Art And Soul: Conserving The Culture Of Chocolate Cities

Apr 11, 2018
Originally published on April 11, 2018 5:09 pm

Washington, D.C. was the first majority-black city in the U.S. and it stayed that way for decades, from 1970 to 2015. Now the African-American population in the nation’s capital is somewhere around 48 percent, according to the latest Census data.

Similar demographic changes have happened in places nicknamed “chocolate cities” — like Atlanta, Oakland, New Orleans — as the effects of investment, revitalization and gentrification play out in neighborhoods with historically large black populations.

When long-time residents from these areas leave or are forced out economically, what do they take with them? Can the culture of a chocolate city — its heritage and its heart — remain when its black residents have moved on?


Marcus Hunter, African American studies chair, University of California, Los Angeles; co-author, “Chocolate Cities: The Black Map of American Life”; @manthonyhunter

Zandria Robinson, Assistant professor of sociology, Rhodes College; co-author, “Chocolate Cities: The Black Map of American Life”; @zfelice

Dan Kalb, Oakland City Councilmember; @DanKalb

Andre Johnson, Founder and lead guitarist for the band Rare Essence; @rewickedestband

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