Interstate Highways to Promote Segregation...

5fish

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Yes, again, another great accomplishment of our nation in the 20th century was used to promote segregation in our cities both North and South... Here an article about how Atlanta is stunted by gridlock because the highways were used to keep the city segregated... Here in Orlando I-4 was used to segregate history black westside from downtown Orlando... In the recent decades the City has been building Stadiums, Federal buildings, Colleges, and other government building on the westside of I-4 moving the cities black population further to the southwest.


This intertwined history of infrastructure and racial inequality extended into the 1950s and 1960s with the creation of the Interstate highway system. The federal government shouldered nine-tenths of the cost of the new Interstate highways, but local officials often had a say in selecting the path. As in most American cities in the decades after the Second World War, the new highways in Atlanta — local expressways at first, then Interstates — were steered along routes that bulldozed “blighted” neighborhoods that housed its poorest residents, almost always racial minorities. This was a common practice not just in Southern cities like Jacksonville, Miami, Nashville, New Orleans, Richmond and Tampa, but in countless metropolises across the country, including Chicago, Cincinnati, Denver, Detroit, Indianapolis, Los Angeles, Milwaukee, Pittsburgh, St. Louis, Syracuse and Washington.

snip...

While Interstates were regularly used to destroy black neighborhoods, they were also used to keep black and white neighborhoods apart. Today, major roads and highways serve as stark dividing lines between black and white sections in cities like Buffalo, Hartford, Kansas City, Milwaukee, Pittsburgh and St. Louis. In Atlanta, the intent to segregate was crystal clear. Interstate 20, the east-west corridor that connects with I-75 and I-85 in Atlanta’s center, was deliberately plotted along a winding route in the late 1950s to serve, in the words of Mayor Bill Hartsfield, as “the boundary between the white and Negro communities” on the west side of town. Black neighborhoods, he hoped, would be hemmed in on one side of the new expressway, while white neighborhoods on the other side of it would be protected. Racial residential patterns have long since changed, of course, but the awkward path of I-20 remains in place.
 

Jim Klag

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So is there any goverment measure from the Great Depression to the present that wasn't meant to be anti-black? Seems as though, according to you, all our government has done in the last 100 years was deliberately racist, not just to exclude black folks but to deliberately denigrate them. Seems that, according to you, every waking thought of our government leaders was aimed at keeping/putting down black people.
 

Jim Klag

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Yes, again, another great accomplishment of our nation in the 20th century was used to promote segregation in our cities both North and South... Here an article about how Atlanta is stunted by gridlock because the highways were used to keep the city segregated... Here in Orlando I-4 was used to segregate history black westside from downtown Orlando... In the recent decades the City has been building Stadiums, Federal buildings, Colleges, and other government building on the westside of I-4 moving the cities black population further to the southwest.


This intertwined history of infrastructure and racial inequality extended into the 1950s and 1960s with the creation of the Interstate highway system. The federal government shouldered nine-tenths of the cost of the new Interstate highways, but local officials often had a say in selecting the path. As in most American cities in the decades after the Second World War, the new highways in Atlanta — local expressways at first, then Interstates — were steered along routes that bulldozed “blighted” neighborhoods that housed its poorest residents, almost always racial minorities. This was a common practice not just in Southern cities like Jacksonville, Miami, Nashville, New Orleans, Richmond and Tampa, but in countless metropolises across the country, including Chicago, Cincinnati, Denver, Detroit, Indianapolis, Los Angeles, Milwaukee, Pittsburgh, St. Louis, Syracuse and Washington.

snip...

