City Storiez

Project Wars: The Streets of Mobile, Alabama

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Project Wars:

In the Streets of the Mobile Alabama Ghetto

Generations of beef and conflict has caused a divide within the streets of Mobile as projects wars between Mobile’s housing projects in the Mobile Alabama ghetto have continued year by year especially after closing complexes relocating people into rival neighborhoods.

Many people were born into the conflicts, depending on what neighborhood they grew up in, as the communities changed by the 1980s and the 1990s with the increase of street activity compared to previous years.

While some cities may have gangs and gang activity, even though in Mobile some people may be affiliated to national gangs like the Bloods or the Crips, mostly everybody is aligned with their ‘hood or the neighborhood they were raised in.

There are well known and reputable ‘hoods like Crichton, Down the Bay, the Campground, Maysville and Toulminville, but the main sections of the streets and urban communities of the Mobile Alabama ghetto are the city’s housing projects.

The actual city of Mobile had five main housing projects that consisted of Orange Grove, Roger Williams, R.V. Taylor, Birdsville, and the Baltimore projects, not including neighboring Prichard which was once the home of the Bessemer Projects.

The city’s housing authority, the Mobile Housing Board, was founded during the late 1930s and has provided housing for thousand of Mobile’s residents since its beginning, even as its purpose and operations have changed.

Brief History of Mobile’s Urban Community

Before the 1970s, Mobile had a segregated society with African-Americans only being allowed to live along Davis Avenue, in the Plateau and Happy Hills section, Down the Bay, and Trinity Gardens near Prichard, Alabama.

Along Davis Avenue, which has been changed and is now called Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue, is the two neighborhoods of the Campground and the Bottom, officially known as Fisher and Owens.

The Bottom and the Campground, which received its name from being a form campsite for black soldiers who fought in the Civil War, are two of the oldest neighborhoods in Mobile, dating back to the days before the Civil War as many homes were originally owned by slaves and freedmen.

Davis Avenue would later become the heart of Mobile’s black culture and black community, somewhat the Harlem of Alabama as the area once thrived with black owned businesses and entertainment.

While mostly all of Mobile’s original black communities were located on the North Side, or north of today’s Spring Hill Avenue, the Down the Bay neighborhood was an isolated community on the city’s South Side as the neighborhood sits between S. Broad and Interstate 10.

As the city desegregated and white flight led many to move into West Mobile during the 1970s, the neighborhoods on the South Side, south of Government Street, became predominantly African-American, from Navco to DIP (Dauphin Island Pkwy.) to Maysville.

The oldest African-American community in Mobile is a section that was once referred as AfricanTown, which later became the home to the two separate neighborhoods of Plateau and Happy Hills.

The community became established after slaves landed in the area fresh off the slave ships that traveled up the river, since Mobile was originally a slave port, and never left the area as they eventually built their own community.

While Mobile’s history includes being the birthplace of Mardi Gras, not New Orleans, the city has had a rich history in slavery whether it is the former cotton mills located in Crichton or the communities that slaves created in areas like Happy Hills’ and Plateau’s Africatown.

One key part about Mobile’s history is that there are still homes, in Mobile’s Midtown neighborhoods, that have decorated their outside exterior’s with patches or seals that represent a certain family, a family that were once either major or minor slave owners.

Mobile AL Hoods Map

While there have been street conflicts between the housing projects of the Mobile Alabama ghetto, which has caused violence that has led to numerous deaths and incarcerations, there has also been a war by the citizens of Mobile to keep their communities.

During the start of the 2000s, the city of Mobile began to demolish its housing projects, first starting with the two infamous and notorious housing complexes of Orange Grove and the Bessemer Projects of Prichard.

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Today’s Orange Grove housing complex

Orange Grove, which was Alabama’s largest housing project, has now become a shell of its self as only a small renovated section is left, while the rest of the former housing complex is empty grass fields with exception to the new Renaissance Gardens housing apartments.

The Josephine Allen housing projects of Happy Hills have been closed for years, while the Roger Williams housing project, also known as R Dub or Brazier Drive, has recently been demolished after years of massive vacancy and rundown conditions.

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The former Roger Williams housing complex before its demolishing

Many have been relocated into other housing projects like RV Taylor, which has caused problems of its own due to neighborhood conflicts, but unfortunately there have been talks in demolishing both Birdsville (Thomas James Place projects) and RV Taylor.

Today’s housing authority is stricter with who can be a tenant within the city’s housing projects, restrictions include must be employed or a full-time student, no criminal background, good credit, and a good standing with recent landlords.

Obviously, gentrification has taken over key neighborhoods of the Mobile Alabama ghetto as the fate of the housing projects has become known but the future of communities outside the housing complexes are not known, especially where areas like the Campground or Down the Bay have a close location to Mobile’s downtown.

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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.