restricted access 2. The Development, Persistence, and Change of Racial Segregation in U.S. Urban Areas, 1880–2010
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35 The Development, Persistence, and Change of Racial Segregation in U.S. Urban Areas, 1880–2010 Andrew A. Beveridge two Dubbed the “Great Migration,” the movement of the African American population in the United States from the mostly agricultural areas of the South to the cities and metropolitan areas in the NorthisoneofthemajorpopulationshiftsthatshapedtheUnitedStates in the twentieth century.1 After the Civil War ended, so-called Jim Crow laws subjected African Americans in the South to second-class citizenship .Manyofthecommonrightsof U.S.citizensweredenied,including the rights to vote, hold property, and marry freely. To escape this segregated regime, many blacks began to move to the North. A recent and widely noted chronicle of the Great Migration pegs it as occurring during the period from 1915 to 1970, when six million African Americans left theSouthforcitiesintheNortheast,Midwest,andWest.Indeed,though substantial before the World War II, this migration increased again after 1950, when a significant number of African Americans began to be seen in many of the cities in the North.2 However, instead of finding equality in the North, African Americans were relegated to segregated living areas with inadequate schools and diminished economic opportunities. These patterns were enforced by both law and custom. African Americans were also denied full equality in other realms, including housing, transportation, and education.3 Using relatively newly available data, this essay traces the changing patterns of African American and white residence in U.S. cities both before and after this massive population redistribution. Though African Americans were closer to equal in the North, where they did not suffer the brunt of the “Jim Crow” system of the South, nonetheless they were 36 Andrew A. Beveridge denied full opportunity. One of the main areas where segregation continued , even without legal force behind it, was in housing. The extent to which blacks in the North were segregated residentially, were relegated to the black quarters of ghettos, and continue to be segregated has major implications for the United States. Putting it simply, the extent to which racial segregation and discrimination was replicated in the North meant thatevenwithsomeclaimtoformalequality,AfricanAmericans,former slaves, and children of former slaves were still not completely free in the United States. This essay answers two groups of questions: 1. When did the system of segregation with respect to African Americans develop in U.S. cities and urban areas? Did it develop similarly in many cities? Were there differences in the South from the Northeast and Midwest and later from the West? 2. How persistent is segregation in various urban areas? What factors may have served to mitigate it to some extent? Using other research, some comparisons are also made regarding ethnic and immigrant groups (both the early European immigrants and more recent immigrants from Latin America and Asia). However, the core of this work is to follow change in patterns of segregation of African Americans from whites over a long time period and for all available urban areas using data that have not heretofore been organized and analyzed in this manner. Studies of the development of cities and urban agglomerations and the population distribution within them in the United States usually rely upon data from one or a few locations or make comparisonsbaseduponimpressionisticevidence.Manysuchstudiesin U.S. sociology and demography have used decennial materials created by the Bureau of the Census to compare and contrast urban patterns. However, since comparable georeferenced information about different cities or urban regions was difficult to compile for earlier periods, it had not previously been possible to rigorously track change at the small-area level in a number of cities and assess how comparable their patterns of change were. With the advent of the National Historical Geographical Information System (NHGIS), data and maps depicting relatively small areas of a few thousand people for about fifty urban areas now exist for Racial Segregation in U.S. Urban Areas, 1880–2010 37 the decennial censuses from 1940 to 2010, some nineteen of these from 1930, some ten from 1920, and some limited information back to 1910 for eight of these cities.4 Using new materials recently developed from both the NHGIS and data from the 1880 census, it is now possible to see emerging patterns well before the Great Migration began.5 This essay makes use of these data to begin to look at the actual pattern of residential segregation of African Americans in the United States. Using these materials, it is possible to begin to address the patternsofchangeinamorerigorousmanner .Mapswillbeusedtovisualize patterns of segregation and how it...


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