Guest Devs: Mapping Inequality (from American Panorama: An Atlas of United States History)

July 2, 2020
July 2, 2020
Robert K. Nelson
Director, Digital Scholarship Lab
LaDale Winling
Associate Professor of History
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Mapping Inequality is an award-winning interactive map that illustrates "grades" assigned to residential neighborhoods by the U.S. federal government's Home Owners' Loan Corporation (HOLC) between 1933 and 1951.

Neighborhoods receiving the highest grade of "A"--colored green on the maps--were deemed minimal risks for banks and other mortgage lenders when they were determining who should received loans and which areas in the city were safe investments. Those receiving the lowest grade of "D," colored red, were considered "hazardous." These grades were a tool for redlining: making it difficult or impossible for people in certain areas to access mortgage financing and thus become homeowners.

Redlining directed both public and private capital to native-born white families and away from African American and immigrant families. As homeownership was arguably the most significant means of intergenerational wealth building in the United States in the twentieth century, these redlining practices from eight decades ago had long-term effects in creating wealth inequalities that we still see today. Mapping Inequality, we hope, will allow and encourage you to grapple with this history of government policies contributing to inequality.

Mapping Inequality was created through the collaboration of three teams at four universities.

Robert K. Nelson is the Director of the Digital Scholarship Lab and Head of Digital Engagement in Boatwright Library at University of Richmond.

LaDale Winling is an award winning urban and digital historian and associate professor of history at Virginia Tech.


See the map: Mapping Inequality: Redlining in New Deal America

American Panorama is an historical atlas of the United States for the twenty-first century.

Here's the repo with all source code for American Panorama

Check out these Mapping Inequality learning resources for teachers and students.

Mapping Prejudice: Visualizing the hidden histories of race and privilege in the urban landscape

Mapping Segregation in Washington DC - From Restrictive Covenants to Racial Steering

Polylabel library for Mapbox

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