Some racial and political implications of growth in Virginia's capital city - annexation in the sixties

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Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

Introduction [partial]

The problems of governing our nation's cities became major concerns during the 1960s. This has been apparent in the urban affairs literature and in concerns voiced by urban leaders throughout the country. Many of these problems can be attributed to the changing makeup of population in many cities. The successful city resident has become the suburban commuter. The economically less fortunate have migrated to the city in hopes of finding success through better employment. Consequently, the poor, the elderly, and the black citizens have gained majority status as the economically successful have left for the "better life" in the suburbs.

These fundamental changes have created tremendous problems in the areas of housing, employment, and financial stability of city governments. Rather than approaching these problems directly, city officials have sought, in many instances, to weaken the impact of these problems in the city. The use of merger or annexation has been a means of doing this.

Annexation has historically been a method of extending city services when growth has spread development beyond the city's boundaries. It has also been a method of obtaining vacant territory for a future city expansion. However, annexation recently has been used as a tool to preserve the "status quo" of those in power and to save the economically strained city.