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urban history



  • Beware "Rising Crime" Rhetoric in Seattle Politics

    by Dan Berger

    Progressive prosecutor candidates like Nicole Thomas-Kennedy in Seattle reflect a growing social movement to reverse decades of failed "tough on crime" policies that have accomplished little but swell the ranks fo the incarcerated, says a historian of crime and punishment.



  • Timuel Black, 102: Historian and Organizer of Black Chicago

    Timuel Black mobilized the political power of the predominantly Black South Side of Chicago, taught others — including a young Barack Obama — how to do the same, and in his final decades compiled oral histories giving voice to his community’s Black working class.



  • How the Chicago Fire Changed the City's Architecture

    Chicago-based historians D. Bradford Hunt and Dominic Pacyga argue that the Great Fire of 1871 did impact the city by inaugurating an age of big renewal plans, as well as through the city's prized architecture and parks. 



  • "No There There": Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor on the Future of the Left

    "I’m sitting in the car, barreling down the highway, asking myself, 'What happened in my life that has put me in this position where I have to like listen to this &%$*@ nonsense?' I needed to leave. But like most people, I needed the health insurance."



  • An A-Z List of NYC Streets Named for Slaveowners

    by Alan Singer

    As Mayoral candidate Eric Adams has vowed to change the names of city streets associated with slavery, here's a list of those streets throughout the city. 



  • Redlining Happened, but Not Exactly the Way We've Thought it Did

    New economic research reinforces an argument made by historian Amy Hillier, that federal agencies didn't invent "redlining" but responded to widespread public prejudices that imagined Black residents as threats to neighborhood property value. 



  • Reconstructing an Urban Archive Lost on 9/11

    The archives of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which held important information about the history of the region's politics and infrastructure, was housed in the North Tower of the World Trade Center. Agency retirees have sent documents, pictures and artifacts to start rebuilidng the record.



  • In Slasher Film ‘Candyman,’ the Horror Is U.S. Housing Policy

    by Brentin Mock

    “Candyman isn't the only ghost in this show,” says Stanford Carpenter, a cultural anthropologist based in Chicago. “The other ghost is Cabrini-Green. In both cases, the thing that makes them scary is that they were made that way by white systemic racism.”



  • House Hunting While Black: Racism Sabotages the American Dream

    by Keisha N. Blain

    "The current rate of mortgage denials — and the interrelated patterns of housing discrimination and exclusion — is rooted in American history. Discrimination against Black Americans applying for mortgage loans is not new."



  • The Rise of "UniverCity"

    Universities wield increasing control over their surrounding communities. Historian Davarian Baldwin discusses the impact of that power for good and ill.