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Residential Segregation That Divided America

By Blog Master
Posted: 10/09/2021
The topic of discussion was the Los Angeles Times Op Ed piece by Gene Slater entitled "Los Angeles pioneered the residential segregation that divided America".  Gene Slater is the author of the soon to be published book, "Freedom to Discriminate: How Realtors conspired to segregate housing and divide America".

Several participants shared personal stories about marketing, sales and working with Realtors. 

In 1970, a participant and her husband were relocating from Detroit to Pasadena.  She recalled being advised not to purchased a home in Pasadena as there was a possible desegregation decision in the future which would result in school bussing.  Having lived in Detroit, this did not concern the family and they purchased a home in Pasadena.  She reported being grateful that her son was able to attend Blair High School and receive his education in an integrated setting.

A participant currently living in Portland, Oregon, recalls a realtor referring to an area of Pasadena as "Coon Town".  This was in 1969.

Another participant noted that in an aerial view of the Glendale area, Glenoaks Blvd. was used as a dividing line for realtors when showing properties to African American families.  She also noted that when purchasing her condominium in 2004 it was a redlined property and required changing the deed.

Another participant shared purchasing a San Rafael property in 1975 at an affordable price because of bussing and benefiting five years later when selling the property, most probably because of the increased use of private schools.

This brought up a question about the Fair Housing Council which Pasadena had for a period of time, although the dates were uncertain.  Among the many things the Council did was the Mixed Couples test to determine what actual housing practices were.

The recent passage in California of Proposition 19 was discussed as possibly having unattended consequences related to segregated housing in the future.

Continuing with the discussion about personal housing experiences, a participant recalled an incident from 1980.  The individual purchased a home in La Canada.  During the period of the purchase, the participant recalled hearing that any realtor in the area who sold a home to an African American family would be "run out of the profession".

The concept of the "character of the neighborhood" was discussed.  It was noted that this concept was used to limit who saw what property for sale and sustained the segregation of neighborhoods.

The group next discussed the altering and destruction of historically minority neighborhoods by public works projects, particularly highways.  It was noted that Portland is discussing how the historic African American neighborhood might be restored.  It was noted that Tulsa was also having a similar community discussion.

This lead to a discussion of the recent State Legislation to return the Manhattan Beach property taken from the Bruce Family back to the heirs.  It was noted that the press nationally was not covering this story.

The participants included several individuals living in Texas.  They provided current time updates on the voter suppression laws recently enacted.

The meeting concluded with a participant sharing a phase attributed to the Zulu people, "I am what I am because of who we (translated as meaning humanity) are."

The meeting was adjourned at 12:20pm PST.

The group will meet again October 15th at Noon PST.  

On November 19, 2021, the group will have a speaker, Adrian Panton, a volunteer from the Pasadena Museum of History.  He will discuss the history of the African American community in Pasadena.  The meeting will begin at 12:00pm PST.
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