Spatial and Racial Inequalities: Historical Perspectives

Spatial and Racial Inequalities: Historical Perspectives

good afternoon and welcome everyone my name is brett shadle i'm the chair of the department of history here at virginia tech and we're very happy to have all of you with us here through the zoo and through facebook this is the most recent in a series of webinars that the history department has been hosting since last summer linking historical and contemporary issues around race and social justice today we're very excited to have scholars talking about spatial and racial inequalities as part of that i do want to take a moment for the land acknowledgement we acknowledge the tudolo monacan people who are the traditional custodians of the land on which we work and live and recognize their continuing connection to the land water and air that virginia tech consumes we pay respect to the tutelo monica nations and to their elders past present and emerging and i hope you also take a moment wherever you are to consider the original owners of the land on which you stand um i'd also like to point out if you look in the chat the first post is a link to our previous webinars and other events that the department of history has hosted and i will post those in facebook in a moment too we also have two upcoming events one is actually this afternoon dr roxanne dunbar ortiz talking about the white nationalist base basis of the second amendment that's at uh today at 2 30 and the link is there and we also have another our final webinar of the year coming up later in the semester on april 15th at noon protect your spirit native resistance and to settler violence and the link to that is also in the chat if you have any questions there is a q a function here if you're watching on facebook you can post your questions there and i will pass those along to the moderator and the moderator is dr paul quigley and i'll turn it over to him if you have any questions there's a q a function here if you're watching on facebook you can post your questions there moderator bills thank you so much i'd like to add my words of welcome uh we're really glad to have you with us this afternoon uh my role today is fairly straightforward i'm gonna introduce the speakers and then at the end i'll moderate the questions and discussion that we have after the so talks we're really glad to have you with us this afternoon uh my role today is fairly straightforward i'm gonna introduce the speakers and then at the end i'll moderate the questions and discussion that we have after the talks and today i encourage you all to submit your questions at any time through the q a box on zoom and at the end we'll get to as many as we can and of course one of the great things about zoom versus in-person events is that asking questions is very easy in zoom you just type them into the q a box any time you don't you know don't worry about interrupting the speaker which is really good because one of the worst things about zoom is from the speaker's point of view is not knowing exactly what the audience is thinking um so it's great when we receive whether it's a comment a question an observation about one of the talks or the panel as a whole we really appreciate your input so keep those coming again you can start now and continue after the talks as well um i'll introduce each speaker one at a time just before they speak we've got four speakers they're each going to take about 10 minutes or so and our first speaker is dr lawrence t brown he's the founder and director of the black butterfly project that's a racial equity education and consulting firm he's held positions previously at morgan state university where he led the be more lead free initiative and he also directed the us covert 19 atlos work for the county health rankings and road maps program in partnership with the university of chicago center for spatial data science so thanks so much for being with us welcome dr brown all right thank you paul and good morning to everyone on the well actually it should be afternoon for everybody now um unless you're joining us from somewhere else in the world um so thank you to the virginia tech department of history for the invitation they gave us 10 minutes so i'm going to jump right into my presentation which is um the enduring legacy of baltimore apartheid and i want to show you how i use history to sort of really shape or contribute to the shaping of a narrative here in baltimore so i start out with these three mayors who helped establish what i call baltimore apartheid in the city of baltimore in the state of maryland you have these three mayors here that all played a pivotal role um and so you have john barry muhal the first mayor he passed the first residential racial zoning law 1910 and then immediately thereafter you have mayor james preston come into office he was a strong staunch advocate for uh multiple forms of segregation but these middle two happened when he was in office racially restrictive covenants he visited chicago to learn about how they were segregating what were then called uh negroes or colored people in their city and then mayor howard jackson was mayor during the imposition of segregated public housing so this new york times article right here was published christmas day 1910 and you can see that headline that really sort of highlights baltimore's prominence in establishing a regime of racial segregation baltimore tries drastic plan of race segregation strange situation which led the oriole city to adopt the most pronounced jim crow measure on record and you see the man in the middle john barry muhal the mayor um and then the city council member samuel west he introduced the ordinance you have the great grand nephew of the poet and this is not the poet edgar allen poe but his grand nephew if i'm not mistaken uh the city solicitor and this black man here george mcmakin who uh moved into all white block did what black people do say yes we can but the white community said oh no you can't and so they passed this law on december 19 1910 and it's uh this article comes from the new york times magazine you can pull it up um off the internet very fascinating piece then i also looked at uh other newspaper accounts in the era you begin to see in the early 19 teens this language in newspapers like the baltimore sun race law and council aims to end negro invasion to prevent negro invasion negro invasion halted plan to check negro invasion is inaugurated so you got negroes are moving into the neighborhood and you have the propaganda being pushed by newspapers the main media of the time to help block home buying while black you see the hospitals they favor the plan you got neighborhood associations the lafayette square protective associations they are involved and at this time baltimore is a majority white city so these are white institutions playing a role in helping to block black people and then you even have churches the church oh my goodness the churches were involved in helping the black home buying while black and then uh even my field gets in on the action right here we have a suburban colony proposed uh this was under mayor james preston's tenure and you have the acting commissioner of health from the baltimore city health department and you can see over here they use these statistics to really sort of say health disparities if you will to say that black people were more likely to die from a various amounts of diseases tuberculosis pneumonia syphilis influenza polio mellitus the whooping cough all these black people are more likely to die we got to segregate them in effect quarantine black people so that they don't get us sick as white people and so my field is also implicated public health plays a role then you have this mount royal improvement association letter from 1929 or 30.

