Transportation is a tool that can be used for the good of the community or the good of one community over another. It can be the glue that holds everything together or be like a knife that divides. It can be the center of life, culture, and entertainment. It can also be a place where dreams are deferred. For this Black History Month post, I put together a list of some articles, websites, and critical reads on how transportation has shaped black communities for good and for bad.
Thriving Corridors of Life and Culture
U Street NW in the District of Columbia: U Street NW was once a thriving cultural corridor with Black entertainers such as Duke Ellington. Today, his name is used for names of apartment buildings. Here is a list of articles and books about U Street.
- Greater U Street by Paul K Williams (2002)
- Washington’s U Street: A Biography by Blair A. Ruble (2012)
- The Forgotten History of U Street by Briana Thomas. Washingtonian Magazine (2017)
Greenwood, Oklahoma: In the early part of the 1900s, Greenwood was dubbed “Black Wall Street”. There were thriving businesses and culture. In 1921 it was all destroyed by the Klu Klux Klan.
- Black Wall Street: From Riot to Renaissance in Tulsa’s Historic Greenwood District by Hannibal B Johnson (2007)
- Ever Heard of ‘Black Wall Street’? by Brandon Weber (2016)
- The Destruction of Black Wall Street by Josie Pickens (2013)
Sweet Auburn, Atlanta
- Sweet Auburn Historic District by National Trust for Historic Preservation.
- Auburn Avenue (Sweet Auburn) by Edward A. Hattifield (2006)
- Sweet Auburn Avenue: Triumph of the Spirit. The website documents historic places and people
Transportation that Divides
Cross Bronx Expressway: Most urban/transportation planners know the name Robert Moses. He was “visionary” behind the highway. Constructing the highway displaced thousands of families and divided the Bronx.
- Cross Bronx Expressway Historical Overview. Nycroads.com
- The Godfather of Sprawl by The Atlantic (2007)
- Cross Bronx Highway, USA. Environmental Justice Atlas
Public Transportation and Highways
- How Racial Discrimination Shaped Atlanta’s Transportation Mess by Angie Schmitt (2017).
- Back of the Bus by Andrea Bernstein et al. This website documents intersections between mass transit and race throughout US history.
- St Paul map shows how I-94 cut through the heart of the city’s African-American neighborhood by Aaron Rupar (2014)
- Reconciling with Rondo: could an I-94 ‘land bridge’ help heal a 50-year-old civic scar? by Peter Callaghan (2016)
- How railroads, highways and other man-made lines racially divide America’s cities by Emily Badger and Darla Cameron. (2015)
Veronica O. Davis, PE is a transportation guru who uses her knowledge to spark progressive social change. As Co-owner and Principal of Nspiregreen, she is also responsible for the management of the major urban planning functions such as transportation planning, policy development, master planning, sustainability analysis, and long range planning. In July 2012, Veronica was recognized as a Champion of Change by the White House for her professional accomplishments and community advocacy, which includes co-founding Black Women Bike.