A Memoir of Race, Change, and Fractured Community in 1960s Chicago

Redlined exposes the racist mortgage laws that ravage a Chicago community in the 1960s, told through the story of one white family navigating the uncharted shoals of its neighborhood’s racial change. Based on long-hidden letters and diaries, this vivid memoir cracks open and lays bare complicated truths of marriage, sexual freedom, and race relations in a devastated landscape. Learn More


She Writes Press
Barnes & Noble

A “Must-Read” Book The Atlantic‘s Books Briefing

  • 2018 Readers’ Favorites Book Awards Silver Medal Winner, Nonfiction, Social Issues
  • 2018 International Book Awards Finalist, Multicultural Nonfiction
  • 2018 Best Book Awards Finalist, Social Change category
  • 2018 New York Book Festival Award, Honorable Mention, Biography/Autobiography

Coming Up!

For more details, go to Events page.

Saturday, February 23

Midland Authors and Cliff Dwellers Book Club Joint event

  200 S. Michigan, 22nd floor, Sullivan Room, Chicago

11 am to noon (followed by optional lunch)

“A stunning debut memoir . . . . A rich remembrance of a captivating, transformative era in American history.”
Starred Kirkus Review

“. . . A captivating personal story told through the lives of her Chicago family, Gartz probes the invisible web of oppression that affected both whites and blacks. Redlining destroyed the American dream without its victims even knowing. But through the investigative work of Linda Gartz now we know.”
Bill Kurtis, author, Peabody and Emmy Award-winner, journalist, producer, narrator, and news anchor for the CBS Television Network, and TV host for A&E

“Gartz’s unflinching family memoir offers both intimacy and insight into personal and historical injustices. She deftly interweaves a story of family striving, domestic resentments, and individual decency with the seismic cultural shifts of America’s social and sexual revolutions.”
Amanda I. Seligman, chair, Department of History, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and author of Block by Block: Neighborhoods and Public Policy on Chicago’s West Side

“Many watched from afar as Chicago and other major cities underwent rapid racial change in mid-twentieth century America. Linda Gartz lived it. . . . With her sharp eye, excellent writing, and unique perspective, she brings this critical and turbulent period to life.”
Steve Fiffer, coauthor of Jimmie Lee & James: Two Lives, Two Deaths, and the Movement that Changed America

“At every level this is an important story of personal hardship and societal blindness . . . ultimately intersecting with what has become the essential national topic, the racism that weaves itself through all our personal and shared histories.”
Jim Grimsley, author of How I Shed My Skin

“Fearless and precise, Gartz has written a book that is impossible to put down. . . . An extraordinary achievement.”
Sharon Solwitz, author of Once, in Lourdes

“Moving and deeply empathetic, Linda Gartz’s memoir illuminates the inner worlds of two generations of white working-class Chicagoans . . . who remained in a struggling black community long after their white neighbors had fled. The result is a deeply humane perspective on the ways that economic need, racism, and ideals of duty shaped the lives of urban white Americans in the twentieth century.”
Beryl Satter, professor, Department of History, Rutgers University, and author of Family Properties: Race, Real Estate, and the Exploitation of Black Urban America

“In this remarkable memoir, Linda Gartz . . .[is] committed to finding the truth at every turn. [She] tracks not only her own experiences, but also the social and cultural changes that reshaped twentieth-century America.”
Fred Shafer, School of Professional Studies, Northwestern University

“Deftly weaving together a treasure trove of detailed first-hand accounts, [Linda Gartz] provides an absorbing view into the life of a family unwittingly caught up in both its own domestic struggles and the turbulent social reckonings of the 1960s.”
Anjali Sachdeva, author of All the Names They Used for God

“With tender and open-eyed concern, Linda Gartz adeptly explores how the human need for recognition and equality is waylaid both by doors slammed against legal access and connection and by the tyrannies of power wielded behind closed doors.”
Anne Calcagno, professor, School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and author of Love Like a Dog

“Deeply personal yet wide in scope, Linda seamlessly blends her parents’ struggles as landlords on Chicago’s West Side with the injustices imposed on African Americans by racist housing policies. Redlined is a vivid and historic account of rapid racial change in the community Linda and I have both called home.”
Mary Nelson, founding president of Bethel New Life, and faculty at Asset Based Community Development Institute at DePaul University (Chicago)

Listen to Linda interviewed by hosts Jenn White on Morning Shift, WBEZ 91.5 FM; Heidi Stevens on Chicago Tribune‘s Facebook Live; and Mary Mitchell and Leslie Baldacci on Zebra Sisters, a Sun-Times Media Productions podcast.

Watch the Book Trailer for Redlined


Why Redlined is an important read in today’s world

The racist mortgage practice of “redlining” denied blacks the ability to invest in property, thereby making it impossible to pass down accumulated wealth over the generations, as white families could. The result: today African Americans have about 6-7% the wealth of white families. Redlining also created a segregated America and the concentration of poverty and violence.

The era we live in demands that we all learn about the many insidious ways in which the odds have been repeatedly, and purposely, stacked against African Americans, and what that means for all Americans.

Redlined is the story of my parents, Fred and Lil, who staked their future on a two-flat on Chicago’s West Side, unaware of the racist lending laws that would ultimately undermine the housing dreams of both blacks and whites. We follow Fred and Lil into unknown territory as they struggle to raise a family and cope with death, madness, loneliness, and the volatile uprisings of the 1960s.


Six-time Emmy-honored Linda Gartz is a documentary producer, author, blogger, educator, and archivist. Her memoir, Redlined, was inspired by the trove of long-hidden family diaries, letters, photos, and much more, which she discovered in her parents’ attic after their deaths.
Her documentaries and TV productions have been featured on ABC, NBC, CBS, PBS, and Investigation Discovery, syndicated nationwide. Her educational videos include Begin with Love, hosted by Oprah Winfrey and Grandparenting, hosted by Maya Angelou. Linda’s articles and essays have been published in literary journals, online, and in local and national magazines and newspapers, including The Chicago Tribune. Born in Chicago, she studied at both Northwestern and the University of Munich, and has lived most of her adult life in Evanston, IL. She earned her B.A. and M.A.T. degrees from Northwestern. To learn more, go to www.LindaGartz.com.


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