Uh again there's the church association congregational church they are hosting this pro-segregation meeting uh and they're bragging that they made the district safe for white occupancy by the execution of a sufficient number of the association's protective agreement agreements and those are those racially restrictive covenants that i talked about earlier then i found this letter in the baltimore city archives where again the church oh my goodness the church they lobbied the mayor for racial segregation look at what they talking about they said whereas the said invasion by the negro race if allowed to continue on said madison avenue will unquestionably within a short period of time destroy both the financial value of said church properties and the religious usefulness of said churches in said communities and you have five churches on this letter you got the presbyterian church you got the episcopal church the lutherans you got the methodist episcopal these churches lobbying white churches lobbying you even had the ku klux klan have a church oh my goodness let me i got to go back to that the ku klux klan had a church in hartford county you had the grand dragon the cleagles the titans the cyclops and they were having a good old time imposing racially the theological regime of racial segregation that's 1924 i got to move past this because i ain't got the time but right here you got the uh when public housing was set up look at this map the darker the gray the more black people live in it in the census track this is from 1940 you don't see public housing in wider communities it was placed in communities where there were higher percentages of black people so you had that and then it's also placed around the waterfront which was filthy nobody wanted to live near the water at that time because world war ii shipping ship building pollution was at its all-time high you did not want to live near the water and that is where public housing was placed but there was also another form of segregation because the actual public housing communities themselves were also racially segregated and then of course i know you all are familiar with this map right here the most devastating spatial map in american history created for over 200 cities across the country and if you read antara patella's book not in my neighborhood he has a great chapter in there on how this map was really rooted in the pseudoscience of eugenics and determined access to capital for people living in different neighborhoods and so baltimore today is a category 5 hyper-segregated city um just like a hurricane category 5 is the most intense most devastating form of racial segregation that we have and you can see what i call the white l blue dots representing white green dots representing black i call that the black butterfly red represents asian and then so and then orange represents hispanic latino latina latinx population here in baltimore and we have a small native american community in the upper fells point area as well so basically have this white l black butterfly asian archipelago and latino lagoon right here in baltimore today very hyper segregated city and redlining as this uh maps from the national community reinvestment coalition is still going on this is from 2011 to 2013.

Historical Perspectives

You got home business or excuse me home lending the bigger the dot the bigger the loans look at that concentrated in the white l businesses for lending for small business not quite as pronounced but still the bigger dots are in and around that l and so still going on and then there's a zillow analysis showing that for homes that are located in those historically four color-coded communities the homes that are in the red communities are still tremendously undervalued compared to the homes in blue green and yellow line communities and this is 80 years later after the imposition of those maps in the 30s so it's showing us the ongoing impact of the devastating residential security map and so we got to do a lot of things we got to make black neighborhoods matter we have to institute what i'm calling baltimore neighborhood reparations we got to stop redlining and at old sub priming we have to do all these things to make our cities and make our communities whole so i'm going to stop right there and hand it off to the next speaker thank you so much for getting us off to such a good start our second speaker is dr ashante reese from the university of texas and she brings together expertise in food studies and black geographies so her first book which is called black food geographies race self-reliance and food access in washington dc examines anti-blackness and food access the second book black food matters racial justice in the wake of food justice is a collection that she co-edited with hannah garth and that one explores food in black life across the united states so thanks so much for being with us welcome to the virtual podium yeah thank you thank you all right i'm gonna start my own timer just in case um so i knew dr brown was gonna be talking before me and i knew dr brown was going to come with like some really good historical perspectives and so what i thought i would do today with my time is to really think just juxtapositionally around different forms of inequity some food others not um in terms of what i have observed um across multiple cities over the last couple years but before that um so this book a map to the door of no return by dion brand is one of the books that i think with a lot and i just want to read a little bit of an excerpt from this book in terms of how i think about um the role of history and the past in shaping some of the inequities that we think about today the door of no return real and metaphoric as some places are mythic to those of us scattered in the americas today to have one's belonging lodged in a metaphor is voluptuous intrigue to inhabit a trope to be a kind of fiction to live in the black diaspora is i think to live as a fiction a creation of empires and also self-creation it is to be a living a being living inside and then also outside herself it is to apprehend the sign one makes yet to be unable to escape it except in radiant moments of ordinariness made like art to be a fiction in search of its most resonant metaphor then is even more intriguing so i i am scouring maps of all kinds the ways that some fictions do discursively elliptically trying to locate their own transformed transferred cells so i like um i like what i like a lot of what dion brand does in this book but what she does is help us to orient the ways that we think about history in the past not as something distant but as something that keeps replicating itself in different forms um and i also draw a lot in my own work from catherine mckinrick who talks about plantation features and past and the ways that plantation logics regardless of what their formation is they're they're it's not just a place but a set of practices and logics that continue to reproduce themselves so i'd like to think about how this has shown up in the more recent present actually last summer at this time last year and last summer i was still living in baltimore maryland and i was engaging in some of the protests and uprisings that were happening in the city right after the murder of george floyd so what was really striking to me about these uprisings on the the photo on the right is a crowd at city hall uh which i lived a block away from but it's the photo on the left that i would like to call our attention to so while these protests are happening and people are congregating in the street and while people are congregating in the street regardless of the kinds of risks that were associated with the covet 19 pandemic businesses were preparing to protect their property on the left you see a photo of streets market and cafe is the local grocery store that i would walk to on a near weekly basis and on one day during these these protests i walked to the store to find that the windows were boarded up but it wasn't even just the boarded up boarding up of the windows that i was drawn to i was drawn to this sign declaring that they are still open and my question to myself as i watched the sign looked at the sign and also as i was considering whether or not i was gonna still shop at the store was open for and to whom and for what purposes right so we've got this juxtaposition happening in the city of as dr brown has already outlined for us of deep historical and contemporary racial inequities and then we have the store that is um a small store really nice store but also would be at a price point that many people in