The American Prospect: Black Voters Matter, and So Do Black Lives After Elections

The American Prospect, December 23, Black Voters Matter, and So Do Black Lives After Elections

Macon, Georgia, has been a primary target for decades of social and economic policy designed to pirate Black communities. Sheknita Davis, director of People’s Advocacy Group, points out the scars of this theft, drawing a straight line from the region’s history of economic apartheid and racial segregation to the pain so many continue to live through.

Echoing findings from the National Community Reinvestment Coalition, Davis calls Macon the “most redlined community in the nation,” a process of market- and state-engineered housing discrimination that built an invisible moat around Black neighborhoods, making it nearly impossible for residents to escape and buy homes elsewhere. Redlining blocked Black America from joining whites along the nation’s signature path for wealth creation: homeownership.

The consequences are not hard to see. Bibb County, where Macon sits, is 55.8 percent African American, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. One in four Macon residents live in poverty, according to the NCRC, and “that rate is 2.5 times higher among Black residents.”

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Redlining and Neighborhood Health

Before the pandemic devastated minority communities, banks and government officials starved them of capital.

Lower-income and minority neighborhoods that were intentionally cut off from lending and investment decades ago today suffer not only from reduced wealth and greater poverty, but from lower life expectancy and higher prevalence of chronic diseases that are risk factors for poor outcomes from COVID-19, a new study shows.

The new study, from the National Community Reinvestment Coalition (NCRC) with researchers from the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee Joseph J. Zilber School of Public Health and the University of Richmond’s Digital Scholarship Lab, compared 1930’s maps of government-sanctioned lending discrimination zones with current census and public health data.

Table of Content

  • Executive Summary
  • Introduction
  • Redlining, the HOLC Maps and Segregation
  • Segregation, Public Health and COVID-19
  • Methods
  • Results
  • Discussion
  • Conclusion and Policy Recommendations
  • Citations
  • Appendix

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