U.S. CitiesCity-Data Forum Index
Go Back   City-Data Forum > General Forums > Urban Planning
 [Register]
Please register to participate in our discussions with 2 million other members - it's free and quick! Some forums can only be seen by registered members. After you create your account, you'll be able to customize options and access all our 15,000 new posts/day with fewer ads.
View detailed profile (Advanced) or search
site with Google Custom Search

Search Forums  (Advanced)
Reply Start New Thread
 
Old 03-15-2014, 12:14 PM
 
8,328 posts, read 14,569,036 times
Reputation: 4048

Advertisements

Quote:
Originally Posted by jade408 View Post
It is good to note that for places like California, the great migration came for blue collar jobs. There wasn't a long history with black institutions like colleges and churches. Or a history of black middle class or elites. So the black people here were disproportionately impacted by the decline of American manufacturing etc when the middle class income producing jobs disappeared.

That hugely shapes the current dynamics. In the north and south, there is a much longer black history and more class variation.
Black migration in the 1940s is largely what created the Black middle class in California. Where I live, there were long-established social institutions like churches by then, but during World War II the Black population tripled, mostly taking over spaces vacated by Japanese Americans interned in camps, a separate but related gross injustice unique to the West Coast. After the war, the first professionals appeared, including our first Black doctor, police officer, a cadre of new business owners, and the first practicing attorney, a Tuskegee and Yale graduate. He realized that, while there was "de facto" segregation aplenty in California, it wasn't "de jure" segregation the way he knew it in the South, so the law was on his side. This created the opportunity to open doors that were previously closed and set legal precedent.



By the 1950s we had the beginnings of a Black middle class, and in the 1950s even some "separate but equal" housing developments (lacking access to traditional funding sources due to FHA redlining and ongoing prejudice, the NAACP and local businessmen founded their own lending agencies and built their own subdivisions.) The story of Black suburbia is little known and very interesting.

One other thing about "white flight"--it didn't just apply to downtowns. Suburbs that were first settled by whites but didn't have sufficiently well-enforced racial covenants were subject to "blockbusting"--one Black family would move into the neighborhood and all the white households would stampede to move out, assuming that property values would tumble, which became a self-fulfilling prophecy. That's part of why Californians defended rotten things like racial covenants long after they were clearly illegal in the eyes of federal law.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message

 
Old 03-15-2014, 01:04 PM
Status: "Summer!" (set 22 days ago)
 
Location: Foot of the Rockies
87,014 posts, read 102,634,943 times
Reputation: 33082
Quote:
Originally Posted by nei View Post
Canada and Australia never really had urban migration of minorities the same way the US did, they have had immigration but nothing akin to the Great Migration, where an impoverished and discriminated population migrated en masse to large cities.
In Australia, the discrimination is against the aboriginal people, and also against some immigrants.
History of racist attitudes and fear, White Australia: Immigration Restriction Act 1901, Australia to 1914, SOSE: History Year 9, NSW | Online Education Home Schooling Skwirk Australia
My daughter was in Australia a few years ago and felt the general tone of the area to be kind of racist, anecdotally, of course.

Canada has had fewer immigrants of color than the US or Australia, but if you'd read my links, you'd see there are problems there as well. Every now and then a huge incident gets reported in the news and here on CD.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jade408 View Post
It is good to note that for places like California, the great migration came for blue collar jobs. There wasn't a long history with black institutions like colleges and churches. Or a history of black middle class or elites. So the black people here were disproportionately impacted by the decline of American manufacturing etc when the middle class income producing jobs disappeared.

That hugely shapes the current dynamics. In the north and south, there is a much longer black history and more class variation.
That is the case in Pittsburgh, Detroit and other rust-belt cities as well. There were black churches in my hometown, after blacks had settled there, but there are no HBUs in the Pittsburgh area.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 03-15-2014, 06:04 PM
 
Location: Jamestown, NY
7,841 posts, read 7,334,770 times
Reputation: 13779
Quote:
Originally Posted by drive carephilly View Post
There really isn't an "american" urban area. There's Boston and then there's LA. There's Miami and there's Chicago. There's Portland and Charleston. Detroit and Denver.

They're all very different places, have different histories, patterns of migration, housing types, industries, developed during different periods, etc, etc . . . and all have very different racial dynamics past and present.

The segregationist policies of the FHA from the 1930s until about 1972 was a major contributing factor. It facilitated so called "white flight" because, even if they wanted to stay, it made it incredibly difficult for white people to buy houses in the neighborhoods they already lived in. Indeed, when you see neighborhoods that had big drops in the white population in the 1950s - it's almost universally the white renters in the "family formation stage" of their lives that are leaving en masse.

