After chattel slavery, Black people stood. After campaigns of terror decimated Black business districts, like the 1921 attack on Tulsa’s Greenwood district, Black people stood. Whatever was left standing, however, the federal government erased overnight. With laser-like targeting, thriving Black business districts around the country were destroyed, through the construction of interstate highways. Those same interstates were used to carry struggling whites to a new life of ease in the suburbs, where new, federally subsidized housing awaited them. Black people were not only locked out of the new welfare parade, billions upon billions were stolen in the process. It’s time to get it back.
Homeownership is a relatively new phenomenon in American history. Simply put, only the well off could afford homes of their own, until the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) started insuring mortgages and putting down payments within reach of the common man. Chief among the FHA’s requirements were that the neighborhoods remain white — seriously. Not able to access mortgages and with few businesses left after the interstates were carefully constructed to wipe them out, Black people had fewer and fewer options. One option for housing, however, was home contract buying. Essentially, as NPR reported, it went like this:
“A buyer put down a large down payment for a home and made monthly installments at high interest rates. But the buyer never gained ownership until the contract was paid in full and all conditions were met. Meanwhile, the contract seller held the deed and could evict the buyer. Contract buyers also accumulated no equity in their homes. No laws or regulations protected them.”
A study by the Samuel DuBois Cook Center on Social Equity at Duke University and the Nathalie P. Voorhees Center at the University of Illinois-Chicago concluded:
- Between 75 percent and 95 percent of homes sold to Black families in Chicago during the 1950s and 1960s were sold on contract.
- The price markup on homes sold on contract was 84%.
- African Americans who bought on contract paid, on average, an additional $587 (in current dollars) more a month than if they had a conventional mortgage.
- During the 1950s and 1960s, Black families in Chicago lost between $3 billion and $4 billion in wealth because of predatory housing contracts.
Between $3 billion and $4 billion, in a 20 year period, in just one American city. Multiply that finding by Detroit, Atlanta, Cincinnatti, New York, Philadelphia and so on — the FHA set housing standards nationally — and a clear picture emerges on the amount of wealth the federal government took from Black people. Black people should absolutely push for policies to address disparities but that advocacy should consider the history of this nation; a nation so committed to oppressing Black people, historically, should not be the source Black people look to for justice.
Step 1: The cities that whites fled in the 1950s, 60s, 70s and 80s are the same cities they desire to claim today. The group that controls the American city will rule America. Black people must, collectively, buy every piece of dirt possible. Buy homes collectively, if you must. As a group buy and maintain vacant lots, if that’s the move you can make. Buy the city and you can’t be displaced.
Step 2: This year We Buy Black is planning a radical, game-changing campaign to reroute Black dollars, en masse. We will create millionaires in 2020 and jobs for Black people. The wealth and jobs created will be from Black people, to Black people and exclusively for Black people. Are you ready? Stay tuned…