The American city begins the first compensation for black people

The American city begins the first compensation for black people

At this time, fourteen citizens together receive 4 tons of compensation. They or their parents or grandparents must have lived in Evanston between 1919 and 1969. They will each receive $ 25,000. This money comes from income from legal cannabis sales and mortgages, repayment of fees for a new home or remodeling. Thus Evanston is a pioneer in compensation in the United States.

$ 45,000 less wealth than white residents

The country has been struggling for years to figure out how to compensate the African-American people for past racist and discriminatory laws. Enemies will not see the taxpayers’ money used to compensate the children and grandchildren of black Americans who show slavery and discrimination for past events.

Proponents of her case have been working to make the actual transcript of this statement available online. For example, black residents in Evanston have $ 45,000 less wealth than white residents because their homes are worth less. But the city is not going to hand over the money to fix this. Together with the residents, the municipal council has made a conscious decision to start with housing subsidies.

Discrimination of banks and brokers

“The most valuable thing you can own is a home,” said Reverend Michael Napores, leader of the local black civil rights movement NAACP. He was on the committee that advised the municipality on what to do with the first tranche of 10 million.

“The most convincing evidence we can find of harmful discrimination in Evanston is related to the housing market.” It has been discriminated against for decades by banks, brokers and the government.

A neighborhood for black people

“Black residents were evicted from certain neighborhoods and it was hard to find a new home,” says Dino Robinson. As a historian, he manages the Evanston Archive at the Shorefront Legacy Center.

Banks did not lend to black people and the city banned real estate agents from selling homes to non-whites in non-white homes. “There was only one neighborhood, the Fifth Ward, where they could go.”


The houses were old and unsafe and some families had to share a house to buy it. The situation worsened in 1930 when the US government created a homeowner loan company. The system used maps to indicate which neighboring developers could or could not invest. The word “redline” comes from this map, and you can at least draw a red line around the desired area, “says Robinson.

“The Fifth Ward is such an neighborhood. The notes say that’s because there were so many black people living there.” Following that, no investments were made in the district, which caused the environment to deteriorate. At the same time, black people can only go here.

Geneva Hollen’s father grew up in the Fifth Ward. It was only after his deathbed that he told his daughter how it was. “Everyone was staying within the boundaries of the neighborhood, he said. There were places in the city where you could not go as a black person. It was not safe,” Geneva says. If you are a black person in a white area, you have been arrested, beaten or deported.

Redemption fee for investment

Until 1968 a law was passed prohibiting this type of discrimination in the housing market on the basis of race, color, religion or nationality. “But a law does not fix this overnight,” says historian Robinson. There are still prejudices about the Fifth Ward. “A few years ago someone wanted to go to Evanston and asked for advice on a website about a good environment to live in, while others in the comments said they should not go to the Fifth Ward.”

Reverend Nabors sees more and more black people leaving Evanston. Ten years ago more than 20 percent of the population was black, and now it is almost 16 percent. “Black people still earn less. It’s more expensive to live here.” Compensation may allow black residents to pay for a home, renovate their own home, or pay off a mortgage. Hopefully I will continue to live in Evanston.

‘Injustice to white residents’

But the plan was also heavily criticized. Cases are already being filed from conservative quarters because the law does not allow taxpayers to be paid based on race and skin color. These companies believe the compensation is unfair to low-income white residents and that they can use a subsidy.

Within Evanston, the main critique is the form of payments. One of the nine Aldermans in the municipality voted against compensation. She fears that if residents pay off their mortgage or debt, the money will end up in the pockets of banks that were discriminated against by subsidies in the previous century.

Other residents will receive more money that they can spend on themselves than a home subsidy. Reverend Nabors disagrees: “Not everyone can write a check for even those 10 million. You can shop for it once. It’s no more than the suffering people have experienced.”

Will the rest of the country follow suit?

However, he did not think the first $ 400,000 in compensation was enough. “Certainly not facing emotional damage, but we need to start somewhere.” The plan for the remaining $ 9.6 million has not yet been finalized.

All eyes are now on Evanston as this city may be a map for other parts of the country. A further twelve mayors will inquire into the remedies, and the U.S. Congress will consider the remedies across the country.

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