ABSTRACT

This chapter demonstrates how the valuation of land based on vulnerability to natural hazards was intertwined with policies of white supremacy through the case study of flooding in Austin, Texas. It addresses the shortcomings in the literature by more explicitly tying socially structured group-differentiated vulnerability to practices of racism, pre-existing natural hazard risks, and the historical evolution of neighborhood development. The chapter critiques David Delaney's work on what he has called the "spatiality of Jim Crow" or the shifting spatiality of southern race relations. It argues the pre-existing environmental hazard, namely periodic flooding, played a substantial role in shaping the racial geographies of Austin. The development of East Austin was greatly influenced by the recurring flooding of Colorado River and Waller Creek. In Austin, however, it is important to note that Jim Crow also meant the subjugation, racialization, and devaluation of Mexican and Mexican-American residents, as well as African-Americans.