Books

Fault Lines

The relics of terrible segregationist government policies are still felt in East Austin, an area that's quickly gentrifying

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"For people who have lived in Austin, Texas, for more than a few years," John Langmore's Fault Lines: Portraits of East Austin starts, "two emotions often compete for dominance: how sweet it remains to call Austin home, and how quickly Austin is changing."

For my neighborhood that is especially true. In 1928, the city government enacted segregationist policies meant to push black and Latino families away from white neighborhoods. In the 1930s, federal government redlining cemented this further. Now East Austin—where the minority population put down roots—is gentrifying. Langmore's book captures essay and photo vignettes of how things used to be: joyous Juneteenth celebrations; a house with a shrine to the Virgin Mary in the yard and a rooster clucking in the driveway; tricked-out slab cars with elbow wheels and glossy paint; tortilla factories that have since been shuttered.

"What I fear most is that one day my grandchildren and great-grandchildren will never know that a thriving black community ever existed in East Austin," Wilhelmina Delco, who moved to the area in 1957, laments. Delco's essay describes how the community used to pool money to help pay for wreaths for neighbors' funerals and how elders would give teenagers advice on picking a college. In another essay, resident Johnny Limon says his dad would find plumbers at bars when their house needed work, trading tire repair services at his shop for their labor. Limon mourns the human cost of rising property taxes and the fact that families can't afford to live close to each other anymore.

Fault Lines is not angry or bitter; it's a love letter to a bygone Austin and a reminder of how complex the causes and effects of gentrification can be.

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  2. Democrats and the Party of slavery are the scourge of the Black American.

    Politics of Texas

    From 1848 until Dwight D. Eisenhower’s victory in 1952, Texas voted for the Democratic candidate for president in every election except 1928, when it did not support Catholic Al Smith. The state had a white majority and Democrats re-established their dominance after the Civil War. In the mid-20th century 1952 and 1956 elections, the state voters joined the landslide for Dwight D. Eisenhower. (Texas did not vote in 1864 and 1868 due to the Civil War and Reconstruction).

    In the post-Civil War era, two of the most important Republican figures in Texas were African Americans George T. Ruby and Norris Wright Cuney. Ruby was a black community organizer, director in the federal Freedmen’s Bureau, and leader of the Galveston Union League. His protégé Cuney was a mulatto whose wealthy, white planter father freed him and his siblings before the Civil War and arranged for his education in Pennsylvania. Cuney returned and settled in Galveston, where he became active in the Union League and the Republican party; he rose to the leadership of the party. He became influential in Galveston and Texas politics, and is widely regarded as one of the most influential black leaders in the South during the 19th century.

    From 1902 through 1965, Texas had virtually disenfranchised most blacks and many Latinos and poor whites through imposition of the poll tax and white primaries. Across the South, Democrats controlled congressional apportionment based on total population, although they had disenfranchised the black population. The Solid South exercised tremendous power in Congress, and Democrats gained important committee chairmanships by seniority. They gained federal funding for infrastructure projects in their states and the region, as well as support for numerous military bases, as two examples of how they brought federal investment to the state and region.

    In the post-Reconstruction era, by the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the Republican Party became non-competitive in the South, due to Democrat-dominated legislatures’ disenfranchisement of blacks and many poor whites and Latinos. In Texas, the Democrat-dominated legislature excluded them through passage of a poll tax and white primary. As can be seen on the graph at the following link, voter turnout in Texas declined dramatically following these disenfranchisement measures, and Southern voting turnout was far below the national average.

    Although blacks made up 20 percent of the state population at the turn of the century, they were essentially excluded from formal politics. Republican support in Texas had been based almost exclusively in the free black communities, particularly in Galveston, and in the so-called “German counties” – the rural Texas Hill Country inhabited by German immigrants and their descendants, who had opposed slavery in the antebellum period.

    1. Yes, but as Tony tell us, all the racists switched to the Republican party after the CRA, so you’re just digging up ancient history.

  3. Everywhere changes. The neighborhood of 2 bedroom/1 bath 1950s houses I grew up in has been pretty much bulldozed and replaced with McMansions. None of the apartment buildings I rented in metro Atlanta in the 1980s still exists.

  4. “White done forced us into ghettos… and now they’s takin’ our ghettos away!”

    Lol. Terrible food, and tiny portions! Fuck yourself with a rake you grievance mongering piece of shit. Go get on a migrant picking crew.

  5. Gentrification: when white people move back into the houses their grandparents built.

  6. “What I fear most is that one day my grandchildren and great-grandchildren will never know that a thriving black community ever existed in East Austin,” Wilhelmina Delco, who moved to the area in 1957, laments.

    I liked it when you knew where to find the minority reservation and it had clear, defined borders.

    1. And there were clear minority schools.

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  10. If you haven’t noticed, most of the self-anointed and so-called “progressive” communities all over the country are extremely gentrified. Especially in uber “progressive”/Marxist Kalifornia, where white is the permeated mug of the constituency of privilege while the brown and black colored faces are relegated to designate ghettos. So much for the left’s hypocritical pontificates of “diversity” who will have nothing to do with it in their “hoods”.

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