While Interstates were regularly used to destroy black neighborhoods, they were also used to keep black and white neighborhoods apart. Today, major roads and highways serve as stark dividing lines between black and white sections in cities like Buffalo, Hartford, Kansas City, Milwaukee, Pittsburgh and St. Louis. In Atlanta, the intent to segregate was crystal clear. Interstate 20, the east-west corridor that connects with I-75 and I-85 in Atlanta’s center, was deliberately plotted along a winding route in the late 1950s to serve, in the words of Mayor Bill Hartsfield, as “the boundary between the white and Negro communities” on the west side of town. Black neighborhoods, he hoped, would be hemmed in on one side of the new expressway, while white neighborhoods on the other side of it would be protected. Racial residential patterns have long since changed, of course, but the awkward path of I-20 remains in place.
Actually, having lived there for 20 years, I can tell you that Atlanta's shitty traffic has a different cause. In metropolitan Atlanta there is an ongoing contest to see who can live farthest from where they work. It has nothing to do with race. People who live in the far north drive 40 miles each way to work. Same with people on the far south. When last we lived there, I had a 25 mile each way commute and I had one of the shorter drives. I have a friend who lives north of Cartersville and works in Decatur. That's about 60 miles one way. He is not unusual.
 

5fish

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So is there any goverment measure from the Great Depression to the present that wasn't meant to be anti-black?
Yes,I have shown it here on this forum using research others. Yes, our great 20th century federal programs almost always had a local control element to it and that element is how the racism enters the picture.

Snip highway...


Setting aside considerations of intent, there is little doubt among scholars who have studied American transportation history and policy that the Interstate Highway System took a particularly cruel toll on minority communities in urban spaces. As Raymond Mohl (2004) writes, “Trapped in inner-city ghettos, African Americans especially felt targeted by highways that destroyed their homes, split their communities, and forced their removal to emerging second ghettos” (p. 700).

Snip...

). The impact in Detroit was similar, as the route of the highway tore through minority communities and left behind large swatches of cleared neighborhoods (Biles, 2014). There, as in many other cities, highway plans were announced long before construction would begin, resulting in significant drops in property values even before bulldozers lined up to clear the roadway’s path.

Snip...

Returning to considerations of the intent behind plans for the Interstate Highway System, many scholars have pointed to the massive infrastructure project as a means through which racial objectives of the political elite could be realized. Fotsch offers a depiction of the freeway as a “racist institution,” and one that has forever changed the fabric of American cities through altering neighborhood structures and inserting physical barriers within and between particular communities.

Snip...

The “white man’s lane” that would traverse urban spaces compounded these problems, and what neighborhoods that were not be destroyed to make way for the roadway faced the very possible fate of becoming isolated ghettos with little relief in sight.

Snip...

Another example can be found in Birmingham, Alabama, where a 60-block, mainly black neighborhood was cleared in an effort that both residents and researchers characterize as a means to separate black and white communities (Connerly, 2002).


The link above has many examples were Highways were used to isolate black communities or just just rid of them....

Actually, having lived there for 20 years,
The highways in Atlanta were not planed for future growth or traffic patterns but for segregation. It is one of the main reason Atlanta is a driver nightmare...
 

5fish

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The Backlash is coming...


In cities across the U.S. monuments to racists and slaveholders are coming down by legislative decree and activist muscle. As these monuments come under scrutiny after far too long, it is past time, too, to consider the less explicit monuments to racism in our cities. In New York, our highways carry a legacy of segregation and risk exposure, and perpetuate that legacy every day.

snip...

The Underwriting Manual of the Federal Housing Administration recommended that highways be a good way to separate African-American from white neighborhoods,” Richard Rothstein, author of Color of Law, told NPR in 2017. “So this was not a matter of law, it was a matter of government regulation, but it also wasn’t hidden, so it can’t be claimed that this was some kind of “de facto” situation.”

snip...

Urban planner Robert Moses built just about every highway in New York City. His legacy as a builder stretches well into the hundreds of miles — including a remarkable seven bridges, and 32 express- and parkways in New York City. Moses razed city blocks and disassembled neighborhoods. An estimated minimum of quarter of a million New Yorkers were displaced in his 44-year reign.


The article goes onto more detail of Robert Moses racist actions and how to empower communities of color...
 

5fish

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Here is a tale from Minnesota...


