Jacksonville, FL

jacksonville ghetto duval

History of the Jacksonville Ghetto

Duval County, located in North Florida, is the county for Florida’s largest city, Jacksonville, a population of over 880,000 with the racial makeup to equal around 55% white, 30% black, and 8% Hispanic.

The community of Jacksonville is more of a traditional southern city, compared to the diverse communities of South and Central Florida.

Discrimination and segregation was often promoted in the school districts, workforce, and in the community. These racial problems make the history of Jacksonville no different from any other city located in the south, especially during the Jim Crow days.

The Jacksonville history begins with the first black communities in Duval County, during the late 1800s and early 1900s, being established in a few places like Davis Street, home to LaVilla and Sugar Hill, Durkeeville, New Town, and on the East Side around Florida Avenue.

jacksonville ghetto
The New Town community of today.


The biggest and most known were the two communities of LaVilla and Sugar Hill, Jacksonville’s old entertainment and business district for the city’s black population.

Some of these neighborhoods were built for the black middle class and would be the location of some of the first housing projects in Florida, like Durkeeville and the Blodgett Homes.

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The redeveloped Blodgett Homes of Davis Street.

The Jacksonville black population would later expand into areas off of Moncrief Road and into other sections of the city’s West Side and North Side.

After these areas were created and had much of Duval County’s African-American residents living in these specific neighborhoods, the demographics of North and West Jacksonville began to change.

The change within the community started with urban renewal projects and school integration, as well as busing students to schools outside of their neighborhood.

The area of Lavilla and Sugar Hill was mostly displaced by the medical center and Interstate 95, while the removal of segregation in housing boundaries and school integration helped the black population increased on Jacksonville’s North and West sides in the 60s and 70s.

jacksonville history black
The newly rebuilt Durkeeville projects, that was one of the first in the city for black families.

Many of these areas, since the late 1990s, has been going through gentrification within the Jacksonville ghetto of the “Urban Core”, a part of the city that is located in parts of the North, West, and East sides of the city, with redevelopment of the local housing projects and historic neighborhoods relocating people in and out of certain neighborhoods in the city.

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Over the past years, people have been relocating out of the Jacksonville ghetto into places like Arlington.


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