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Title page for ETD etd-04202016-073836

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Rucker, Sabre Janae
URN etd-04202016-073836
Title The Highway to Segregation
Degree Master of Arts
Department Medicine, Health, and Society
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Aimi Hamraie Committee Chair
JuLeigh Petty Committee Member
Laura Stark Committee Member
  • Racial Segregation
  • The Federal Transportation System
  • Highway
  • Jefferson Street
Date of Defense 2016-03-02
Availability restricted
Events that have occurred in the past can be traced along a historical trajectory that is evident in our present day, and those decisions greatly influence the success of future posterity. The construction of interstate-40 through the business district of North Nashville effectively placed this area in economic disadvantage for years to come. Only by examining a small number of past grievances that the Nashville city designers and officials have executed—often times at the expense of minority populations, can we begin to see the similarities between these historical processes of urban renewal and the gentrification that is occurring today. This thesis examines Nashville as a case study to explore how the influence of public works--specifically those of the federal highway can 'make or break' the success of a community. The relevant literature about Nashville’s construction of Interstate-40 was analyzed, and the historical narrative surrounding Nashville's Interstate-40 is contextualized in the larger narrative of the federal transportation policy history. The results of this research found that the local and state highway department did not provide adequate information concerning the relocation of Interstate-40 through the business district of Jefferson Street to the residents. The lack of information prevented the African-American community from organizing a successful movement against the interstate-40 construction. The construction of the interstate resulted in the dislocation of many businesses and families, many of which never recovered economically.
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