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Mapping the Geography of Racism: Why Deep Dives in Data Matter | @HASTAC

Erin Parish reviews Mapping Inequality over at HASTAC:


“This may not look like a “digital humanities” project but it actually has deep roots in the methodologies, impulses, theories, technologies, data analysis and social justice purposes motivating much digital humanities. “Mapping Inequality”—an on-going initiative providing digital access to redlining maps made during the New Deal that legally enshrined housing segregation throughout the United States—illustrates the social justice capacities for digital humanities projects. Between 1935 and 1940, the Home Owners’ Loan Corporation (HOLC)—a New Deal federal agency—collaborated with mortgage lenders, developers, and real estate appraisers to create maps that illustrated gradients of credit worthiness.  The color-coding of these maps directly correlated with the skin color of neighborhood residents; blackness was equated with risky investment and the “contagion” of falling property values.  “Mapping Inequality” makes these “security maps” of over 150 cities publicly available, providing easy access to evidence of federal government involvement in drawing the color lines that have helped dictate unequal access to wealth and resources throughout the 20th century….”

Source: Mapping the Geography of Racism: Why Deep Dives in Data Matter | HASTAC