Seattle Exhibit Grapples With Redlining Past and Present
In 1968, when the federal Fair Housing Act banned racial discrimination in housing, the city of Seattle passed its own Open Housing Act. For the 50th anniversary of those victories, the Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific Experience has launched an exhibit that will eventually anchor a trail of commemorative sites from the International District through the Central District.
The exhibit celebrates community leaders who fought discrimination in the built environment and beyond—like the Jackson Street Community Council, the Seattle Chapter of the Congress of Racial Equality, and the Gang of Four, which included current King County Councilmember Larry Gossett. And it highlights how similar struggles over civil rights and place-based discrimination manifest today.
"Seattle is particularly rife with racially restrictive covenants, some even still in place today," Annie Lloyd explains in Curbed, pointing to present-day housing deeds that prohibit non-white ownership. In addition to explicitly racist practices, Lloyd notes, working-class communities of color now face gentrifying investment patterns that threaten to push them out of the very neighborhoods formed partly in response to redlining.
The exhibit is free and public, and extends through February 2020.