City Storiez

Seattle’s Gentrification and more…

4 Mins read

What Happen to the Seattle Ghetto???

The Seattle ghetto has become less and less as gentrification is changing the racial makeup of many of the city’s communities throughout King County’s Seattle, Washington.

History of Seattle’s Urban Community

During the 1940s, job opportunities helped many families of different ethnic backgrounds to relocate into the city of Seattle for a chance at the lucrative employment opportunities and for a possibility of better living conditions.

While many minorities were not that welcomed, their recruitment were used as tools to help put an end to the local strikes by Seattle’s white workers.

Before the mid-1900s, many African Americans, Asians, and other ethnic groups that were not white lived around South Jackson Street, due to redlining by being prohibited of living anywhere else in Seattle.

The Jackson Street community would later become the area of the city’s original Asian population, which would be the International District, while also becoming the original community for the Seattle black population within the Central District.

During World War II, the need of housing for wartime workers led to Seattle to develop housing projects like High Point of West Seattle, South Park Courts, and Holly Park of Rainer Valley, in total the city had five housing projects by the early 1940s.

The Seattle Black Population

Over the years the Seattle black population grew as many moved into the Seattle communities, mostly neighborhoods of the Central District and later into Beacon Hill and Rainier Valley.

Before many African-Americans arrived into Seattle, communities like the Central District was a predominantly Jewish neighborhood.

The Central District, which was centered around areas like East Madison or 23rd Avenue, was originally created through segregation and racial discrimination, meaning that this area was the only place that the Seattle black population could call home during the 1960s and 1970s.

Many of the Seattle black population originally worked in the few wartime positions that were available, together with employment in the shipyards, on the railroad lines, and as laborers or servants.

Throughout the years the Seattle black population would have their experiences of trials and tribulations of racial discrimination, which helped certified the Black Panthers’ and Seattle’s Civil Rights movements during the 1960s and 1970s.

Seattle’s Latino and Asian Communities

Outside of the Seattle black population, Seattle is a very diverse city with Hispanics, Asians and Pacific Islanders or Samoans.

Areas of the Seattle ghetto like South Park became heavily known for the Seattle Hispanic population, which began to grow during the time around the 1960s and 1970s.

Today, the Seattle Hispanic population and community is mostly based in the West Seattle and the Southwest Seattle areas as the Latinos in Seattle makeup around 6% of the total population.

The city’s Asian population, which is Seattle’s largest minority group, has one of the largest communities in Seattle as many live in neighborhoods throughout the city.

While a large percentage live in the International District, many Asians have expanded the community from the once historic neighborhood into places like Bellevue or the South End, starting around the 1960s.

Seattle’s Urban Community of Today

From the 1960s to the 1990s, many white families began to leave parts of the South End, mostly Beacon Hill and Rainier Valley, as other ethnic groups were slowly moving into the South End communities due to having a limit of options of places they could live.

When the city’s job market began to slowdown, especially as the large employer of Boeing was declining in production, many communities of the Seattle ghetto were hit hard with financial troubles and unemployment.

Some might say the lack of opportunities turned people into the street life within the Seattle ghetto, while others would say the introduction to drugs or the national trend and popularity of nationwide gangs was a cause for involvement.

With the Seattle ghetto having many comparisons to other West Coast cities, the early 1990s gave reputations to the city’s housing projects and neighborhoods in places like the Central District or West Seattle.

Today, Seattle gentrification has been relocating people throughout the Seattle metropolitan in places like West Seattle, South End’s Rainier Valley and Beacon Hill, cities south of Seattle’s city limit of Skyway, SeaTac or Renton.

As Seattle gentrification is rebuilding the city’s housing projects of the Seattle ghetto into mixed income apartments, which started during the early 2000s, and redeveloping Seattle’s most sought after communities like the Central District, the city of Seattle is changing day by day.

Many have had to relocate from their original neighborhood and establish a home in unfamiliar communities that did not have a black population decades ago, especially with the help of public housing and Section 8 vouchers.

While Seattle is one of the most diverse cities in the country, there is only a small percentage of African-Americans in the city as many claim that gentrification in Seattle is currently removing the black population and community from the actual city itself.

Check out more on Seattle and other communities of Washington.

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

Seattle History Sources:

Beason, Tyrone. “Seattle’s Vanishing Black Community”. The Seattle Times. 26 May 2016. Web. 20 November 2016.

Cisneros, Henry G. and Engdahl, Lora. “From Despair to Hope”. Brookings Institution Press, Washington DC. 2009.

Henry, Mary. “Seattle Neighborhoods: Central Area – Thumbnail History”. 10 March 2001. Web. 20 November 2016

Jackson, Reagan. “Who’s afraid of Rainier Beach?”. The Seattle Globalist. 3 July 2014. Web. 20 November 2016.

Merrell, Frederica and Latoszek, Mira. “Seattle’s Beacon Hill”. Arcadia Publishing. 2003

Lyons, William. “The Politics of Community Policing: Rearranging the Power to Punish”. The University of Michigan Press, Ann Arbor. 1999.

Wilma, David. “Seattle Neighborhoods: South Park – Thumbnail History”. 16 February 2001. Web. 20 November 2016.