Black Neighborhood Lost $5M When Homes Taken by Georgia Authorities in 1960s

May 3, 2022
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Residents of a Black neighborhood in north Georgia lost more than $5 million on their properties when their homes were destroyed and replaced with university dorms and parking lots more than 50 years ago, according to an analysis by University of Georgia professors.

The study of the loss to homeowners in the Linnentown section of Athens, Georgia, was reported last week by the Athens Banner-Herald.

The city of Athens used eminent domain to force Black families out of Linnentown in the 1960s as part of an urban renewal plan. It sold the land to the state Board of Regents, and dorms and parking lots for the University of Georgia went up after the homes were razed.

The UGA experts looked at what the lost properties would be worth today and what residents received for them, according to the Banner-Herald. They also assessed the amount of appreciation lost by the displacement to other properties.

They were not able to capture the impact on employment or education or the emotional trauma of being forced to move, said Jerry Shannon, an associate professor in the Department of Geography and the Department of Financial Planning, Housing, and Consumer Economics.

Shannon recently presented the report to a group tasked with redressing the neighborhood’s destruction. The Athens-Clarke County mayor and commission are also expected to review it, and it could be used to allocate funds for projects such as affordable housing.

Photo: Hattie Whitehead Thomas on the campus of the University of Georgia in Athens, where a Black neighborhood was razed in the 1960s to make room for dorms. The 72-year-old Athens resident grew up in the now-destroyed Linnentown neighborhood. “UGA has got to do more. It’s got to come to the table and acknowledge what it did,” she said. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

Topics Georgia

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