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Naper Settlement Directs Project On Housing Discrimination

Naper Settlement is leading a free online exhibit called Unvarnished: Housing Discrimination in the Northern and Western United States that focuses on the history of discriminatory housing practices and segregation. Museums from across the country have joined forces to research and present their community’s history of exclusion.

Creating the Online Exhibit

“One of the really important things that we wanted to do at Naper Settlement was to help people understand in our community that our local history is tied to the national narrative and that the national narrative is also tied to what we experience here in our local communities. And this was a perfect example of that,” said Rena Tamayo-Calabrese, President and CEO of Naper Settlement.

On-site Exhibit

In addition to the online exhibit, Naper Settlement is hosting an on-site exhibit, which began on June 1 and runs through October 28, allowing visitors to learn more about Naperville’s history.

“Housing discrimination happens all over the country not just in the South, but in the North as well and that’s one of the general themes of this exhibit. It happens in different ways. For some communities it’s redlining. For some communities it’s zoning policies. For some communities it’s racially, ethnically, or religiously restrictive covenants that keep certain people out of the communities from owning property,” said Jeanne Schultz Angel, Associate Vice President of Naper Settlement.

Housing Deeds

One of the reasons the museum chose to take the exhibit onsite was to help limit offensive language on housing deeds.

“In January of this year, there was a law passed in Illinois that made it easier to remove racially restrictive covenants off of your deed if they still remain on there. There are a lot of deeds out there that still have offensive language on them. So we do Deed Scrubbing Workshops here to tell people what they need to do in order to get that language removed from their deeds,” said Schultz Angel.

With these two exhibits, Tamayo-Calabrese feels the museum is in the best place in terms of what it needs most.

To check out the online exhibit, visit the Unvarnished website.

For Naperville News 17, I’m Josiah Schueneman.

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