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Reviewed by Justine Reyes for Readers' Favorite
Redlined: A Memoir of Race, Change, and Fractured Community in 1960s Chicago by Linda Gartz was inspired by the true events of Chicago around the time of the Civil Rights Movement and by family memorabilia she stumbled upon after the deaths of her parents. Redlined follows two main points: the Gartz family’s life and the black and white Americans who were affected by an ever-evolving American society. Gartz highlights the injustice of redlining and how it undermined American citizens and created the urban myth that if a black person moved into a white neighborhood it would become a slum. But really it was the landlords who couldn’t be bothered with the upkeep, and why should they when redlining caused property values to go down. Sick and tired of losing their livelihoods, white American often fled from integrated neighborhoods. But Lillian and Fred Gartz were different; they decided to stay.
One of the best qualities of Gartz’s writing is that she doesn’t try to hide the fact that her parents weren’t perfect, and in a book like Redlined every detail counts because the fact is knowledge begins with ignorance. I didn’t just love reading this memoir, I appreciated it. Living in America in 2018 is wild; people often compare it to living in the 1960s and I understand why. Redlined is a beacon of enlightenment in our current American society. I finished Gartz’s memoir feeling educated and hopeful. I encourage others to read Redlined because it is a reminder that America is a country that only ever thrived on change and progression, not oppression.