Racial Segregation in the North

During the 1960s, the social rights movement brought with it laws to prevent racial segregation in the American South. The previous Jim Crow laws were abolished and African Americans were granted their freedom from their previous white oppressors. However while some believe that segregation was simply a Southern Issue, many fail to realize that racial segregation continued in the former Northern States, especially in cities such as New York, Boston, and Los Angeles.

This racial segregation was particularly shown in the neighborhoods and school districts of these cities. The Home Owners Loan Corporation sought to improve neighborhoods by rating them on an A through D scale. However these neighborhoods were also based on racial ethnicity. For instance, any neighborhoods that had over a five percent black population were either given a C or D rating, thus preventing these primarily black neighborhoods from developing or receiving housing projects. This segregation continued in the school districts. Many of the schools in these neighborhoods received little funding and were often overcrowded. These schools were also attended by primarily black kids or kids of another minority. Even while Brown v Board of Education was occurring primarily in the Southern United States, many failed to realize the problems of racial segregation that was occurring in the northern half of the United States, along with the north dealing with the same problems as the south. It demonstrates that racism in America was a nationwide issue, not simply one region. Similar marches to those in the South occurred in 1964, where over 450,000 blacks and Puerto Ricans marched on the streets of New York demanding that schools receive more funding and a batter displacement of students.

These issues continued throughout the 1960s and were not helped by those in power. Many Northern democrats prevented these schools from receiving funding through finding loopholes in new laws. Emmanuel Seller, a congressmen from Brooklyn found a loophole through the 1964 civil rights act in which he was able to keep federal funding and law enforcement away from these areas in need. He and many other white politicians claimed that desegregation did not mean assigning equal amounts of each race in schools. Therefore they did not do much to desegregate their schools. This process repeated throughout the north and did not solve many of the issues that black America faced. New York and Boston would never put forward desegregation plans and many of these communities still exist today, overcrowded and without funding. Many Southern Politicians realized the hypocrisy that was occurring and claimed that the senators in the North were better segregators than they were. While the South was blamed for the racism and problems with America, it was ironically the North who had the same problems and refused to change.

I am not surprised that racial segregation was occurring throughout the United States, racism as an issue can and will always exist no matter how much we try to quell it. While many believe that it was simply a southern issue, it is impossible to look over how racial segregation impacted the lives of so many living in the cities of the North. Today neighborhoods such as Compton and Harlem still exist, often with high crime and poverty rates. Still primarily black, and still receiving little compensation from their governments. Who fail to realize the hypocrisy that they have created.

One thought on “Racial Segregation in the North

  1. I love the last paragraph in your post. It reminded me of a quote from a book I’m reading. The quote is from All the Light we Cannot See and it goes, “You know the greatest lesson of history? It’s that history is whatever the victors say it is. That’s the lesson. Whoever wins, that’s who decides the history. We act in our own self-interest. Of course we do. Name me a person or a nation who does not. The trick is figuring out where your interests are.” History is remembered by all initially, but it’s the victors who get to uphold the history they want to uphold. I really like your last line in the post. Our government often forgets about the hypocrisy it’s created. This forgetfulness often comes at the expense of minorities.


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