Department of Sociology and Anthropology

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.

Undesign the Redline Activities

Event Dates

Event Descriptions

Virtual 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

Black History Month Quiz
February 7 and 21
Details TBA

In-Person Faculty Lecture
February 11, noon–1 p.m., 441 Dunbar Library
“Colonial Redlining: Cantonments, Labor Migration, and Native Reserves,” Geoffrey R. Owens, Ph.D., Sociology and Anthropology

Bolinga Black Cultural Resources Center Documentary
February 14 and 18
Details TBA

Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. Community Tour
February 15, 1–3 p.m.
Details TBA

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

In-Person Faculty Lecture
February 18, noon–1 p.m., 441 Dunbar Library
“Redlining and Black Feminist Activism,” Angela Simms, Ph.D., Barnard College

In-Person Faculty Lecture
February 25, noon–1 p.m., 441 Dunbar Library
“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

Event Registration

Faculty members, please choose a preferred time slot for your classes to tour the exhibit. Email with any questions about scheduling a tour.

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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