Black neighborhood lost $5million when homes were taken by Georgia authorities in the 1960s

Residents of a black North Georgia neighborhood lost more than $5 million on their properties when their homes were destroyed and replaced with college dorms and parking lots more than 50 years ago, according to an analysis by professors at the University of Georgia.

The study of the loss suffered by the owners of the Linnentown section of Athens, Georgia, was reported last week by the Athens Banner-Herald.

The city of Athens used eminent domain to force black families out of Linnentown in the 1960s as part of an urban renewal plan. He sold the land to the Board of State Regents, and the University of Georgia dormitories and parking lots were built after the houses were razed.

UGA experts looked at what the lost properties were worth today and what residents were getting for them, according to the Banner-Herald. They also assessed the amount of appreciation lost by moving to other properties.

They haven’t been able to grasp the impact on jobs or education or the emotional trauma of being forced to move, said Jerry Shannon, associate professor in the Department of Geography and the Department of Financial Planning, housing and consumer economics.

Shannon recently presented the report to a group tasked with repairing the destruction in the neighborhood. The Mayor and Athens-Clarke County Commission are also expected to review it, and it could be used to allocate funds for projects such as affordable housing.

Photo: Hattie Whitehead Thomas on the campus of the University of Georgia in Athens, where a black neighborhood was razed in the 1960s to make way for dormitories. The 72-year-old Athens resident grew up in the now destroyed neighborhood of Linnentown. “UGA needs to do more. He needs to come to the table and acknowledge what he’s done,” she said. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

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