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Louis County, but in the late 1930s, the white neighborhoods formed the city of Berkeley to ensure their schools would remain separate from Kinloch’s. “Larry Lieberman Dies; Fought Block Busting, Helped Delmar Loop.” St. With a much smaller tax base, the Kinloch schools were far inferior to those in Berkeley and Ferguson, and Kinloch took on even more of the characteristics of a dilapidated ghetto. Together, they could afford to live in middle-class Ferguson and hoped to protect their three daughters from the violence of their St. They expected that their children would get better educations in Ferguson than in Wellston because Ferguson could afford to hire more skilled teachers, have a higher teacher-pupil ratio, and have extra resources to invest in specialists and academic enrichment programs. Reported in Race Relations Law Reporter 5 (1960), 207–215. Katz, ed., The Underclass Debate: Views from History. Larman Williams chose Ferguson because he was vaguely familiar with the town.
It wasn’t easy – when he first went to see the house, the real estate agent wouldn’t show it to him. Williams belonged to a church with a white pastor, who contacted the agent on Williams’s behalf, only to be told that neighbors objected to sales to Negroes. Louis, Reach Agreement to Increase Investment in Low-Income and Minority Communities.” Press release, U. Department of Housing and Urban Development, December. White homeowners then fled when African Americans moved nearby, fearing their new neighbors would bring slum conditions with them. That government, not mere private prejudice, was responsible for segregating greater St. A federal appeals court declared 40 years ago that “segregated housing in the St. in large measure the result of deliberate racial discrimination in the housing market by the real estate industry and by agencies of the federal, state, and local governments.” Similar observations accurately describe every other large metropolitan area. White flight certainly existed, and racial prejudice was certainly behind it, but not racial prejudice alone.
Government policies turned black neighborhoods into overcrowded slums and white families came to associate African Americans with slum characteristics. No doubt, private prejudice and suburbanites’ desire for homogenous affluent environments contributed to segregation in St. But these explanations are too partial, and too conveniently excuse public policy from responsibility.