Justice and the Interstates
6 x 9
35 photos and illustrations
6 x 9
35 photos and illustrations
When the U.S. interstate system was constructed, spurred by the Federal Aid Highway Act of 1956, many highways were purposefully routed through Black, Brown, and poor communities. These neighborhoods were destroyed, isolated from the rest of the city, or left to deteriorate over time.
Edited by Ryan Reft, Amanda Phillips de Lucas, and Rebecca Retzlaff, Justice and the Interstates examines the toll that the construction of the U.S. Interstate Highway System has taken on vulnerable communities over the past seven decades, details efforts to restore these often- segregated communities, and makes recommendations for moving forward. It opens up new areas for historical inquiry, while also calling on engineers, urban planners, transportation professionals, and policymakers to account for the legacies of their practices.
The chapters, written by diverse experts and thought leaders, look at different topics related to justice and the highway system, including:
Justice and the Interstates provides a concise but in-depth examination of the damages wrought by highway construction on the nation’s communities of color. Community advocates, transportation planners, engineers, historians, and policymakers will find a way forward to both address this history and reconcile it with current practices.
"This collection of essays challenges us to confront the history of politics and race that built America’s highways. Justice and the Interstates is a must-read for government officials, transportation policymakers, scholars, and anyone who travels in a car — that is, everybody."
Sarah A. Seo, Professor of Law, Columbia Law School, author of "Policing the Open Road: How Cars Transformed American Freedom"
"'American highways were too often built through Black neighborhoods on purpose,' transportation secretary Pete Buttigieg tweeted in 2021. In deeply researched and carefully crafted case studies, the talented contributors to this impressive volume shine a bright light on the racialized politics that demolished businesses and homes and heaped another round of grime and noise on the nation’s poorest residents."
Mark H. Rose, Professor of History, Florida Atlantic University
Part I: Mythologies
Chapter 1: The Myth and the Truth about Interstate Highways
Sarah Jo Peterson
Chapter 2: The Interstates, Racism, and the Need for Truth and Reconciliation: The Case of Highway Routing in Alabama
Rebecca Retzlaff and Jocelyn Zanzot
Chapter 3: Overton Park: The Race and Class Politics of Environmentalism, Historic Preservation, and Highway Construction
Part II: Methods
Chapter 4: Milwaukee’s Freeway Fights: Lessons from Building and Rebuilding
Ruben L. Anthony Jr. and Joseph Rodriguez
Chapter 5: The Perils of Civic Participation: Community Engagement and Interstate Planning in Baltimore
Amanda Phillips de Lucas
Chapter 6 Right in the Way: Generations of Highway Impacts in Houston
Chapter 7: Latino Interchanges: Greater East Los Angeles in the Freeway Era
Gilbert Estrada and Jerry González
Part III: Momentum
Chapter 8: A Contemporary Path to Transportation Justice in Rondo
Chapter 9: Guerrilla in the Room
Conclusion: Never Again Is Now: The Transportation Professions’ Responsibility to Work Toward Justice
About the Contributors
When the U.S. interstate system was constructed, spurred by the Federal Aid Highway Act of 1956, many highways were purposefully routed through poor communities and communities of color, which were destroyed, isolated from the rest of the city, or left to deteriorate. Justice and the Interstates examines the toll taken on these communities over the past seven decades, details efforts to restore these often-segregated communities, and makes recommendations for moving forward. It opens up new areas for historical inquiry, while also calling on engineers, urban planners, transportation professionals, and policymakers to account for the legacies of their practices.