Finding Place : East Liberty

1915 Words Dec 10th, 2016 8 Pages
Finding Place: East Liberty
In the early twentieth century, East Liberty was a flourishing business district with affordable housing for its residents. Decades later, this neighborhood’s prosperity declined as residents began fleeing to other areas and businesses were forced to shut down. This left East Liberty in diminished conditions, like the conditions depicted in John Edgar Wideman’s story of Homewood in Our Time. Urban renewal efforts were quickly adopted for East Liberty, but these efforts failed. Today, the area is in a state of continuous revitalization, which is beneficial for the economy and some citizens, but African Americans don’t always benefit from these changes. Chris Ivy explores this division in his documentary Easy of Liberty. Failed urban renewal efforts of the sixties and continuing gentrification have transformed East Liberty’s booming business district into a racially divided neighborhood.
In the mid 1800’s, Pittsburgh’s East Liberty neighborhood began growing and eventually grew into a fully developed thriving business district during the 1900’s. The country’s first oil refinery was chartered in East Liberty in 1868, and this company served as a model for other oil companies for years to come. With an increase in industry and business, East Liberty soon became the third largest business district in Pennsylvania. Despite this growth, The Great Depression unsurprisingly hit East Liberty, along with the rest of the country. Many of the thriving…
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