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5 Things To Know About The ‘Gentrification Bomb’ That Was Dropped On Black Charleston, South Carolina

5 Things To Know About The ‘Gentrification Bomb’ That Was Dropped On Black Charleston, South Carolina

Gentrification
Here are 5 things to know about the ‘gentrification bomb’ that was dropped on Black Charleston, South Carolina over the past few years.. Photo: Pedro de Carvalho Ponchio

For a few years now, Charleston, South Carolina has been under attack – and a gentrification bomb is the weapon of choice. While gentrification is nothing new and is/has happened all over the United States, some cities have been impacted more than others. Here are 5 things to know about the ‘gentrification bomb’ that was dropped on Black Charleston, South Carolina.

Named the “fastest-gentrifying” city in 2017

Known for its immense history, Charleston claimed the top spot for the “fastest-gentrifying” city in the U.S. in 2017.

According to a report by Realtor.com, Charleston’s neighborhoods which were once home to predominately working-class Black residents, had become “increasingly middle-class and white.”

The analysis looked at home prices and census data to determine which cities were among the most quickly gentrified, according to Curbed.

“We looked at cities whose population was 50,000 or more between 2000 and 2015. Then we took a look at the U.S. Census Tracts—that’s data-speak for neighborhoods of 1,200 to 8,000 people. We focused on lower-income areas with home values that had the potential for gentrification (excluding wealthier communities that had already arrived.) Then we compared home values as well as residents’ income and education levels in the years from 2000 to 2015, to assess which cities were seeing the biggest turnaround,” realtor.com wrote.


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Home prices were driven up significantly

According to Curbed, the median price for a home in Charleston, South Carolina, spiked from $152,100 in the year 2000 to $270,000 in 2015. The increase was 77.5 percent.

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Residents voiced their frustration about gentrification

Charleston residents have voiced their concern about the city’s rapid gentrification. Last year, a group called “Charleston Promise Neighborhood” had a forum for residents to voice their opinions on the matter, WCSC 5 reported.

Sherrie Snipes-Williams is the group’s CEO. “It is designed to provide residents in and around the neck area with access to information and resources to better understand what’s happening in and around the community,” Snipes-Williams told WCSC.

North Charleston was once a safe-haven for Black residents seeking refuge from gentrification. That is no longer the case. According to Barney Blakeney, who grew up in Charleston, the displacement has reached the area.

In an article in The Charleston Chronicle, Blakeney wrote” “As Black folks were displaced from peninsula Charleston, Mount Pleasant and other areas being inundated by gentrification, North Charleston became a haven for many seeking low cost housing. Well, that ship has sailed.”

Redlining made a comeback

Blakeney also said redlining had made a comeback in Charleston.

“Black folks had taken up residence in previously all-white neighborhoods. But a reverse trend had started to take place. White folks were reclaiming their old neighborhoods and the Black folks who had replaced them were being pushed to North Charleston. The old practice of redlining was being instituted.,” Blakeney wrote.

Climate Change is also affecting gentrification

According to WCSC5, “The issues that affect these neighborhoods are things like new development, flooding, and even climate change.” Residents say they are leading to stark inequity.

“For me growing up in downtown Charleston on the peninsula and going to high school in North Charleston, you see this mass difference in the economic disparities,” Charleston native Anthony Grant said.