Concentrated Black Population

September 16, 1842

An item from the Philadelphia Ledger, titled, Can’t it be Corrected?
“It is a very great injury to the black population of the city, that so many of them are to be found congregated at one particular spot ……In the event of any disturbance between them and the whites, this is the place always resorted to by the riotous spirits, for here the
habitations of the blacks are clustered all together, and they are always to be found, for they occupy the space almost to the exclusion of all others. Were they scattered over the whole city and districts, instead of living in a community as it were by themselves, they would not run half risk of abuse and injury as they sometimes receive. They could not be so easily found as they are at present, and their near neighborhood to the whites would be a protection to them from the wretched rabble who assault them. Riots of an alarming character are becoming so frequent in the quarters alluded to, and property so insecure, that it is necessary to take every means which tend to guard against them. The authorities of the districts in which these neighborhoods are located, ought to endeavor to restrain their growth, which is annually increasing, or the evil will become still greater. ……….”

The Liberator comment on the article says the situation can be corrected …. “By allowing the colored people to choose their own localities, and to hire such tenements as they please, in any part of the city. This, prejudice will not allow, but compels them to congregate together, where they are at all times accessible to the mob, and where, by their isolated position, they are likely to be regarded as only fit to be mobbed.”

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