The report concluded that policies, practices and patterns of racism “had a material effect on occupations, education, wealth, and property; and for each generation that encountered discrimination and segregation in Evanston, there was another that followed, and another.”
The impact was “cumulative and permanent,” the report says, and “the means by which legacies were limited and denied.”
As opportunities for African Americans were undermined, white residents were given more than a century head start to build wealth.
Study co-author and Shorefront founder Dino Robinson says many people are surprised to learn about the city’s racial history, given its reputation for being diverse and progressive.
“But when you drive through, you do see a distinct difference in neighborhoods,” he says. “You do see the segregation that has been here for generations. Some people have turned a blind eye to it. Others have lived that history, but are so tired of fighting against it that, in some ways, they have given up or accepted that as the norm. This report just reminds people that we’re no different than any other community in the United States.”
Redlining was banned by the Fair Housing Act in 1968, but recent investigations and analyses have uncovered an ongoing practice of redlining and discrimination in home appraisals across the country.
Evanston resident Justin Marcoviche-Garnett, the great-grandson of Irene and Winfield Garnett, said redlining during the decades his family purchased homes in Evanston shaped how they felt about homeownership.
“My family wanted to be able to choose the neighborhood they lived in,” he says. “They wanted options for where they could spend their money.”
When his great-grandparents were making plans for a new home in 1926, they were required to construct it in the 5th Ward, says Marcoviche-Garnett. The two-story house still stands on Dewey Avenue.
The couple paid with cash because lenders at the time routinely denied mortgages to Black applicants.
Marcoviche-Garnett says his family didn’t apply for a restorative housing grant but might seek reparations in the future. He joined the board of directors of the Reparations Stakeholders Authority of Evanston, which is raising funds for reparations and will distribute grants separately from the city.
BEGINNING OF RACIAL WEALTH GAP
Sutton, whose grandparents’ house was forcibly relocated, says redlining, rezoning and other discriminatory actions greatly disadvantaged families like his.
His grandparents were given no recourse when a 1921 zoning ordinance converted the area where their house stood from residential to commercial, resulting in the relocation to the 5th Ward of homes owned by Black residents.
The Suttons’ house was moved near train tracks and a sanitary canal, where lots were smaller and many streets were …….