Residential Segregation in Baltimore

Residential Segregation in Baltimore - Journal of Urban...

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http://juh.sagepub.com Journal of Urban History DOI: 10.1177/0096144208327915 2009; 35; 236 Journal of Urban History Gretchen Boger Segregation Ordinances, 19101913 The Meaning of Neighborhood in the Modern City: Baltimore's Residential http://juh.sagepub.com/cgi/content/abstract/35/2/236 The online version of this article can be found at: Published by: http://www.sagepublications.com On behalf of: The Urban History Association can be found at: Journal of Urban History Additional services and information for http://juh.sagepub.com/cgi/alerts Email Alerts: http://juh.sagepub.com/subscriptions Subscriptions: http://www.sagepub.com/journalsReprints.nav Reprints: http://www.sagepub.com/journalsPermissions.nav Permissions: http://juh.sagepub.com/cgi/content/refs/35/2/236 Citations at UNIV CALIFORNIA BERKELEY LIB on March 14, 2009 http://juh.sagepub.com Downloaded from
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236 The Meaning of Neighborhood in the Modern City Baltimore’s Residential Segregation Ordinances, 1910–1913 Gretchen Boger Princeton University From 1910 to 1917, the city of Baltimore engaged in the first American effort to separate black and white neighborhoods by law. Often interpreted as a component of early twentieth-century reform agendas, residential segregation actually had a different genealogy than elite progres- sive reform. Professional reformers and Baltimore elites presaged a trend in later residential segregation battles by allowing less affluent whites with vested interests in a neighborhood to wage the frontline attacks. At the heart of the struggle was the relationship of class and geog- raphy in the spatially unstable modern city. Middle-class whites and blacks both hoped to inscribe status onto Baltimore’s residential landscape to secure their social positions and their access to municipal services. They found instead that the single-purpose neighborhoods of the modern city could abruptly change character in a way that the mixed space of preindustrial cities had not, threatening their careful investment in select urban spaces. Keywords: African American; residential segregation; urban space; Baltimore; progres- sivism; class I n June 1910, lawyer George McMechen and his young family made plans to move from Presstman Street in northwest Baltimore several blocks east onto McCulloh Street. The family was growing, and McMechen’s increasingly successful law practice would allow them a more commodious home. McMechen was a graduate of Yale Law School; his wife, Anna Mason McMechen, was a former schoolteacher from Illinois. They were the parents of three young daughters and active in numerous civic groups. They promised to be respectable, prosperous neighbors. The residents of the 1800 block of McCulloh Street, however, failed to see anything about the McMechens except the fact that they were black. 1
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Residential Segregation in Baltimore - Journal of Urban...

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