NAACP, Berkshire County Branch to Host Presentation About Redlining in Pittsfield. Sponsored by Greylock Federal Credit Union and Berkshire Bank

Pittsfield, Mass – The NAACP, Berkshire County Branch will host a presentation on redlining in Pittsfield from 1900 – 1960 at their next general meeting on Wednesday, April 6 at 6 p.m. via Zoom. 

The report was commissioned by The Greylock Federal Credit Union with the support of Berkshire Bank, the NAACP, Berkshire County Branch, and the MCLA Foundation. It was compiled by  Kamaar Taliaferro, Susan Denault, Tessa Kelly, and Dr. Frances Jones-Sneed with the assistance of Kelli Newby, Emmanuelle Copeland, Rebecca Park, Aaron Bienek, and Nicholas Russo; with assistance from the Local History Department of the Berkshire Athenaeum. 

In the United States, the practice of redlining is a discriminatory practice in which services are withheld from potential customers who reside in neighborhoods classified as ‘hazardous’ to investment; these neighborhoods have significant numbers of racial and ethnic minorities and low-income residents. 

This project researched whether housing discrimination in the Berkshires matched what was happening in larger urban areas in the twentieth century. We used Pittsfield as a case study because of the high population of Blacks who migrated to the area during the 1920s-30s and because our research showed that the discriminatory New Deal policies were, indeed, implemented in Berkshire County.

The report sought to answer three questions. Was there redlining in Berkshire County?

If there was, what are the ongoing effects on the Black population? What can be done to alleviate its effects?

“As we strive to forge a more inclusive economy with opportunities for all, we are grateful to gain deep insights from this important study.  Moving to a place of greater equity requires that we understand the history, the policies, and the systems that have shaped our community for decades.”,  John Bissell President and CEO Greylock FCU.

“After the protests of 2020, many Berkshire residents reflected on the inequities in our society, both nationally and locally. In Pittsfield, these are visible as stark racial divisions in income and rates of homeownership. It is difficult to understand these gaps, and nearly impossible to repair them, without historical context. Redlining in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, A Case Study of the Westside Neighborhood, is a novel attempt to better understand the interlocking and cascading effects of historical housing discrimination, including how opportunities to accrue intergenerational wealth were limited for Black Pittsfield residents. This report will help us reckon with how Pittsfield’s present is built on its past. We hope that in confronting this history, our community can join together and choose to disrupt inequitable systems, and build a more prosperous future for all our community members.”, Kamaar Taliaferro, NAACP Berkshire County Branch Housing Committee Chair.

This event is free and open to all, but non-branch members must register for the Zoom link by emailing For more information, visit or email