2024 Student Research Conference:
37th Annual Student Research Conference

The "Foot" in Jefferson City: An Ethnic Slum or Economically Robust Neighborhood?

Elizabeth R. Nahach
Dr. Jason J. McDonald , Faculty Mentor

African American neighborhoods and slums are often synonymous with each other in the racist American past, but most historical research has focused on larger cities and their ethnic enclaves’ economies. Therefore, analyzing Jefferson City’s The “Foot” neighborhood’s economy from the 1920s-1960, offers a unique, local perspective. It was a Black neighborhood in Jefferson City at the bottom of the hill of the historically-Black Lincoln University. Despite proximity to Lincoln, they were often regarded as separate entities due to Lincoln’s prestige. However, connections with both Lincoln and Jefferson City were long held, but it still retained some autonomy. After falsely being identified as a slum, the “Foot” was destroyed under 1960s urban renewal projects. Drawing on extensive primary research, three main themes emerge in support of an economically-robust neighborhood that is connected to Lincoln and Jefferson City but also autonomous: variety of businesses, range of Black clientele, and longevity of businesses. 

Keywords: Ethnic Enclaves , African Americans, Missouri History, Urban Renewal , Economy, Race Relations , TruScholars , Racism


Presentation Type: Oral Presentation

Session: 402-2
Location: SUB Georgian Room A
Time: 2:15

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