A World more Concrete: Real Estate & the Remaking of Jim Crow

N. D. B. Connolly

Many people characterize urban renewal projects and the power of eminent domain as two of the most widely despised and often racist tools for reshaping American cities in the postwar period. In A World More Concrete, N. D. B. Connolly uses the history of South Florida to unearth an older and far more complex story.  Connolly captures nearly eighty years of political and land transactions to reveal how real estate and redevelopment created and preserved metropolitan growth and racial peace under white supremacy.  Using a materialist approach, he offers a long view of capitalism and the color line, following much of the money that made land taking and Jim Crow segregation profitable and preferred approaches to governing cities throughout the twentieth century.

A World More Concrete argues that black and white landlords, entrepreneurs, and even liberal community leaders used tenements and repeated land dispossession to take advantage of the poor and generate remarkable wealth.  Through a political culture built on real estate, South Florida’s landlords and homeowners advanced property rights and white property rights, especially, at the expense of more inclusive visions of equality. For black people and many of their white allies, uses of eminent domain helped to harden class and color lines.  Yet, for many reformers, confiscating certain kinds of real estate through eminent domain also promised to help improve housing conditions, to undermine the neighborhood influence of powerful slumlords, and to open new opportunities for suburban life for black Floridians.

Concerned more with winners and losers than with heroes and villains, A World More Concrete offers a sober assessment of money and power in Jim Crow America.  It shows how negotiations between powerful real estate interests on both sides of the color line gave racial segregation a remarkable capacity to evolve, revealing property owners’ power to reshape American cities in ways that can still be seen and felt today.

https://www.press.uchicago.edu/ucp/books/book/chicago/W/bo8787511.html

Black Miami in the Twentieth century

A History of Florida: Through Black Eyes

Marvin Dunn

I know Florida. I was born in Florida during the reign of Jim Crow and have lived to see black astronauts blasted into the heavens from Cape Canaveral. For three quarters of a century I have lived mostly in Florida. I have seen her flowers and her warts. This book is about both. People of African descent have been in Florida from the arrival of Ponce de Leon in 1513, yet our presence in the state is virtually hidden. A casual glance at most Florida history books depict African Americans primarily as laborers who are shown as backdrops to white history. The history of blacks in Florida has been deliberately distorted, omitted and marginalized. We have been denied our heroes and heroines. Our stories have mainly been left untold. This book lifts the veil from some of these stories and places African Americans in the very marrow of Florida history.

https://www.amazon.com/History-Florida-Through-Black-Eyes/dp/1519372671

The Struggle for Black Freedom in Miami

Civil Rights and Americas Tourist Paradise, 1896-1968

​​Channelle N. Rose

Offering new insights into Florida’s position within the cultural legacy of the South, The Struggle for Black Freedom in Miami explores the long fight for civil rights in one of the country’s most popular tourist destinations. Chanelle N. Rose examines how the sustained tourism and rapid demographic changes that characterized Miami for much of the twentieth century undermined constructions of blackness and whiteness that remained more firmly entrenched in other parts of the South.

 

The convergence of cultural practices in Miami from the American South and North, the Caribbean, and Latin America created a border community that never fit comfortably within the paradigm of the Deep South experience. As white civic elites scrambled to secure the city's burgeoning reputation as the “Gateway to the Americas,” an influx of Spanish-speaking migrants and tourists had a transformative effect on conventional notions of blackness. Business owners and city boosters resisted arbitrary racial distinctions and even permitted dark-skinned Latinos access to public accommodations that were otherwise off limits to nonwhites in the South. At the same time, civil-rights activists waged a fierce battle against the anti-black discrimination and violence that lay beneath the public image of Miami as a place relatively tolerant of racial diversity.

 

In its exploration of regional distinctions, transnational forces, and the effect of both on the civil rights battle, The Struggle for Black Freedom in Miami complicates the black/white binary and offers a new way of understanding the complexity of racial traditions and white supremacy in southern metropolises like Miami.

 © 2005 by Rosa Naday Garmendia. Proudly created with Wix.com

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