THE ENDURING ATLANTA COMPROMISE: Black Youth Contending with Home Foreclosures and School Closures in the "New South"

Le Conté J. Dill, Orrianne Morrison, Mercedez Dunn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Waves of migration to and flight from Atlanta by both White and Black residents and businesses have constantly imagined and re-imagined the city as both politically regressive and racially progressive, and from an environmental health perspective, as both a riskscape and a safe haven. We argue that the persistent racial, social, environmental, and health inequities in Atlanta have been fostered and exacerbated by the exponential growth of the city and the persistent rhetoric of it being "the city too busy to hate." This paper is informed by extant research on housing and transportation policies and processes at work in Atlanta since the end of the Civil War, and in particular, the predatory and subprime lending practices during the past thirty years. This paper examines how young people, living in a neighborhood where over 50% of the houses are currently vacant and contending with threats of school closures, experience the contemporary foreclosure crisis. Using qualitative data from focus groups with middle school youth, this paper offers youth-informed perspectives and local knowledge by offering responses of marginalized populations in Atlanta who inhabit, rather than flee, their built and social environments.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)365-377
Number of pages13
JournalDu Bois Review
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 1 2016



  • African Americans
  • Atlanta
  • Built Environment
  • Foreclosures
  • School Closures
  • Youth

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • Anthropology
  • Sociology and Political Science

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