Holding Ground in the Hancock Corridor: An Anti-Displacement Mapping Project of Oral Black History

Authors: Shannon Duffy*, University of Georgia, Daniela Aiello, University of Georgia, Jerry Shannon, University of Georgia
Topics: Urban Geography, Geographic Information Science and Systems, Ethnicity and Race
Keywords: Community mapping, oral history, displacement, black geographies, critical GIS
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/13/2018
Start / End Time: 10:00 AM / 11:40 AM
Room: Iberville, Marriott, River Tower Elevators, 4th Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


This paper showcases collaborative work between the Hancock and Athens Coalition Against Displacement and the Community Mapping Lab (UGA) in Athens, Georgia to combat the long trend of erasure and displacement in the historic Hancock community. Centering on reversing the loss of culture by connecting residents through an intergenerational oral history and operationalizing census and rental survey data alongside those essential community narratives, we aim to highlight the multifaceted and hidden ways that displacement and its pressures are experienced by the black community. We ask, how do institutionalized forms of housing racism interlock and work together to consolidate ongoing dispossession? How can online and physical mapping of both quantitative and qualitative data be mobilized to to reassert lost histories while producing meaningful knowledge about displacement? While Hancock has lost many black residents due to displacement over the last two decades, city officials nevertheless claim that displacement does not occur. Yet, the black community reports significant rent burden, harassment from realtors, loss of neighbors or amenities, and a heightened isolation from feeling out of place as they gain more white residents. Not unlike many southern low-income black communities, Hancock’s historico-cultural value is suppressed from the landscape while signposts narrate white history all around. By using maps to collect and share data on the neighborhood’s past and present, our project aims to transform the discourse that ignores the truth of black erasure, while drawing out deep narratives of contemporary displacement to stem dispossession and assert a future for black life in Hancock.

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