Freedom Rider: Gentrification and the Death of Black Communities – Margaret Kimberley

The inhabitants are pushed aside to make way for transplants who may come from the suburbs, another state or even from another country.”

There is no city in this country where black people are safe from the current method of displacement known as gentrification. Washington, DC, once had a majority black population and was known as Chocolate City. Perhaps it is now the Café au Lait city as the black population has fallen below 50%. That dynamic gathers steam in New York and other cities and continues to push people out of their homes, deprive them of needed services and erode their quality of life.

The situation in New York City is illustrative of this phenomenon. According to census data the city’s black population dropped by 5% between 2000 and 2010. Brooklyn alone lost 50,000 black residents during that time while the white population grew by 37,000 people. The impact of money is the explanation for this reversal of fortune. The same sources of capital that took money out of the cities in decades past are now changing course. These market manipulations determine where black people can and cannot live and create a cascade of negative impacts.

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