Local Histories of Segregation

If you would like to submit another source for inclusion, please send it to belonging@berkeley.edu.

Atlanta, GA

Kruse, K. M. (2007). White flight: Atlanta and the making of modern conservatism. Princeton University Press. https://press.princeton.edu/books/paperback/9780691133867/white-flight.

Kruse explores the political landscape around white flight as a powerful, enduring segregationist practice in Atlanta, Georgia, and what it means for U.S. politics more broadly. 

Lands, LeeAnn. The Culture of Property: Race, Class, and Housing Landscapes in Atlanta, 1880-1950. Athens, GA: University of Georgia Press, 2009. https://ugapress.org/book/9780820333922/the-culture-of-property.

LeeAnn Lands investigates the history of segregation in Atlanta, GA, detailing how assumptions of race and class coalesced over time with attitudes toward residential landscape aesthetics and home ownership.

Kruse, Kevin. “How Segregation Caused Your Traffic Jam.” The New York Times. The New York Times, August 14, 2019. https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2019/08/14/magazine/traffic-atlanta-...

In many cities including Atlanta, interstates were not built in ways that maximized efficiency and limited traffic burden, but instead were used as opportunities to raze poor communities and build physical separators between white and non-white residents.

Baltimore, MD

Lanahan, Lawrence. The Lines between Us: Two Families and a Quest to Cross Baltimore's Racial Divide. New York, NY: The New Press, 2019. https://thenewpress.com/books/lines-between-us.

In The Lines Between Us, journalist Lawrence Lanahan investigates segregation in Baltimore--how it became so segregated and why it persists--while following the stories of two Baltimore area residents striving to change the pattern.

“Race, Racism and Baltimore's Future: A Focus on Structural and Institutional Racism.” Social Determinants of Health 2016 Summary Report. Johns Hopkins Urban Health Institute, 2016. https://urbanhealth.jhu.edu/what-we-do/social-determinants-health-sympos...

A summary report of structural and institutional racism in Baltimore, MD. Racism's relationship to segregation, education, health and policing are discussed at length, plus next steps.

Benton Harbor, MI

Carey, Kevin. “How School Districts Can Worsen Inequality in Education.” Time. Time, February 20, 2020. https://time.com/5783920/school-districts-inequality-education/. 

Benton Harbor and St. Joseph Michigan are only half a mile away from each other, but in many ways are worlds apart. These intensely segregated border towns have familiar segregation origin stories but the implications for their respective education systems are stark. Heavily Black Benton Harbor has a median household income around $20k, while St. Joseph's is more than $60k. This article details what students and educators in Benton Harbor are doing to revive their school system.

Berkeley, CA

Daniels, Douglas Henry. “Berkeley Apartheid: Unfair Housing in a University Town.” History Research 3, no. 5 (2013): 321–41. https://www.berkeleyside.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/Apartheid-in-a-U....

This essay explores the history of the struggle for Fair Housing as an early part of the Civil Rights movement in Berkeley and across the U.S.

KRON-TV, and Young Broadcasting of San Francisco, Inc. Segregation Western Style. Assignment Four - Segregation Western Style. Bay Area Television Archive, 1963. https://diva.sfsu.edu/collections/sfbatv/bundles/223879.

Short documentary video of Berkeley housing discrimination in the 60s.

Boston, MA

Jan, Tracy. “Metco Fears for Its Future: Ruling May Put Desegregation Effort at Risk.” Boston.com. The Boston Globe, July 26, 2007. http://archive.boston.com/news/local/massachusetts/articles/2007/07/26/m...

METCO, a voluntary busing program aimed at desegregating Boston metro area schools, is a 14-year old program and one of Boston's last desegregation efforts. The program has been challenged for its continued use of race as an admissions requirement.

Scharfenberg, D. (2021, March 11). "Massachusetts' public schools are highly segregated. It's time we treated that like the crisis it is." The Boston Globe. https://www.bostonglobe.com/2020/12/11/opinion/massachusetts-public-scho...

