Civics

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Based on the sources, what can you infer about the reason the racial wealth gap continues to be just as wide today as in 1968?

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Document A


Source:
Trymaine Lee, “A vast wealth gap, driven by segregation, redlining, evictions and exclusion, separates black and white America,”
1619 Project, 2019.

The G.I. Bill is often hailed as one of Roosevelt’s most enduring legacies. It helped usher millions of working-class veterans through college and into new homes and the middle class. But it discriminatorily benefited white people. While the bill didn’t explicitly exclude black veterans, the way it was administered often did. The bill gave veterans access to mortgages with no down payments, but the Veterans Administration adopted the same racially restrictive policies as the Federal Housing Administration, which guaranteed bank loans only to developers who wouldn’t sell to black people. “The major way in which people have an opportunity to accumulate wealth is contingent on the wealth positions of their parents and their grandparents,” Darity says. “To the extent that blacks have the capacity to accumulate wealth, we have not had the ability to transfer the same kinds of resources across generations.”

Document B


Source
: History of the Cabrini Green Housing Project, 2019

Initially the Frances Cabrini Homes had a “quota” of African American residents. That quota was abandoned as the African American population in Chicago nearly doubled in size between 1940 and 1950 and because white Chicagoans remained adamantly opposed to integrated housing in their neighborhoods. With the passage of the 1949 Housing Act which approved another wave of slum clearance and new public housing construction, the Cabrini Extension, a high rise of 1,921 units was authorized. That project was completed in 1958, followed by the nearby William Green Homes, another high rise building (1,099 units) which was opened in 1962. All three projects became known as Cabrini-Green, and were the first example of high-rise public housing primarily for the African American poor in Chicago.

By 1968 public housing through the city of Chicago was predominantly African American. With high crime and unemployment Cabrini Green, along with other housing projects in the city, came to symbolize the failure of city government in Chicago (and across the nation) to resolve the problems of the concentrated and isolated urban African American poor.

Beginning in the 1980s Chicago political leaders and downtown business interests focused on the redevelopment of Cabrini Green and the surrounding neighborhood. Ironically because of its close proximity to downtown and the expanding Near North Side, an affluent area along Lake Michigan known locally as the Gold Coast, Chicago officials now viewed Cabrini Green as an area that could be “gentrified.”

Document C


Source:
Washington Post, 2020

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