Date of Award

Spring 2017

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


American Studies

First Advisor

Davarian Baldwin

Second Advisor

Christina Heatherton


“They Were Never Silent” will explore the inner workings and impact of both top-down and bottom-up approaches to Urban Renewal for African Americans in the city of Buffalo. For decades, government funded projects that arose in the name of “saving” inner-cities have been guilty of concentrating poverty into centralized areas, directing monies toward downtown development that dislocated families, excessive housing clearance, and modernizing segregation in the form of public housing projects. However, we have yet to fully explore how black community members crafted their own visions of a revitalized city. Many of the most significant bottom-up Urban Renewal developments have received little to no attention in scholarly literature, namely, the work of inner-city youth. In an attempt to fill these gaps, “They Were Never Silent” discusses unexamined community visions and the role of black youth in transforming Buffalo’s urban landscape during a time of urban renewal.


Senior thesis completed at Trinity College for the degree of Bachelor of Arts in American Studies.