Redlining in Omaha


The student history projects, lesson plans, and teaching activities collected here explore how discriminatory practices, known as redlining, led to the decline of neighborhood commercial centers in communities of color in eastern Omaha.

The neighborhood history projects, created by OPS students, teachers and university students, include: detailed neighborhood historical information, a guiding question, an oral history interview with a community elder as well as youth-driven ideas for the neighborhood’s future.  The accompanying lesson plans and teaching activities provide economics, history, geography teachers means to utilize this content in their high school classroom.

 (HOLC Map of Omaha, ca 1935. Courtesy of Paula Strand.) "Beginning in 1936, the neighborhoods of Omaha’s Near North and South sides were systematically segregated from the rest of the city by means of prohibitive and discriminatory home lending practices. In Omaha, and cities across the country, red lines were literally drawn on city maps by the federally-funded Home Owners’ Loan Corporation, identifying predominantly African-American and immigrant communities as “hazardous” and unfit for investment." -Undesign the Redline


  • St. Mary St. Mary 2019 Projects
    As the South Omaha stockyards grew, vibrant ethnic communities and commercial districts sprung up and thrived in the surrounding areas, including the Saint Mary’s neighborhood at 30th and Q Street.
  • Jefferson Square Jefferson Square 2019 Projects
    Jefferson Square was founded in the 1860s not long after the founding of Omaha itself in 1854. Located near 15th and Burt St., it was a popular neighborhood for indigenous people and immigrants because it was downtown and urban, and it was surrounded by a large industry.
  • Smithfield Smithfield 2019 Projects
    The Smithfield neighborhood, located at North 24th Street and Ames Avenue, has a rich history and deep ties to Omaha’s African American population. On the border between North Omaha and Florence, Smithfield was initially a prominent and thriving commercial center populated by Germans, Jews, African Americans and others.
  • Central Park Central Park 2019 Projects
    The Central Park neighborhood stretches from North 33rd to North 48th and Ames Avenue to Sorenson Parkway. This area, which was considered an early suburb, was settled in the 1870s and originally named West Saratoga.
  • Hartman Addition Hartman Addition 2019 Projects
    The neighborhood of Hartman Addition or 16th and William is a close neighbor to the famous Little Bohemia neighborhood on South 13th Street. Overall, Hartman Addition grew on labor from the industrial areas and railroad yards to the north, in what is now the Old Market, as well as the packing house jobs of South Omaha.
  • Long School Long School 2019 Projects
    The Long School neighborhood was once vibrant commercial district found in the heart of Omaha's African American and ethnic immigrant community. At the turn of the 20th century, the neighborhood began to decline due to a pattern of white flight and red-lining.

Additional Information

In this section, we have compiled articles, online educational resources, and videos to help educators and community members learn more about the history of redlining in the United States.

Interactive Maps:

 Interactive Map: Mapping Inequality: Redlining in New Deal America (University of Richmond) 

Interactive Map: The Racial Dot Map (University of Virginia)

Online Educational Resources:

"Teaching Tolerance" Toolkit:  

Undesign the Redline Project (Designing the We and the UNION):

Helpful articles about redlining: 

"Why Are Cities Still So Segregated?"  (NPR)

The impact of the HOLC on the economic development of American neighborhoods. 

"How Redlining's Racist Effects Lasted Decades" (New York Times)

"Interactive Redlining Map Zooms in on America's History of Discrimination" (NPR)

Radio Interviews:

"The Color of Law Details How Housing Policy Created Segregation"  (All Things Considered)


"The Color of Law" (Richard Rothstein)