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Place Matters. Race Matters.

A digital exhibit in celebration of Black History Month

 

In this special exhibit in celebration of Black History Month, professors and doctoral students from the Department of Landscape Architecture & Urban Planning at Texas A&M University explain often overlooked aspects of how African Americans have been systematically and intentionally excluded from places—from parks and landscapes to entire towns. While most Americans are familiar with Jim Crow “Separate but Equal” principles, many are not aware of how politics and power have worked to keep minorities in general, and Blacks in particular, from accessing the same kinds of place-based amenities and benefits that the majority has. The consequences of these disparities have been long-lasting and, in some cases, are still ongoing.

 

 

 

 

Chickasaw: An Olmsted Park Built for African Americans

By JANE FUTRELL WINSLOW, Ph.D., FASLA

“Chickasaw Park holds a unique role in West Louisville’s history and culture. It provided the only improved park facilities for African Americans during an extended period of racial segregation."

 

 

On Redlining

By SHANNON VAN ZANDT, Ph.D.

“Although it was outlawed with 1968’s Civil Rights legislation, redlining continued to be practiced into the 1970s, and still informs other discriminatory practices in the real estate and lending industries.”

 

 

On Mortgage Lending

By CLARE LOSEY

“On average, mortgage lenders charge higher closing costs, appraisal costs, broker or lender fees, and prepayment penalties to black homebuyers.”

 

 

On Sundown Towns

By DEIDRA D. DAVIS, Ph.D.

“Up until the civil rights movement, when practices of segregation were effectively challenged, sundown towns prohibiting nonwhites from establishing residences in their towns. For any caught in these towns after the sun went down, the possibly of violent repercussions, such as assault, arrest, and even lynching, were almost inevitable.”

 

 

On Public Swimming Pools

By SHANNON VAN ZANDT, Ph.D.

“After World War II, public pools continued to desegregate. In response, middle- and upper-class whites in northern cities retreated from public pools, and the country saw a rise in private neighborhood pools, where residential segregation and club membership could prevent blacks from having access.”

 

 

On National Parks

By GALEN NEWMAN, Ph.D.

“Parks were to serve as platforms for the intermingling of society regardless of race, ethnicity, or background. Ironically, while these parks were developed with an agenda to increase social inclusion, early park making, in many cases, led to the opposite.”

 

 

On Municipal Underbounding

By SHANNON VAN ZANDT, Ph.D.


“[Municipal underbounding] is a form of gerrymandering designed to exclude a particular neighborhood or community from the benefits that come with being a citizen of a particular municipality.”
 

 

On Racially Restrictive Covenants

By DAWN JOURDAN, esq., Ph.D., AICP

“In 1911, thirty out of thirty-nine property owners in a St. Louis, Missouri, neighborhood signed a restrictive covenant preventing their properties from being occupied by 'any person not of Caucasian race' for a term of fifty years.”