Date of Award

5-2018

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

History

Committee Member

Orville v. Burton, Committee Chair

Committee Member

Lee Wilson

Committee Member

C. Alan Grubb

Abstract

In 1958, the Charlotte City Council voted to demolish the community of Brooklyn for the purpose of creating a better environment for its residents and attracting business opportunities to the city. Over a ten-year period, over 9,000 residents would be forced to move to the outskirts of the city as the history of Brooklyn was erased. The history of urban renewal in Charlotte has been reported from the perspective of politicians, city planners, and businessmen who have touted the benefit of the city’s efforts. The historical literature has neglected to tell the story of those who were directly affected by the city’s initiative, and this work seeks to reveal the history of urban renewal from the perspective of those who were directly affected by its implementation. The city’s foray into urban renewal began with the community of Brooklyn, and the community’s history is intertwined with the development of the Downtown area. This work is informed by government reports, city council meeting minutes, oral histories, memoirs, and personal interviews, and establishes the history of urban renewal in three chapters. The first chapter explores the historical background of Brooklyn and the support systems that allowed the community to thrive under Jim Crow and racial segregation. The second chapter explores the local policies and community issues that caused concern for government officials and Brooklyn’s residents ultimately resulting in the community’s demolishment. The third chapter draws conclusions about why the community was demolished and how the state of the community was perceived from multiple perspectives.

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