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Baltimore riots rooted in decades of exploitation of blacks: US historian

30 April 2015 7:27


The riots taking place in Baltimore, Maryland is rooted in decades of neglect, exploitation and marginalization of African-Americans in cities across the US, a historian in Washington says.

The death of a 25-year-old African-American man while he was in the custody of Baltimore police has prompted demonstrations by thousands of protesters.

Freddie Gray died on April 19, a week after an encounter with police that left him with grave spinal injuries. Authorities have not explained how or when his spine was injured.

“The recent civil unrest that’s occurred in the city of Baltimore resulted from decades of abuse [and] neglect of the African-American majority in the city of Baltimore,” said Dr. Randy Short, a member of the Black Autonomy Network Community Organization.

“There’s been a regime of decay, exploitation and marginalization of the blacks in that city as well as cities across the country,” Short told Press TV on Wednesday.

“There’s a lot of suffering, there’s hunger in Baltimore, there’s oppression in Baltimore,” he added.

Thousands of demonstrators marched in Baltimore on Wednesday, demanding justice and police reform as 2,000 National Guard troops stood by to enforce a curfew imposed after Monday’s civil unrest over the death of Gray.

Baltimore was the sixth largest city in the United States during the 1950’s, with a peak population of nearly 950,000. Now the metropolis ranks 26th, with about 620,000 residents.

Despite an economic recovery in the majority black city, it is one of the most unequal American cities when measured by income and educational achievement.

Among 50 major US cities, Baltimore ranked 12 in the inequality measurement, according to a 2014 analysis by the Brookings Institution.

In a study published last year by Harvard University, the Baltimore metropolitan area ranked near the bottom of major US cities in terms of social and economic mobility.

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