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Louis Housing Authority issued Section 8 rent supplement vouchers to eligible families. Racial segregation essay as black, racial segregation essay, and the south side as white, this FHA policy began a half-century of federal government effort to move St. The Warsaw Ghetto was the largest of these ghettos, withpeople. Together, they could afford to live in middle-class Ferguson and hoped to protect their three daughters from the violence of their St. They carry on with such a pious expression and deadly seriousness that racial segregation essay even convince themselves that they are the exemplars of political virtue. Louis Housing Authority when they were denied placements solely because of their race in the more desirable whites-only Clinton-Peabody and Cochran Garden apartments. Louis began construction of the Pruitt-Igoe towers and other high-rises to house the African American poor.



Press release Executive summary In August , a Ferguson, Missouri, policeman shot and killed an unarmed black teenager. Observers who had not been looking closely at our evolving demographic patterns were surprised to see ghetto conditions we had come to associate with inner cities now duplicated in a formerly white suburban community: The conventional explanation adds that African Americans moved to a few places like Ferguson, not the suburbs generally, because prejudiced real estate agents steered black homebuyers away from other white suburbs.

And in any event, those other suburbs were able to preserve their almost entirely white, upper-middle-class environments by enacting zoning rules that required only expensive single family homes, the thinking goes. Louis and other metropolitan areas. But these explanations are too partial, and too conveniently excuse public policy from responsibility.

A more powerful cause of metropolitan segregation in St. Louis and nationwide has been the explicit intents of federal, state, and local governments to create racially segregated metropolises. Louis these governmental policies included zoning rules that classified white neighborhoods as residential and black neighborhoods as commercial or industrial; segregated public housing projects that replaced integrated low-income areas; federal subsidies for suburban development conditioned on African American exclusion; federal and local requirements for, and enforcement of, property deeds and neighborhood agreements that prohibited resale of white-owned property to, or occupancy by, African Americans; tax favoritism for private institutions that practiced segregation; municipal boundary lines designed to separate black neighborhoods from white ones and to deny necessary services to the former; real estate, insurance, and banking regulators who tolerated and sometimes required racial segregation; and urban renewal plans whose purpose was to shift black populations from central cities like St.

Louis to inner-ring suburbs like Ferguson. Governmental actions in support of a segregated labor market supplemented these racial housing policies and prevented most African Americans from acquiring the economic strength to move to middle-class communities, even if they had been permitted to do so. White flight certainly existed, and racial prejudice was certainly behind it, but not racial prejudice alone. Government policies turned black neighborhoods into overcrowded slums and white families came to associate African Americans with slum characteristics.

White homeowners then fled when African Americans moved nearby, fearing their new neighbors would bring slum conditions with them. That government, not mere private prejudice, was responsible for segregating greater St.

Louis was once conventional informed opinion. Louis metropolitan area was … in large measure the result of deliberate racial discrimination in the housing market by the real estate industry and by agencies of the federal, state, and local governments. This history, however, has now largely been forgotten. When we blame private prejudice, suburban snobbishness, and black poverty for contemporary segregation, we not only whitewash our own history but avoid considering whether new policies might instead promote an integrated community.

The conditions that created Ferguson cannot be addressed without remedying a century of public policies that segregated our metropolitan landscape. Remedies are unlikely if we fail to recognize these policies and how their effects have endured. The pastor then gathered the owner and his neighbors for a prayer meeting, after which the owner told the agent he was no longer opposed to a black buyer.

Williams had been living in the St. Louis ghetto and working as an assistant principal of a school in Wellston, an all-black St. Together, they could afford to live in middle-class Ferguson and hoped to protect their three daughters from the violence of their St. They expected that their children would get better educations in Ferguson than in Wellston because Ferguson could afford to hire more skilled teachers, have a higher teacher-pupil ratio, and have extra resources to invest in specialists and academic enrichment programs.

Larman Williams chose Ferguson because he was vaguely familiar with the town. Ferguson adjoined the very poor, all-black suburb of Kinloch where Williams had once lived California Congresswoman Maxine Waters and the comedian and activist Dick Gregory grew up there.

There was a tiny black section of Ferguson, geographically isolated from the main town, but it was the white Ferguson that Williams had come to admire, although he had been permitted to enter only during daytime.

Ferguson had blocked off the main road from Kinloch with a chain and construction materials but kept a second road open during the day so housekeepers and nannies could get from Kinloch to jobs in Ferguson.

With a much smaller tax base, the Kinloch schools were far inferior to those in Berkeley and Ferguson, and Kinloch took on even more of the characteristics of a dilapidated ghetto.

This arrangement persisted until — several years after the Williams family moved into their white Ferguson neighborhood — when federal courts ordered Berkeley, Ferguson, and other white towns to integrate their schools into a common district with Kinloch.

But it had some multifamily buildings that attracted renters from St. Then, as public housing in St. Louis was demolished in the s, the St.

Louis Housing Authority gave relocation assistance to displaced families. It is likely that some of those families moved to Ferguson and other inner-ring suburbs. By , Ferguson was 14 percent black; by , 25 percent; by , 52 percent; and by , 67 percent. Other northern and northwestern suburbs near St. Louis were similarly experiencing an increasing share of black residents during this period.

