Race, Violence, and Urban Territoriality – Cleveland’s Little Italy and the 1966 Hough Uprising

Written by Todd M. Michney for the Journal of Urban History, March 2006 (http://academic.csuohio.edu/tebeaum/courses/local/michney.pdf)


A racially motivated shooting during the 1966 Hough uprising in Cleveland, Ohio, provides an effective lens to scrutinize the complicated legacy of racialized violence with which the Little Italy neighborhood, where the shooting took place, had become associated. White residents’ localized racial anxieties stemmed from a trend toward increased interracial contact in public spaces and particularly the public schools—which in turn linked to population movements in the nearby vicinity and metropolitan area as a whole. Little Italy’s resi- dents historically marked their territory and sought to ward off racial residential transition through the use of violence, but ultimately their success depended on location, the neighborhood’s unique geography, and an easing of the city’s housing shortage for African Americans by the 1970s. Little Italy today is a gentrifying cultural hub with few (if any) black residents; meanwhile, attempts are being made to moderate its reputation for racial intolerance.


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