Growing up in Englewood, New Jersey, Reniqua Allen-Lamphere always knew the city was split into two parts: the Black and Latinx neighborhoods where her family lived, and then the rich, and mostly white, part of town — East Hill.
So years later, when a 25-year-old Allen-Lamphere got the opportunity for a big home loan, she jumped at the chance. It wasn’t a great loan, she would need to refinance in a few years, but it meant she could buy a condo in East Hill.
“You want every generation, you know, to do better than you,” Allen-Lamphere said. “Moving to East Hill, that was my sign that I was doing better. … I was progress.”
But the way we think about success changes as we get older. For Allen-Lamphere, it started to change when she was in grad school and began learning and writing about the systemic racism that kept thousands of Black people from achieving the traditional version of the “American dream.” But over time, Allen-Lamphere learned she was part of that history too, and the dream of home ownership wasn’t quite what she thought.
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