Sunday, April 1, 2007

Answer to the "Trivia" Question

The Q was, until the mid-50s, Baltimore housing and school were was racially segregated by law and "negroes" could only live in three neighborhoods. What were they?

The A:
The East, West and South sides of town.
A PA librarian found this article, "The Transnational Contexts of Early Twentieth-Century American Urban Segregation," which in spite of the horrible title turns out to be quite a worthwhile read, full of interesting info. In it we learn that the law didn't dictate where "Negroes" had to live, exactly. Instead, "white" people segregated themselves into the gay-sounding "favored fan" of the North, and in 1911 the Baltimore City Council passed the West Segregation Ordinance* which apparently allowed neighborhood associations to have racially restrictive neighborhood covenants. However, of all the 1910's white housing projects, only Guilford's covenant (and possibly Northwood's, see comments) was in-your-face enough to specifically include restrictions on resale to Negroes in the home deeds (a tip Olmstead et. al got from real estate developers in Chicago).

The U.S. Supreme court struck down racial real-estate covenants in 1917, so in Baltimore racial housing segregation was on the books for just four years, though the "marketized system of urban residential segregation-- along with its consequences for unequal access ... and unequal exposure to toxins and the criminal justice system-- remains virtually unscathed."

ps. Why did the same real estate developers who didn't want to put racial language in the deeds for Roland Park feel more emboldened for their next construction project? Apparently July 4, 1910 was Jack Johnson's victory over white boxer James Jeffires, who came out of retirement solely to prove "that a white man is better than a Negro." Jeffries' loss incited white people to riot nationwide, and local whites ("officers of neighborhood associations, letter writers and signers of petitions") brought pressure to lawmakers address the "Negro invasion."

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

I'm pretty sure original northwood also specified that houses must be sold to whites only.

-shelley

Anonymous said...

Whether a person realizes, there are many places in Baltimore that go back 50-100 years to stress that Afro-Americans are victims of segregation and unfair treatment, just like this article. In the park near my house (Carrollton) they stress about the same things like it was yesterday.
People, it was 60-100 years ago! Its time to leave the victim status behind and get on with life. Do Jews have signs scattered throughout the parks to stress they were victims? Its unhealthy and makes worse the racial problems of the day. Possibly this is part of the reason there is so much violence in the Afro-American community (or should we say this is not really happening, when it is). It increases anger when..again, it was generations ago. A very good example, when Africans come to this country they come without this stigma, and guess what?? they are not violent and angry, and succeed in life.

chances said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
chances said...

Actually in is the Greater Northwood Covenant Association (GNCA) that restricted home ownership, with Original Northwood being the first neighborhood. This restriction has been lined out of the original deed, but not entirely removed. And I would hand have argued it should not be removed. My feeling is....removing is a way to pretend or deny it ever happened.

C Love "The Rap Addict" said...

I have come to realize that there are 2 different American histories passed down through generations....

those of you that say move on....obviously no nothing about the history that was shared with me...the pain of my ancestors that were passed on to me....the insecurities....the stories of inequality.....how it feels to be seen as the scorn of the Earth by many people.


I do not care to even convince you of anything .....

The issue of race (as all its parts) is devicive ....and its very easy to just say that anyone who still feels the needs to discuss their feelings about it and the realities THEY experience is ONLY tryna start trouble or scratch at old wounds.


No one is bringing up race to hurt you or make you feel bad.....i feel like when it is bought up in the context of a real and respectful conversion it is to gain clarity......don't you get it....for many the wounds have NEVER healed. Unlike in South Africa when aparthied was ended and the ppl had the chance to face their oppressors as a prelude to healing......black americans

(or dogs - not my words check this out http://memory.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/D?afcesnbib:1:./temp/~ammem_2xu4::
Interview with Fountain Hughes, Baltimore, Maryland, June 11, 1949)

were set free like cattle and still subjected to several more decades of blatant oppression followed by a total disinvestment in areas that would truly enable blk Americans to progress in the world in which we live today.


Example: You may be of the opinion that Mr. Hughes was lying or just tryna get the young folk mad at whites, but it still does not change the fact that this is similar to the stories I've been told and thus have colored my picture of life in America


i used to think that all black children needed to listen to the slave narratives so that they can get a better idea of their history in America, but now I am more convinced that it is the non-blacks that think black ppl need to just get their acts together that need to listen to them more.

I will not waste my energy responding to those that just want to ignore what happened in American to black ppl because it makes it easier for them.


and so am i to understand that because the crafter of the deed was slick enough to not say BLACK PPL CAN'T LIVE HERE..... that black ppl could live wherever they wanted without fear of danger? that is hillarious.

The Cybrarian said...

Non, housing segregation was acceptable law for four years, 94 years ago. I don't know about public transportation. Schools weren't desegregated until 1956, 51 years ago.

I don't know about where you live, but in my whole life here I'd never heard about it!

I don't think the article stresses that African-Americans were victims at all, did you actually read the whole thing? White people rioted and went nuts after the Jack Johnson fight. There was a worldwide racial thing going on at the time.. aparthied in South Africa was also 1913.

But it was African-American lawyers whose sense prevailed in the end, thank goodness...
though the West side is still "tubercular."