The term “redlining” has come to mean racial discrimination of any kind in housing, but it comes from government maps first created in the 1930’s that outlined areas where Black residents lived and which were, therefore, deemed risky investments.
As early as 1924, North Shore realtors were discouraged from “introducing members of any race or nationality into neighborhoods where their presence would damage property values.”
The country faced a housing crisis in the 1930s and to address the problem the federal government established the Home Owners’ Loan Corporation (HOLC) that created residential security maps that graded lending risks in over 200 cities and that led to a further increase in housing segregation. These reports determined where government-ensured home loans would be issued. Most of Evanston’s fifth ward (where most of the Negro population lived) received the lowest rating and were outlined in red (hence the term “redlining”).
it was not until 1968 when the Federal Fair Housing Act was passed that these forms of discrimination were outlawed.