The Rust Belt, a term commonly used to describe metropolitan areas in the Midwest and Great Lakes region defined by an economic dependence on manufacturing, experienced a resurgence during the 2016 presidential campaign to describe, among other things, a time when "America was great."
In the decades following World War II, manufacturing exploded employing hundreds of thousands in the Rust Belt - and luring many minorities with the promise of the American dream. African-Americans came from the South and Appalachia fleeing Jim Crow as part of the "Great Migration;" Puerto Ricans came to escape widespread poverty across the island. Unfortunately, for these individuals, the American Dream turned out to be an illusion. Faced with segregated housing and education policies, migration of white Americans to the suburbs, and the slow decline in manufacturing jobs, many were left at an economic disadvantage that many argue has persisted to this day.
Despite an influx of technology,knowledge basedjobs, a renewed interest in urban living and the restoration of the urban core in many Rust Belt cities, racial and ethnic disparities persist. Fifteen of the nation's 25 most segregated major metropolitan areas are located in the Rust Belt. Is Youngstown, while currently experiencing a business resurgence including restaurants, bars, galleries, and shops, immune to this trend? What is the true story of the Rust Belt? Can it become a region that offersopportunityfor all?
Join us for a conversion on how communities of color in the Mahoning Valley have fared during periods of economic success and decline.