Date of Submission

Spring 2020

Academic Program

Political Studies

Project Advisor 1

Drew Thompson

Abstract/Artist's Statement

This thesis explores answering the question of why Tallahassee is considered one of the most economically/racially segregated cities within America. This thesis also wants to create the argument on why and how socioeconomic segregation, black voting behavior, and redistricting all intersect with each other and help perpetuate the issue of economic stagnation among black people in Tallahassee. The first chapter consists of providing the historical context within Tallahassee dating all the way back to slavery in the mid-1800s when it was the slave trading capitol of the state. From there I focus on the transition from there to the era of Reconstruction, the era of Jim Crowe, the Civil Rights Movement within Tallahassee and how all of these transitions impacted the black citizen, lead to the creation of black institutions, and established current day residential patterns within the city, most notably Frenchtown and the North/Southside divide and became de facto segregation. This chapter also describes the profile of the black voter within Tallahassee. In the second chapter I focus on breaking down the achievement gap within schools in Leon County and how lower property taxes of neighborhoods and standardized education help perpetuate the cycle of poor neighborhoods feeding into poor schools on the Southside of town, in contrast of wealthier neighborhoods. This is an example of how socioeconomic segregation and divided residential patterns play out in the modern day context. This chapter also discusses black voting behavior and how connects it to a voter and candidate’s blackness. In the final chapter it is discussed the role redistricting has played in Congressional District 5 and argues how it being a majority-minority district dilutes the black vote. This chapter also discusses potential legislation that could help potentially mitigate the issue of socioeconomic segregation but remains stalled within Congress.

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