By Chris Welter
There is a new exhibit at the main branch of the Dayton Metro Library called Undesign the Redline.
Redlining was a practice that started after the Great Depression in the 1930s. The federal government classified Black and immigrant communities as risky places to make home loans and that has lead to underinvestment in those areas ever since. This discriminatory lending practice happened in Ohio in many cities, including Dayton and Springfield.
Kristina Scott is the CEO of the advocacy group Learn to Earn Dayton. The non-profit is one of the exhibit's sponsors. She said the effects of redlining are still felt in the Miami Valley today.
“We need to dig into our history," Scott said. "It gives us some facts upon which we can base our conversations on how to close opportunity gaps and gives us a sense of the systems that have caused them.”
The exhibit is interactive as well. At one installation, there are pins for visitors to place on a map where they live today. Certain areas that were considered "hazardous" in the 1930s are literally shaded in red, or redlined. The prime areas, like Oakwood, are shaded in green.
There are also three local art installations currently on display at the library that complement the Undesign the Redline exhibit.
Environmental reporter Chris Welter is a corps member with Report for America, a national service program that places journalists into local newsrooms.