Most people in our town probably wouldn’t consider Wayne a “segregated town” but that’s usually because they’re unfamiliar with the history of redlining. 

When FDR created loan programs as part of the New Deal in the 1930’s, the government created color coded maps to decide who got those loans. 

If you lived in green-lined neighborhoods, you had a good chance of being given a home loan.  If you lived in redlined neighborhoods (designated for African American and other minorities), you were more likely to be denied for a loan and other government services. 

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Minorities also couldn’t move to green-lined neighborhoods because those neighborhoods were segregated.  As a result, from 1934-1968 98% of home loans were given to white families. 

Why does this matter?  When you get a home loan, you’re able to accumulate wealth, sell your home when property values rise and buy a bigger house, you can receive second mortgages that can be used to open a business, for example.  And as the collective community accumulates wealth, businesses move in and cause property values to go up.

Property tax revenues for the town rise and get recycled into every aspect of the town from education, healthcare and community resources. 

White families in green-lined neighborhoods had better opportunities and could send their kids to college and pass down their wealth to future generations. 

Meanwhile, it was much more difficult for red neighborhoods to accumulate wealth, as property values did not rise proportionately. Property taxes that would pay for community services remained low, and the people in these communities remained trapped in a poverty cycle. 

Even after redlining was outlawed, property values remained low and so the schools in these towns and cities that were funded by property taxes could not offer the same curriculum as red-lined towns like Wayne. Education, Healthcare systems and community resources remained underfunded and disadvantaged in cities like Paterson. Where towns like Wayne had a much bigger advantage.

Communities like many areas in Paterson remain in poverty and have fallen victim to virtually nonexistent community resources, rising crime rates, illegal housing discrimination and an astronomical wealth gap. According to the Pew Research Center, the median net worth of a white household in 2014 was $141,900; black and Hispanic households are around $11,000 and $13,700, respectively.)  Therefore, these communities remain separated by race. 

This is the story of Wayne and Paterson.  People in our town like to disparage residents of Paterson but the truth is that Wayne is a product of the dispossession of its neighboring town.  And they’re not the only ones. 

  • In Paterson, 67 percent of students are Hispanic and 22 percent are black.
    • Wayne, which borders Paterson to the west, is 11 percent Hispanic and 1 percent black. 
  • Passaic City schools are 93 percent Hispanic and 4 percent black.
    • Neighboring Hasbrouck Heights is 26 percent Hispanic and 3 percent black.
    • Nearby Wood-Ridge is 24 percent Hispanic and 5 percent black. 
  • Newark is 48 percent Hispanic and 42 percent black.
    • Glen Ridge, about 10 miles away, is 6 percent Hispanic and 4 percent black. 

More examples: - Hannan Adely and Dave Sheingold, NorthJersey Published 7:30 a.m. ET July 13, 2018 | Updated 12:43 p.m. ET July 16, 2018 : 

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