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Black CitymakersHow The Philadelphia Negro Changed Urban America$
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Marcus Anthony Hunter

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199948130

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199948130.001.0001

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Philadelphia's “Mason-Dixon” Line

Philadelphia's “Mason-Dixon” Line

(p.115) 4 Philadelphia's “Mason-Dixon” Line
Black Citymakers

Marcus Anthony Hunter

Oxford University Press

Urban renewal has been seen as key to conceptions of urban black life and urban change. How did Philadelphia's black residents challenge urban renewal plans and what was the impact of such challenges on the city's development? This chapter considers the conflict emergent in the Black Seventh Ward against city leaders’ plans to construct a Crosstown Expressway as part of its urban renewal goals. A powerful interneighborhood and interracial alliance established and led by black residents left an indelible mark on Philadelphia's transportation system. The chapter situates the challenge as a critical juncture that reveals the interdependent relationship among black neighborhoods and the impact of the agency of black residents on urban landscapes. It argues that although urban renewal plans for the Seventh Ward virtually destroyed its historic black community, that decline helped to reinforce and extend the prominence of emergent black neighborhoods in North, South and West Philadelphia

Keywords:   urban renewal, crosstown expressway, race relations, highway construction, transportation, political agency, Philadelphia

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