Governments in states like California, Louisiana, Florida, New York and more have historically used highway building or expansions to destroy Black communities. It was easy to route freeways through Black neighborhoods because land was more affordable and lacked political representation. According to Tufts University critical urban planner and professor Julian Agyeman, urban planning is the spatial toolkit of racial segregation.
This continues today in the majority Black community of Sandridge, South Carolina.
Six homes in the area were taken over by the state for the Conway Perimeter Road. The road would span four lanes and connect two highways so travelers can reach a nearby beach quicker. Not only do citizens lose their homes for an incredibly low price but would split the community in two. That would make it harder for residents of the area to get to places like grocery stores.
One of the victims of this heinous policy is 82-year-old Bobbie Hemingway Jordan who lived in the house where she was born before being forced out. Appraisers only offered her enough money for her three-bedroom, two-bath house to purchase a one-bedroom apartment nearby.
Established by Black sharecroppers in the mid-1800s, Sandridge had one of the first Black-owned grocery stores in South Carolina. The Conway Perimeter Road isn’t an isolated incident in trying to dismantle the majority Black city. In 2017, a utility company was able to build a gas pipeline through several properties in the city through eminent domain.
Sandridge isn’t the only Black community in South Carolina dealing with eminent domain. About ten miles east in North Charleston, 94% of people who will be displaced by a freeway interchange project are mostly Black and Brown.
Source: The Guardian