Remembering Race at Brown

Inspired by Brown’s 250th anniversary, the sophomore seminar Race and Remembering collaborated to critically examine race at Brown University. This digital exhibit highlights University legacies of erasure and histories of resistance. This is a call to REMEMBER.

Tag: town vs. gown

Town vs. Gown Tensions

This article exemplifies tensions between the local Cape Verdean community, Brown University, and government urban renewal developers. Fox Point residents feared their neighborhood would be taken over as University professionals and students moved in, forcing locals out. Many couldn’t pay higher rents, and the neighborhood collapsed to gentrification. As a result, families abandoned Fox Point and took the neighborhood’s Cape Verdean Creole culture with them.

This article exemplifies tensions between the local Cape Verdean community, Brown University, and government urban renewal developers. Fox Point residents feared their neighborhood would be taken over as University professionals and students moved in, forcing locals out. Many couldn’t pay higher rents and the neighborhood collapsed to gentrification. As a result, families abandoned Fox Point and took the neighborhood’s Cape Verdean Creole culture with them.

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The I-195

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I-195 Route

This map shows the planned, and eventually constructed, route of I-195, which cut directly through Fox Point and divided Cape Verdeans from the waterfront. This construction required the demolition of entire blocks of Cape Verdean-owned homes and businesses. Highway builders were instructed to plan routes through the cheapest land, which disproportionately affected communities of color. Local outsiders and developers viewed Fox Point as a slum unworthy of consideration when bulldozers shattered the community. [1]


[1] “It was the dirtiest town, there was so much coal dust pouring into everything and it was pretty run down, the historic district, it was pretty much a slum.” Interview with John Carter Brown. Gorman, Lauren. “Fox Point: The Disintegration of a Neighborhood.” PhD diss., Brown University, 1998, 20.

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Gentrification

The angry and frightened residents of Fox Point are up against a process that is seemingly as inexorable as any catastrophic natural force: that is, the glacial spread of a university, any university, into the surrounding neighborhood.

The Providence Bulletin (Providence), 1969.

Neighborhoods and communities had something very valuable about them. Streets which looked very crowded and dirty to planner and their ramshackle houses brought together in very important human ways and created human values of care and solidarity… almost no one perceived what would be lost by the eradication of whole neighborhoods.

PBS Video. The World the Moses Built. Los Angeles: Public Broadcasting Service, 1989.

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