In Boston's metro area, segregation has been on the rise, and is clearly reflected in the region's schools: traditionally "high achieving" schools are increasingly white, while formerly integrated schools are now majority Black and Latinx. This segregation and uneven distribution of resources is contributing to an achievement gap, but the crises of residential and school segregation are underestimated by residents.

Chicago, IL

Austen, Ben. “The Death and Life of Chicago (Published 2013).” How Chicago's Housing Crisis Ignited a New Form of Activism. The New York Times, May 29, 2013. https://nyti.ms/131cgBs. 

Activists in Chicago have begun fixing up abandoned properties to create housing for those without. Chicago's housing crisis, especially a shortage of quality housing on Chicago's South Side, was severely impacted by the foreclosures during the Great Recession.

Austen, Ben. High-Risers: Cabrini-Green and the Fate of American Public Housing. New York, NY: Harper, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers, 2019. https://www.harpercollins.com/products/high-risers-ben-austen?variant=32....

A comprehensive examination of Cabrini-Green and segregated public housing in America.

Chase, Brett. “In Chicago, Pollution Hits West Side, South Side the Hardest, Study Finds.” Times. Chicago Sun-Times, October 25, 2018. https://chicago.suntimes.com/2018/10/25/18466281/in-chicago-pollution-hi...

Chicago's Black and Latinx neighborhoods on the South and West sides of the city have the greatest exposure to toxic air pollution.

Hassan, Adeel. “Why Are African-American Families Leaving Chicago? (Published 2020).” The New York Times, February 22, 2020. https://nyti.ms/3bZf0ID. 

Like other highly segregated places, Chicago has seen a large number of Black residents leave the city in favor of suburbs, the south.

Hirsch, Arnold R. Making the Second Ghetto: Race and Housing in Chicago, 1940-1960. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 2021. https://press.uchicago.edu/ucp/books/book/chicago/M/bo3627598.html.

A history of race and housing from 1940-1960 Chicago, the author argues that Chicago was the birthplace for many of the mechanisms that became popular across the U.S. to create and maintain segregation.

Cleveland, OH

Sanchez, Lisa. “Cleveland's Legacy of Housing Discrimination: The Great Migration.” Cleveland Public Library, June 28, 2018. https://cpl.org/clevelands-legacy-of-housing-discrimination-the-great-mi...

The Great Migration and subsequent housing discrimination in Cleveland resulted in an early Supreme Court case, The Village of Euclid, Ohio v. Ambler Realty Co. that pivoted the use the zoning ordinances as a discrimination tool for the nation.

Columbus, OH

Jacobs, Gregory S. Getting around Brown: Desegregation, Development, and the Columbus Public Schools. Columbus, OH: Ohio State University Press, 1998. https://kb.osu.edu/handle/1811/6299.

Getting Around Brown discusses mid-century segregation in K-12 public schools in Columbus, OH and desegregation efforts, such as busing.

Dallas, TX

Berry, Christopher. “Land Use Regulation and Residential Segregation: Does Zoning Matter?” American Law and Economics Review 3, no. 2 (2001): 251–74. https://doi.org/10.1093/aler/3.2.251. 

Using the dissimilarity index to measure segregation, this paper compares two Texas cities to understand the role of zoning in segregation: Houston is the only large major city in the U.S. without zoning laws, and Dallas is a similar city. The study found no significant differences in segregation between the two cities, suggesting that while zoning has been leveraged as a tool to create and maintain segregation, other mechanisms such as private institutions can produce the same result.

Detroit, MI

Atuahene, Bernadette, and Christopher R. Berry. “Taxed Out: Illegal Property Tax Assessments and the Epidemic of Tax Foreclosures in Detroit.” SSRN Electronic Journal, June 26, 2018. https://doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3202860. 

McClelland Glass, Joanna. Palmer Park: a Play. New York: On Stage Press, 2010. https://www.amazon.com/Palmer-Park-Joanna-Mcclelland-Glass/dp/0973633913.

A play about an integrated neighborhood in postwar Detroit struggling against forces of segregation to remain integrated.

“History of Housing Discrimination against African Americans in Detroit.” Detroit Housing Discrimination. NAACP Legal Defense Fund, 2016. https://www.naacpldf.org/files/our-work/Detroit%20Housing%20Discriminati...