the city would not have chosen or been able to afford seeing this image also brought me back to 2015 when freddie gray was murdered in the same city when uprisings started in the city many businesses including grocery stores were closing down and at the very same time um the what was not quite formed yet but the black church food security network were getting many many calls from people to get food and so i just want to read a little excerpt from an interview with hebert brown he says in january of 2015 and i had a meeting with farmers and public health professionals and pitched this idea of a black church-led food sustainability project and then six months later after freddie gray was murdered in police custody people started demonstrating and baltimore was closed down there were no stores there was no there was very little access and our phone started rising ringing as the church became at the church because our calling card was food people knew that the food the church had food and the church had a garden and that's where the black church food security network was formed so i was thinking about what it means for people to be in the streets protesting for black lives what it means for businesses to shutter their doors and literally barricade their windows and for organizations like the black food church the black church food security network to be doing this work of providing a necessary good for the public and then there's this more recent i live in austin now and many of you have probably heard about the winter storms that we just had and about a month ago and um originally there were supposed to be rolling blackouts across the city and the part of town that i live in east austin was one of the first parts of the city to have a rolling blackout east austin is also one of the few parts of the city within the city limits whether you can still find pockets of black and brown mostly latinx communities that have been able to at least survive the intense gentrification here but what was supposed to be a rolling blackout actually never rolled so me myself and people in my community did not have electricity for several days what you see here on the left is a video that i took while waiting in line for the grocery store you can't hear me narrating that well but i am standing in line where i'm standing in line i was probably about the 250th or 30th 300th person in this line trying to get into the grocery store in heb and when i finally got into the grocery store this is what i and many others were greeted with and i felt completely disheartened by the idea that um the management of the store would allow us to come in when these still these shells were that bare and so this has had me thinking about the intersections of unnatural disaster city planning and corporate dependency on supermarkets which i read about in my first book and then i just want to show one last thing for us to maybe think about particularly as people who are experiencing one form of inequity are likely experiencing other forms of inequity and here is an example of such so this morning i'm checking the news and i'm reading about mount caramel apartments in east austin again this part where there are still these pockets of black and brown communities that have been deemed not habitable because they have these residents have been without gas for over a month and then there was a leak that happened uh within the last couple of days that now is forcing these these residents to move temporarily to other places so i wanted to juxtapose this this apartment complex one of the few places in east austin that is still affordable for low-income families with this um snapshot that i take from zillow of this zip code 78702 where i live and where this apartment complex is and what the um home value index says right now so it is nearly impossible in this zip code to buy a house any less than half a million dollars right so i'm wondering like as we are entering into conversation q a and all these different things um one of the things that i've always wanted to do in my work is to not just think about food right food is a lens that i use to think about other things to think about spatial inequalities to think about income to think about housing but also to think about black life and to think about organizing i use the black church food security network as an example and to i hope in the discussion to think about and talk more about mutual aid so i will stop there thank you thank you very much another really really interesting talk i can't wait for the conversation afterwards but we've got two other speakers before that and they are both speakers from within the virginia tech history department one of the really nice things about our webinar series is the opportunity to bring some outside speakers some internal speakers together for these really rich conversations and next up is dr ladale winlink he's an associate professor of history right here at virginia tech he's author of the award-winning book building the ivory tower universities of metropolitan development in the 20th century and he's also co-creator of the website mapping inequality redlining in new deal america and today he's going to draw on that project to discuss the origins process and consequences of redlining over to you dr windling thank you dr quigley thank you dr reese thank you dr brown um i want to talk about uh redlining as kind of a basis for spatial inequality as dr brown mentioned about baltimore was a pioneer in developing ways to separate the races right through um racial zoning a segregation ordinance in 1910 as well as like a wide variety of of other mechanisms to to to keep african-americans um away from the the wealthiest neighborhoods the best schools and the top city amenities and um that local work in places like baltimore in places like chicago was the basis for a national effort and a series of programs that restructured real estate finance home building and city planning across the country for the rest of the 20th century and so in some ways we can think of redlining talking about this historical process and historical origins as a way in which um kind of individual racism and discrimination becomes systemic basically how you turn private and individual practices um into like a national system of public policy that becomes so regularized that becomes so bureaucratic that um it hardly seems like um an individually hateful act at all it's just the way that the system works and this is especially um rooted in home finance in city planning so um picking up the kind of story that dr brown introduced us to in the 1930s the great depression there was a massive financial crisis as part of the national and global economic crisis and it's estimated that a third to a half of all home mortgages across the country were in default and so um first the hoover administration and then the roosevelt administration stepped forward with public policy and new financial agencies and new financial regulations to try to solve this housing crisis and this financial crisis and they created the homeowners loan corporation and the federal housing administration and i'll talk about how they created these kind of maps this one i'm showing you here is of the north side of chicago but i'll come back to that in a second homeowner's loan corporation was created to solve the uh to address the immediate crisis of the great depression um and it ended up refinancing a million homes about a fifth of all homes that were not farms in the united states and um the federal housing administration was another agency which still exists today which was created to kind of restructure home finance and the housing market across the country and they did this in part by creating a long-term mortgage if you want to become a homeowner you're going to go to a bank or a mortgage company a lender or something along these lines and the odds are that you'll get a 30-year mortgage or something close to it that was um a development or an innovation of the 1930s mortgages had been five years seven years and something along these lines and so it was not accessible it was very um it was somewhat exclusive to get a mortgage and so when you have the federal government basically owning the mortgages to a million homes um and you have that money tied up for first 15 years and then 25 years and then becomes 30 years there's a whole new exposure to risk and this puts you know some federal officials kind of into into a panic how do we know that when the fha guarantees a mortgage or when um the homeowner's loan corporation refinances a mortgage that 15 25 30 years from