A Tale Of Two Houses: More On The Wealth Gap
We’re going to loop back now to our review of the wealth gap, from our series The Lines Between Us, which focused the causes of racial and class disparities in the Baltimore region. Earlier we heard the story of Isaac Joseph Bacon, an African-American World War II veteran. In 1950, he bought a house in a nice neighborhood by Druid Hill Park. It’s close to landmarks we heard a lot about this spring, during the riot and protests after Freddie Gray’s funeral. The house is about two blocks south of Mondawmin Mall, and about six blocks north of Penn North. Home values did not appreciate in that neighborhood, and as Mr. Bacon grew frail in his late 80s, his family scrambled to pay for assisted living.
That’s the story of the wealth gap in a nutshell. Middle-class Americans have traditionally built their wealth through home equity. As the suburbs were built up, partly to satisfy demand from the GI Bill, whites moved to the suburbs from the cities and watched their home values appreciate over decades. For the most part, African American homebuyers were excluded from that suburban boom.
In November 2012, Anne Kubisch, then director of the Aspen Institute’s Roundtable on Community Change, shared a personal story with Tom Hall – a story of her own family and that of a friend in Baltimore.