Lovecraft Country Episode 3, “Holy Ghost,” had Letitia Lewis buy a house, a haunted house.
In Lovecraft Country book, it went more into detail of how, Letitia (known as Leti) bought the house. In the 1950s in the US, Black people couldn’t just buy a home.
During the 1950s, Americans were moving from the cities to the suburbs. The suburbs were where all your dreams could come true. Lovecraft Country Episode 3
Black people weren’t allowed to dream in the 1950s, at least not openly with an above the board loan. In the show, it alluded to the installment agreement.
“In the absence of traditional sources of mortgage financing, one of the most common methods available for African Americans to finance a home purchase was the installment or land contract. The contract was subject to predatory abuse in a number of manners. First, the buyer often did not gain title to the property until the last installment payment was made. Second, the installment contract acted to prevent the buyer from gaining any equity in the property over the course of the agreement term. Third, usury laws and mortgage interest rate ceilings didnot apply since the installment contract was a private contract between the parties, a seller could charge any interest rate that the buyer was willing to pay. Fourth, the buyer could be kept ignorant of the actual value of theproperty since appraisals were not necessary to finance the transaction.”
Many of the suburb developments had a “no Black people” allowed clause.
Housing segregation started before the New Deal
Books like “Color of Law” by Richard Rothstein say the segregation/racism was owing to the government, in his book he specifically pointed to the New Deal.
While Rothstein has an interesting perspective (and quite useful for we need smaller government libertarian types— see Black people the government is racist) to say that racism started in 1933 and the government is evil is not exactly the full picture.
America always tries to act like its racism is a mystery. The nine Black bodies in the basement were put there by a white guy, oh, and maybe that white guy was Jewish
That is how housing discrimination is explained in the US.
The dates always are off, the wrong people get arrested, they always figure out how to throw some antisemitism in there, and after the white flight, no matter how nice you keep up your neighborhood, the white media is still going to call it a slum.
De facto segregation vs De jure segregation
Officially there are two kinds of racism in the US.
De facto segregation/racism: segregation/racism that existed because of the voluntary associations and neighborhoods.
De jure segregation/racism: segregation/racism that existed because of local laws that mandated the segregation.
Most de jure racism in the United States comes into existence due to capitalism and the money that comes with it through de facto segregation.
The institution of de facto racism is banks and developers. They aren’t individuals or little clubs. They are wealthy institutions large reaching institutions that have a vested interest in seeming random.
Think about the enslavement of Africans, which was initially a de facto practice, but as it began to make huge money, they were able to not only create propaganda to support slavery, but get laws written to support and defend their actions.
De facto always comes before de jure, and that is the case with Black people in housing.
Racial covenants have existed in the United States since at least the 1890s.
In Buchanan v. Warley (1917) the Court unanimously rejected a Louisville, Kentucky city ordinance prohibiting the sale of real property to Blacks in white neighborhoods or buildings as it violated the Fourteenth Amendment’s protections for freedom of contract.
So what did developers do in 1920? They double down on racial covenants. All through the 1920s, the NAACP fought this, but courts stated that it was not subject to the Fourteenth Amendment due to it being a “private action.” Lovecraft Country Episode 3
So the mysterious ghost that kept Black people from obtaining the American Dream wasn’t “The Government” it has been what it always has been all along —capitalism.
Lovecraft Country Episode 3
by Teka Lo, Public Intellectuals