''Speculators Attention!'' : Workers and Rental Housing Development in Atlanta, 1880 to 1910


History and Philosophy

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In spite of increasing animosity between workers and elites, blacks and whites, through the turn of the century, Atlanta's residential landscape remained curiously heterogeneous in terms of race and class. Blacks and whites, business owners and laborers lived in close proximity in the late 1800s, often on the same block.

If the home-owning whites who occupied the distinguished homes lining Jackson Hill, just east of the Atlanta's downtown, were uncomfortable with the presence of African Americans in the area, it did not surface publicly until 1910. That year, local whites attempted to remove historically black Morris Brown College to another part of the city. When blacks declined to move, whites drew and announced a boundary line to prevent what they called "Negro encroachment" and "invasion." When black families continued renting and purchasing homes within Jackson Hill, whites adopted tactics common throughout the urban South and increasingly utilized in the urban North; in 1913 they proposed a city ordinance outlining racial residential segregation procedures. This early conflict in Jackson Hill, which coincided with an emerging fashion for the development of racially homogeneous park-neighborhoods such as Ansley Park and Druid Hills, marked a turn toward an Atlanta increasingly characterized by residential segregation.