Interview with Georgia Ayers

What was it like when they drove the I-95 through Overtown?


Well it was terrible. It--what happened to those that lived in Overtown was the second coming of the--White establishment and replacing Blacks for growth for Whites. I don't want to go back, but we were displaced, but I say we, my neighborhood was the first displacement of Black people ah, some 40 years ago. And that fortunately for Overtown they did have places for them to go, they did give them some sort of subsidies so that they can find other housing. They did ah, replace those persons who didn't have a place to stay in what we call emergency centers, emergency housing centers. But ah, it wasn't a quite a surprise to me because I had lived through it from the divis--colored subdivision where I came from . The system itself perpetuates on displacing Blacks. It's common knowledge anywhere you go in the United States. They say that we're going to do urban renewal, we're going to make things better for you, but I don't know of anyone that can make things better for Black folk when they rebuild it, they rebuild it so the Blacks that were living there don't have the economic ah, push, the economic ah, knowwithall[SIC] to get back into that same area. If a man is on ah, and most, this is what's all, in Overtown most of those people are living on a s--ah, subsidized income or on, they're retired and they have their old retirement checks coming in. And their retirement checks cannot certainly pay for the housing that's being replaced over there when the monthly payments are 5 to 600 dollars per month, when that's all that person is getting in ,in his monthly check. So they can't say that they're replacing or they're building up Overtown for the replacement of these people. It, they don't, the two don't jive.