"A Planned Black Community: Washington Shores and Black Suburbanization in Orlando, Florida"

McPherson, Gramond, History - Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, University of Virginia
Kahrl, Andrew, AS-History (HIST), University of Virginia

While suburbanization in post-World War II America is often associated with white Americans moving from central cities to newly forming suburban developments, African Americans also participated in the suburban wave, though on unequal and discriminatory terms. One such Black suburban development, Washington Shores, in Orlando, Florida would be praised locally and nationally as a solution to the Black housing crisis and a solution to improving race relations in the city. Yet, in focusing on the development of Washington Shores between the late 1940s through early 1960s, this essay argues that the idealized conception of Washington Shores differed from the reality that African Americans continued to face in a segregated housing market. While helping to expand the Black population beyond the boundaries of the traditional Black Parramore neighborhood west of downtown, developments like Washington Shores maintained and reinforced the status quo of residential segregation. Moreover, while Black leaders and residents played a significant role in the creation of the area, the white-led Washington Shores Inc. and the Orlando Housing Authority (OHA) would dictate the development of the community.9 This essay will examine both the broader post-war developments that shaped the community as well as what made Washington Shores unique.

MA (Master of Arts)
Suburbanization, Segregation , U.S. South, African American History , Urban History
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