President Harry Truman signed the Housing Act in 1949, giving unprecedented power to federal, state, and local governments to reshape entire communities through the abuse of eminent domain. One method of doing so was called urban renewal, which permitted governments to destroy communities they deemed as slums, destroying approximately 2000 communities through the 1950s and '60s, and forcing 300,000 families out of their homes, often most affecting blacks.
One of the first examples of urban renewal was the destruction of six blocks of "slum" on the Upper West Side of New York. The valuable land was then contracted to private developers hand-picked by the city: members of Democratic political clubs, given as political favors, to build middle-class housing developments. With little financial incentive to build quickly, though, the buildings often sat vacant for years.
ReasonTV put together a video telling the story of the destruction of this New York City neighborhood. Check out the video after the break, and let us know your thoughts in the comments.