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Interstate 94's Legacy of Racial Injustice in the Twin Cities

The symbolism behind highway protests brings demonstrators to occupy Interstate 94 between St. Paul and Minneapolis.
June 16, 2020, 11am PDT | Lee Flannery
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Jeremy Noble from St. Paul, United States

In the Twin Cities, demonstrators took to Interstate 94, marching from St. Paul to Minneapolis with numbers in the thousands to protest the murder of George Floyd. In light of ongoing organization against anti-black discrimination and police brutality, Interstate 94 stands as a reminder of infrastructure that tore a community apart. "It was this highway that, in the 1950s and ‘60s, tore apart the once-thriving neighborhood of Rondo — the heart of St. Paul’s largest African-American community — and helped spur decades of racial segregation in the region," writes Linda Poon. 

Protestors are occupying highways across the country with similarly destructive histories. Little Rock, Arkansas' I-630, Memphis, Tennessee's I-40, and Cincinnati, Ohio's I-75 have all seen similar uprisings, according to Poon. Decisions behind the construction of highways illustrate the unjust policy that has made racism a systemic problem.

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Published on Wednesday, June 3, 2020 in CityLab
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