Housing

Dr. Moon’s article, The African American Housing Crisis in Alexandria, Virginia, 1930s-1960s, highlights the history of Alexandria’s racial housing crisis. The actions of stakeholders during that time were created to maximize usage of Alexandria’s unique geographical space in the country, while simultaneously creating a space that was free from Black living that interrupted White goals of suburban life. Multiple tools were used to consciously and subconsciously hurt Black people and their housing. Starting in the 30s, Black and White people were moving to Alexandria, making the market highly saturated. This time corresponds to the rise of public policy that would improve “blighted” areas using federal funds, and studies, like from entities like the Works Project Administration illustrated that housing problems skewed negatively towards Black households. Public Housing was used as a means to help solve some of the “blight” and “overcrowded” problems facing the Black community in Alexandria but exacerbated the problem. Committees, commissions, and projects were created to solve the output of oppressed communities, while not creating and funding Black spaces. However, veterans and Black people in organizations like NAACP called for desegregation in housing through policy and protests. Even though some of Black people’s activism paid off in legislation and work like the Fair Housing Act of 1968, the implication of forced Black movement permeates into today.

Nancy Perry’s Eminent Domain Destroys a Community: Leveling East Arlington to Make Way for the Pentagon explores and researches how Black space in East Arlington was destroyed by the government and the implications of that decision. through census data, interviews, oral history, and news articles, Perry found that American was desperate for a war department in close proximity to D.C. In the process of creating the Pentagon to help preserve the “American Dream,” 218 Black households were displaced and only the cost of “the replacement of the land and improvements” was given back. Many of the entities that had value and went beyond value were ignored, therefore deeming them as unimportant. The article shows the much America is willing to sacrifice in order to make something new.

The Land Development and Racism in Fairfax Country by the Washington Suburban Insitute analyzes the actions of local entities and the racism they conveyed. Following The National Captial Planning Commission’s lead, the Board of Supervisors adopted plans that would build satellite cities along thoroughfares, these planning endeavors socially and physically isolated Black communities. The building of transportation systems destroyed and suffocated communities like the Mount Vernon Planning district, to connect places. The lending institutions and realtors that propagated funding for change to happen did not include Black people in the funding processes of development. The complication and technicalities of development and rezoning also illustrated the lack of access Black people had to change how their space was engineered and manipulated.

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