Flint: 50 Years In the Making
Among the many forces behind Flint’s economic plunge were two migrations, both government sanctioned. Following World War II, GM, like other American companies, took advantage of local, state and federal subsidies that encouraged the relocation of industry from cities to suburbs and rural areas. Over the same period, the home mortgage insurance programs implemented by the Federal Housing Administration and the Veterans Administration enabled millions of white Americans — including tens of thousands of Flint residents — to relocate from central cities to racially homogeneous suburbs.
Because lenders and government officials largely excluded African Americans from participating in such programs and categorically refused to issue mortgages in many urban neighborhoods, federal housing policies contributed to increasing levels of racial segregation. These policies also deepened the economic chasms between majority-black cities such as Flint and the predominantly white suburbs surrounding them.
“Flint’s toxic water crisis was 50 years in the making” by Andrew R. Highsmith in the Los Angeles Times, January 28, 2016.