Racial segregation in housing is as pernicious as it is pervasive. Throughout much of the 20th century, at the Federal, state, and municipal level, specific laws, policies, and programs created segregated communities across the country. In the process, many African American families were denied the opportunity to purchase an affordable home that for their white counterparts became the foundation of inter-generational wealth.
Locked out of Federal assistance, prevented from buying in the new suburbs, African American families were forced to remain renters or to steered into contract home agreements with impossible terms that prevented them from building equity.
As a result, there has developed a profound wealth gap between African American and white families. There has also been an equally large disparity in health outcomes with African Americans and other people of color.
Housing segregation has played a central role in the failure of public schools for so many African American children. It is a critical factor in the dynamics of policing and the killing of unarmed African Americans at the hands of police. Finally, housing segregation in its essence keeps white and Black families apart, creating fear, stereotypes, division and a profound lack of community across racial lines.
In 2017, Richard Rothstein documented the factual history of 20th-century segregation in his book, The Color of Law. The book quickly made the bestseller lists and sparked a new discussion, specifically about housing segregation. In response to the book, a group of national civil rights leaders, convened by Ted Shaw, the former President of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund and Director of the Center for Civil Rights at the University of North Carolina, decided to create an organization to take on redressing racial segregation. The Redress Movement was formed.
The Redress Movement is an emerging racial justice organization that aims to organize racially and ethnically diverse local movements in communities throughout the U.S. It will help residents to build and wield collective power needed to redress residential segregation of their own and neighboring communities.
Redress believes that just as segregation was caused by specific laws, specific policies and specific decision makers, segregation and its multi-generational impacts can be redressed. Our vision is a society no longer divided and separated.
We envision a society where the damage done through segregation has been addressed and repaired, where all our citizens live in well resourced neighborhoods, all our citizens have equal access to home ownership, and where what zip code you were born into no longer determines the shape of your life. While we know that segregation that took decades to establish cannot be undone overnight, we are determined to take the first steps on an unwavering path to redress it as a moral and constitutional obligation.