Suggested Questions and Reflections

Stories, Context, and the Lived Experience of Black Entrepreneurs, Module V: Black Women Build

William Romani
July 19, 2023
Africa, Asia - Pacific, Europe, Latin & South America, North America
Ethics & Social Justice, Entrepreneurship
1 page
anti-Black laws, racial segregation, Redlining, bias
Average rating: 

Throughout the 20th century, federally subsidized superhighways and mortgage loan programs financed the flight of White residents out of industrial cities like Baltimore and into sprawling new suburban communities. At the same time, government sanctioned urban renewal programs led to the displacement of thousands of Black residents and a precipitous shift in public resources away from many of the Black neighborhoods that remained. The result has been a 40% drop in Baltimore’s population that’s left behind 15,000 vacant houses and scores of Black neighborhoods in search of investment, businesses, and jobs. Shelley Halstead is the founder and executive director of Black Women Build. A nonprofit that promotes home ownership and wealth creation by training Black women in carpentry and building trades as they restore vacant and deteriorated houses in West Baltimore neighborhoods like Druid Heights.

Use the following link to access the full module:

Learning Outcomes: 

After completing this module students should be able to…

  1. Understand the cumulative impact that the following Anti-Black publicly sanctioned and financed housing demolition programs have had on "white flight", forced displacement, and the availability of housing in historically redlined neighborhoods.

    1. Public health "Slum Clearance"

    2. Public housing demolition

    3. Project CORE

    4. Hope VI

    5. Eminent domain

  2. Identify the anti-Black private, legal, and public health structures that created and sanctioned racial segregation and exploitation in predominantly Black U.S. towns and cities 

  3. Compare and contrast the intended and realized benefits of the following tools utilized by the city of Baltimore to address vacant houses and community (dis)investment in historically redlined neighborhoods.

    1. Eminent domain

    2. Vacants to Value

    3. Receivership

    4. Code enforcement

    5. Land banking

    6. Demolition

  4. Describe the resources and strategies that Baltimore communities have used to avoid housing demolition and secure investment in their neighborhoods.

  5. Identify the city agencies/offices and key decision makers that direct the following roles in housing and community investment:

    1. Code enforcement and inspections

    2. Demolition (public and private housing)

    3. Receivership

    4. Economic development

    5. Public Housing

    6. Zoning

    7. Building and Permitting

  6. Identify how organizations, businesses, and institutions like Black Women Build are using a user centered, community owned process to create jobs and home ownership for Black women in majority Black cities like Baltimore.

  7. Select key publicly available indexes and indicators that may help define the economic and non-economic returns on investment in redlined communities like Druid Heights.

  8. Reflect on your own personal bias' and the empathy required to make investments in entrepreneurs and companies that are creating inclusive models of home ownership and job creation in historically redlined neighborhoods.