The course examines the forces, events,  and demographic movements that shaped the development of racially isolated low-income African American communities in American cities in the 20th century; starting in the 19th century and continuing through the last 20 to 30 years of the 20th century,  with attention to trends in race, residence, and employment.

It will look at the interaction between black efforts for self-determination, public policy choices at the local, state,  and federal levels, and the actions of private individuals and organizations; all of which helped to shape the residential and economic environments experienced by urban African Americans.