A brief summary report of of housing discrimination in Detroit from the 1930s to the 2010s

Sugrue, Thomas J. Origins of the Urban Crisis: Race and Inequality in Postwar Detroit. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2014. https://press.princeton.edu/books/paperback/9780691162553/the-origins-of....

Thomas J. Sugrue examines the role race, housing, job discrimination, and capital flight played in the decline of Detroit.

East Palo Alto, CA

Cutler, Kim-Mai. “East Of Palo Alto's Eden: Race And The Formation Of Silicon Valley.” TechCrunch. TechCrunch, January 10, 2015. https://techcrunch.com/2015/01/10/east-of-palo-altos-eden/. 

Silicon Valley, the heart of the American tech industry for decades, is overwhelmingly white. More recently tech companies have been challenged by their failings in employee diversity. But hiring practices don't occur in a vacuum, so this article reviews the long history of racial residential segregation in the South Bay Area and its implications for the tech industry now.

Flint, MI

Darden, Joe T. “The Residential Segregation of Blacks in Flint [Michigan], 1950-1970. Revised.” Annual Meeting of the East Lakes Division of the American Association of Geographers, June 1976. https://doi.org/https://eric.ed.gov/?id=ED125965. https://eric.ed.gov/?id=ED125965

Racial residential segregation is often conflated with issues of housing affordability. This research finds that while segregation was high in Flint, MI between 1950 and 1970, it was not explained by housing cost inequality.

Levy, Dan, and Agustin Arbulu. “The Flint Water Crisis: Systemic Racism through the Lens of Flint.” Edited by Colleen Pero and Shawn Sanford. Michigan.gov. The Michigan Civil Rights Commission, February 17, 2017. https://www.michigan.gov/documents/mdcr/VFlintCrisisRep-F-Edited3-13-17_...

A report by the Michigan Civil Rights Commission investigated the abridging of civil rights of Flint residents affected by the Flint Water Crisis.

Trounstine, Jessica. “How Racial Segregation and Political Mismanagement Led to Flint's Shocking Water Crisis.” The Washington Post. WP Company, April 18, 2019. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/monkey-cage/wp/2016/02/08/heres-the-...

Glen Allan, MS

Taulbert, Clifton L. Once upon a Time When We Were Colored. Tulsa , OK: Albury Pub., 1989. https://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/books/324388/once-upon-a-time-when-we....

A Pulitzer Prize winning memoir by Clifton Taulbert about his childhood in deeply segregated 1950s Mississippi. The book was later developed into a movie by Tim Reid. 

Taulbert, Clifton L., and Paul W. Cooper. Once upon a Time... When We Were Colored, 1995. https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0114039/fullcredits/?ref_=tt_ov_st_sm. 

Based on a Pulitzer Prize winning memoir by Clifton Taulbert about his childhood in deeply segregated 1950s Mississippi, this film was adapted to film in 1995.

Hartford, CT

Eaton, Susan. “A Steady Habit of Segregation: The Origins and Continuing Harm of Separate and Unequal Housing and Public Schools in Metropolitan Hartford, Connecticut.” Poverty & Race Research Action Council. Poverty & Race Research Action Council, Open Communities Alliance, Brandeis Heller School for Social Policy and Management, Brandeis Sillerman Center for the Advancement of Philanthropy, 2020. https://prrac.org/pdf/hartford-segregation-report-2020.pdf. 

The Origins and Continuing Harm of Separate and Unequal Housing and Public Schools in Metropolitan Hartford, Connecticut.

Los Angeles County, CA

Western Economic Services, LLC. “2018 ANALSYSIS OF IMPEDIMENTS TO FAIR HOUSING CHOICE FOR THE COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT COMMISSION AND HOUSING AUTHORITY OF THE COUNTY OF LOS ANGELES.” LACDA.org. Community Development Commission of the County of Los Angeles, Housing Authority of the County of Los Angeles, 2018. https://wwwa.lacda.org/docs/default-source/community-development-block-g...

A third party report prepared for housing authorities in LA country about the history, current state, challenges and future directions of equal housing in LA.

