Public housing is not the local, state, or federal government’s gift to Blacks after centuries of inadequate housing opportunities. Ironically public housing does provide “affordable” housing to the impoverished (which still come from their taxes as citizens). However Black residents in urban projects are usually born in and overwhelmingly stuck in quicksand of poverty because of institutionalized racism stemming from the Post-Reconstruction Era and urban renewal laws; mechanisms in place before the projects were built or any of its residents were born. Metropolitan housing authorities are not evening, let alone tipping the scales by building or “letting” Black folks live there.
Public housing has served as an aquarium to brutalize, detain and observe poor African Americans and are arguably used to store and separate Black people so their White neighbors can be unburdened with equality in more “favorable parts” of the city through the dubious Real Estate industry.
Generally, housing projects are a great metaphor for the government’s relationship to poor folks in the US:
“These huge islands built mostly in the middle of nowhere, designed to warehouse lives. People are still people, though, so we turned the projects into real communities, poor or not. We played in fire hydrants and had cookouts and partied, music bouncing off concrete walls. But even when we could shake off the full weight of those imposing buildings and try to just live, the truth of our lives and struggle was still invisible to the larger country. The rest of the country was freed of any obligation to claim us. Which was fine, because we weren’t really claiming them, either.”
-Shawn Carter, Decoded (2010)