Milwaukee’s invisible racial cage

By Derrick Z. Jackson, Boston Globe

I’ve had a bad feeling for a quarter century about my hometown of Milwaukee. As a frequent writer on transportation, I took particular note as the city’s white suburbs built an invisible but impregnable cage around a majority African American and Latino city.

The bars of that cage: the lack of public transportation.

When I was in kindergarten in 1960, Milwaukee boasted 741,000 people, including my parents and many relatives who came to escape Mississippi segregation and to work in factories and hospitals. At the time, 60 percent of the region’s manufacturing jobs were right in the city.

But by the time I graduated from the University of Wisconsin-­Milwaukee in 1976, jobs were disappearing, and the population was on its way to plummeting to 597,000 by 2000.

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