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Anti-racism Resources

This guide is a starting point for members of the Fitchburg State University community seeking information and resources to learn about anti-racism, white privilege, and inclusion.

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Displacement & Dispossession

Terms

  • Displacement - household is forced to move from its residence due to either physical reasons (i.e. deteriorating building conditions), economic (i.e. rental costs increase), or by force (i.e. natural disaster, war, persecution, etc.) (Chapple, 2015)
  • Direct displacement - is when residents are forced to move because of immediate factors such as increases in rent or building renovations
  • Indirect displacement - home seekers are shut out due to lack of access to housing due to increasing housing costs (also known as exclusionary displacement) or due to changes in norms, values and traditions of the neighborhood change to a degree that a household does not feel welcome (cultural displacement) (Kennedy & Leonard, 2001)
  • Dispossession – the action of depriving someone of land, property, or other possessions
  • Landlessnessis the quality or state of being without land, access to land, or having private ownership of land.

Dispossession/Displacement: Seneca Village

Founded in 1825, Seneca Village a predominantly free Black settlement, the first of its kind, in what is today Central Park in New York City. The community, which at its peaked at just over 250 residents, existed until 1857 when the residents were ordered through eminent domain to leave their houses, which were demolished for the creation of Central Park. (Central Park Conservancy, 2018)

                                          

Additional Reading:

Urban Renewal Displacement

  • Urban renewal (also called urban redevelopment) is a program of land redevelopment often used to address urban decay in cities. 
  • Urban renewal refers to the program instituted under the federal Housing Act of 1949, which allowed for the taking of land by the government, via eminent domain, in areas deemed “blighted.” After clearing the seized property, the land was sold to developers for new, more desirable uses, such as universities, business complexes, transportation infrastructure, and housing projects. Approximately one million people were displaced in 2,500 projects carried out in 993 American cities; 75% of those displaced were people of color (Fullilove & Wallace, 2011)
  • Eminent domain refers to the power of the government to take private property and convert it into public use. The Fifth Amendment provides that the government may only exercise this power if they provide just compensation to the property owners (Legal Information Institute, n.d.)

                                      

 

                                     

 

                                     

Additional Reading:

Housing - Redlining

Redlining is a now illegal practice of refusing to offer credit or insurance in a particular community on a discriminatory basis, usually the race or ethnicity of its residents (Merriam-Webster). Redlining practices included unfair and abusive loan terms for borrowers, outright deception, and penalties for prepaying loans (Encyclopedia Britannica).

  • Redlining began as part of the New Deal-era Federal Housing Agency's (FHA) efforts to address a housing shortage and restore the housing market specifically for white middle to lower-middle class families in a set of programs that were tantamount to a "state-sponsored system of segregation" (Gross, 2017)
  •  The FHA Underwriting Handbook provided color-coded “residential security maps” that were used by government agencies to determine which neighborhoods were "secure" for investments, and which should be off-limits for issuing mortgages. The color-coding guidelines were as follows:

    • Green (“Best”): Green areas represented in-demand, up-and-coming neighborhoods where “professional men” lived. These neighborhoods were explicitly homogenous, lacking “a single foreigner or Negro.”
    • Blue (“Still Desirable”): These neighborhoods had “reached their peak” but were thought to be stable due to their low risk of “infiltration” by non-white groups.
    • Yellow (“Definitely Declining”): Most yellow areas bordered Black neighborhoods. They were considered risky due to the “threat of infiltration of foreign-born, negro, or lower grade populations.”
    • Red (“Hazardous”): Red areas were neighborhoods where “infiltration” had already occurred. These neighborhoods, almost all of them populated by Black residents, were described by the HOLC as having an “undesirable population” and were ineligible for FHA backing.
  • The Fair Housing Act, passed in 1968, outlawed redlining practices; however, it the impacts and housing discrimination continue to exist today (Lockwood, 2020).