Black Lives: Truth, Racial Segregation Legacy Keeps America Divided
The fourth episode of Black Lives visits segregated Black slums in Baltimore and Pittsburgh that were thriving African American communities before the US government allowed Wall Street to destroy the country’s manufacturing base (in the 70s and 80s) and move thousands of factories overseas. The Black area of Homewood (Pittsburgh), which initially survived de-industrialization, was a thriving African American business district until the city fathers decided to tear it down to build a freeway.
Many US cities adopted this strategy. In the early eighties, Seattle City Council gave their blessing to a plan by Washington Department of Transportation to crush Seattle’s African American community by running an I-5 extension through it. This destroyed any remaining good paying jobs in the central city.
The filmmakers record it all: the dilapidated unheated housing, the drug dealers that moved in as businesses were boarded up, the ubiquitous police presence and the intrusion of homicide into Black family life.
East Baltimore has been compared to a war zone – at present it’s the murder and heroin capitol of the US.