Chapter

The Outskirts of Town

in Places of Their Own

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print February 2004 | ISBN: 9780226896410
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226896267 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7208/chicago/9780226896267.003.0002
The Outskirts of Town

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This chapter examines the suburbs where African Americans lived and moved, their regional and economic variations, and their place in the larger universe of American suburbia. Before World War II, black suburbia encompassed a conglomeration of neighborhoods, hamlets, and municipalities comprising more than a million people. With the exception of the southern streetcar suburbs, most black suburbanites were working-class people, restricted by race to low-paying work in industry, personal service, and outdoor labor. African Americans participated in the process of urban decentralization in the early twentieth century, and contributed to a landscape that was diverse in population, economic function, and physical appearance.

Keywords: suburbs; African Americans; black suburbia; working-class people; urban decentralization

Chapter.  7355 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: History of the Americas

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