Black/Brown/White Relations: Race Relations in the 1970s

By Charles V. Willie | Go to book overview

12
Black Rule in the Urban South?

Lee Sloan and Robert M. French

Jacksonville is a major commercial and financial city in northeast Florida, a regional center for banking and insurance.As a port city with access to the Atlantic, it serves as a major transfer point.But, like many cities, Jacksonville was caught in the familiar cycle of urban decay and suburban exodus.For Jacksonville this has meant racial transition as well.As affluent whites fled to suburban Duval County, low-income blacks crowded Jacksonville's central city. As the nonwhite population of Jacksonville approached the fifty percent mark, area whites saw a need for change.Whether racial imbalance was seen as a problem in itself or as an indicator of deeper troubles is unclear. In any case, a group of reformers proposed a solution to the city's problems—to consolidate the government of Jacksonville with that of Duval County.

City-county consolidation or "Metrogovernment" has often been proposed, but has rarely been achieved.Prior to the 1967 merger in Jacksonville-Duval, the most prominent recent instance involving major governmental reorganization was the 1962 merger of Nashville and Davidson County in Tennessee.

Individuals supporting consolidation have always presented their case in terms of "good government" reform.The reformers stress that consolidation will result in the establishment of a "rational" government that will provide increased governmental efficiency,

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