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New Exhibit Explores Iowa's Redlined History

Polk County Housing Trust Fund
"Undesign the Redline" will be on display at Franklin Junior High School through April 17th.

Cities and towns across the United States were shaped by a system many people have never heard of.

That system is called redlining -- a discriminatory  practice by which banks and other financial organizations refused to serve specific neighborhoods, usually based on race. 

Redlining was introduced after the Great Depression, but the patterns predate that time. Some of those discriminatory practices endure despite the passage of the Fair Housing Act in 1968. 

The Polk County Housing Trust has been working with the national groupDesigning the WE to create and localize an interactive exhibit that explores the history and legacy of redlining in Des Moines. 

On this episode of Talk of Iowa, host Charity Nebbe talks about the new Undesign the Redline exhibit in Des Moines and how the legacy of redlining in Iowa and around the country impacts people today.


  • Branden Crooks, Co-founder of Designing the WE
  • Kendyl Larson, Director of Research and Planning at the Polk County Housing Trust
  • Bobbretta Brewton, Member of community advisory board for Undesign the Redline exhibit in Des Moines
  • Ramona Bates, Member of community advisory board for Undesign the Redline exhibit in Des Moines

Charity Nebbe is the host of IPR's Talk of Iowa
Katelyn Harrop is a producer for IPR's River to River and Talk of Iowa