“If New York has its Lenox avenue, Chicago its State street, Philadelphia its Wylie avenue, Kansas City its Eighteenth Street, and Memphis its Beale street, just as surely has St. Paul a riot of warmth, and color, and feeling, and sound in Rondo street.” --Earl Wilkins, The St. Paul Echo, September 18, 1926

By the 1930s Rondo was the heart of St. Paul’s African American community, not only housing the majority of African American residents in the city, but also home to critical community businesses, organizations, and institutions such as the Pilgrim Baptist Church, the Hallie Q. Brown Community Center, and the Sterling Club. However, by the late 1950s this tight-knit community would be shattered by the construction of Interstate 94, connecting the downtown business corridors of Minneapolis and St. Paul.

Initial expressway plan for the Minneapolis-St. Paul connection was known as the St. Anthony Route, which would follow St. Anthony Avenue (parallel to University Avenue) and extend right through the heart of the Rondo neighborhood. St. Paul city engineer George Harrold opposed this plan--citing concerns about loss of land for local use and the dislocation of people and business--suggesting the alternative Northern Route, which would run adjacent to railroad tracks north of St. Anthony Avenue, leaving the street intact. Ultimately, the St. Anthony Route was chosen and approved by government officials citing its efficiency.

In 1955, Rondo community leaders Reverend Floyd Massey and Timothy Howard worked to lessen the effects of freeway construction and gain support for a new housing ordinance through the formation of the Rondo-St. Anthony Improvement Association. Their advocacy was successful in achieving a depressed (below-grade) construction of I-94, however, the route still split the Rondo neighborhood and forced the evacuation and relocation of hundreds of people and businesses. One in every eight African Americans in St. Paul lost a home to I-94. Many businesses never re-opened.

Although the neighborhood would never be the same, the spirit of Rondo lives on. In 1983, the first annual Rondo Days festival was held in July celebrating the history and continuing legacy of the community. The experience of Rondo and I-94 was also frequently cited and discussed as a cautionary tale informing and impacting the construction of the Green Line light rail service connecting St. Paul and Minneapolis, which opened to the public in 2014


Snip...

When the route through the historic Rondo neighborhood was finalized, the city demanded that residents sell their homes to the city for dirt-cheap prices — often only a fraction of the actual property value. People that refused to vacate their homes and businesses were met by police with sledgehammers — destroying walls, smashing windows and even tearing apart the plumbing. A lush and vibrant neighborhood was effectively sliced in half, displacing nearly 600 families, 300 businesses and forcing thousands of African-Americans to seek alternative housing in a highly segregated city.
 

rittmeister

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@5fish, please correct me but isn't it true that the states have a lot to say when it comes to federal projects like the interstate system?
  • wouldn't that mean that the constitution which gives the states this leverage is ultimately to blame?
  • if the states decide where exactly the interstates are built wouldn't the states be to blame if they turned out somewhat racist?
  • as your constitution is etremely difficult to change ammend doesn't that mean there's a lot of the 18th century still at work which can't be handled without the states' consent?
 

5fish

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Here is an article that shows highway construction and relining limited displaced black families opportunities...


The postwar years were a time of unprecedented prosperity, when Americans were buying refrigerators and televisions and homes, and wanted to leave the crowded heart of city centers for space to put all their new belongings. The rise of the automobile helped them do this. In 1940, 60 percent of Americans owned cars. In 1960, 80 percent did. Today, 95 percent of Americans own cars.

This increase of people heading to the suburbs in their cars caused something else new: lots and lots of traffic. And to city planners, this was making communities unhealthy. By the 1950s, highways were being recommended as “the greatest single element in the cure of city ills,” according to Joseph DiMento, an Irvine professor who has studied highway construction during that era. To keep cities healthy, planners said, regions needed unclogged arteries for a working circulatory system. In short, cities needed highways to carry people out of the heart and to the rest of the body.
Luckily for city planners who wanted to keep their cities healthy, there was federal money available to anyone who wanted to put in modern highways. While the 1944 Federal Highway Act only offered to cover 50 percent of construction costs for highways, by 1956, the federal government had upped that share to 90 percent. So if you’re a city planner in the 1950s, you can put in roads from your city to the fast-growing suburbs for almost no cost at all.

