The capital city of Pennsylvania, Harrisburg of Central Pennsylvania is located in the state’s third largest metropolitan area after Pittsburgh and Philadelphia.
With a population around 48,000 and the Harrisburg black population makes up half of the city’s population, while the other half being divided between whites and Latinos.
The small city of Harrisburg is traditionally divided into four different parts, the South Side, P–Funk, Hillside, and Uptown areas.
The history of the black communities in Harrisburg begins in the Uptown section of the city, in a part called the 8th Ward.
The city, which is currently gentrifying some of its neighborhoods, was once strictly the Uptown and Midtown areas. Currently, the Uptown area is the main community in Harrisburg that is being gentrified, changing into a neighborhood now known as Olde Uptown.
As the years passed, the city slowly became predominantly black with the help of housing projects and the displacement of African-American families from the Uptown area during the expansion of the Capitol District.
Other than Uptown, the other neighborhoods are Hillside, which is divided into separate parts like Hilltop, Darkville, or 3rd Ward / Allison Hill, around Market, Herr, and Derry streets.
The P-Funk is a few housing projects built in the 1940s and 1950s, as the Howard Day Homes, Hillside Village, and M.W. Smith Homes. The South Side is home to South Acres, Trinkle, and 1-3, while being made up of mostly of the Hall Manor and Hoverter Homes.
The projects were meant to be a form of temporary housing but would later become permanent housing for black families.
Within the streets, Harrisburg is similar to any other city of its size or even larger. Even though certain sides of town would once go by the “Cuz” for Uptown and “Bra” for Hillside, there has never truly been a gang problem.
With demographics changing once again, as they did between the 1960s and 1980s, people are relocating to outside the city in the suburban part of the Harrisburg metropolitan.
*Note: All information is provided through people of the community, outside sources, and research. Some information might not be current and/or 100% accurate.
History and Community Facts Provided by:
Scott, John Weldon., and Eric Ledell Smith. African Americans of Harrisburg. Charleston, SC: Arcadia, 2005. Print.
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