now the neighborhood is going to kind of be as good of an investment and how do we know that there's um like what sorts of changes and risks the investors will face so the homeowner's loan corporation um conducted a survey of of realtors appraisers um people in cities throughout the country as dr brown mentioned over 200 cities around the country um and developed kind of a uh a database of real estate information um on a national level that had not existed up to that point um and then um from that kind of analog database this information clearinghouse both the homeowner's loan corporation and the federal housing administration created a series of maps as well as a series of policies reshaping financial regulations and financial practices across across the country and i want to highlight some of the details of this survey because as dr brown mentioned this was based upon prioritizing white homeownership and the values of homes in white neighborhoods and it was um [Music] based on um a kind of set of ideas of racial hierarchy about who were the worthy homeowners who would take the best care of their homes as well as of their neighborhoods and thus who was worthy of being invested in and so um this is the the mapping system visually represents a series of categories of the green or best neighborhoods the blue or desirable neighborhoods the yellow c-rated declining neighborhoods and the d or hazardous neighborhoods that were under threat or already rife with threat um like demographic transformation as well as like poor environmental conditions and declining or stagnant like home values right these are all the kinds of risks both economic as well as social and demographic that the federal officials say make a neighborhood worthy of investing in so you can see in this highlighted neighborhood these are descriptions of this d this redlined neighborhood here in evanston illinois right it says in part this concentration of negroes in evanston is quite a serious problem for the town as they seem to be growing steadily and encroaching into adjoining neighborhoods and as a result this extremely desirable suburb on lake michigan in in metro chicago this neighborhood is is redlined and they find over the course of the rest of the 20th century for um they find difficulty in getting home financing as well as civic investment we cannot say that like this map causes urban deterioration but it kind of it institutionalizes the ideas of these realtors lenders appraisers and gives it the force of the federal government and their billions of billions of dollars of investment behind mortgage guarantees by the fha right so um i point out in part um this this evanston neighborhood for a reason that i'll come back to in in a moment but something that the homeowner's loan corporation and fha does is um they change the standards for home appraisal right there's a series of economists who are actually based at northwestern university in evanston along with um economists at the university of chicago on the south side of chicago um who kind of developed new theories about what value even is and especially what real estate value is and then they teach home appraisers and realtors what the um what those practices are and how to right basically develop a what at the time is seen as a scientifically valid way of evaluating home value and that that those processes and those practices of appraisal in fact continue forward because they seem so natural they seem so um bureaucratic and they seem so um um removed from processes of racial hatred even though the people who develop these are the ones who are filling out these kinds of surveys um calling neighborhoods bladed saying that um the arrival of african americans to northern cities and the great migration is a source of infiltration and endangerment and so um even the present day we can see that appraisals favor homes and home values in white neighborhoods and they favor white homeowners in part because of these kind of systemic issues of valuation that go into um the process of evaluating the the um the cost or the the worth and value of a home and those kinds of evaluations which are widespread and bureaucratized and spatial in nature because neighborhood is a key element in home value um has implications for availability of investments for school funding for example because school financing is often spatially and geographically based because of the local property taxes and so the reason that i um point out this neighborhood in evanston to follow up another point from dr brown is that evanston has actually passed the nation's first program for racial reparations and in part it's because they discovered and did a good deal of research about this process of redlining and the denial of capital and the um kind of exploitative financial practices that meant that african-american home buyers or potential borrowers could not get access to mortgage or they couldn't get um kind of standard conventional mortgages and had to do exploitative borrowing practice like contract buying or had to kind of remain as renters and so that kind of process of defining neighborhood risk-worthiness as well as home value as kind of like um aftershocks and continuing resonances that reverberates across across the country to the present thank you thank you very much we've got lots to talk about and one more talk to listen to and i'm especially pleased to introduce our fourth and final speaker because she's a graduate student right here in the history department at virginia tech she is c valencia turner she's currently a second year graduate student and in addition to studying at virginia tech she's also an oral history intern at the smithsonian's national museum of african american history and culture and in her research she uses oral history to highlight the significance of education within the black community and also the eurasia of black teachers in public memory after desegregation and today she's going to talk to us about bussing and desegregation in norfolk virginia so thank you very much for being here and over to you thanks let's need one second to get set up and i'll be ready can you all see the powerpoint yes okay good um sorry i don't have two monitors on turning everything set up properly um so my topic is kind of like a side quest from some of the research that i'm doing for my article requirement for my visa okay unfortunately it looks as though we have lost uh valencia turner uh what i'm gonna suggest is that hopefully fingers crossed you'll be able to rejoin us momentarily in the meantime i think we should just go ahead and get started uh answering uh some questions uh and of course we've still got three panelists here and hopefully valencia turner will be able to come back any minute now um but let's go ahead and get started with a couple of questions and this is a good time to remind everyone about that uh lovely q a box at the bottom of your zoom screen please uh type your questions in and again if it's a comment or observation that's fine as well it's really really nice for the speakers to see their response um to what they've shared with us today so we'll start with a question for dr reese um it's uh from a person who is a big fan of your work so already is well aware of what you're doing and wants to give a shout out to the local mutual aid group here in blacksburg called the future economy collective and one of the things this attendee is struck by in discussions of mutual aid is how it challenges stable notions of space and so hearing you talk about your mutual aid group made this person think of how many resonances and shared experiences there are with mutual aid in appalachia during the summer 2020 uprisings including protect protection of property even if that looks kind of different in rural versus urban spaces so he really is interested in hearing you talk a bit more about mutual aid how it interacts with perceptions of space thank you thank you jack for the question and um and yeah i appreciate the question a lot so um i'm gonna give a shout out to one of my graduate students right now simone johnson she and i are writing a piece on um mutual aid currently um and and mutual aid as a manifestation of black ecologies um [Music] in both baltimore and chicago so look out for that maybe it'll be out next year but one of the things that we were thinking about one of the things that we're trying to write through is thinking about mutual aid as a spatial project and i don't think it's necessary to think about something being a spatial project as being the same thing as being stable and fixed and in fact i think a