Howard Magazine - Page 42 - Diversity By The Numbers (3)

Howard Magazine
- Page 42
Diversity By The Numbers (3)

in the same neighborhood killed a mother and four of her children. Community members reported a delayed response time from the Fire Department, said Pandey. The tragedy, coupled with the struggle for safe housing, paved the way for sociopolitical change, she said. In 1969, the county demolished lower Fels Lane, replacing it with a low-income public housing facility called Hilltop.


“Everyone who was left on the lower part of Fels Lane moved up to Hilltop,” said former resident Tyrone Tyler. The construction of Hilltop was seen in the community as a civil rights victory, he said, and former residents still hold Hilltop reunion parties. The 94-unit housing complex also drew “a mixture of black and white families” from other areas, said June Makle, another former resident.


When Hilltop closed in 2011 to make way for a mixed-income apartment complex called Burgess Mill Station, many African-Americans left Ellicott City, said Pandey.


“Burgess Mill was a more upscale property than Hilltop was, so they rented for higher prices than some of those people could afford,” said Tyler.


As a result, many black residents moved to areas like Columbia, Elkridge and places outside of the county, he said.


The availability of affordable housing is one of the factors that have given rise to the increase in the black population in these areas in recent years, said Pandey.