Meanwhile, suburbs beyond the first ring to the south and west of St. Louis have remained almost all white, while the white population share of the city of St. Louis itself has been stable and has even started to grow. Within that area, whites are now a solid majority in some neighborhoods for the first time in decades. Neighborhoods that appear to be integrated are almost always those in transition, either from mostly white to mostly black like Ferguson , or from mostly black to increasingly white like St.

Such population shifts in St. Louis and other metropolitan areas maintain segregation patterns established by public policy a century ago. Whereas 20th century segregation took the form of black central cities surrounded by white suburbs, 21st century segregation is in transition — to whiter central cities with adjoining black suburbs, while farther out, white suburbs encircle the black ones.

I tell this story with some hesitation. I do not mean to imply that there is anything special about racial history in Ferguson, St. Louis, or the St. Every policy and practice segregating St. Louis over the last century was duplicated in almost every metropolis nationwide.

Yet this story of racial isolation and disadvantage, enforced by federal, state, and local policies, many of which are no longer practiced, is central to an appreciation of what occurred in Ferguson in August when African American protests turned violent after police shot and killed an unarmed black year-old. Policies that are no longer in effect and seemingly have been reformed still cast a long shadow. Louis in to work at the McDonnell Space Center.

Allen was ready to quit and return home to Wichita, Kansas, after no realtor would sell him a suburban home. He was unwilling to live in a small apartment in the overcrowded St. Louis ghetto — apparently his only alternative. Adel Allen described life in Kirkwood when he first moved there in We had patrols on the hour.

Our streets were swept neatly, monthly. Our trash pickups were regular and handled with dignity. The street lighting was always up to par.

All of the services were — the streets were cleaned when there was snow, et cetera. We now have the most inadequate lighting in the city…. Now we have the people from the other sections of town that now leave their cars parked on our streets when they want to abandon them. The buildings are maintained better than they were when they were white but the city services are much less. Other sections of the city I believe are being forced to take sidewalks, for example. We are begging for sidewalks.

Other portions of the city are being forced to get curbs. And then told after they found nothing that my tail light bulb was burned out, or I should have dimmed my lights, something like that.

Louis and selected suburbs. Nearly three years before Larman Williams and Adel Allen gave their accounts, African Americans had rioted in scores of cities. The Kerner Commission concluded that conditions described by the Williamses and Adel Allen were typical nationwide: Attorney General Eric Holder was reported to have said that anecdotes he heard on a visit to Ferguson influenced his decision to open the more general investigation. Federal, state, and local policy segregated Ferguson and St.

Louis Efforts of the public to understand the Troubles in Ferguson after the shooting of unarmed black teenager Michael Brown have also been limited. Media reports have explained that suburbs once barred African Americans with private agreements among white homeowners restrictive covenants , with discriminatory practices of private real estate agents, and with racially neutral zoning rules that restricted outer-ring suburbs to the affluent.

A more powerful cause of metropolitan segregation nationwide was the explicit intents of federal, state, and local governments to create racially segregated metropolises. In the case of St. Louis, these intents were expressed in mutually reinforcing federal, state, and local policies that included: Racially explicit zoning decisions that designated specific ghetto boundaries within the city of St.

That governmental action, not mere private prejudice, was responsible for segregating greater St. Louis, the Department of Justice stipulated to this truth but took no action in response. In , a federal court order included an instruction for the state, county, and city governments to devise plans to integrate schools by integrating housing.

Public officials ignored this aspect of the order, devising only a voluntary busing plan to integrate schools, but no programs to combat housing segregation.

When we blame private prejudice and snobbishness for contemporary segregation, we not only whitewash our own history, but avoid considering whether new policies might instead promote an integrated community. Examining the distinct public policies that have enforced segregation From the Civil War to the early 20th century, the black population of St.

Louis was small, but somewhat integrated with white low-wage workers and their families, including European immigrants. There were blocks with greater or lesser concentrations of African American families, but neighborhoods as a whole were integrated; blocks with greater concentrations of African Americans were interspersed with other blocks concentrating various white immigrant and ethnic groups.

Wilson not only took steps to segregate the federal civil service, but set a tone that encouraged anti-black activities across the land. Racial zoning In , the St. The referendum passed, but before it could have much effect, the U. Supreme Court overturned a similar ordinance in Louisville, Kentucky.

Louis, like many others, took a different approach. It developed these new rules with racial purposes unhidden, although race was not written into the text of the zoning rules themselves. Louis appointed its first City Plan Commission in and hired Harland Bartholomew as its full-time planning engineer in His assignment was to supervise a survey of every building in the city to determine into which of the property types it fell and then to propose rules and maps to prevent future multifamily, industrial, or commercial development from impinging on single-family neighborhoods.



The Case for Reparations. Two hundred fifty years of slavery. Ninety years of Jim Crow. Sixty years of separate but equal. Thirty-five years of racist housing policy. “Under close scrutiny, the division into races according to the colour of skin turns out to be quite the crudest and most obvious method, since there are noticeably inheritable characteristic racial differences among people of identically coloured skins.”.

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