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 Their works provide moments to reflect on the historical content provided in the exhibit.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.  

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.  

April 7 -  J.C. Nichols and Community Building, program by Dr. Bill Worley. 

June 11 - Jazz Storytelling at the Juneteenth Celebration at JoCoAHC. 

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

August 17 - Redlining: A History, program by Johnson County Museum staff. Learn an overview of the system of redlining and how the REDLINED exhibit was created. Register here

September 15 - Legacies of Redlining: Blue River Watershed, a panel discussion in partnership with the Parks and Recreation Foundation of Johnson County and Blue River Collaborative. Register here 

September 29 - Once Upon an Artifact, join professors as they share research and topics related to JoCoMuseum artifacts. In collaboration with Johnson County Community College. More details to come!

October 19 - Legacies of Redlining: Social Determinants of Health, a panel discussion in partnership with JoCoDHE, UCS, and Health Forward. Register here

November 30 - Freedom to Discriminate, a virtual presentation from Gene Slater, author of Freedom to Discriminate. More details to come!


BlackArchive-VerticalLogoHST Square Logo WhiteWatkinsLogoDiscoverTheRealStoryCOLORKCKPL Banner Logo
Shawnee Town-EXH-Y-BKGRDJCCC-KSI LOGOJoCoLibraryMCPL_logo_color
KCLIB_LOGO_print_colorKCMlogoAAAC LogoNWWIM_2016_Logo_Red-01 Opens in new window
JOCO_HEALTH TRANSPARENT Opens in new windowCMWS logo Opens in new windowBAM Logo Opens in new windowsjm-new-logo-2014 Opens in new window
Nelson-Atkins-Logo-2021 Opens in new windowTKAAM Opens in new windowUCS_Logo_Blue_Large_Name for Zoom Opens in new window2022_Primary_Circle_Dark_Logo Opens in new window
UMKC History logo Opens in new window50 Yrs of 50 plus CIRCLE Opens in new windowNLBM LOGO-SUPER HIGH RES Opens in new window

Upcoming and ongoing programming from these partners:

Kansas City Public Library - August 24, with Negro Leagues Baseball Museum, a program highlighting artist Desiree Kelly's "'The Nine' and Other Works," an exhibit of portraits of Black baseball players from the Negro Leagues, on display at Kansas City Public Library - Central Branch. 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

Negro Leagues Baseball Museum – Sept. 1, a free virtual panel discussion featuring Jackie Robinson scholars to mark the 75th anniversary of Robinson joining the Brooklyn Dodgers. Watch this free program on the NLBM's YouTube channel at 7:00pm. Watch here

National World War I Museum & Memorial - Black Citizenship in the Age of Jim Crow, a special exhibit that provides more context for the Black experience as the system of redlining was developing. Exhibit open through Sept. 18. Learn more!

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

           St. Joseph Museum and Black Archives Museum - tour the Black Archives Museum and learn about the history of redlining in St. Joseph, Missouri.                                                   Contact the St. Joseph Museums to set up a tour appointment.

UMKC History Department – Oct. 20, a virtual panel discussion featuring Dr. Sheryll Cashin, author of White Space, Black Hood: Opportunity Hoarding and Segregation in the Age of Inequality, and faculty from several UMKC academic departments on the topic of redlining and community. More details to come!

UMKC History Department – Oct. 27, with Johnson County Museum and Kansas City Public Library, a presentation from Dr. Sheryll Cashin, author of White Space, Black Hood: Opportunity Hoarding and Segregation in the Age of Inequality, to be held at KCPL - Plaza Branch. More details to come!

Watkins Museum of HistoryFamiliar Faces: The Gary Davis Photo Collection exhibition, on display May 6 - November 4, 2022. Learn more  

More programming to be announced from these partners:

Harry S. Truman Presidential Library and Museum

Humanities Kansas

Johnson County Department of Health and Environment

Kansas City Kansas Community College Art Gallery

Kansas City Museum

Kansas City Public Library

Negro Leagues Baseball Museum

The Kansas African American Museum

Past programming from these partners:

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

Johnson County Library - July 7, Dividing Lines Tour for “Past is Prologue” series. Online program.  

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

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

University of Central Missouri, American Democracy Project - Sept. 20, Redlining: A History, presentation by curator Andrew R. Gustafson.  

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


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.  

JoCoHistory Blog post by the Johnson County Museum about the FHA mortgage program.

JoCoHistory Blog post by the Johnson County Museum about the difference between restricted and redlined status.

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. 

Dividing Lines Tour - Johnson County Library's driving tour (and a clickable version for at home) through the history of redlining in the Greater Kansas City area.


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