Preserving Historic African American Places
Gentrification has been the cause of painful conflict in many historic Black American cities, often along racial and economic fault lines. More than not neighborhood change or redevelopment is now often characterized as a miscarriage of social justice, in which wealthy, usually white, newcomers are congratulated for “improving” a neighborhood whose poor, minority residents are displaced, ignored and silenced. The benefits that local elected officials tell residents will uplift them, in the end, are mostly enjoyed disproportionately by the new arrivals, while the established life long, generational residents find themselves economically and socially marginalized. Behind closed doors they’re basically slatted for removal.
Change nearly always involves winners and losers, and low-income people who are deprived and denied the basic resources to sustain their very lives are rarely the winners. When success comes to a Broken, disinvestment abandoned Black neighborhood in 2016, it does not come to its established, generational residents, and the displacement of that community, it;s history and culture is gentrification’s most troubling effect. A vast majority of Braddock residents, although not reported by main stream media, is rightly concerned about how they can preserve the best of the local culture, history and economic sustainability that reflects the majority Black population with all the change. The Braddock Inclusion Project is fighting for the collective vision of those who are now neglected, under served, voiceless and at the mercy of a select few.
Many aspects of the gentrification process are desirable. Who wouldn’t want to see reduced crime, new investment in buildings and infrastructure, and increased economic activity in their neighborhoods? Who wouldn’t want to work and live in the same community? I believe all these things can be obtained and achieved if the planed redevelopment is continued but forced to included, benefit and reflect the majority population of the town instead of a select few. Furthermore the goal to attract working class new comers to the community wouldn’t have to be abandoned for I believe that working class Black people could be attracted as well. All current residents, those willing to be a part of the change should have the right to be involved the new development. There should be zero displacement.