The Curated Landscape: Surveying the Origins of Redlining
Dr. Jama Grove, Centenary College
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During the early twentieth century, Sanborn Fire Insurance maps determined insurance rates across the United States, but these maps contained critical omissions arising from companies’ unwillingness to serve African American communities. Nonetheless, urban planners tasked with rationalizing American cities and subsequent historians have uncritically accepted these highly precise maps as accurate snapshots of the cityscape. This transfer of private corporate interests to the public sphere established boundaries that disadvantaged minority communities decades prior to the Home Owners’ Loan Corporation’ redlining maps.