The housing shortage during the Great Depression led the government to create housing programs aimed to create segregated housing for middle-class Americans with white families occupying new homes and apartments in the newly developed suburbs, while Black families were regulated to urban high-rises often much farther from work. The problem, however, was that federal housing was segregated into exclusively white or exclusively Black housing that was not created equal. The Federal Housing Administration did not allow federal housing buildings for Blacks in a white neighborhood, claiming property values of homes would decline but due to the lack of housing options, Black individuals would actually want to pay more than white individuals if given the opportunity to purchase a house. On top of that, the FHA put in guidelines that Black individuals and families could not get a mortgage no matter the area of town they were trying to live in. And just to make it a little bit harder, the FHA prohibited the building of apartment complexes and multifamily homes in white neighborhoods to avoid lower income citizens being able to afford living there which were predominately people of color. This practice took place across many major cities across the United States including Miami, New York, San Francisco, Detroit, Chicago, and more during the mid 20th century, and the effects of these laws can still be felt today.
Even though northern states were on the side to abolish slavery, between 1780 and 1862 penal codes were in place that led to Black individuals being incarcerated in large numbers. Today, over-policing and longer sentences perpetuate mass incarceration, which is the reality or risk of large numbers of people being jailed. In fact, the United States has a disproportionate number of people incarcerated.
The general population of the U.S. is 5% of that of the world, yet we have 25% of the world’s incarcerated individuals. On average, Black men receive about 20 percent longer prison sentences than white men who were involved in similar crimes.
Children are more likely to face difficulties related to school, such as cognitive delays, if their parents have been incarcerated, the rate of which has increased since the 1980s. Poverty and hunger can perpetuate for generations when children encounter obstacles that pull them away from succeeding in school, which in turn will make it harder to find a quality job.
Soon after the Civil War, in the late 1870s, Jim Crow laws enacted segregation in various public places, including schools, allowing white schools to receive more financial support and mandating Black children went to school to ultimately take on the jobs their parents had in areas such as service jobs including domestic work and farm labor. It was not until 1954 and the case of Brown vs. the Board of Education that the Supreme Court would rule segregation unconstitutional; yet, inequalities still persist in education for Black students to this day.