Memphis, TN

Kebede, Laura Faith. “Memphis School Segregation Worse than 50 Years Ago.” Chalkbeat Tennessee. Chalkbeat Tennessee, March 30, 2018. https://tn.chalkbeat.org/2018/3/29/21108492/memphis-school-segregation-w...

School segregation in Memphis, TN is worse than it was in the 70s. In the 70s, the stark racial segregation prompted reforms including mandatory busing.

Bradley, Cole. “Seeing Red I: Mapping 90 Years of Redlining in Memphis.” High Ground. Accessed April 10, 2021. https://www.highgroundnews.com/features/SeeingRedlining.aspx. 

In exploring the history of segregation in Memphis, the authors explore the relationship between housing and wealth, and how this relationship has been repeatedly undermined for Black residents of Memphis through disinvestment.

Meckler, Laura, and Kate Rabinowitz. “The Lines That Divide: School District Boundaries Often Stymie Integration.” The Washington Post. WP Company, December 16, 2019. https://www.washingtonpost.com/education/2019/12/16/lines-that-divide-sc...

The authors analyze segregation across Shelby County school systems, where Black students are highly segregated within the city school system and away from the many majority-white suburban districts.

Miami, FL

Bush, Gregory Wallace. White Sand, Black Beach: Civil Rights, Public Space, and Miami's Virginia Key. Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 2016. https://books.google.com/books/about/White_Sand_Black_Beach.html?id=SuQ5....

Written by historian and activist Gregory Bush, White Sand Black Beach explores the relationship between segregation and public space in Virginia Key Beach, Florida.

Milwaukee, WI

Downs, Kenya. “Why Is Milwaukee So Bad For Black People?” NPR. NPR, March 5, 2015. https://www.npr.org/sections/codeswitch/2015/03/05/390723644/why-is-milw...

An article and podcast episode on NPR’s Codeswitch, writer Kenya Downs outlines the significant quality of life disparities between Black and white residents of Milwaukee. K-12 schools in Milwaukee suspend Black students at a rate double the national average and Milwaukee has the nation’s largest achievement gap for students. Incarceration rates and segregation are both incredibly high. Can local leaders address these long-standing issues?

Minneapolis, MN

Orfield, M. (1998). Metropolitics: a regional agenda for community and stability. Brookings Institution Press. https://www.brookings.edu/book/metropolitics.

Through the lens of the Twin Cities, Minneapolis and St. Paul, Orfield explores the consequences of “urban sprawl.” As city centers and suburbs become more polarized, a dangerous feedback loop between “poverty, disinvestment, middle-class flight, and sprawl grow[s] increasingly severe over time.” Metropolitics models how American metropolises may develop coordinated regional reform agendas, across jurisdictions.

New Orleans, LA

“NAACP Reports Housing in New Orleans: One Year After Katrina: Policy Recommendations for Equitable Rebuilding.” NAACP Gulf Coast Advocacy Center, The Opportunity Agenda, The Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity, 2006. http://www.kirwaninstitute.osu.edu/reports/2006/08_2006_HousingNOLA_KI_O...

Report detailing housing recovery post-Katrina, the report finds that pre-Katrina housing shortages have escalated severely, disproportionately displacing low income residents.

 Seicshnaydre, Stacy, Robert A. Collins, Cashauna Hill, and Maxwell Ciardullo. “The New Orleans Prosperity Index: Tricentennial Collection Rigging the Real Estate Market: Segregation, Inequality, and Disaster Risk.” DataCenterResearch.org. Data Center Research, April 2018. https://s3.amazonaws.com/gnocdc/reports/TDC-prosperity-brief-stacy-seics...

Report on the history of neighborhood segregation in New Orleans with an emphasis on its influence on contemporary racial disparities in wealth, access to opportunity, and vulnerability to disaster risk.

New York City, NY

Joffe-Walt, Chana. “Nice White Parents.” This American Life, July 30, 2020. https://www.thisamericanlife.org/712/nice-white-parents. 

A podcast on how white parents become obstacles to equitable public education in New York City.

