Subject: New Sloan Museum exhibit explores housing segregation

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 12, 2018

CONTACT: Caitie O’Neill
810-237-3443
Marketing@SloanLongway.org

New Sloan Museum exhibition explores housing segregation in Flint
An Equal Opportunity Lie debuts with free admission January 15

Flint, MI – January 12, 2018 – Sloan Museum’s new exhibition An Equal Opportunity Lie debuts with free admission on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, January 15, 2018. Using objects and images from the museum’s collection, the exhibition explores how segregationist policies and practices influenced the development of Flint’s neighborhoods. It also explores efforts to wrest the city free from discriminatory housing practices. An Equal Opportunity Lie will close May 27, 2018.

The exhibition’s title comes from a quote by Flint Mayor Floyd McCree, spoken in the midst of the fight for fair housing practices in Flint. In 1967, McCree resigned his appointed position in protest of the city commission’s defeat of an open housing ordinance, stating, “I refuse to live an equal opportunity lie.” Despite his status as Flint’s first African American mayor, McCree inhabited what had become one of the most racially segregated cities in America.
Photograph of a young woman at a rally for open housing in Flint. Aug. 20, 1967. 1999.7.4 Gift of The Flint Journal.
An Equal Opportunity Lie explores many factors that contributed to residential segregation in Flint. General Motor’s Modern Housing Corporation played a role as the builder of homes sold exclusively to GM employees. Restrictive covenants ensured that these properties could not be sold to African Americans. Federal agencies adopted policies that tied land values to race, characterizing African Americans as high risk borrowers. Consequently, African Americans were denied loans. Visitors to Sloan Museum can see historic maps used by realtors, showing the loan risk designations of Flint neighborhoods.

As the movement for housing rights gathered steam, motivated by overcrowding and substandard housing in African American neighborhoods like St. John and Floral Park, local realtors fought to maintain discriminatory policies. Even after the passage of the Flint Fair Housing Act, realtors continued blockbusting, transitioning from segregation by law to segregation in practice. An Equal Opportunity Lie presents visitors with definitions and historic documents showing how housing segregation evolved rather than ended.

An Equal Opportunity Lie was developed based on recommendations from community members, as well as a deep dive into untold stories that can be explored through Sloan Museum’s artifacts. Sloan Museum is a continuously collecting institution, with the vast majority of artifacts coming from community donations. The museum encourages community members to share their stories about Flint and Genesee County history and accepts artifact donation proposals on an ongoing basis. Staff can be reached at 810-237-3440.

About Sloan Museum
Together with partner organization Longway Planetarium, Sloan Museum creates engaging experiences with history, science, and technology for the greater Flint and Genesee County community. Sloan Museum is located at 1221 E. Kearsley St. Flint, MI 48503. Hours are Monday-Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday, Noon to 5 p.m. Admission is $9 for adults, $8 for seniors 60 and older, $6 for youth ages 2-11, and free for children 1 and younger. For more information, call 810-237-3450 or visit SloanMuseum.org. Sloan Museum is a member organization of the Flint Cultural Center Corporation and is supported in part by the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs (MCACA) and the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA).
1221 E. Kearsley St
Flint, MI 48503
810-237-3450
303 Walnut St
Flint, MI 48503
810-237-3440
1310 E. Kearsley St
Flint, MI 48503
810-237-3400
1221 E. Kearsley Street, Flint, Michigan 48503, United States
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