This is the second in a series of twelve blog posts on the segregation that shaped my hometown of Inkster, Michigan, a suburb of Detroit. These posts are excerpts from my book: https://www.facebook.com/Americas-Most-Violent-and-Inspiring-Small-Town-703430026492614/
Racial gerrymandering is part of the story of the area, such as the twisting, turning boundaries of the school district that maintained an almost-entirely white student body at Roosevelt High School located in mostly-black Inkster. In 1960, the newly-forming City of Dearborn Heights attempted to continue this tradition with the new school in Inkster, Robichaud. Dearborn Heights succeeded in taking away from Inkster that part of it which abutted Dearborn, the two-and-a-half mile long and one-to-two-block wide corridor between Beech Daly and Gulley Roads that formed the eastern border of what was then the Village of Inkster, and where Robichaud and Roosevelt were located. That area was also Inkster’s industrial tax base. The Pepsi plant was there, as was the nation’s first manufacturer of armored passenger cars, and there were other factories. It was also the location of large homes that were zoned R1A, the highest level of property tax.
A particularly contorted feat of gerrymandering was accomplished with the formation of the City of Dearborn Heights. It is composed of what looks like two distant islands, one to the north of Inkster and another all the way to the south of Inkster’s border, connected by the very long, skinny isthmus of land taken from Inkster, in an all-white area of the town. The lands that formed Dearborn Heights had no natural geographic connection. Their only connection was that they were the remaining unincorporated portions of Dearborn Township, and they were white communities that acted as a buffer between Inkster and the City of Dearborn and other outlying white communities.