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Did Idaho Have Any Housing Discrimination Laws During The Jim Crow Era?

MS507, Young Women’s Christian Association records
Idaho State Archives
Each black dot on this map of the River Street area in Boise from the 1960s designates where Black families lived at the time. Housing discrimination practices successfully concentrated these residents to one part of town.

Up until her retirement a few months ago, Debra Smith taught high school English in Meridian. Every year, she had her 11th graders read "A Raisin in the Sun" by Lorraine Hansberry.

Much of what we’re told about the Civil War and the Jim Crow era puts the blame on the South. But Chicago, where the play takes place, is not the South. Reading about the blatant racism the characters in the play experienced made some of Debra’s students ask what else happened in other parts of the north, say, in Idaho?

"Did Idaho have any housing discrimination laws during the Jim Crow era?"

To get her — and her past students — and answer, we turned to Boise State History professor Jill Gill. The short answer, Gill says, is ‘yes.’ But the long answer? You’ll have to listen to get that. 

What are you curious about? Submit what you want to know below and you could be featured in an upcoming episode.   

Until next time, stay curious Idaho!

Thanks to Boise music project ‘Up is the Down is The’ for the awesome theme music. Check the project out on Spotify and Bandcamp.

Copyright 2020 Boise State Public Radio

Molly Wampler is a newsroom intern at Boise State Public Radio. Originally from Berkeley, California, she just graduated from the University of Puget Sound in Washington state. There, Molly worked for her university's newspaper but is stoked to try her hand at and learn all there is to learn about radio journalism.