lot about mckittrick's writing that um challenges us to not think about spaces just is or or even stable on on some level right but that space is something that is always in negotiation always bound up and struggle struggle always being produced and so when i think about mutual aid i do think about it as a spatial project i think about it as something that is transforming um how people relate to each other but also how we relate to to where we are um and i use you know i use this example of um use the black church food security network as an example but i'm also thinking about how um transforming space doesn't necessarily mean just transforming a physical landscape and i'm thinking about how with the mutual aid efforts that we were doing here in texas we were using a lot of virtual networks right and so i literally transformed my my twitter timeline as a space that i usually am like talking about my own work or you know talking about random stuff as a space to connect and as a space to organize and i think that is something that is really really important the last thing i want to say about mutual aid and perhaps um that's speaking to this kind of um challenging um stable notions of space is that mutual aids outcomes aren't about creating something that can be forever necessarily i think mutual aid has necessarily been about being flexible um being creative and and um meeting people because you're trying to meet people's needs and meeting those needs means that you have to be dynamic and what that looks like and so like an example that i'll give is uh the garden you probably read about in my book that i loved and i spent a lot of time there i was thinking about doesn't exist anymore right and if we think about that garden as a form of mutual aid and a form of care um i think we we should be careful to not think about the fact that just because it doesn't exist that made it a failure i think mutual aid makes us think about transformations of space as sets of experiments regardless of how long those transformations live thank you for the question great and thank you very much for the answer too um so it looks as though valencia turner is back with us thank you uh for rejoining and sorry about your computer woes there hopefully it won't happen again so i'm gonna turn things back over to you and feel free take a minute to get set up uh we're looking forward to hearing what you say thanks i'm hoping my laptop doesn't act up again so can everyone see the powerpoint yes okay thank you so um like i was saying before that my research is based on black teachers and desegregation and this was kind of a side quest um this information i found during my research it was really interesting but it wasn't really relevant to my research so i couldn't use it um so in norfolk no real resolution for desegregation began until busting began several years later although faculty and student desegregation had begun the process was slow and tedious because norfolk was so racially segregated by neighborhood in school busing became a key component of integration in norfolk the initial freedom of the choice plan provided by norfolk public schools provided no free transport to students who chose to integrate meaning that black students had to either walk long distances or rely on their working parents for transport as a result black students stayed at their black schools close to home even though norfolk was desegregated so virginia's politicians point faded and coined the policies that led to four school closings norfolk was one of the last cities to integrate fighting integration to the very last second with qualification tests and court cases to prevent the norfolk 17 from integrating even after desegregation white citizens of norfolk fought desegregation through opposing district busing establishing several private white schools such as tidewater academy norfolk was an urban southern hot spot for massive resistance and desegregation and can be viewed as a microcosm of the social tensions that flare throughout the south even though norfolk's black population and schools were comparatively smaller than other urban centers of the south the better fight against desegregation waves by the norfolk city council and white norfolkians was reminiscent of a larger movement for massive resistance happening in the south black norfolkians countered massive resistance with multiple lawsuits reminiscent of brown that worked their way through the virginia supreme court system with mixed success this fight between black and white in the fourth hand through the city council the school board and the supreme court serves as a legal and social representation of what for what rule in urban areas of the south are experiencing simultaneously so i use intrix convergence theory to kind of ground my research in the way that i understand and read through the archives infant convergence series by derek bell is kind of like the core critical race theory and he basically states that the needs of um black people and racial equality will only be accommodated when it converges with the interests of whites so any type of like justice remedy equality or racial equality for black people is never thought and only um happens when the superior societal status of middle and upper class fights are not threatened school see school choice was an intentional um way for school administrators to visibly comply with desegregation in the aftermath of brown brown 2 and various state court cases without doing any effective legal ground work in 1968 28 of the 57 schools remained segregated and at the elementary level schools were 90 segregated and it increased with each level busing became a key part of the local and double acp's chapters strive towards integration busing ultimately revealed class and racial strife within norfolk as bussing showed the death of norfolk segregation and class strength between the working class blacks and middle class black and white parents what followed next was the legal tug of war between middle class black people and double and then double acp between middle class white people the school board and the city government on march 18 1969 city attorney leonard davis noted that he and his lawyers from the justice department and naacp have met in five lengthy conferences but ended unable to agree on a practical program for integration the final resolution ignored every single issue that black constituents have raised in court the justice department and the naacp elect freedom of choice enrollment in place and a retained faculty integration goal of two minority teachers for school virtual representation other requirements including busing and a rapid change in student population were completely ignored solely was an advocate and a public um and a policy maker and advocate created developed a plan for norfolk integration his plan called for a dramatic division of elementary school assignments with pairing of many schools in racially identified neighborhoods meaning that a child attending a predominantly white school would match with the child attending a predominantly black school to just liberty park and they would switch places in this proposal the students in both schools would be placed in a single attendance zone with the children in grades one through three going to ingleside and those four through six attending liberty park with this system he had hoped to eradicate the racial identity of the city in elementary schools furthermore his proposal called for substantial integration at nine of the city's 11 junior high schools and all the city's senior high schools to achieve these results slowly suggested new zoning and crosstown busing for desegregation so this photo shows kind of like um solely's plan in the middle of integration and you can see there's like in some of the schools there's like massive gaps particularly in white neighborhoods between the percentage of white and black students like willoughby ocean view and young park and then down here we have calcutta crossroads then my elementary school when i was a kid oakwood so white outraged his solely plan was immediate when it hit the newspapers white parents wrote in letters like this one mentioned here and that letter to the editor threatening to pull themselves from the city in the school district the solely plan presented according to them a hazard to the health and safety of their children and threatened the stability of their community white parents and community members argued that integration was not the issue but their community safety was if ingleside parents allowed for the government to bust their children