Abstract

This article looks at the debates surrounding Baltimore's 1910 Segregation Ordinance in transnational context. It asks whether the beliefs and actions of Baltimore's segregationists were connected to those deployed in hundreds of other efforts to segregate cities by race worldwide-in Asia, Africa, Australasia, and elsewhere in the Americas—during the same period. Using a comparison focussed on India, South Africa and the U.S., it argues that three interconnected and transnationally traded political conversations—concerning conflict between races "commingled" in the same geographic areas; concerning solutions of urban problems; and concerning middle-class control of urban property markets—were critical to urban segregationist discourse in places with otherwise very different histories. Because of local and national conditions, including well-organized black resistance, supporters of Baltimore's Ordinance drew on some of these languages more than others. Their heavy reliance on the argument that blacks threatened white property values was typical of the politics of America's "marketized" form of segregation, which threatens to become a transnational export in its own right. The paper seeks to use closely textured social-historical research and a wide-ranging synthetic reading of the history of cities elsewhere in the world as a means to understand and document world-historical phenomena.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1527-1897
Print ISSN
0022-4529
Pages
pp. 667-702
Launched on MUSE
2006-04-05
Open Access
No
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