Winston Griffith, Mark, and Max Freedman. School Colors, September 2019. https://www.schoolcolorspodcast.com/. 

A podcast reporting on the inter-generational struggle of parents and educators for quality education in Brooklyn, NY through segregation, gentrification.

Phippsburg, ME

Kerrill Field , Tamara. “In Maine, a Hidden History on Malaga Island.” U.S. News & World Report. U.S. News & World Report. Accessed March 3, 2021. https://www.usnews.com/news/best-states/articles/2019-06-04/in-maine-a-h...

Portland, OR

City of Portland. “History of Racist Planning in Portland.” Portland.gov, September 2019. https://www.portland.gov/bps/history-racist-planning-portland. 

Williams, Kale. “Historically Racist Housing Policies Exacerbating Climate Change Effects in Low-Income Portland Neighborhoods.” Oregon Live, January 21, 2020. https://www.oregonlive.com/environment/2020/01/historically-racist-housi...

Rochester, NY

Van Kerkhove, Barb, and Ruhi Maker. “COVID-19 Disparities In Rochester, NY: The Legacy Of Redlining In The City Of Frederick Douglass And Susan B. Anthony.” Empire Justice Center, October 2, 2020. https://empirejustice.org/news/covid-19-disparities-rochester-ny-legacy-...

San Francisco Bay Area, CA

“Roots, Race, & Place.” Othering & Belonging Institute, November 2, 2019. https://belonging.berkeley.edu/rootsraceplace. 

A history of racially exclusionary housing in the San Francisco Bay Area and its relationship to contemporary housing issues, including the displacement of long-time residents.

Seattle, WA

Gregory, James. Seattle's Segregation Story - Seattle Civil Rights and Labor History Project, 2004. https://depts.washington.edu/civilr/slides_segregation-story.htm.

A community report on the history of segregation in St. Louis and its present-day impact on the lives of residents.

St. Louis, MO

Cambria, N, P Fehler, JQ Purnell, and B Schmidt. “Segregation in St. Louis: Dismantling the Divide.” Washington University in St. Louis, 2018. https://healthequityworks.wustl.edu/items/segregation-in-st-louis-disman...

Gordon, Colin. Citizen Brown: Race, Democracy, and Inequality in the St. Louis Suburbs. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 2020. https://press.uchicago.edu/ucp/books/book/chicago/C/bo41210659.html.

Rothstein, Richard. “The Making of Ferguson: How Decades of Hostile Policy Created a Powder Keg.” The American Prospect, October 13, 2014. https://prospect.org/civil-rights/making-ferguson-decades-hostile-policy...

Written only months after the fatal police shooting of Michael Brown and national uprisings, this article reviews the history of racial segregation in St. Louis county. Decades of civic disinvestment in and disenfranchisement of Black residents has left Ferguson and other St. Louis suburbs rife with tension, and these circumstances are not isolated to the area.

Tuscalsoosa, AL

Hannah-Jones, Nikole. “Segregation Now... Sixty Years after Brown v. Board of Education, the Schools in Tuscaloosa, Alabama Show How Separate and Unequal Education Is Coming Back.” The Atlantic. Atlantic Media Company, June 24, 2020. https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2014/05/segregation-now/359...

At one time, Tuscaloosa, Alabama was a success story of school integration. After much pushback and some hard-won court orders, Tuscaloosa dissolved its segregated high schools for one united Central High in 1979. Integration, however, was fleeting. Whit flight and a weakening of federal oversight has erased the progress Tuscaloosa made.

Washington D.C.

Asch, C. M., & Musgrove, G. D. (2019). Chocolate City: a history of race and democracy in the nation's capital. University of North Carolina. https://uncpress.org/book/9781469654720/chocolate-city.

A historical recounting of four centuries of racial politics in the U.S. capital, a city that has endured slavery, segregation, the War on Drugs, and whose residents lack full political representation.

Prologue DC, LLC. (2018). Mapping Segregation DC. http://mappingsegregationdc.org/.

A detailed history of racial segregation in Washington D.C., this historical project includes a timeline, map, and detailed accounts of the making and maintaining of segregation in our nation's capital.