Brownsville, Brooklyn, NY
Brownsville, Brooklyn, depicted in this street scene, was a poor but densely settled neighborhood. It was a center of social activism--Margaret Sanger established the first birth control clinic in the United States there in 1916 and the community was…
During his presidency, Franklin Roosevelt gave several radio addresses to explain his policies and government programs. These addresses came to be known as "fireside chats." In this photo, Roosevelt prepares to give his first fireside chat, just…
Breadline during the Great Depression
About a quarter of the American workforce was unemployed at the lowest point of the Great Depression. When families were unable to afford food for themselves, charities often provided free meals. Al Capone, a leading organized crime figure, provided…
African American youth in Chicago
This iconic image from photographer Russell Lee depicts African American children in Chicago’s Bronzeville neighborhood, in the Black Belt, on Easter Sunday, 1941.
Chicago's Black Belt, 1930, 1940, and 1960
These three maps for the south side of Chicago illustrate the stark color line separating the Black Belt neighborhoods from white neighborhoods in the city. Even as the African American population grew in the Great Migration, the city remained…
Atlanta HOLC Map
“Redlining” security map for Atlanta, GA
San Francisco HOLC map
“Redlining” security map for San Francisco, CA
Portrait of Richard Ely. Ely had formed strong ties between the academy and private sector, putting him in a strong position to advise when Congress created the HOLC and FHA. Ely had advised the National Association of Real Estate Boards (NAREB) in…
Portrait of Homer Hoyt, who studied at the University of Chicago, combined urban sociology and economics and became the chief housing economist at the FHA.
Little Italy, west of Chicago’s central business district, was a dense ethnic neighborhood that HOLC officials concluded was risky for residential investment. The area saw little investment until the late 1950s, when state and federal initiatives…