from the neighborhood then these common goals and commonly recognized symbols of their community aka whiteness would fade away white parents feared an aggressive integration plan that would rapidly eradicate norfolk's highly segregated social and community structure that kept their neighborhoods wealthy white and secluded the presence of busing and intermixing with lower class black children would destroy their community values as well as those that instilled in their children white flight and suburbanization became a weapon that white parents would wield over city council on the school board threatening to deliver financial blows to the city by taking their wealth out of their neighborhoods on may 19 hoffman issued his opinion approving the school board's interim desegregation plan for the 1969-1970 school year a call for continuation of the freedom of choice assignment plan at the elementary and junior high school levels in the adoption of a geographic zoning program for senior high schools but the opinions say that there is no need for crosstown busing or racial balancing the core issue of the original court case instead suggested time and patience for every party involved the final plan rejected desegregation and economic inequality as a whole and instead they emphasized the need for a stable effective education program which would eat which would offer each child at least a certain number of years or time in a hopefully or optimally desegregated school in this practice translate into a system of neighborhood elementary schools that participate in a theater system with regional junior and senior high schools the objective at every level is to provide the best educational quality for students of both races by creating schools with a predominantly middle class background at this time administrators believe that there is a high status school correlation that linked whites to middle class opportunity and economic success and blacks to poverty when viewed in light of the district's goal the socio-economic analysis lended a profound result which is that in order to achieve and maintain the benefits of desegregation the district's leaders argue that the schools must have a clear majority of white children in order to keep the school successful administrators began to integrate just enough to legally comply but centering the middle class white values of schools which are closely linked with success adding just enough black students to get by this time the narrowly um this time it was nearly tailored to disadvantaged black working class students who were considered unsuccessful in the eyes of the school board and city council this plan left half the city's elementary schools and junior high schools segregated and had no plan for racial balancing at booker t washington high school a majority of black working class school or the city's other schools while the two racial minority allotment was a victory for black teachers this became a way for white administrators to integrate without putting any black students in their white middle class um classrooms the norfolk desegregation case returned to court yet again in october in 1969 the court of appeals returned overturned the original judge hoffman's decision and found that in short norfolk was not doing enough to create unitary system as required by federal law and it said it effectively excluded many of the black peoples from integrated schools on account of their race a result of which is the antithesis of a racial unitary system the first circuit court sent the case back to judge hoffman and gave specific instructions requiring that the school board submit a new desegregation plan by july 27th most importantly the court ruled that the city must provide transportation to students to integrate in the final order 50 elementary schools were placed into five groupings of three schools each each grouping include what one black and two white schools with all students in grades one through four assigned to the former white school and all students in grades five and six assigned to the former black school i think this was the most interesting photo from um the collection i went through where it's black parents who are design actually protesting school um segregation and so while middle class parents and the naacp celebrate their legal victory the brunt of busting fell on the children of black working-class parents students had to pay five dollars a month to buy a ticket from the bus line which created a significant financial drain on working-class families with multiple children black parents were forced to withdraw their students from school put them in private schooling or simply neglect their school because they could not afford the weekly busting fee for their large families white administrators shifted the undies the brunt of desegregation on the backs of working-class black families who found themselves at odds of middle-class black parents on the other hand white middle-class parents refused to use racial slurs and insults and their attacks on blessing since many called for a colorblind forgetfulness a secret of segregation as the only way to move forward as a result white middle-class parents began to use dog whistle words to suggest the epithets from segregation giving birth to citizens councils nice white parents and many of the racial dog whistles used by white conservatives and moderates in the media today instead of focusing on race explicitly their letters focus on government intervention protecting their communities and the idea of a high quality education white working class parents who could not afford to send their children to segregationist academies like norfolk academy at their children as sometimes unwilling drivers of immigration so this letter is from the norfolk desegregation archives and there's a lot of them that come from like white parents writing to school board members writing the judges writing to city council members and lawyers et cetera and most of them kind of have the same type of language so this is from the norfolk tea party to the school um to the school board and they say things like um there's a there's no educational reason to bust our children i can only guess with increasingly deteriorating efforts on a child's development between first and sixth grades caused by no growth periods of bus rides and then emphasizes the need for a good education and then here's a photo of them protesting in 1971 in norfolk that made it all the way to the new york times so this is short but this was the birth beginning of the movement to bus in norfolk it's a small section of a further research that i've done that extends into a much larger story in many ways the bus apology was a success as much as it was a failure for a brief amount of time norfolk schools were racially integrated due to busing however late late 1980s to 1990s as government austerity conservatism and opposition to government intervention became became began to become politically popular derrick bell's interview um and derek bell's um convergence interest convergence theory became true and the busing program was killed these segregation scholars called the aftermath of this resegregation as long as it took to desegregate norfolk quickly snapped back into segregated schools neighborhoods and classes as soon as the busing program stopped and it continues to this day [Music] thank you very much i'm really really glad you persevered and that your computer decided to cooperate the second time around uh thank you very much indeed um so we have some questions coming in which i'm really glad to see uh feel free to keep typing them in the q a box uh we're eager to hear what you think and get your input on these important topics the panelists have begun answering some of the questions uh in the q a box itself so some of you can see that but not everyone uh especially those who are viewing on facebook um but also people who are viewing zoom via phone uh may not be able to see the q a box so what i'm going to do is at the risk of kind of asking a lot of the panelists is ask them to kind of summarize some of those text responses that they've already typed in and one question that i'd really like to hear the response to live concerns uh black high and middle schools in the public school system so the question which came in from a facebook viewer is why is it appropriate for hbcus to exist but not for black high and middle schools in the public school system to be identified in that way i think is what the viewer is asking and dr brown has uh typed in a really good answer already maybe maybe i can ask you invite you