Louisville Magazine

MAR 2019

Louisville Magazine is Louisville's city magazine, covering Louisville people, lifestyles, politics, sports, restaurants, entertainment and homes. Includes a monthly calendar of events.

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LOUISVILLE MAGAZINE 3.19 87 without gentrification and focuses on homeownership and getting jobs. "Historically, we had a lot of newly free blacks leaving the South and other parts of Kentucky to come to Louisville because we had those jobs, like Philip Morris and tobacco warehouses. ere were plenty of places for people to work. en you had the L&N Railroad. You could walk to Union Station and go to work and come on back. ere was a lot of that type of money being generated, which made it easier to create that mercantile class that you need. It was that solid black middle class that you need to keep things going. Once Louisville's manufacturing base started to leave — International Harvester closed and all the tobacco companies started to move away, L&N went under — Louisville changed from a manufacturing to more of a service economy. It took a lot of that wealth with it. en you had urban renewal come in and it destroyed the last remaining of the strong black business districts. It was a one-two punch that was hard to recover from. at is Louisville's struggle. "e community needs a mechanism to get back to where we can have locally black-owned businesses. You have all those shops, clubs and businesses on Bardstown Road, and Russell was the same way. You had old Walnut Street (now Muhammad Ali Boulevard), Broadway and Market Street. You had those corridors of high economic activity, and that's what we need to get back to. "I have a little apprehension about the new developments. I'm positive, but I'm apprehensive because I know how these things normally go down. I like to consider myself a closet historian, and once you study Louisville's history, especially Louisville's race relations, you see the same kinds of patterns repeating themselves. You see the same kind of dog-and-pony shows and the dangling of the carrot. Like, 'If you do this, you may get this,' and nothing ever happens. Or it does happen, but it doesn't happen to your or your community's benefit. So I stay guardedly optimistic, but at the same time, you must be engaged." "What kind of community is so deprived that we're waiting on Walmart? What has happened, systematically — with policy makers, legislators, business people, private and public sector — that has left us so devastated that we're literally waiting on Walmart like we're waiting on Superman? ere was the veterans' hospital that could have been here, which would have brought hotels, commerce and additional industry. ere was the Yum! Center that could have been built west of Ninth Street, along Main Street. at could have brought jobs and industries. ere was the convention center that the mayor (renovated) that could have been torn down and a green space created, with the convention center being built west of Ninth Street. "We should really be celebrating massive industry and movement coming into the community — and not in a way that gentrifies the community and moves African-Americans out, but in a way that collectively goes in line with the community values. ere's ways to bring in commerce, and not in a way that gentrifies and disperses people. We must pay attention to that. We must pay attention to the Russell transformation and Beecher Terrace coming down. ose private businesses are already chomping at the bit to get that land and transform it, just like they transformed Clarksdale into NuLu. How do we get folks, the folks strategizing and doing real heavy work in the community, to get in contact with potential funding sources and stakeholders that can help bolster their work, instead of waiting on folks from other communities to make decisions to build up our community?" Shelton, California

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