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Racial Politics And Urban Planning

Racial Politics And Urban Planning: Gary, Indiana, 1980-1989

Copyright Date: 1993
Pages: 256
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  • Book Info
    Racial Politics And Urban Planning
    Book Description:

    When Richard G. Hatcher became the first black mayor of Gary, Indiana in 1967, the response of Gary's white businessmen was to move the entire downtown to the suburbs, thereby weakening the city core. Meanwhile, white business and institutional leaders in Atlanta, Detroit, and Newark worked with black mayors heading those majority-black cities to rebuild their downtowns and neigh¬borhoods. Why not Gary?

    Robert A. Catlin, who served as Mayor Hatcher's planning advisor from 1982 to 1987, here analyzes the racial conflicts that tore Gary apart. He asserts that two types of majority-black cities exist. Type I -- including Atlanta, Baltimore, Detroit, and Newark -- have Fortune 500 corporate headquarters, major universities, and large medical centers -- institutions that are placebound -- and their leaders must work with black mayors. Type II cities like Gary lack these resources; thus, their white leaders feel less compelled to cooperate with black mayors. Unfortunately in Gary's case, black politicians and white executives fell victim to pettiness and mistrust, and, as a result, Gary and the entire northwest Indiana region suffered.

    Racial Politics and Urban Planningis required reading for citizens interested in urban affairs. Leaders in cities such as Albany and Macon, Georgia; Monroe, Louisiana; Mount Vernon, New York; and Pine Bluff, Arkansas, should also take note. Those cities have just become majority black and are in the Type II category. Will they learn from Gary, or are they doomed to repeat its mistakes?

    eISBN: 978-0-8131-5695-8
    Subjects: Political Science, Sociology

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Figures and Tables
    (pp. vii-viii)
  4. Acknowledgments
    (pp. ix-x)
  5. Introduction
    (pp. 1-7)

    On June 22, 1982, I traveled to Gary, Indiana, to interview for the position of chairman of the Department of Minority Studies at Indiana University’s branch campus located there. Gary had a population of 150,000, a majority-black population, and since 1967 was headed by Richard Gordon Hatcher, one of the first black mayors of a large U.S. city. My childhood impressions of Gary were developed when I grew up on Chicago’s South Side. During the 1950s and early 1960s, my family and I would drive through that city on the Indiana Toll Road on our way to visit relatives in...

  6. 1 The Emergence of the Majority-Black/Black-Run City
    (pp. 8-16)

    Since the passage of the U.S. Voting Rights Act of 1965, African-Americans have made tremendous progress not only in registering to vote and doing so but in electing black officials as well. In 1965, there were fewer than 400 black elected officials, including 256 at the municipal level and only 41 mayors, all presiding over small all-black communities, the largest being Mound Bayou, Mississippi, with a population of only 4,000. Not only were these cities located in the Deep South or border states, all of which were then openly hostile to the notion of racial equality, but in the early...

  7. 2 The Evolution of Gary
    (pp. 17-31)

    Gary was founded in 1903 by the U.S. Steel Corporation. Needing a site midway between the coal fields of Appalachia and the ore deposits of Minnesota’s Iron Range, this corporation picked a barren, unpopulated forty-square-mile site on Lake Michigan about thirty miles from downtown Chicago.¹ At first, land was purchased only for a steel mill, but because of its immense size, requiring at least ten thousand workers, housing was needed within walking distance of streetcars. Therefore, it was necessary to develop a new city as well.² In April 1906, plans for the new plant and city were announced, with the...

  8. 3 External Constraints on Planning and Development
    (pp. 32-42)

    The urban literature of the late 1960s and early 1970s warned that as cities became majority black and black governed, whites, along with the cities’ business industries and institutions, would flee to the metropolitan area’s outskirts, leaving behind a hollow black core strangled by a white noose of new suburban growth loaded with positive tax ratables.¹ Of the U.S. cities with 100,000 or more residents that had black majorities by 1970—Washington, D.C., Atlanta, Newark, and Gary—we do find that, for the first three, while white out-migration continued during the period of 1970-1980 business and industry did not necessarily...

  9. 4 Getting Started
    (pp. 43-66)

    On June 29, 1982, I received a telephone call from F.C. Richardson, dean of the Division of Arts and Sciences at Indiana University Northwest. Dr. Richardson offered me the job of chairman of the Department of Minority Studies at IUN. It was a small department: only four full-time faculty members in contrast with the position I held then at the University of South Florida, where I chaired the seventeen-member Department of Political Science. But Richardson offered me a full professorship with tenure and $5,000 more than I was earning at USF. As an associate professor, light years away from promotion...

  10. 5 The Comprehensive Plan of 1986
    (pp. 67-109)

    Work on the Gary Comprehensive Plan began in November 1983 and continued until December 1986 when it was finally adopted by the plan commission and city council. Its development and eventual passage represents what can be accomplished in a black governance framework when one does not have to worry about constraints external to that city.

    Gail Harris’s telephone call caught me by surprise. I had no idea that the city wanted to become involved in comprehensive planning, as none of my previous discussions with her or other city officials had indicated any interest in that area. However, as I did...

  11. 6 Metrolake—Racism or Good Government?
    (pp. 110-146)

    Beginning in the early 1950s, cities across the United States became more and more black and/or Hispanic because of increasing nonwhite inmigration and housing discrimination. Whites, sensing that soon they would become a minority in these cities, did not sit idly by and simply allow black governance to take place without a struggle. Several tactics were employed to maintain white domination, some subtle, others direct and heavy-handed. The subtle techniques included annexation, promotion of moderate black mayoral candidates who were actually surrogate whites, and metropolitan consolidation. The mean, dirty, and visceral tactics included violence, political intimidation, and the rigging of...

  12. 7 Changing Pilots During Takeoff
    (pp. 147-190)

    In 1956, Martin Meyerson, in an address to the American Institute of Certified Planners, introduced to the profession a new concept known as “mid-range planning.” At that time, planners’ work consisted of either preparing twenty-five-year comprehensive or general plans at one end of the spectrum and, at the other end, making decisions on “immediate actions” such as zone change proposals, subdivision plats, public acquisitions, or even proposals for restructuring local governments as in metropolitan consolidation. Meyerson’s mid-range proposal was designed to fill the gap between the two extremes. Elements of his mid-range proposal included ongoing research and analysis, policy clarification,...

  13. 8 Implications of the Gary Experience
    (pp. 191-215)

    At the beginning of this book, I indicated that the purpose and direction here was essentially to utilize urban planning and development, which always takes place in a political context, as a “lens” to examine the much broader issue of the dynamics of black governance (i.e., a city headed by a black mayor with a majority-black legislative body that in most instances would be a city council). Not only would the three case studies presented here add to the body of knowledge concerning majority-black governance, but the experiences of Gary, which during the 1970s and early 1980s might have been...

  14. Notes
    (pp. 216-229)
  15. Index
    (pp. 230-242)