Even if that wasn't the case most cities would still have most of the same problems. Urban populations were going to decline for other reasons - people with the means were looking to get out of their urban neighborhoods mostly because the housing was old and crowded. New suburbs were heavily subsidized often at the expense of taking care of existing urban housing and infrastructure. Policy makers from the late 40s to the late 60s had a singular vision for what US cities could and should be and that was basically a shimmering downtown of glass skyscrapers ringed by expressways - with all of the old housing leveled to make way for modern (read: suburban) housing and other amenities.

Even beyond that household size has fallen by half since 1955 and the population has gotten a lot older. Any city with fixed boundaries over the last 50 years was guaranteed to lose population.

As far as the racial dynamic goes, beyond the issues with mortgage lending, people tend to gloss over the fact that large numbers of african-americans in northern and western US cities is a phenomenon that only really goes back to WWII. The First Great Migration was significant but the Second migration was more than 3x the size and those who made the move were arriving in those cities just as they were de-industrializing and depopulating. Black families had maybe a generation of prosperity before it all disappeared.

The racial dynamic of most US cities not in the south come from a whole range of issues - a lot of it was policy driven and effected all poor or working class people regardless of race, some of it was deliberately racist and some was racist in outcome but not deliberate.
Excellent, excellent post!!!

People had been moving away from the city centers since the late 1800s when industrialization, migration, and immigration made living in established neighborhoods unpleasant for many people. This really isn't easily identified because most cities had lots of undeveloped land inside their city limits. These lands were developed as city populations grew and the people who could afford to get out of the older areas moved outward.

By about 1930, most American cities had developed most if not all the land within their boundaries, but the Great Depression and WW II limited the building of new housing for nearly 2 decades. After WW II, almost 20 years of pent up demand for new housing exploded in the only places where it could: the areas just beyond the city limits, ie, the suburbs. Furthermore, many cities in the Northeast and the Great Lakes were forbidden from annexing neighboring areas, which happens quite frequently in many areas of the south and the west, so their ability to grow was very limited.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 03-15-2014, 06:41 PM
 
2,980 posts, read 2,707,643 times
Reputation: 5631
After WW2, some American cities still had a lot of undeveloped land within their boundaries, most notably Baltimore, Philadelphia, Dallas, and Los Angeles. This land was developed with housing, allowing those cities to increase in population, even though the suburbs also developed rapidly.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 03-15-2014, 10:05 PM
 
56,670 posts, read 80,973,859 times
Reputation: 12521
Great info here, but wanted to clear a couple of things up. People from the West Indies came to NYC during the First Northern Migration and settled in the same areas as African Americans. NY at one time had more enslaved people of African descent than GA at one time and turn, there has always been Black communities concentrated in parts of NYC and other cities in the state.

Also, while the Pittsburgh area didn't have any HBCU's, PA has had Cheyney State(the first HBCU) and Lincoln University, both just outside of Philadelphia, since the mid 1800's. Ohio also had Central State and Wilberforce both just outside of Dayton in Wilberforce, for a long time as well.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 03-17-2014, 01:29 AM
 
2,388 posts, read 2,956,746 times
Reputation: 1953
Quote:
Originally Posted by Octa View Post
Yes and I don't see why white flight is in quotations as if it's something that's fake.
I guess I should've just put the "flight" in quotes but quotes nonetheless because the reality of what happened doesn't match the popular narrative. You can point to anecdotes in Chicago, NYC, Philly, etc to the contrary but in general white people weren't fleeing - they were being actively encouraged to leave and discouraged from staying.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 03-17-2014, 01:51 AM
 
2,388 posts, read 2,956,746 times
Reputation: 1953
Quote:
Originally Posted by ckhthankgod View Post
Great info here, but wanted to clear a couple of things up. People from the West Indies came to NYC during the First Northern Migration and settled in the same areas as African Americans. NY at one time had more enslaved people of African descent than GA at one time and turn, there has always been Black communities concentrated in parts of NYC and other cities in the state.
There's really no question that the 2nd great migration completely changed the demographics of most northern cities.

% Black population

Bronx -
1920 - 1%
1950 - 7%
1980 - 32%

Mnhtn -
1920 - 5%
1950 - 10%
1980 - 22%

B'klyn -
1920 - 1.5%
1950 - 8%
1980 - 32%
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 03-17-2014, 11:08 AM
 
56,670 posts, read 80,973,859 times
Reputation: 12521
Quote:
Originally Posted by drive carephilly View Post
There's really no question that the 2nd great migration completely changed the demographics of most northern cities.

% Black population

Bronx -
1920 - 1%
1950 - 7%
1980 - 32%

Mnhtn -
1920 - 5%
1950 - 10%
1980 - 22%

B'klyn -
1920 - 1.5%
1950 - 8%
1980 - 32%
Definitely and you can say that European immigrant from after the Civil War to about WW1 also decreased the percentages of Black residents in Northern cities to a degree. For instance, Syracuse had a higher Black percentage in the mid 1800's than it has in 1950(about 3.5-4% vs a little over 2%). So, immigration has had an effect on the Black percentage of Northern cities until the 2nd Migration.

