"Kept on the Run": Urban Erasures in Essex County, NJ

Author(s): Christopher N. Matthews

Year: 2019


This is an abstract from the "Urban Erasures and Contested Memorial Assemblages" session, at the 2019 annual meeting of the Society for Historical Archaeology.

Essex County in northern New Jersey experienced dramatic urban development and change in the second half the 20th century. Essex is home to Newark, New Jersey’s largest city, as well as 21 other municipalities that range from poor and densely packed cities to affluent and amenity-rich suburbs. This paper examines how urban spaces are created, preserved, and erased in the county showing that urban and suburban communities have developed along separate trajectories reflecting different experiences, consciousness, and ways of life. A key distinction is how suburbs in Essex County have faced little erasure of their history and landscape while the landscapes of Newark and other urban places have been twice (or more times) cleared by a decades-long urban renewal strategy. A successful protest against the construction of I-75 in the 1970s, led by African Americans residents in Newark, illustrates the social dynamics of urban erasure.

Cite this Record

"Kept on the Run": Urban Erasures in Essex County, NJ. Christopher N. Matthews. Presented at Society for Historical Archaeology, St. Charles, MO. 2019 ( tDAR id: 449256)

This Resource is Part of the Following Collections


Erasure Suburbs Urban

Geographic Keywords
United States of America

Temporal Keywords
20th Century

Spatial Coverage

min long: -129.199; min lat: 24.495 ; max long: -66.973; max lat: 49.359 ;

Individual & Institutional Roles

Contact(s): Society for Historical Archaeology

Record Identifiers

PaperId(s): 136