Any homeowner renovating a historic property knows there’s a possibility of discovering a surprise or two lurking behind the walls. Water damage, mildew, faulty wiring systems and more are not uncommon. But for Black homeowners, the surprises may be more than expensive or hazardous. Sometimes, they’re painful reminders of generational trauma.
“For a lot of Black people, we don’t want old homes, because we don’t want the history that comes with them,” says Jamie Arty, a Long Island homeowner. “Were they enslavers? What side of history were they on?”
Arty and her husband, Frantz, a tech engineer, are in the