One significant difference is the feral living conditions that African-Americans lived in in the 1940’s. One study showed that 42.1% of black housing units lacked private baths, and 22.4% did not have running water. (Pietila 90) Truthfully, the west side of Baltimore today is not much better; many of the houses are still considered to be deplorable by its residents, although it has ameliorated some since the 1940’s. The black residents who were moving to the white side of Baltimore were deemed a “dangerous real estate situation” to the realtors who were living in the area. This would not be said outright today, although it is very difficult for a black family in Baltimore to move to a white neighborhood today. However, today we do not need blatant racism to segregate American cities: African-Americans earn less that white Americans, prohibiting most from moving into the affluent white communities.
The realtors at the time acted abhorrently to their black customers, which was not unusual at the time. One advertisement in the Afro-American asked black families to come visit the open houses, so long as they were “sober, industrious” families. They specifically stated, “no loafers fed by hard-working wives.” (Pietila 99) Realtors did not try to appeal to their black clients, as they knew that black families had no other option at the time. Banks would not give them loans, and they were banned from most of the real estate market. To say the least, it was hard to find housing as an African-American individual in the US in the 20th century.
Before reading the selected healthcare readings, I only had a glimpse of the problems that African-Americans faced when moving in the United States. I had more of an idea of the implications of living in segregated neighborhoods, but was ignorant about the realities of why housing is still so segregated today. After reading excerpts from Not in my Neighborhood, I have a better grasp of the history of housing segregation in Baltimore, although I wished it covered what was happening across the nation more too. That being said, the excerpts offered a telling glimpse into the problematic housing market in the 1940’s.
Pietila, Antero. Not in my Neighborhood. Chicago: Northwestern University Press, 2010. Print.