Anita Brentslinger went through an accumulation of materials that had accumulated since purchasing her home in 2001. In doing so, she came across two pages of a three-page document dated 1947. The third page was missing.
“I was cleaning up some files when I came across them,” said Brentslinger.
What she read was an ugly reminder of an earlier time when racism was not just the accepted norm but was openly codified. While it was open in the south, it wasn’t that open in the other regions of the country. But it was there anyway. Apparently even in Laramie.
Even in communities where there were little or no minorities, there were covert practices such as redesigned districts where minorities were restricted to certain parts of the city. Redlining is a practice by some mortgage lenders when they refuse to lend or lend to borrowers in certain neighborhoods or on other discriminatory grounds. This may also apply if real estate agents use similar practices when presenting homes.
The act is known as redlining the presumed practice by mortgage lenders of drawing red lines around parts of a map to indicate areas or neighborhoods where they do not want to lend. These areas outlined in red are usually occupied by people with lower incomes or a specific race.
Often these were older parts of the city that had seen better times and were now in ruins. Equipment and supplies such as water and sewage, reliable electricity, etc. were either of such poor quality or nonexistent.
Open measures such as the two pages of the three-page Brentslinger document encountered specifically banned minorities as well as people of certain faiths who lived in certain subdivisions.
In Brentslinger’s case, it was a subdivision now known as Twin Parks, established by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, a / k / a of the Mormons.
A change and a scandal
It was not until the late 1970s and early 1980s that the hierarchy of Latter-day Saints changed their attitudes toward blacks and other minorities, particularly in relation to ordination. However, racism continued to permeate the culture of belief.
A notorious incident occurred in Laramie in 1969 involving the University of Wyoming football team. The incident is now known as “Black 14”.
When the team traveled to Provo the previous year, Brigham Young University players spat on defender Tony McGee and took cheap shots on his knees, McGee said. Referees and even his own coach had ignored his complaints about racial ridicule. When Wyoming’s black players went back to the locker room after the game, someone turned on the sprinklers and watered them.
“I have no problem with Mormons,” he told his teammates. “I have a problem with my treatment in the field.”
The following year, before the BYU game was played, McGee and 13 other black members of the soccer team wanted to protest and went to then coach Lloyd Eaton for permission. He immediately threw her off the team.
It was not until 2019 that the university began the process of reconciliation with the “Black 14”. In the fall of 2020, Black 14 and The Church of Latter-day Saints of Jesus Christ teamed up and carried out a massive food campaign.
Although Brentslinger has owned the house for 20 years, she has been based in Laramie for 42 years. Still, it was a surprise to come across the Bund. Even though she knows what the attitudes were almost 70 years ago, she did not fire them. Instead, she expressed appreciation for today’s progress and optimism.
With that she read what the covenant contained.
“No person of a race other than the Caucasian race may use or occupy a building or property, except that the federal government may not prevent the occupation by domestic workers of another race residing with an owner or tenant.”