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As g geographic

By David Preston

borders blur blacks confront new boundaries


staff writer

The Changing Columbia Black


body president as anyone else There was something about being totally absorbed in school Kelly coordinator of continuing education of the Columbia Public Schools was a class officer and played in the band at Douglass He went to Hickman his last two years of high school was uncomfortable there but it was probably more in my head than anything else The teachers didn't really know how to deal with us Today some black students say they fuel still feel uncomfortable at Hickman where there are only six blacks on the t re faculty The students complain that faculty members have difficulty d relating to them Periodically there have been reports of racial conflicts among Hickman students perEliot Battle director of pupil perper sonnel services for the public schools is aware of these problems In 1958 Battle was the first black to move out of the black housing areas into the suburbs Now living in Lakeshore Estates he n says don't think of it as a white dont neighborhood In 1956 the city had taken the first difdifd difstep in upgrading and therefore dif fusing black and low-income housing By a vote of 2928 2613 the voters established a Housing Authority City Council minutes from a special meeting on April 9 1956 read in part The Council finds unsanitary or

youve After you've been living here so long raised up you want to move out cam e cause everything's going dead H I If bom wasn't born here I wouldn't ever have come to this town I like Columbia though cause its my home it's Robert King 20 kicked out of school six years ago for fighting and stealing stuff. and having spent four years in a f a state institution to pay for his far delinquency sits on a bench in the deteriorating miniature playground m behind the Columbia Housing Authority like many blacks who grew lake up in Columbia he talks about leaving be changing every day Its It's getting bigger and bigger Most of the people think it's just a small town but its gro it's of its starting to grow into a big oP city change and they're going to have to ch ge

Ballenger who now has a wife and family grew up on Lyons Street in the heart of what was then the black lack community vividly the He remembers segregated life and the boundaries which defined black Columbia until the late Sixties but for Robert King half IW age the boundaries are far more his blacks from whites here until five years ago Federal open housing legislation economic progress and an influx of blacks into me University community the eroded have oded those boundaries The old black community was Avenue bounded by Hickman A venue at the north Eighth Street on the east Walnut Street on the south and McBaine Avenue on the west Now as Ballenger says Any Negro that comes into this Arly town can buy a house right next to the University president if hes got the he's Blacks now live in every ward in Columbia The 1970 census recorded perblacks in Columbia about 66 per n cent of the total 1970 population HickHickBlack students have attended Hick llie man High School since 1955 when the Columbia Board of Education made attendance there optional Most however remained at Douglass High School the all-black school until it closed dosed in 1960 blacks attend Hickman and About about 75 attend Rock Bridge High comcomSchool At both schools blacks com prise about 10 per cent of the students Some blacks view this integration with mixed feelings At Douglass you bad a sense of says John Cad Kelly 32 identity Carl When you went to Douglass you knew you had as much chance to be student

home

allegiance to this town except that it's if s its

health safety morals and welfare of the residents Two years later the council approved an Urban Renewal Plan for the Douglass School Project Area At a September 1958 hearing a consulting engineer told the council there were dwelling units in the project area and that 90 per cent were below minimum

app

subtle Geographic boundaries separated

standards During the next decade the plows of urban renewal tore up the boundaries and structures of the old black com comprivate homes once stood Ballenger whose home
demolished
Housing projects rose where

Across town Roland Ballenger

40

In the Dorothy Rogers Doroth m ved and her husband moved from B one rural Boone County to Columbia or school the children Her daughter became a nursery grandschool teacher and her grand grandson is coordinator of continuing education for Columbia Public Schools A profile of this threethree apapgeneration black family will ap Y pear in Fridays Columbia Mis MisFriday's

to

money

low

Manor Miles
It

hn hi i sits in the living room of his home hi MOes Manor subdivision A salesman KeDey for Kelley Pontiac Ballenger left Columbia after being graduated from Douglass High School in 1952 to enter the army Like many blacks who leave D any returned Columbia he return d 12 years ago on just finally dawned ozi me that there's heck theres probably just as much opportunity for me here as anywhere q don't else I dont owe any particular

black

commodations exist in said city and there that t re is a shortage of safe and sanitary dwelling accommodations in saki said city available to persons of low sai income at rentals they can afford Clearance That summer a Land Cle rance for Redevelopment Authority was created blighted or unsanitary because me areas exist in the City of Columbia and the redevelopment of such area or areas is necessary in the interest of

