African-American Migration from the South, 1940-1970


Redevelopment plans brought major changes to corridors of South Norwalk, including Spring and Washington streets. In 1980, Spring Street was fittingly renamed in memory of Martin Luther King, Jr., as many families who lived here were forced to move | Local History Room, Norwalk Public Library

Many southern arrivals lived in de facto segregated neighborhoods or public housing projects concentrated in South Norwalk or near downtown. After finding places to live, work and worship, they gave their lives to fostering and contributing to their community.

In time, multi-family housing became overcrowded and living conditions deplorable. U.S. and state highway plans plus city urban renewal projects displaced many families.


South Norwalk’s Washington Village, completed in 1940, was the first public housing project in Connecticut. In the 1950s the Norwalk Housing Authority built additional complexes, including Colonial Village and Roodner Court | Photo: Ferenz Fedor | No.2725, Local History Room, Norwalk Public Library
Carver Center groundbreaking at 25 Butler Street (c.1948-49). In 1975, it moved to its current Academy Street location | From left to right: unidentified man and woman, Nellie Brooks Bagley, Dr. W.H.N. Johnson, Rev. Seawall Emerson, Anita and William Bagley, Jr., unidentified man, William Bagley, Sr. | Courtesy of Anita Bagley Schmidt

In 1938 concerned black parents established the George Washington Carver Center on Ann Street in South Norwalk to provide a recreational and achievement focused hub for minority adolescents.