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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Suzanne Post, June 23, 2006. Interview U-0178. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

The economic and racial injustices perpetrated by urban renewal programs

Post reflects on the economic and racial injustices often perpetrated by urban renewal programs like the federally funded Hope VI projects. Along with the resegregation of downtowns, Post sees them breaking down the community structures that had provided needed support to poorer income families. After the end of this passage, Post continues to describe the challenges facing the Metropolitan Housing Commission and other similar organizations.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Suzanne Post, June 23, 2006. Interview U-0178. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) in the Southern Oral History Program Collection, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Full Text of the Excerpt

SARAH THUESEN:
I was going to ask you about that. Louisville's had a couple big Hope VI projects. What do you think?
SUZANNE POST:
I think they shouldn't be considered housing programs. I think they should be considered neighborhood revitalization programs. I'm very concerned and have been since we got the first one six, seven years ago.
SARAH THUESEN:
Was that the—
SUZANNE POST:
Park DuValle. Very concerned that we haven't a clue as to where all those people went and not only that, but that it looks good down there, but there's no damned amenities to speak of. As a real neighborhood, it's not. That's one concern. The second concern is where did those people go, because the previous director of housing kept everything very tight, so I'm not sure where they went. This Hope VI program down at Liberty Green I think is going to run into some of the same problems, although the new housing director is much more open than the previous one and he also got really burnt one time on the airport expansion program and he doesn't want to get burnt again. You can work with him. He is committed to one-for-one replacement, so any public housing unit that goes down, he's committed to finding another one somewhere in the community. Now that raises questions that nobody's asking except me and that's probably because I go looking for trouble. When you do something like these Hope VI programs, we're not doing anything, we as a community aren't doing anything to measure what happens with the disruption of the social capital in a neighborhood. What happens when Mary Anne isn't right next door to lend me a dollar if I need money for the baby's milk? What happens if Johnny gets his hand stuck in the door and I got three other kids and I got to get him down to the hospital and there's nobody, none of the neighbors around that I can ask? We're not even asking those questions. I think that social capital makes a neighborhood as much as the buildings.
SARAH THUESEN:
How do you achieve housing integration while also keeping some of these communities that already exist in place and vibrant?
SUZANNE POST:
Honey, I wish I knew the answer to that. I would be the national housing guru. I don't know. I don't know how you do that. I don't know if anybody knows. I don't know if Nick Retsinas knows. I don't know if Chester Hartman knows. I don't know if Gary Orfield knows. I just don't know. I don't know how you do that. It's hard. [Phone ringing] [Recorder is turned off and then back on.]
SUZANNE POST:
No, I think that's a crucial question that we just haven't got the capacity to answer as a society.