Mill Creek Valley was a predominantly African American neighborhood located in St. Louis, Missouri. In the 1950s and 1960s, the neighborhood was considered blighted and was targeted for urban renewal.
The city of St. Louis, with the support of the federal government, initiated a series of redevelopment projects aimed at revitalizing the city. The Mill Creek Valley area was deemed a “slum” and a “blight,” and in 1959, the city government approved the Mill Creek Valley Redevelopment Project.
Under the project, the city used eminent domain to acquire the land in the neighborhood and forcibly removed over 20,000 residents, many of whom were low-income African Americans. The city promised to redevelop the area with new housing, businesses, and infrastructure, but the promised redevelopment never materialized.
The residents of Mill Creek Valley were left without homes or compensation, and the neighborhood was never rebuilt as promised. The displacement of the residents of Mill Creek Valley was part of a larger pattern of urban renewal and redevelopment that disproportionately affected African American communities across the United States.
The issue of reparations for the people of Mill Creek Valley, and for other African American communities impacted by urban renewal and redevelopment, is a complex and controversial topic.
Some advocates argue that the forced displacement and loss of property suffered by the residents of Mill Creek Valley, and other similar communities, constituted a form of institutionalized racism and discrimination, and that reparations are necessary to address the harm caused.
Others argue that it is difficult to calculate an appropriate amount of compensation for the residents of Mill Creek Valley, and that other forms of redress, such as investment in affordable housing and community development, may be more effective in addressing the ongoing effects of the displacement.
The issue of reparations for the people of Mill Creek Valley is part of a larger conversation around reparations for the legacy of slavery and systemic racism in the United States. While there is growing support for reparations at the national level, concrete actions and policies to address these issues are still in the early stages of development.