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Broken Dreams

After emancipation, the formula to reach the American dream was presented to the freedmen:

Step 1: Leave the South, move to the big cities. Step 2: Find a job, no matter how backbreaking or demeaning. Step 3: Get married and start a family. Everyone, even the children worked to save money. Step 4: Buy a house.

But suddenly, the American dream was now broken. It was, instead, “For Whites Only,” as were restaurants, shops and drinking fountains.

“Redlining” was the name of this White game. City officials crafted maps, using red pens to cut up their cities, depicting “grades” according to desirability. Green was where whites resided and Red was where Blacks lived. Loans were denied to anyone who lived in the Red areas. No loans, period! Which meant no step number 4 for Blacks. They were completely forced out of the housing market.

Broken dreams, just like that. Whites moved into the Black neighborhoods and bought them out. Blacks were forced into impoverished, crowded, and unhealthy areas. And that’s how ghettoes were born.