-- Update at bottom --
Last week, Council Member Jacob Frey posted a really racist Minneapolis "Planning Area Designation" map to his Facebook page. (But as Minneapolis historian Kirsten Delegard tells us on Twitter, the map is descriptive, not prescriptive, so it's not correct to call it a "planning map.")
In north Minneapolis, the map designates a "Negro Section (Largest in city)." That area is in the same general vicinity as one of the map's handful of "Slum" sections. There are also areas labeled "Foreign Born," "Working Men's Homes," and "Hobohemia." On the flipside, the affluent southwest part of town is labeled, "Gold Coast."
Here's the map, which overlays the original document with "Interstate Highways and selected modern landmarks" from 2012 (click to enlarge):
On Facebook, Frey wrote:
Think our city has been desegregated? I beg to differ. What has changed since 1935 when we literally zoned by race? If you are unable to read the small type, North Minneapolis is marked as "Negro Section," NE is marked "Foreign Born," Southwest is marked "Gold Coast," SE is marked "Middle Class."Frey tells us he isn't totally sure the map is legit, but notes the eerie similarly between the planning zone names and modern-day Minneapolis's demographics -- for instance, the "Gold Coast" is still one of the wealthiest areas, while the "Negro Section" is the core of the city's African-American community.
These policy decisions still haunt us today, and are at the root of our opportunity gap. As I have said so many times, we cannot move beyond our problems unless we are living together.
Frey says he was given a paper copy of the map by someone at the Summit Academy, which he then uploaded to the web.
We asked city of Minneapolis spokesperson Casper Hill whether he could tell us anything about the city's role in preparing the map almost 80 years ago.
"I cannot determine whether or not elements of this map were created by the city of Minneapolis in the 1930s," Hill says.
On Twitter, Chris Steller points us to a post on PropertyProfBlog that indicates the map was first published by the Minneapolis Council of Social Agencies in 1937.