Gregory SmithsimonDec 16, 2022
Black Middle-Class Suburbs and the Battle Between Civil Rights and Neoliberalism
New York University Press 2022
Half of Black Americans who live in the one hundred largest metropolitan areas are now living in suburbs, not cities. In Liberty Road: Black Middle-Class Suburbs and the Battle Between Civil Rights and Neoliberalism (NYU Press, 2022), Gregory Smithsimon shows us how this happened, and why it matters, unearthing the hidden role that suburbs played in establishing the Black middle-class.
Focusing on Liberty Road, a Black middle-class suburb of Randallstown, Maryland, Smithsimon tells the remarkable story of how residents broke the color barrier, against all odds, in the face of racial discrimination, tensions with suburban Whites and urban Blacks, and economic crises like the mortgage meltdown of 2008. Drawing on interviews, census data, and archival research he shows us the unique strategies that suburban Black residents in Liberty Road employed, creating a blueprint for other Black middle-class suburbs.
Brittney Edmonds is an Assistant Professor of Afro-American Studies at UW-Madison. I specialize in 20th and 21st century African American Literature and Culture with a special interest in Black Humor Studies. Read more about my work at brittneymichelleedmonds.com.