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Johnson, James H., Jr.; Parnell, Allan M.; Joyner, Ann Moss; Christman, Carolyn J.; & Marsh, Ben (2004). Racial Apartheid in a Small North Carolina Town. Review of Black Political Economy, 31(4), 89-107.


GIS-based spatial analysis and mapping techniques are used to document several pernicious forms of racial discrimination, which are sapping the lifeblood from African American communities in a small town in central North Carolina. The discrimination builds upon a historical pattern of racial residential segregation unique to small southern towns and involves the intentional manipulation of zoning and land-use regulations by local White elites. Resembling the apartheid-like conditions that have contributed to the growth of an underclass in U.S. cities, African Americans in this small town are denied political involvement in economic development decision-making and access to critical infrastructure resources like sewer services, while their neighborhoods are targeted simultaneously for locally unwanted land-uses such as highway construction. These discriminatory actions expose African Americans to major public health risks and are a heretofore unrecognized contributor to black land loss. Additional research is needed to document the prevalence and geographical extent of these types of discriminatory practices in small towns throughout the U.S.


Reference Type

Journal Article

Year Published


Journal Title

Review of Black Political Economy


Johnson, James H., Jr.
Parnell, Allan M.
Joyner, Ann Moss
Christman, Carolyn J.
Marsh, Ben