Discovering an African American Planning History

  • Joan Fitzgerald
  • William D. Howard


The planning profession largely has ignored the black community and race issues throughout most of its history. Catlin’s (1993) content analysis of The Journal of the American Planning Association, for example, reveals a dearth of articles, both past and present, which focus on black people or black planning issues.1 Although there have been some recent exceptions, we agree with Catlin’s conclusion that the planning profession’s silence on black concerns, except for the brief 1965–74 period, must be reversed. Further, we argue that this reversal requires us to reexamine planning history from the perspective of race. Specifically, we contend that many new planning and development initiatives being undertaken in the black community could benefit from a deeper understanding of initiatives undertaken during the period 1895–1920. We are supported by other academics in our contention.2 Inclusion of these initiatives in planning history classes would demonstrate a good faith effort to respond to the complaints of many African-American students in urban planning that the curriculum ignores activities in the black community that could inform their planning practice.


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Copyright information

© Gayle T. Tate and Lewis A. Randolph 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Joan Fitzgerald
  • William D. Howard

There are no affiliations available

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