I have never lived there, but have seen pictures of Old Prichard, Alabama and driven through today's Prichard Alabama. Prichard was mostly white upper-class town outside Mobile, Alabama with beautiful streets and Victorian style houses. The government deemed that the houses that were rentals were not diverse enough in the late sixties. The owners of the rental housing did not accept section 8 welfare, after many court battles the owners were forced to accept section 8.
Beautiful homes were rented to mostly blacks on welfare that came from ghetto areas of Mobile, they did not have the mentality that they were moving up, because they were being subsidized by government, and they were not paying full rental price of the homes. They took no pride in maintaining their yards or that they were living in a beautiful area and their children were now going to better schools. They did not leave the ghetto behind in their move but brought it with them. The landlords seeing the homes that at one point had been built by one of their ancestors becoming trashed because the tenants didn’t care sold the homes to what are now slum lords. The neighborhoods began to deteriorate. Many of the White homeowners and Black homeowners of Prichard began seeing a decline in their property values and increases of ghetto behavior on their streets. Their response was to sell their homes and move to better neighbor hoods away from Prichard. Sadly the same slum lords bought those houses up and began receiving section 8 subsidies on them to.
Today Prichard is 90% Black Americans they are the mayor, city counsel, police, fire, and EMT. The streets are in ruins, potholes everywhere, gangs are ever present, drugs are everywhere, most of the housing is in ruins. Some claim that racism was what caused the exodus of whites from Prichard, but it was more complex than that.
Prichard is dying not because of racism but forced diversification. When a person grows up poor but works hard and gets out they have a sense of accomplishment, a value, and a worth. Their exodus from the ghetto to a better neighborhood means something there is a proud recognition that they have done this on their own and are living their part of the American dream and they genuinely care about their new standard of living. When it is just given by the government to them, that sense of pride does not exist those people don’t care about their new standard. I grew up on welfare saw many a hard time with out proper food, medical care, and clothing for school. I started working at age 8 washing cars and mowing lawns after school and during summer breaks to be able to buy school supplies and clothing for school. During High School I was envious of other kids that had parents buy them cars for their 16th birthdays or graduation, but I noticed something. I was working after school still and saving to buy a car, what I had noticed was that all the kids that received cars as presents had completely trashed their car with in the first year of owning it. They didn’t care about the new car they had received because they did not work to get it, as a gift it had no value. When I had finally saved enough money to buy a car(which was used) I washed it once a week, made sure it was clean inside, and did regular maintenance to keep it running properly, I appreciated it because I worked hard to get it. Prichard was no different than the high school kids receiving cars as presents, the new residents didn’t care about their move because they had done no work to give them an appreciation of their better neighborhood. As a result the people that had worked hard to be there, began their exodus because they could not stand to see that which they hard to build be trashed by those who had not.
I am sure that some part of it was racist, but for the most part it was giving away for free that which others had worked so hard to achieve in the name of diversity.