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The 1619 Project Companion: Discussion: Session 3

This guide serves as a companion to discussions of "The 1619 Project," a publication of the New York Times Magazine, which marks the 400th anniversary of the arrival of the first enslaved Africans to Jamestown, Virginia.

Possible Reflection Statements on "The Racial Segregation of American Cities Was Anything but Accidental"

  • What struck you in learning about how our government segregated America?
  • When growing up, what had you imagined/learned about how American cities came to be racially segregated?

Session 3 - Wednesday, December 2, 2020

This session will focus on learning how transportation systems and federal, state and local governments gave rise to and reinforced neighborhood segregation.

“It’s not surprising to anyone who has lived in or visited a major American metropolitan region that the nation’s cities tend to be organized in their own particular racial pattern. In Chicago, it’s a north/south divide. In Austin, it’s west/east. In some cities, it’s a division based around infrastructure, as with Detroit’s 8 Mile Road. In other cities, nature—such as Washington, D.C.’s Anacostia River—is the barrier. Sometimes these divisions are man-made, sometimes natural, but none are coincidental.”  —Katie Nodjimbadem-Smithsonian Magazine

Assigned materials:

  • A traffic jam in Atlanta  (The 1619 Project p.48) - Princeton historian Kevin M. Kruse explains, “While Interstates were regularly used to destroy black neighborhoods, they were also used to keep black and white neighborhoods apart.”
  • The Color of Law: A 'Forgotten History' Of How The U.S. Government Segregated America
    Richard Rothstein, a leading authority on housing policy is interviewed by Fresh Air’s, Terry Gross.
    Rothstein reveals how systemic racism works and the long history of federal, state and local policies that generated the residential segregation found across the country today.
    You can select audio and/or read the transcript.