unsafe

inhabited

dwelling

ac
acac-

to make way for the projects didn't like the change For black people who had struggled in work to finally be able to own a piece of property in that area toit was a very traumatic experience to be taken out of there and put into this brick and mortar monstrosity that we have there now For the black people inin the community who did not own property mistakenly it was Utopia The condition of the people living there is basically the same You dont don't perperchange the people What's their per perspective their aspiration Has it solved any of the problems of the black community What it's done is maintain its a geographic social and economic status quo Many blacks who live in the housing projects are unhappy there but their economic situation forces them to

was

back
breaking

remain there

Mary Lewis 22 left Fulton two years ago after her mother was shot to death

aaComing to Columbia Mary found a job as a keypunch operator at a local any insurance company She moved into the Stuart Parker housing project west of Providence Road with three brothers See RACISM Page 7

i
r
Y

t-

t
x

J
ti

r
bigger

changing day Its getting bigger and It's says Robert King 20 who talks of leaving If he does

I every

leave

return

there's theres a good chance that like many blacks hell he'll

like that

r w

hell
I

blacks

Racism more subtle blacks say


Continued from page 1 two sisters and two young sons She is y an th supporting all of them Mary has no social life She works full time to make sure her dependents eat three meals together each day ach dayI hate it here but I have no choice Living in the project is the only way II-I can make ends meet Social life has become more diffuse for aU Columbia blacks all the Urban renewal meant tOO demise of Encl The Strip and Sharp End black social centers where the city post office now stands Black people in Columbia says now have no place to congregate mw to one native Columbia black Used toNegro night club you H be y i h ad the old N gro nightclub

ura area
k

Daily Tribune is now with a barber shop and a pool hall and such If a new to he'd carne person came to town all hed have todo is visit that area and find out where everything was There was this sense
of

around whet

belonging Wynna Faye Elbert city youth services supervisor says that in the days before urban renewal everybody knew everybody and it was very proper for one mother to spank someone else's kid In this day mat and age very few people feel that sense of community You just dont correct don't children's other childrens behavior anymore She remembers when being an adult meant something You never talked

theol

Used

back or questioned an adult I thought Douglass School was one of the neatest n test places She was in the last graduating class When my kids found out that I went to Douglass they thought that was terrible because they thought it was a place foci slow learners They said for Mama you retarded see black youth fumbling and grasping for other things They say Pin Im being shut out I think that when they're lost in the shuffle of a thousand kids they're hurt Elbert's Mrs Elberts uncle George Brooks istaught at Douglass for 15 years and is atnow director of student financial aids at the the University He does not think things are t from when he was growing up in Columbia think the young bl W avet face the same problems I faced except they 1 don't dont know what the problems are I 1 knew I couldn't cross Broadway 1 I knew I couldn't attend Hickman High School These kids are given the facade of being accepted I dont see our lot don't getting better very quickly But Brooks concedes that Douglass with its all-black faculty and student 1 ds body was the kids They're not going to live in a society that's all black We gave them a false notion of what the world was all about aboul coorcoorJames Oglesby University coor dinator of space and facilities and recently-elected Columbia Board of

Education member says there have been many changes in the six years he has lived here Theres a great increase in the amount of black awareness When I came here there was sort of a dismal point of view because you couldn't see any blacks making any strides with the an University or in terms of job stability with the city I have seen that come about in the years that I have been

black School systems and educational institutions are not included in EEOC reports
a perfect identification of says Anderson don't dont care Afhow you want to cover it up The AfAf firmative Action programs have been ineffective They can justify and qualify as much as they like to with don't that old cliche We just dont have any qualified blacks That is old hat But- Kelly says think the racism But probably has gone underground Now you dont really see the punches but don't ofyou feel them I do feel that if the two of l fee1 aa us were going into an area to buy ahouse I would probably pay a little neighborhood tax more 1 call that ne I only black atOllie Mack the ony local buck attorney also believes there is subtle torney racism in Columbia but says that until recently blacks have remained pretty

racism

Its

here

is racism all around When you look at the numerical composition of the city look at how many blacks are in city government What positions are they in What are
they doing Look at the public school system It in no way reflects as far as the teaching personnel are concerned the number of blacks in the total school system And the same for the

But many blacks are disturbed by what they view as racist practices in Columbia Walter Anderson admissions officer at Lincoln University Jefferson City and a Miles Manor resident says there

at

satisfied

black changing

short

University
26

satisfied because they've seen much worse times than these They've worked too long at 50 cents an hour an hour than They'd rather work at

The

older people are pretty

Of 2035 University faculty members holding ranks of instructor and above

try to get more

are black

In its July

r recently

Equal

1 1974 report the federal Employment Opportunity

Commission time city

EEOC

57 of

fulllisted full whom were hom

get can elsewhere

The young people are going away to places like Kansas City and SL Louis St li e where they can get a foot in the door The young people stay here until they're old enough to realize that they
better
opportunities