Urban Renewal and the End of Black Culture in Charlottesville, Virginia

An Oral History of Vinegar Hill


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About the Book

From the 1920s through the 1950s, the center of black social and business life in Charlottesville, Virginia, was the area known as Vinegar Hill. But in 1960, noting the prevalence of aging frame houses and “substandard” conditions such as outdoor toilets, voters decided that Vinegar Hill would be redeveloped. Charlottesville’s black residents lost a cultural center, largely because they were deprived of a voice in government. Vinegar Hill’s displaced residents discuss the loss of homes and businesses and the impact of the project on black life in Charlottesville. The interviews raise questions about motivations behind urban renewal.

Instructors considering this book for use in a course may request an examination copy here.

About the Author(s)

James Robert Saunders is a professor of English at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana.

A native of Charlottesville, Renae Nadine Shackelford is a lecturer in the Department of English at Purdue University.

Bibliographic Details

James Robert Saunders and Renae Nadine Shackelford

Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 144
Bibliographic Info: photos, appendices, notes, index
Copyright Date: 2005 [1998]
pISBN: 978-0-7864-2556-3
eISBN: 978-1-4766-3238-4
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments    vii
List of Illustrations    xi
Introduction    1
1. The Prime of Vinegar Hill     7
2. Advantages and Disadvantages of Urban Rrenewal     27
3. Historical Backgrounds     37
4. Relocation     61
5. The Impacts of Urban Renewal     87
Conclusion     111
Appendices     115
Notes     121
Bibliography     125
Index     129

Book Reviews & Awards

  • “Powerful oral history…tells a story far more worthy of the limelight…. This is a story that goes far toward explaining the blighted conditions and hopes in our nation’s so-called inner cities.”—Michigan Today
  • “Former residents tell it like it is regarding the black neighborhood’s history”—Reference & Research Book News