Gentrify That



Living in Philadelphia from 2002 to 2007, I watched the neighborhood which surrounded Temple University transform. Blacks were moved out and whites were moved in; we had many town hall and discussions about this topic as concerned students. Depending on who the speaker was we would hear different terms used to describe this process. If white property owners were speaking ,we learned that what was happening to the community was a “beautification program”. If Black community members were speaking, this displacement was called “negro removal”.

No matter how you frame the situation, gentrification was happening in a community that was historically black and becoming increasingly white. I have many thoughts on this topic that I will save for now but I want to share with you something I recently read. This piece is an honest reflection of what it’s like for a caucasian man who moves into one of these neighborhoods that is not quite gentrified yet. I bring to you the words of famed author Marty Beckerman and his well written piece “Gentrify This”.

Here is an excerpt from the article:

When I moved to New York, I only had two days to find an apartment. Rents in “affluent” neighborhoods with numerous “young professionals” are considerably higher than in “up-and-coming” neighborhoods. Whereas I lived in a luxury building in D.C. with a gym, pool, doorman, deck, chandeliered lobby and (most lavish of all) dishwasher, I was suddenly—thanks to my desperate rush and journalist’s budget—in a neighborhood where the only appetizing-looking restaurant is a McDonald’s, save for a Mexican eatery that gave me a gastrointestinal holocaust.

To read more of this article go to:


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2 Responses to “Gentrify That”

  1. Friz Says:

    Excellent clip! I can only imagine Baldwin alive today. What he would have to say on so many issues. Good stuff.

  2. nativenotes Says:

    My main man Friz…….
    can you imagine, I wish I could find more of his clips, I have his books but the way he speaks. He is so eloquent and he really tackles issues, he is definitely one of my favorite writers and heroes.

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