Cities on Fire 1968
Urban America After MLK
Two Trains Running shows the costs and conflict of racist planning policies from a profoundly human perspective.
The 91-year-old Chicago lawyer Alexander Polikoff, who argued the landmark Gautreaux case, is still working to increase housing mobility and desegregate urban areas.
In cities like Jacksonville and St. Louis, maps of mortgage approvals and home values in black neighborhoods look the same as they did decades ago, before the passage of the landmark fair housing law.
In Baltimore, the road named for the slain civil rights icon brought suburbanites downtown—and displacement and isolation to the communities along its path.
At 21, Jack White was one of only a handful of African-American journalists working in the mainstream Washington media when the city erupted after the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr.
New York Governor Nelson Rockefeller used the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. to help create a superagency that would transform the state’s cities and suburbs. It didn’t last long.
Memphis began spying on local activists around the time when Martin Luther King came to advocate for city sanitation workers. A 1976 consent decree was supposed to put an end to that, but a new pending lawsuit against the city suggests it's still happening.
In the years since Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated in Memphis fighting for economic justice, whatever progress black families and workers have made has been dwarfed by the economic trajectory of whites in the county.
In an excerpt from his book Most of 14th Street is Gone: The Washington, DC Riots of 1968, J. Samuel Walker reconstructs the night and day following the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr., when parts of Washington, D.C., erupted.
Weeks after Martin Luther King Jr.’s death, thousands of demonstrators came to D.C. to create Resurrection City, a shantytown on the National Mall built to demand government action on poverty.
Half a century later, what has America learned from it?
In 1925, Tom Lee—a black man who couldn’t swim—saved 32 white people from a sinking ship in the Mississippi River. Memphis’s unfortunate attempt to honor him and the decline of his own neighborhood speaks to the city’s ongoing struggle to become a more equitable place.
Like any good southern hosts, Memphis is polishing its image for the crowd that is about to descend to remember MLK. Here’s the ugly reality we should acknowledge.