School of Social Sciences and International Studies

Undesign the Redline

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About Undesign the Redline

The Exhibit

Undesign the Redline will be available for viewing on the second floor of Wright State University’s Dunbar Library during Black History Month—February 2022.

“Redlining” maps were introduced in the 1930s, using red lines drawn around neighborhoods to signify “risk areas” for federal backing of newly invented homeownership programs. Those areas were referred to as “infiltrated by hazardous populations,” based almost entirely on race, and helped prevent money from being loaned toward home purchases in those areas. This process allowed structural racism and segregation to be designed into cities.

This design altered what has been possible in the decades that have followed. Broad wealth-building still does not reach those who have been historically devalued. They are instead faced with a legacy of lingering bias and redlining’s cross-generational effects on wealth, income, well-being, and ownership.

Undesign the Redline brings high-touch interactive physical spaces that create tangible educational opportunities. Interactive components at each station allow visitors to contribute knowledge and better understand the content.

Exhibit Components 


Introduction to Redlining: How explicit Jim Crow-era racism was designed into structural racism from the New Deal era until today. 


Localized Redlining Maps and Area Descriptions from the city or region. The maps were made for 239 different cities and populated areas in the U.S. 


How does this connect to our shared history and today? Timeline of policies, practices, and investments as well as collective responses to their effects from 1800 to today. Customized pop-outs show local instances of macro themes. 


Stories from the Line explores local and national stories about redlining or other themes on the timeline. These tailored stories humanize and localize a national narrative. 


So what do we do about it? Here we explore alternative models and processes Designing the WE and others are engaged in to drive a different narrative. A collective visioning space allows everyone to add their ideas and plug into a larger ecosystem.

Touring the Exhibit

On each Saturday in February, a limited number of docent-led tours of Undesign the Redline are available from noon–1 p.m. and from 1–2 p.m. Reserve a spot by emailing Susan Schultheis. Availability is limited. Self-led tours are available during Dunbar Library's hours (10 a.m.–6 p.m.). For visitors, parking is free on Saturdays and you may park in the Dunbar Library parking lot.

Undesign the Redline Activities

Event Recordings

Event Dates (all lectures are virtual)

Event Descriptions

Faculty Lecture
February 4, noon–1 p.m.
"The Color of Law,” John Feldmeier, Ph.D., School of Public and International Affairs; Jennifer Subban, Ph.D., School of Public and International Affairs; Sarah Twill, Ph.D., M.S.W., Social Work (WebEx link)

Black History Month Quiz
February 7 and 21
Details TBA

Bolinga Black Cultural Resources Center Documentary
February 9 and 14, 10–11:15 a.m.
February 9, Segregated by Design (WebEx link); February 14, White Flight and Redlining (WebEx link). Password: Undesign

Faculty Lecture
February 11, noon–1 p.m.
“Colonial Redlining: Cantonments, Labor Migration, and Native Reserves,” Geoffrey R. Owens, Ph.D., Sociology and Anthropology (WebEx link)

Live Virtual Lecture
February 16, 1–2 p.m.
“Redlining and Segregation,” John R. Logan, Ph.D., Brown University (WebEx link)

Faculty Lecture
February 18, noon–1 p.m.
“Redlining and Black Feminist Activism,” Angela Simms, Ph.D., Barnard College (WebEx link)

Virtual Final Address
February 23, 1–2 p.m.
"Redlining and the LGBTQ Communities," Townsand Price-Spratlen, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Department of Sociology, The Ohio State University (WebEx link)

Faculty Lecture
February 25, noon–1 p.m.
“Redlining and Black Women’s Health Equity,” Nicole Carter, Ph.D., Director, Women’s Center and Camille Edwards, M.P.H., Population and Public Health Sciences, Boonshoft School of Medicine (WebEx)

Wright State Faculty Resources

Douglas S. Massey, Ph.D., Princeton School of Public and International Affairs, has provided this list of articles that offer historical resources on the practice of redlining. Massey and Nancy Denton, Ph.D., University at Albany, are the authors of American Apartheid: Segregation and the Making of the Underclass.


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