Integration, while necessary, cost us more than we might have initially thought. I’m not the first person to make this statement and I won’t be the last. Simply put, the costs of integration were high. Before integration became federal law, Black people lived in tight-knit communities where they went to school with familiar faces, patronized each other’s businesses and, out of necessity, supported their own.
Once White institutions opened their doors to Black people, those tight-knit communities were diluted. Slowly, Black business owners moved their operations elsewhere and the middle class moved into White neighborhoods. And slowly, Black communities started to decline, forgotten by their own middle class, and neglected by local governments.