Mobile, AL

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Mobile, Alabama

One of Alabama’s largest cities and the state’s oldest city, the city of Mobile is the birthplace of Mardi Gras and one of the few places in the country that was once a port city for incoming slaves.

Population: Less than 200,000
Mobile Alabama Black Population: 50%
Rank in State: Alabama’s 3rd largest city
Poverty Rate: 23% / Average Income: $23,000
2014 Violent Crime Rate: 593 / Murder Rate: 12.4 per 100,000

Background Story

(Mobile Alabama Black History)

The first community for the Mobile Alabama black population was in an area once known as Africa Town, now home to the Plateau and Happy Hills neighborhoods, the former home to hundreds freed slaves.

Other areas were places like the former Davis Avenue, which was renamed to Martin Luther King Avenue, or small sections of what is now Toulminville.

mobile alabama ghetto

The Campground neighborhood off of MLK.

During the early days of the city of Mobile, African-Americans were restricted to only being able to live in a few places in the city of Mobile.

Over the years, the Mobile Alabama black population would eventually expand as white families began to relocate into newly built suburbs that were miles away from downtown Mobile.

The city of Prichard’s story is similar to many other communities around the country like what Gary, Indiana is to Chicago or East St Louis is to the city of St. Louis, Prichard is to the city of Mobile.

prichard alabama ghetto

Prichard, Alabama

Prichard started out as a suburb of Mobile, being located right outside of the city limits, that later changed and declined beginning in the 1960s and 70s.

The main cause of Prichard’s decline was a loss of a tax base as many people and businesses fled the community, as Prichard was becoming predominantly black.

A land grab with the community of Plateau becoming part of the city of Mobile, in order for the city council to control the black vote of Prichard, would later hurt Prichard’s tax base.*

With a lack of receiving proper government funding and grants, other than the money the city received for public housing, Prichard slowly began to decline.*

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‘Hoods and Communities

Today, the community has grown and expanded into a number of places like Cody Road in West Mobile or neighborhoods south of Government Street like Navco, Maysville, Down The Bay, and the housing projects of Baltimore, Birdsville, and R.V. Taylor.

mobile alabama ghetto

The R.V. Taylor housing complex

While north of Spring Hill Avenue there are neighborhoods from Crichton and Toulminville to the Roger Willams and Orange Grove housing complexes, also the city of Prichard.

mobile alabama ghetto

mobile alabama ghetto

The outside and inside of the Roger Williams housing complex, also known as R Dub.

The city of Prichard is another section of the Mobile Alabama ghetto that has its own reputation with communities like Snug Harbor, Gulf and Alabama Village, Bessemer Projects, Smurf Village, Trinity Gardens, and more.

prichard alabama ghetto

The Gulf Village housing complex of Prichard, AL

Currently, certain sections of the Mobile ghetto are once again changing especially within the city’s housing projects.

Neighborhoods like Orange Grove or Prichard’s Bessemer Projects were some of the first housing complexes to be transformed and rebuilt.

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The rebuilt version of Orange Grove

Orange Grove was once the largest housing project in Alabama, but currently the vast majority of the complex has been torn down and the remaining units have a strict tenant policy.

Areas like Happy Hills, R.V. Taylor, Birdsville, and a couple of other complexes are next to change into a mixed-income community with millions of dollars funding to rebuild the neighborhoods, while many of the old residents are being relocated or displaced.

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Check out more on Mobile and other communities in Alabama

Note: All information is provided through people of the community, outside sources, and research. Some information might not be current and/or 100% accurate.

Mobile, AL History Source:

**Anacker, Katrin B. The New American Suburb: Poverty, Race and the Economic Crisis. N.p.: Routledge, 2015. Print.

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