Demolition Means Progress: Flint, Michigan, and the Fate of the American Metropolis
Andrew Highsmith

About the research


NAEd/Spencer Postdoctoral Fellowship

Award Year



University of Texas at San Antonio

Primary Discipline

My book explores the spatial and structural barriers to racial equality and economic opportunity in metropolitan Flint from the Depression to the present. It unravels the complex bonds that connected racially segregated schools and neighborhoods and is part of a broader wave of scholarship that challenges longstanding notions of northern exceptionalism. Demolition also traces how Flint became an international symbol of the Rust Belt’s collapse. It consists of ten chronologically arranged chapters focusing on school and residential segregation, employment discrimination, suburban development, urban renewal, and deindustrialization. Unlike the recent wave of “new” metropolitan histories, which generally elide schools, my book places Flint’s “community education” program at its narrative and analytical heart. Celebrated by officials as colorblind sites for civic renewal, Flint’s schools formed the core of an unsuccessful postwar urban development paradigm.
About Andrew Highsmith

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