 99% of federally approved loans being awarded to white families until the 1940s.

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