Memoryscapes, Whiteness, and River Street: How African Americans Helped Maintain Euroamerican Identity in Boise, Idaho

Author(s): William White

Year: 2014

Summary

Prior to the Civil Rights movement, most cities in the United States had at least one racially segregated neighborhood--a place where the ‘”others”’ lived. This was typically a geographic location designated by the Euroamerican community and accepted as an enclave by non-Euroamericans. In Boise, Idaho, non-Euroamericans lived in the River Street Neighborhood, a place where African Americans, Basque, Japanese, and Eastern Europeans established homes and businesses. While the boundaries of this neighborhood were known by all residents, they were never formally demarcated on the map. River Street existed as a segregated enclave in the memoryscapes of historical Boiseans of all races. Oral history interviews conducted in advance of an upcoming community archaeology project revealed the boundaries of the River Street Neighborhood as remembered by African American residents. The multi-disciplinary concept of memoryscapes was applied in order to provide an ‘’emic’’ perspective of the role the neighborhood played in the creation of whiteness for Boise’’s Euroamericans.

Cite this Record

Memoryscapes, Whiteness, and River Street: How African Americans Helped Maintain Euroamerican Identity in Boise, Idaho. William White. Presented at Society for Historical Archaeology, Quebec City, Quebec, Canada. 2014 ( tDAR id: 437065)

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Record Identifiers

PaperId(s): SYM-52,03