Urban Renewal also had a big effect on these dynamics, as they displaced people by essentially destroying primarily Black/minority neighborhoods(the Hill in Pittsburgh, Black Bottom in Detroit, Syracuse's 15th Ward, etc) into neighborhoods that they weren't necessarily welcomed in. So, policy in regards to urban planning played a part in this as well.

Last edited by ckhthankgod; 03-17-2014 at 11:27 AM..
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 03-17-2014, 09:04 PM
 
2,388 posts, read 2,956,746 times
Reputation: 1953
Quote:
Originally Posted by ckhthankgod View Post
Definitely and you can say that European immigrant from after the Civil War to about WW1 also decreased the percentages of Black residents in Northern cities to a degree. For instance, Syracuse had a higher Black percentage in the mid 1800's than it has in 1950(about 3.5-4% vs a little over 2%). So, immigration has had an effect on the Black percentage of Northern cities until the 2nd Migration.
The 1st migration happened concurrently with the major wave of european immigration in the late 19th/early 20th century. The much larger 2nd migration happened after european immigration was largely over.

Syracuse may be an exception, probably because its glory days were in the Erie Canal/RR era, but it's hardly the rule.

Demographic history of New York City - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

So yeah, I'm not trying to say that black people didn't exist in northern cities before the 2nd migration. Of course african-americans have been part of the social fabric nearly everywhere in the country since before it was a country.

But the OP is about the history of ethnic/racial tensions in the US and it's effects on planning (or at least outcomes) and outside of the south that changed completely during and after the 2nd migration . . . but the changes were different in different parts of the country.

Northeastern cities had patterns of de facto ethno-religious segregation long before they had significant african-american populations and this extended well out into the suburbs - even into the 1950s. Places in and around Philly like Germantown, Swedesboro, and Cynwyd didn't get those names by chance. Little suburban towns throughout the region were long known for being German or Irish or Italian. Seriously, even at 10th & Christian in South Philly Irish parishioners at St. Paul's attacked Italians for trying to use "their" church. That neighborhood is now known as Bella Vista and the church is less than a block from the Italian Market.

These are anecdotes of course but they're repeated in Boston, New York, Chicago, etc. You get similar stories in LA, SF, etc but the ethnic groups are different, the actions or reactions are different, it's less about housing and more about jobs . . . the only thing it's always about is one group giving way to another.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 03-17-2014, 09:15 PM
 
2,388 posts, read 2,956,746 times
Reputation: 1953
Quote:
Originally Posted by Linda_d View Post
Excellent, excellent post!!!

People had been moving away from the city centers since the late 1800s when industrialization, migration, and immigration made living in established neighborhoods unpleasant for many people. This really isn't easily identified because most cities had lots of undeveloped land inside their city limits. These lands were developed as city populations grew and the people who could afford to get out of the older areas moved outward.
Good point. The actual gentry had long lived outside of the city (K. Hepburn in 'A Philadelphia Story') and the bourgeoisie started moving to the suburbs with the advent of the horse-drawn trolley cart. This process only accelerated with the RR and electric-traction trolley. In Philadelphia this was Mt. Airy and Chestnut Hill followed by Victorian era North and West Philly.

Quote:
Originally Posted by james777
After WW2, some American cities still had a lot of undeveloped land within their boundaries, most notably Baltimore, Philadelphia, Dallas, and Los Angeles. This land was developed with housing, allowing those cities to increase in population, even though the suburbs also developed rapidly.
I know that, at least in the case of Philadelphia, most of the people moving to the new developments in the Northeast and Southwest (and parts of West and Northwest) were moving there from other parts of the city. . . a lot of people in Northeast Philly, for instance, came from Kensington. If Philly didn't have those large areas to build new housing in it would look a lot more like Baltimore than what it looks like today.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Please register to post and access all features of our very popular forum. It is free and quick. Over $68,000 in prizes has already been given out to active posters on our forum. Additional giveaways are planned.

Detailed information about all U.S. cities, counties, and zip codes on our site: City-data.com.


Reply
Please update this thread with any new information or opinions. This open thread is still read by thousands of people, so we encourage all additional points of view.

Quick Reply
Message:

Over $104,000 in prizes was already given out to active posters on our forum and additional giveaways are planned!

Go Back   City-Data Forum > General Forums > Urban Planning
Similar Threads
Follow City-Data.com founder on our Forum or

All times are GMT -6.

2005-2019, Advameg, Inc. · Please obey Forum Rules · Terms of Use and Privacy Policy · Bug Bounty

City-Data.com - Archive 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35 - Top