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Historically BlackImagining Community in a Black Historic District$
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Mieka Brand Polanco

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780814762882

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9780814762882.001.0001

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Gating Union

Gating Union

The Politics of “Protecting” Community

(p.45) 2 Gating Union
Historically Black

Mieka Brand Polanco

NYU Press

This chapter examines the relationship that Union's history brokers have developed with Union as a Historic District—a relationship that they presume is shared by other residents as well. It discusses how the unveiling ceremony for Union's historic highway is a ritualized process in which history brokers establish history as sacred. From this perspective, the “Union community” is conceived primarily as a physical landscape that encompasses history as well as race. With the branding of Union as a Historic District, social and legal sanctions are enacted, fortifying it against potential land developers. But while history brokers act as the gatekeepers of history, descendant residents are endowed with the role of historic markers, authenticating with their presence Union's status as “historic.” This situation allows some residents to enjoy the luxury of rustic living at the edge of urban development, while confining others to an economic wasteland in the midst of prosperity.

Keywords:   Union, history brokers, Historic District, descendant residents, ritualized process, community, race, urban development, economic wasteland

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