to summarize that dr brown and then see if anyone else wants to one way in as well sure i mean i'll just repeat what the jazz singer nina simone said which is desegregation is a joke and sister c valencia turners has laid it out america is re-segregating you have white breakaway school districts that are forming with wealthy white enclaves so in fact majority black high schools and middle schools still do exist because desegregation was never effectuated in a real way what her presentation uh the soon to be dr turner's presentation showed is that white desegregation resistance was in fact the order of the day and therefore that's why i think hbcus and re-segregating uh k-12 schools absolutely still do exist because really the basis of school attendance is where you live and so as long as residential segregation is still a reality then you're not going to get around uh having schools that are segregated as well great thank you anyone else want to weigh in on that question okay uh so another question is for dr reese one viewer is interested in the book you quoted from at the beginning of your talk and i'm really interested in that as well so i guess we wonder if you could just talk a little bit more about the book and the scholar and uh why it's so important to you yeah absolutely and paul i hope we can go back to the question about reparations too um because i i yes i would like to talk about that um but the book that i quoted from is a map to the door of no return by dion brand um and i cannot remember when i first picked up this book i wish i could like show you all um my notations from the various readings of it but what this book does for me is one it makes me think about what is possible when we take these conversations about redlining et cetera et cetera and put them in the longer duration toward emancipation that started with the door no return and thinking about enslavement as an origin point for thinking about some of the stuff that we um frame as anti-blackness as an origin point perhaps not a single origin point and so dion brand writes this long meditation through the idea that the door of no return and the transatlantic slave trade colors or influences things like identity memory history belonging and one of the things that she talks about that i think is relevant for the kinds of work that we're discussing today is that black bodies like black people's bodies and black neighborhoods and what's um what is produced and consumed in black neighborhoods becomes seen as public property and i've thought about this quite a lot in these discussions around what does it mean to obviously i think about food but what is what does food justice mean what does housing justice mean um and how sometimes the ideas and the creativity of black artists and black activists gets conscripted into this very liberal um kind of framework that's partly why i want to talk about the reparations that loses the radical nature of what was actually produced and i think dionne brands works helps me think about that but it also there's no way to read dion brand without thinking diasporically and thinking beyond the us as well and so i was just thinking about um part of why i wanted to read an excerpt from that book is i wonder what happens when we take our very u.s centric conversation that we're having here and thinking about it in a broader diasporic lens great thank you very much um so reparations i'm sure you're not the only one who who would like to talk about that topic and we had a question come in um which we've already begun to answer in text but the question was about the evanston reparations program that was mentioned so who led the effort and secondly does this evanston example serve as a model for other cities like baltimore like austin but presumably lots of other cities we could think about as well so anyone feel free to dive into that question i'll just lay out the um the the basic um summary there was a an african-american city council member who had um worked to develop or could have uh saw the opportunity for um using um kind of licensing revenue from the recent statewide legalization of marijuana to devote those new revenues to like investment within um the community for racial justice reparative programs um and basically there was a partnership with a local historian who kind of wrote about some of these forms of exploitation and extraction over the course of the 20th century made the community case and then helped build support within the city council for for that program it was kind of authorized about 15 months ago and then it was just like this week that the um like final um details of the program were passed within the city thank you um well i guess i'll i would jump in um i think well i think a lot of things i think what i am willing to share like what what what comes to mind right now is that um one of my hesitations about calling this reparations is really that it still belies this like um uh reliant on private property but private property that someone already owns not it's not a redistributive kind of thing right it's not it's not shifting um any kinds of power dynamics there in in some ways and i think dr brown says this in his response that it also is targeting people who already own a home that does not include renters but you know it may be a first step i also wonder um i think something can be good and still not be called reparations right i think this can be a good thing and we don't have to call it reparations and i'm thinking here about catherine frank's work in her latest book repair and one of the things that i think she does so beautifully is go back to um thinking about early abolition not like necessarily just contemporary abolition but early abolitionist movements and she talks about the unfinished project project of emancipation and i think that phrase really strikes me in this conversation about reparations because if we think about reparations as a part of this unfinished product project does it change what we think is possible and does it change what we think the outcome should be i think for me it does right to kind of connect these present things with this long deray um and then i just wanted to offer a suggestion for readings for people who are thinking about reparations and property in addition to catherine frank's book repair um ronaldo walcott has a new book called on property and i think it's a really interesting thing to think about in terms of reparations particularly for black people who were once considered property what does it mean for reparations to then mean that we then own something as a form of property um so so yeah so i think my my thoughts is it it's good i don't quite understand why we call it reparations but i think it's a it could be a good step great thank you i think i'll respond by uh extending on dr reese's point and really highlighting the fact that you know in order to you know complete the project of emancipation um you know i think the field of history actually has a powerful role to play historians have a powerful role to play because there has to be a reckoning there has to be an accounting of what happened and if you tell me look okay we got these 10 things have happened but we're going to call reparations for this one piece complete reparations then no that's not real you know you actually have to say all right if there are 10 things then there has to be healing restorative efforts made in all 10 areas so when you still have with dr reese's work food apartheid transit apart time you know educational apartheid when you still have you know the racial wealth gap which i you know really we really should be calling the racist wealth gap when you still have these things going on in american society you know police violence uh all the things that we've seen over the past five or so years you know when you still have that going on then the full process of reparations requires a reckoning and that that's the one thing that i think america is loathe to really engage in we don't like to look our history in the mirror and that's where historians come into play can historians then step up to the plate and offer these localized histories that are complete across domains and then actually in some maybe in some ways actually propose you know put some sort of monetary figure what was the what was the cost of transit apartheid what is the cost you know we got big data and little data and all kinds of data so we should be able to quantify on some level or another you know how much each of these system systemic forms of damage and harm have cost and then that's the thing that you repay