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Notice of Public Meeting: Kalamazoo Public Library Board of Trustees | April 15th| 5 pm | Central Library/Board Room. The packet of information for the meeting can be found on the library’s website

How FDR Segregated Kalamazoo

Redlining, Racially Restrictive Covenants, and Segregation in Kalamazoo

A presentation and discussion about the history of redlining, racially restrictive covenants, and segregation in Kalamazoo. Learn how the federal government and the city of Kalamazoo successfully financed white homeownership while instituting black segregation, how this specifically showed up and changed Kalamazoo, and how this history lives on today in Kalamazoo housing policies. Drawing on local history research, KPL librarian Matt Smith gives a presentation, followed by a panel discussion with local housing experts and Northside residents.

YouTube player

Video added in April, 2022


“Dutch picnic expected to draw 12,000”

Kalamazoo Gazette, 1 September 1933

“Loans now available”

Kalamazoo Gazette, 13 June 1935

“Kalamazoo’s single mortgage clinic to open Thursday in city hall”

Kalamazoo Gazette, 20 March 1936

“Negro housing locally below U.S. average”

Kalamazoo Gazette, 17 October 1946

“Lawyer, builder, research group tell the effects of poor housing and how to approach solution”

Kalamazoo Forwarder, 15 July 1948

“Kalamazoo begins a crusade against sub-standard housing”

Kalamazoo Gazette, 22 November 1953

“Neighborhood meetings to study housing problems”

Kalamazoo Gazette, 27 March 1954

“City crusade seeks to improve housing”

Kalamazoo Gazette, 4 January 1955

“Council seeks end to racial segregation”

Kalamazoo Gazette, 15 July 1956

“No adverse effect seen in housing integration”

Kalamazoo Gazette, 27 July 1959

“Housing Authority plan under study”

Kalamazoo Gazette, 11 December 1960

“Com. Washington speaks out: says Negroes ‘intimidated’ on housing”

Kalamazoo Gazette, 21 November 1961

“Home sale sets off race debate before commission”

Kalamazoo Gazette, 19 June 1962

“Realtors hear report on minority housing”

Kalamazoo Gazette, 5 June 1964

“End housing bias, group here told”

Kalamazoo Gazette, 15 May 1965

“Rebuild northside to encourage whites to return”

Kalamazoo Gazette, 21 April 1966, page 10, column 1

“Northside group raps inspectors”

Kalamazoo Gazette, 19 March 1966, page 1, column 4

“Recommendations made by Negroes”

Kalamazoo Gazette, 30 July 1967, page 1, column 3

“…They don’t rent to [N-word]”

Kalamazoo Gazette, 6 January 1970, page 15, column 1

“Mortgage redlining hit by task force”

Kalamazoo Gazette, 12 August 1976, page A8, column 5

“Major step taken against redlining”

Kalamazoo Gazette, 4 March 1977, page A9, column 3

“Kalamazoo trio fights redlining”

Kalamazoo Gazette, 6 October 1979, page B7, column 1

“Redlining reports not filed on time”

Kalamazoo Gazette, 1 May 1980, page D8, column 3

“Reporters tell how they feel about tests”

Kalamazoo Gazette, 30 October 1988, page A5, column 3


The color of law: a forgotten history of how our government segregated America, Richard Rothstein (305.8 R847)

Crabgrass frontier : the suburbanization of the United States, Kenneth T Jackson (301.362 J13)

The origins of the urban crisis : race and inequality in postwar Detroit, Thomas J Sugrue (305.8 S9478)

Working toward whiteness : how America’s immigrants became white : the strange journey from Ellis Island to the suburbs, David R Roediger (305.8 R712)

Negroes in Kalamazoo : a local self-study, Charles Spurgeon Johnson (973.0496 N393)

Social changes in western Michigan, 1930 to 1990 : interviews by C. Allen Alexander, M.D., C Allen Alexander (921 A3754.3)

Selected population and housing characteristics by tracts in Kalamazoo, 1950 and 1960, Samuel V Bennett (H 977.418 B472.1)

What’s wrong with housing in Kalamazoo?, Kalamazoo League of Women Voters (H 331.83 L434)

Who lives where in Kalamazoo? : population characteristics from the 1980 census with 1970 comparisons for civil divisions and census tracts within Kalamazoo County, Lyndell R Bleyer (H 304.6 M6241)


City-township homes built

Inside Michigan, No. 4, Vol. 5

“The changing residential structure of the Dutch population”

Annals of the Association of American Geographers, Vol. 59, Issue 3

Local History Room Files

Subject File: Blacks

Subject File: Desegregation

Subject File: Northside Neighborhood

Other Sources

Home Owners Loan Corporation security map of Kalamazoo (online)

Kalamazoo County atlas, 1873

Zoning map of Kalamazoo, 1924

Kalamazoo City annual report, 1954

Research report on integrated housing in Kalamazoo, Upjohn Institute, 1959

City of Kalamazoo assessment of fair housing plan, 2014

Kalamazoo’s Colored School (1861-1871), Lynn Houghton (online)

Interview with Gwendolyn Tulk, 2018

Community health needs assessment Kalamazoo County, 2016 (online)

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