Must read: The destructive effects of highway construction

Joel Oliphint
joliphint@columbusalive.com
An illuminating map from the Dispatch feature, "How highways destroyed Black neighborhoods in the '60s, as told by elders who were there"

In a story published today in the Columbus Dispatch, former Alive assistant editor Erica Thompson traces the way interstate highways I-70, I-71 and I-670 ripped Black neighborhoods apart, focusing primarily on Hanford Village and King-Lincoln/Bronzeville on the East Side. 

To tell the story, Thompson dives into the lives of Shirley Mixon, who grew up in Hanford Village, and Ann Walker, who is from King-Lincoln/Bronzeville. Bolstered by on-camera interviews and revealing maps and graphics, the story is a must-read for those who want to better understand how the construction of highways divided and destroyed Black neighborhoods, cutting them off from all manner of social and economic opportunities. 

“It’s just a tragic story,” said Jason Reece, an assistant professor of city and regional planning at Ohio State University, as quoted in the story. “(It) played out across many different neighborhoods all the way up the East Side to Milo-Grogan and then to Linden. I-670 wiped out the Flytown neighborhood. And if you look at the old redlining maps of most cities — and Columbus is a good example — you can pretty much trace the highways right through those areas that were redlined.”

Check it out here. And for further reading on the history of segregation in Columbus and its lingering effects, read Alive's 2018 cover story, "The Color Divide."