On Wednesday, April 6th, the Redlining in Pittsfield Massachusetts – A Case Study of the Westside Neighborhood report was presented to the public. We are now making it available for all to watch here.
The report was commissioned by Greylock Federal Credit Union with the support of Berkshire Bank, the NAACP, Berkshire County Branch, and the MCLA Foundation. Kelli Newby, Emmanuelle Copeland, Rebecca Park, Aaron Bienek, and Nicholas Russo; with assistance from the Local History Department of the Berkshire Athenaeum.
What is Redlining?
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 so, what are the ongoing effects on the Black population?
– What can be done to alleviate its effects?
You can also read or download a “primer” of this study below:
- study housing conditions in the local community;
- receive and seek to address complaints of discrimination;
- oppose all restrictive practices whether public or private; and
- disseminate information and render such other assistance which may eliminate discrimination in housing.
- Meets virtually twice a month using BCB NAACP Zoom account for the foreseeable future
- Collaborate with all NAACP Standing and Special Committees
Secure housing is a fundamental human right. Offer a space for activists and everyday people to find community and their voices, in order to ensure their rights.
- Provide oversight of local housing policy
- Offer opportunities to advocate in solidarity with our community
- Educate branch members and the county at large on systemic solutions to our local housing crisis.
- Investigate thoroughly, and provide appropriate support, for those who feel they have been subject to discrimination within the housing ecosystem
Current Activities (July-Dec. 2022)
- Advocated and secured the support of the New England Area Conference of the NAACP for the H.O.M.E.S Eviction Sealing Act, and sister bills H.1377 and S.868
- Canvassed alongside Invest in Pittsfield to distribute information on the ARPA public listening sessions.
- Advocated for our Branch’s mission “to ensure the political, educational, social and economic equality of all rights for all persons and to eliminate race-based discrimination”, ceaselessly.
Kamaar Taliaferro 78 Howard St, Pittsfield, MA (413)-770-2031 email@example.com
- Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor – “Race for Profit”, and “How We Get Free”
- “Oppositional Consciousness – The Subjective Roots of Social Protest” edited by Jane Mansbridge and Aldon Morris
- W.E.B. Du Bois – “Black Reconstruction in America”
- Howard Zinn – “You Can’t Be Neutral on a Moving Train”
Sven Beckert – “Slavery’s Capitalism: A New History of American Economic Development”, and “Empire of Cotton: A Global History”
- Arlie Russel Hothschild – “Strangers in Their Own Land”
- Eve L Ewing – “1919: poems”
- “A Dialogue” Nikki Giovanni and James Baldwin
Helpful housing-related organizations:
“Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.” -James Baldwin