Of course, there were people who couldn’t move to the suburbs. African Americans were denied home loans by the federal government in certain areas, a practice called redlining. Restrictive covenants prevented homeowners from selling to certain types of people, often including African Americans. And they were also denied jobs and other opportunities that would have allowed them to afford to buy a home in the first place. When I was in Syracuse, I met a man named Manny Breland, who received a scholarship to play basketball at Syracuse, graduated with a teaching degree, and was denied job after job because he was black.


Snip...

The urban planner Robert Moses was one of the first to propose the idea of using highways to “redeem” urban areas.

Snip... Boston tore down a highway...

Boston tore down its Central Artery in its famous Big Dig, turning a waterfront area of the city that had long been clogged with traffic into a popular park and walking area. Milwaukee demolished the Park East freeway in 1999 and urban development has blossomed in the neighborhoods created by the highway’s removal. Manpower Corporation moved its headquarters to the area, and the average assessed land value there grew 45 percent. The economically depressed town of New Haven is in the midst of a project called Downtown Crossing, which has removed parts of Route 34 and is creating a business district in an area of town bisected by the freeway

 

5fish

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@5fish, please correct me but isn't it true that the states have a lot to say when it comes to federal projects like the interstate system?
  • wouldn't that mean that the constitution which gives the states this leverage is ultimately to blame?
  • if the states decide where exactly the interstates are built wouldn't the states be to blame if they turned out somewhat racist?
  • as your constitution is etremely difficult to change ammend doesn't that mean there's a lot of the 18th century still at work which can't be handled without the states' consent?
Yes, the states and cities had local control over the path of highways and I agree its the locals and city planners pushed the racist agenda. In most of these federal programs that ended up being racist is always because of local control.

I would bet it was an open secret that cities were using Highway funds to move Blacks out of downtowns of cities back in the day.

I am trying to find a article were Eisenhower did not want the highways to go through cities but once the locals had the control off to the races...
 

rittmeister

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Yes, the states and cities had local control over the path of highways and I agree its the locals and city planners pushed the racist agenda. In most of these federal programs that ended up being racist is always because of local control.

I would bet it was an open secret that cities were using Highway funds to move Blacks out of downtowns of cities back in the day.

I am trying to find a article were Eisenhower did not want the highways to go through cities but once the locals had the control off to the races...
then the feds need control over federal projects
 

5fish

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Here is Cincinnati look... @O' Be Joyful , it seem every city with a highway has the same story...


A couple weeks ago I posted a series of photos demonstrating the damage freeway construction did to Indianapolis. Since I’ve been covering Cincinnati this week, I thought I’d show the damage freeways did there too.

Here a Cincinnati's story of Highway... written by a local...


Sixty years ago, a major section of the West End (a Cincinnati, Ohio neighborhood) was bulldozed and flattened so a new neighborhood and interstate highway could be built through it. The new neighborhood would be called Queensgate, and the new highway would be called I-75. This urban renewal project would be called Kenyon-Barr (named after two streets in the neighborhoods located in the scope of the project), and it would lead to the displacement of 25,737 residents, ninety-seven percent of whom were non-white.

Snip...

Unfortunately, these plans hinged on the destruction of the heart of Cincinnati’s black community. The West End at the time was a dense, thriving, and vibrant community that was slowly destroyed so Queensgate and I-75 could be built. The people who lived in the West End did not have the ability to fight back against the urban renewal project like other whiter and wealthier neighborhoods in the city might have been able to. Impacted West End residents were also promised better housing and amenities if they supported the project. Over six years, the Kenyon-Barr project demolished most of the West End to create Queensgate and make way for I-75. As of 2010 only 6,627 people live in the West End and 142 people live in Queensgate, as most of Queensgate is now home to industrial business and warehouses. The city photographed many of the buildings located in the West End before they were destroyed by the project, and some of those photos are located below.
 

O' Be Joyful

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Crosley Field the old home of the Red-Legs, I-75 construction on the right.



