Let us Start at the Beginning

KCUR.org‘s Beyond our Borders project collected data about the start Kansas City. On their website, they share information of the start of KC and the formation of Troost Ave into what it is today. This specific article summarizes the historical events that lead to the formation of Troost as the dividing line and the most recent events that took place to further enforce the division, such as purposefully drawn school districts, which this article goes into.

Here is an article called Drawing the Line from SqueezeBox, a website that aims to tell the hidden stories of Kansas City. This article tells the story from a Italian Catholic family’s perspective of the changing times and events. It beautifully illustrates how quickly the white flight took and how it left the Black community in disrepair.

Another article that goes into more detail about JC Nichols’s hand in urban and real estate developing. Sara Stevens is interviewed by KCUR and tells the listener about deed restrictions and how influential JC Nichols was in the urban planning field. Additional information is given to how real estate works and this can give the reader an idea why a racist white man, a product of his time, did what he did and thought the way he thought.

Another factor to the state of the Black community is the race riots of 1968. When Martin Luther King, Jr was assassinated, major cities across America broke out in protests against the terrible tragedy. Many Black properties were destroyed and left in shambles. With no money to fix or invest in anything, people and businesses had to leave, and they restarted in the Black neighborhoods east of Troost.

With the combined factors of racism, difficulty of securing a loan, poverty, and a unequal investment of public resources, such as schools and community centers, the east side of Troost was doomed to fall to its current state of blight.

Here’s a PDF of a Powerpoint of a more summarized point to point history of KCMO. Feel free to use it for any educational purposes!

Some definitions of tactics that investors partook in:

Redlining: Redlining is the unethical practice where financial institutions make it extremely difficult or impossible for residents of poor inner-city neighborhoods to borrow money, gain approval for a mortgage, take out insurance or gain access to other financial services because of a history of high default rates (Investopedia).

Blockbusting: The illegal and discriminatory practice of helping ethnic or minority individuals into predominantly non-ethnic or minority-dominated areas, and then using scare tactics to force current neighborhood residents to sell their homes at depressed prices (business dictionary).

 

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