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Remedies are unlikely if we fail to recognize these policies and how their effects have endured. In 1968, Larman Williams was one of the first African Americans to buy a home in the white suburb of Ferguson, Missouri. “Laclede: An Experiment in Ethnic Harmony.” The Seattle Times, November 9. In 1970, shortly after the family moved to Ferguson, the city’s population was less than 1 percent black. It is likely that some of those families moved to Ferguson and other inner-ring suburbs. But it had some multifamily buildings that attracted renters from St. By 1980, Ferguson was 14 percent black; by 1990, 25 percent; by 2000, 52 percent; and by 2010, 67 percent. Louis were similarly experiencing an increasing share of black residents during this period. Government policies turned black neighborhoods into overcrowded slums and white families came to associate African Americans with slum characteristics. White homeowners then fled when African Americans moved nearby, fearing their new neighbors would bring slum conditions with them.
Together, they could afford to live in middle-class Ferguson and hoped to protect their three daughters from the violence of their St. They expected that their children would get better educations in Ferguson than in Wellston because Ferguson could afford to hire more skilled teachers, have a higher teacher-pupil ratio, and have extra resources to invest in specialists and academic enrichment programs. Reported in Race Relations Law Reporter 5 (1960), 207–215. Katz, ed., The Underclass Debate: Views from History. With a much smaller tax base, the Kinloch schools were far inferior to those in Berkeley and Ferguson, and Kinloch took on even more of the characteristics of a dilapidated ghetto. This arrangement persisted until 1975 – several years after the Williams family moved into their white Ferguson neighborhood – when federal courts ordered Berkeley, Ferguson, and other white towns to integrate their schools into a common district with Kinloch.3 Other African Americans followed the Williams family by purchasing homes in Ferguson, but the African American community grew slowly. Louis Housing Authority gave relocation assistance to displaced families. Part I: Historic Contexts, 8 – The African-American Experience.” The City of St. That government, not mere private prejudice, was responsible for segregating greater St. A federal appeals court declared 40 years ago that “segregated housing in the St. in large measure the result of deliberate racial discrimination in the housing market by the real estate industry and by agencies of the federal, state, and local governments.” Similar observations accurately describe every other large metropolitan area. This history, however, has now largely been forgotten.