From 1935-1936, the federal government surveyed San Antonio’s neighborhoods and assigned grades “A,” “B,””C,” and “D” to indicate the security or risk of investing. Grades, shaded on a map in green, blue, yellow, and red indicated “best,” “still desirable,” “definitely declining,” and “hazardous.” The red-lining maps explicitly considered and detailed the population of neighborhoods by race.
For decades, this information was used by banks and mortgage lenders to subsidize home ownership for White people and deny people of color home ownership. Redlining was outlawed in 1968 through the Fair Housing Act, but its legacy remains oppressive.
In addition to building generational wealth, a safe home is directly tied to people’s health and well-being. The relationship between the value of homes in a neighborhood, property taxes, and school funding, is just one example of the legacy of redlining and the racial disparities in San Antonio’s education outcomes today.
Without this context, disaggregated data supports harmful narratives that blame individuals for long-standing inequities. The truth reveals the power and responsibility of institutions.