Here it is on the left.



And the West End before the abomination that became Queensgate.

 

O' Be Joyful

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Here is Cincinnati look... @O' Be Joyful , it seem every city with a highway has the same story...

I-71 construction had the same effect and result to the east destroying mostly black neighborhoods.

[QUOTE
Cranley cited the construction of Interstate 75, which destroyed parts of the historically black West End neighborhoods, displacing residents, many of whom fled to Avondale. He noted that when Interstate 71 was built, it went through communities that are or became poor but did not place an exit there.
“The highways led to wealth, and they bypassed urban neighborhoods with disadvantaged communities,” Cranley said.
That can’t be repeated this time, Reece said.
“If you’re looking around, and you’re leaving people behind, that’s not progress,” she said.

][/QUOTE]

 

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Here a story about race , roads, and covid 19... NPR story...


snip...

When the urban planner Robert Moses began building projects in New York during the 1920s, he bulldozed Black and Latino homes to make way for parks, and built highways through the middle of minority neighborhoods. According to one biography, Moses even made sure bridges on the parkways connecting New York City to beaches in Long Island were low enough to keep city buses — which would likely be carrying poor minorities — from passing underneath.

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"Transportation has always been embedded in civil rights and racism," says Bullard. He points to Plessy v. Ferguson, the landmark 1896 Supreme Court case that upheld racial segregation in state laws. Homer Plessy, the plaintiff, was arrested for boarding a "whites-only" train car in New Orleans to protest segregation on Louisiana's railways.

snip...

They also live in communities that end up retaining more heat due to a lack of parks and green spaces. The resulting "urban heat island" effect can turn deadly for minorities during warm weather. In Chicago, a particularly hot summer in 1995 led to over 700 heat-related deaths. Most of the heat wave's victims were elderly, poor and disproportionately Black.

Bullard also points to pollution as part of the reason why African Americans and Latinos are dying at higher rates from COVID-19 than other racial groups. Asthma is a risk factor for COVID-19, and several studies have linked African-Americans' high prevalence of asthma to environmental pollution. And preliminary research from researchers at Harvard has found that areas with more air pollution are seeing a corresponding rise in COVID-19 deaths.



 

5fish

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Here is Buffalo NY. trying to tear down a highway...


snip...

For decades, discussions about reparations in this country have revolved around the merits and feasibility of handing checks to descendants of enslaved Americans. But there’s a growing interest, from activists to presidential candidates, to broaden the lens to include disparities in the criminal justice system, access to education and even infrastructure.

The spine of America — its railroads, runways and highways — was often literally built on top of black neighborhoods. Many of those communities had been segregated as a result of redlining and blighted because of a lack of credit. In the 1950s, they were destroyed in the name of urban renewal.
 

5fish

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Detroit put three highways through Black neighborhoods...


snip...

Planners routed Detroit's freeways through predominantly Black communities. The Chrysler Freeway blasted through Paradise Valley and Black Bottom, destroying a vibrant Black business and entertainment district that contained some of the African-American community’s most important institutions. The Lodge Expressway (M-10) cut through the increasingly Black neighborhoods around 12th Street and west of Highland Park, and the Edsel Ford Freeway (I-94) managed to cut through both the Black west side and the northern extension of Paradise Valley

snip... left people no where to live...

Highway planners sold the demolition programs as part of an “urban renewal” campaign designed to help residents by replacing older homes and apartments with new construction. In practice, it amounted to “negro removal”: Predominantly Black and poor residents displaced by the demolition were left to find new housing without government assistance at a time when demand in the city’s segregated housing market far outstripped supply. Instead of moving into better living conditions, a majority of those displaced ended up within a mile of the new super-highways, in homes that were almost no better than the ones they had left. The better residential developments, such as Lafayette Park, became mostly white enclaves. Harvey Royal, whose home was demolished for the Ford Freeway, summed it up best by saying: “I think it would have been so much nicer to have built places for people to live in than a highway and just put people in the street.”
 
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