Cultural Enclaves

Places dominated by a single race, religion, ethnicity, or economic class are cultural enclaves. Often created in response to discrimination by the majority, these places became sanctuaries for their residents complete with residences, stores, schools, churches, and other services. Cultural enclaves were often self-sufficient, with the same businesses, civic organizations, and public services that would be found in other towns and city neighborhoods. Residents sometimes worked outside of the cultural enclaves, but were often subjected to persecution or segregation by those of different cultures.

As the economic and political climate changed, so did the cultural enclaves. Residents who were unable to find work in or near the community left for better jobs. Others found themselves better able to assimilate with the larger community as people became more tolerant of other races, religions, ethnicities, and economic classes. Many cultural enclaves have been abandoned as the older generation dies with no one to take over their businesses. Particularly in cities, some urban planning and highway projects eliminated cultural enclaves thought to be eyesores, while others have been gentrified by those looking to rehabilitate the old buildings. (From Lost Communities of Virginia, p. 14-15)

 

Cultural Enclaves