and the other thing with this plan that strikes me and i think one of the evanston city council members as wrong is to actually prescribe how black people should use that money like reparations like any of any form of judicial compensation is should be about here's compensation nobody says to a crime victim all right here's uh you get a five million dollar settlement but you got to spend it this way you can only spend it over at target uh on the east side of town after 5 p.m like no compensation is here's what you deserve based on the pain we inflicted now how you spend it that's up to you so if it's not with that sort of impetus embedded in it now i'm not saying that some forms of spending couldn't be prescribed but i do think that overall if this if you like dr reese said if you're going to call this reparations where it's highly prescriptive in terms of and restrictive in terms of how black people can use these funds then i you know this is problematic but it can still be a good thing as dr reese said it's just not complete yeah thank you and anyone else want to uh weigh in uh but we we have a question for valencia turner about the integration of schools and the impact on teachers as well as students do you have anything you want to share from your research about the impact on teachers yeah definitely that's what my my main research focuses on um in terms of integration of teachers what you see is a lot of mass firings around the time of integration so you have a couple of people who trickle in as sort of like um virtual representation for boards to claim they're doing enough to integrate but the most of the time it's teachers are getting laid off they're get they're given a lot of um tests to test their knowledge because um tests they're given a lot of like different red different barriers to their employment whether it's the fact that their job is now across the city um the staff doesn't support them in any way the students don't respect them and then it's just kind of like this massive filtering out of black teachers and exodus from the system in totality one of the um hardest things that i had to do because originally my city that i was going to study was going to be my hometown norfolk and then i had to change to richmond because there just wasn't any black teachers around that really survived desegregation i could find an interview and the ones that did survive it had passed ultimately so um a lot of the there's a lot of more like contemporary articles that talk about teacher trends race statistics and population and they can all like talk about the lack of black teachers now that traces back to desegregation in this mass exodus and firing of black educators [Music] great thank you can i speak to that really quickly uh there's this article doctor soon to be dr turner might want if she doesn't have it already you know from 1970 and it shows how black teachers uh across the south they were displaced they said hundreds of them have been demoted dismissed outright denied new contracts are pressured into resigning and so they were approaching the nixon administration after these you know wholesale firings and demotions of black teachers and so they're actually we're calling for a reparative plan for black teachers uh and so you know this speaks to her point precisely but it was covered in the media at that time and this is why i say desegregation was controlled desegregation not real desegregation a real desegregation has never happened which is why we still have an apartheid society today thank you um another follow-up question uh the first one i think we answered which was about black middle and high schools and uh the question is kind of following up to ask would it be beneficial to attach a kind of historically black label to to middle and high schools that are historically black in the same way as hbcus are classified would a more formal classification allow for better allocation of resources for example to achieve parity or would it run the risk of attaching a kind of stigma to those schools in the eyes of some people yeah i know dr brown probably had some thoughts on this um and i think both of us having worked at hbcus if attaching a historically black to the title of a college meant more resources then a lot of hbcus would be a lot better off so that's the first thing i want to say attaching a label doesn't necessarily translate into parity or or the kinds of resources that these institutions need and deserve the second thing is i think it depends on where you are i lived in atlanta and many of the high schools are framed as historically black schools right and and take a lot of pride in that and that pride exists beyond um [Music] measures of academic success right like the the there's there's something really special for a lot of residents in atlanta who can talk about going to specific high schools and that their their parents went there their grandparents went there etc etc so i mean i don't know that it changes anything i think we might think about what it means what labels do and what naming does i also think that you know on the on the other side of that i was thinking about um i think i was just having a conversation about this earlier that like naming can be um empowering but name naming can also be a tactic of settler colonialism also right so i think we have to be just very clear about what the naming does and what it mobilizes and i think if we're going to change names or we're looking at reclassifying something maybe we should redefine desegregation um i don't think desegregation has to mean black and white people living next to each other going to the same schools black people don't have to be near white people to be successful black people can be successful in their own institutions in their own homes uh in their own neighborhoods so that's not the issue um the issue is once you segregate people by race now you can economically weaponize uh platforms like banks and even city budgets so that you have redlining so that you have subpriming in black neighborhoods so really what what we need to do is desegregate resources desegregate budgets and if we did that and we actually allocated the restorative amounts that are needed in black neighborhoods black schools black red line black neighborhoods then those entities could thrive in on their own accord the reason they aren't thriving now is the lack of resources so i think that's the thing if we say these let's desegregate that budget go look at your city budget go look at the state national budget we got segregated budgets so let's desegregate that so that we have an equitable restorative allocation of resources to our black schools and i think if we frame desec and i'm drawing from sonia douglas horsford in her book learning in a burning house where she talks about that uh very clearly and she mentions the interest convergence theory but also she sort of takes that rift and says that maybe the desegregation that was needed was not necessarily mixing of bodies but an equitable distribution of resources so that's another good text i think a really good text to look at for this question excellent and i'm sure the audience members appreciate their reading suggestions uh throughout the event that's always really helpful to come away from an event like this with new things to read and and new things to explore um well i'm afraid to say we're actually out time already it went by very quickly uh but i wanna express my appreciation to the audience members for coming along and spending some time with us today thanks very much for feeding us those great questions uh and driving the conversation at the end the talks were wonderful the conversation was wonderful too i also want to thank my colleagues in the history department at virginia tech who kind of worked together to put this event on especially dr anna zeda who really spearheaded the effort and most of all of course i want to thank all four panelists for giving us such great material to think about and to learn from we really appreciate it very much and finally i want to say i hope we see you at our next event which is april 15th that's the event on native resistance to settler violence we've also got the um second amendment talk which is tomorrow there was a little confusion about the date before but that's tomorrow and the link was pasted in the chat for that and again april 15th is the next in this series on native resistance to settler violence so thanks very much to everybody and have a good day thank you bye everybody thanks paul thanks everyone you

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