Challenges of Isolation for African American Movement to Suburbanization

Challenges of Isolation for African American Movement to Suburbanization

Belinda K. Collins (University of Houston, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-7835-2.ch001


Recent conversations about African American families leaving urban neighborhoods to move to the suburbs are spreading on cable news and social media. Historically, those living conditions were in the neighborhoods with low-quality housing and high crime rates compared to suburban neighborhoods. According to Bialik, more than six million African Americans who lived in urban communities in United States have migrated to the suburbs to take advantage of improved housing and safer environment. This chapter explores the challenges of isolation for African American movement to suburbanization.
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Challenges of isolation for African Americans began in early United States history, when racial discrimination divided the country. In 1881 to 1964, Jim Crow laws were created that enforced racial segregation across many states and cities (Tischauser, 2012). African Americans did not have equal voting rights, an adequate education system, housing development, public transportation, hospitalization, or police protection in their neighborhoods. Research by Tischauser (2012) reported that that the Jim Crow laws segregated almost every possible area of human contact between African Americans and White Americans. It established an entire way of life for African Americans to own nothing; they could earn low wages by doing demanding work, but with few chances of improvement. The fight against Jim Crow segregation and equal constitutional rights began in the courts, moved to the streets, and later went to Congress for deliberation, to protect all Americans. It took 80 years of struggle against discrimination, humiliation, unequal treatment, protests, demonstrations, boycotts, racism, brutality, and an unfair judicial system before the Jim Crow laws ended in 1964 (Tischauser, 2012).

African Americans became excited to see this law change in their favor and realized that working together as a group becomes the voice of a unified community. The community developed a cultural movement, a bond to share the same principles, values, traditions, and future aspirations for their families. Basically, African Americans started believing in coming together to make a difference to create a political voice for equal rights. Their voices needed leadership, and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., became the leader of civil rights movement. Social justice and equality continued to be a struggle for African Americans, and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., continued to organize massive crowds to march and protest for jobs, equality, and freedom (Ling, 2015).

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