Special Exhibit - Redlined: Cities, Suburbs, and Segregation




What is redlining?  

Redlining refers to the systematic disinvestment of some neighborhoods and populations in favor of others, most often on the basis of race. This means that private industry and later the federal government chose to fund and support home purchases for white families and neighborhoods over African American families and other communities of color. Although the policy was outlawed with the passage of the 1968 Civil Rights Act, the legacies of the system continue to impact communities of color in our region and across the nation.

How was this exhibit made?  

LoC-2016873162--FHA-MappingThe exhibit is the product of hundreds of hours of staff research, utilizing over 120 books, scholarly articles, dissertations and newspaper articles, as well as thousands of primary source documents housed at regional and national archives.

What are some interesting features of the exhibit? 

The exhibit contains more than 120 images, ten display cases with original objects and documents, and covers more than 2,000 square feet of wall space. Visitors will be moved by large-scale visualizations of redlining, restrictive covenants by neighborhood, and more.  

Resized_20220120_163147 Resized_20220124_133902Resized_20220120_145230As visitors explore, they will get to hear from members of previously redlined communities in a special video produced for this exhibit and see how life today mirrors boundaries created nearly a century ago in an interactive touchscreen exhibit.  

The exhibit also features a micro-art exhibit featuring works related to the history and legacies of redlining from the African American Artists Collective. Art has the remarkable ability to communicate where words sometimes fail. It also allows us to process our feelings, experiences, and connect us through our common humanity. Artists with AAAC created pieces in response to the topic of redlining. Their works provide moments to reflect on the historical content provided in the exhibit. 

LoC 2013647400Is there a hashtag?

Of course! Use #RedlinedKC to join in the conversation.


Programs at both the Johnson County Museum and nearly a dozen sites around the Greater Kansas City area will complement this exhibit. Programs will continue to be added. Check back regularly. 


February 19 - A Raisin in the Sun and the Legacy of Redlining, an interdisciplinary fieldtrip for adults. Register here 

February 24 - Free Did Not Mean Welcome, program by Dr. Carmaletta Williams of the Black Archives of Mid- America, in partnership with the Johnson County Library. More details and register here. 

April 7 -  J.C. Nichols and Community Building, program by Dr. Bill Worley. More details to come! 

June 11 - Jazz Storytelling at the Juneteenth Celebration at JoCoAHC. More details to come! 

July 13 - 1863/1963: When Freedom Changed America, program by Dr. Edgar Tidwell of KU. More details to come! 

September 15 - Legacies of Redlining: Blue River Watershed and Climate Impacts, panel discussion in partnership with the Parks and Recreation Foundation of Johnson County and Blue River Collaborative. More details to come! 

September 21 - Legacies of Redlining: Social Determinants of Health, panel discussion in partnership with JoCoDHE, UCS, and Health Forward, September 21, 2022. More details to come!


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Black Archives of Mid-America in Kansas City, Missouri - JCPRD 50+ Tour. More details to come! 

Black Archives of Mid-America in Kansas City, MissouriAnnual Black History Month Luncheon - February 19, “Reparations and Restitution of Black Wealth.” More information and registration here.

Johnson County Library - July 7, Dividing Lines Tour for “Past is Prologue” series. More details to come! 

Kansas City, Kansas Public Library - February 17, Author talk with Richard Rothstein, The Color of Law (with Read Along at noon each Wednesday). Register here.

Kansas Studies Institute at Johnson County Community College - Thomas Johnson and Johnson County, presentation by Dr. Kevin Abing (Oct. 4, 2021). Recording available to view

Kansas Studies Institute at Johnson County Community College -  Wyandot in Kansas: Past is Prologue to Redlining, presentation by John Nichols, in partnership with KCKPL (Nov. 16, 2021). Recording available to view

Missouri Historical SocietyVirtual Exhibition: #1 in Civil Rights: The African American Freedom Struggle in St. Louis, the exhibit examines the local civil rights movement and the city’s leading role in advancing the cause of racial justice. View the exhibit online for free (ongoing). Visit here

Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art - A Frame of Mind, a five-episode podcast that takes a hard look at race in America through the lens of the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art. Episode two explores the neighborhoods around the museum and why Kansas City and the Nelson-Atkins look the way they do (ongoing). Listen here

Shawnee Town 1929 - April 20, Invisible lines: Real Estate and Redlining in Kansas City, presentation by Andrew R. Gustafson. Register here.

Watkins Museum of History - March 14, Film and Community: An Online Conversation with  Kevin Wilmott. More information and register here.

Watkins Museum of HistoryFamiliar Faces: The Gary Davis Photo Collection exhibition, on display April 29 – August 27. Find more information here.   (embed https://www.watkinsmuseum.org/familiar-faces)

More programming to be announced from these partners:

Center for Midwestern Studies at the University of Missouri – Kansas City

Harry S. Truman Presidential Library and Museum

Humanities Kansas

Johnson County Department of Health and Environment

JCPRD 50 Plus Department

Kansas City Kansas Community College Art Gallery

Kansas City Museum

Kansas City Public Library

St. Joseph Museum and Black Archives Museum

The Kansas African American Museum

University of Missouri at Kansas City History Department


Field Trips 

Bring your school or scout group for an engaging experience that introduces students to issues of equity that impact our communities. All museum field trips at the Arts & Heritage Center are $7 per child, $6 per adult, $5 per senior; School staff receive complimentary admission. Raytown HS

Redlining Field Trip for Middle and High School 

Students will learn about early Johnson County history that led to the growth of the suburbs and then take a deep dive into the history of redlining and housing inequality. Following the tour, students will analyze primary sources related to the policies, practices, and legacy of redlining.


This experience is 1 ½ - 2 hours. We can accommodate 2 classes, or approximately 50 students at a time.


To book a field trip or apply for a scholarship, contact us here.  

*Need-based scholarships available thanks to the generous support of UMB Bank and the Johnson County Museum Foundation.  

Lessons and Resources 

Redlining and Community Boundaries – Johnson County Museum

Redlining in New Deal America – Mapping Inequality 

How Red Lines Built White Wealth: A Lesson on Housing Segregation in the 20th Century  

Redlining Resources - BUNK 

The Shelleys & the Right to Fair Housing - iCivics


Are you looking for a unique corporate professional development opportunity? Interested in a deeply 20220324_113524meaningful learning experience for a community group or club? Contact us to learn more about the Johnson County Museum staff can help you achieve your goals.

Group tours are available by appointment. contact us here to book a special experience for your group! 



Richard Rothstein, The Color of Law (book available for purchase in the Museum Store) 
Tanner Colby, Some of My Best Friends are Black (book available for purchase in the Museum Store) 
Kevin Fox Gotham, Race, Real Estate, and Uneven Development in Kansas City, Missouri  
Lorraine Hansberry, A Raisin in the Sun (short play available for purchase in the Museum Store) 


History, Housing, and Health Video: created in partnership with the Johnson County Museum, Johnson County Department of Health and Environment, and United Community Services, this video explores the legacies of redlining and disparities in social determinants of health.

Online Resources 

JoCoHistory Blog post by the Johnson County Museum about J.C. Nichols.  

Segregated by Design: A short video made from Richard Rothstein’s book, The Color of Law.

Mapping Inequality digital project: interactive redlining maps for cities across the nation, including Kansas City’s own 1939 Residential Security Map. 

Not Even Past digital project: compares redlining maps from the 1930s to social vulnerability maps today. 

Smithsonian Magazine article about the Great Migration and America’s changing cities in the early- to mid-20th century. 


We want to hear from you! Share you feedback on the exhibit and provide suggestions on future exhibits.