Event spotlights Menlo Park's troubled race-based housing history

Interactive timeline shows more than a century of national, regional and local patterns that shaped housing inequality

The high-ceilinged Sequoia room at Menlo Park's Arrillaga Family Recreation Center hummed as about a hundred people in small groups of four or five sat and discussed the racial history of zoning and housing policy in Menlo Park and other communities on the evening of Sunday, Nov. 17.

The event, called "The Color of Law: Menlo Park Edition," was organized by Menlo Together, a community organization that, according to its website, is made up of "Menlo Park and Peninsula residents who envision a city that is integrated and diverse, multi-generational, and environmentally sustainable."

Before breaking into discussion groups, attendees were first given a quiz. Answers could be found by walking around the room and reading a set of posted sheets of paper making up a timeline, running from the late 1800s to today, going over historic events and practices that have shaped some of the racial inequalities that exist on the Peninsula today.

With permission from Menlo Together, The Almanac has converted the timeline, with some minor modifications, into an online interactive timeline.

Access the timeline and the rest of the story here.

Additional supporting organizations of the event were the Housing Leadership Council of San Mateo County, the Community Equity Collaborative, Tech Equity Collaborative, Peninsula for Everyone, Palo Alto Forward, Menlo Spark, Nuestra Casa, Youth United for Community Action, Community Legal Services in East Palo Alto, the League of Women Voters of South San Mateo County, the Menlo Park Historical Association, Palo Alto Housing, and NAACP San Mateo County.


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Like this comment
Posted by Anon1
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Nov 26, 2019 at 12:49 pm

It's almost impossible to read the timeline on a phone--a lot of weird jumping around, especially if you try to zoom in. Frequently it takes me back to the very beginning (swipe to view/OK).

Like this comment
Posted by Karen Grove
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Nov 27, 2019 at 10:26 am

Karen Grove is a registered user.

Anon 1, if you want to see the timeline we posted at the event (which Kate used to create this wonderful interactive timeline), you can view it here: It should work on your phone.

12 people like this
Posted by resident
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Nov 27, 2019 at 11:17 am

Really important for us to remember our local history. A lot of us can still remember the days of redlining and segregation in California.

Like this comment
Posted by Housing Research
a resident of Woodside: other
on Dec 1, 2019 at 10:04 pm

Fantastic bit of research! Thank you for writing and publishing. Many people have benefited from what we now know are discriminatory, or at least biased, housing practices.

I hope these can be counteracted somehow.

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