They Will Never Let Us Forget Who We Are

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This study examines the intersectionality between systemic racial segregation and toxics exposure in the town of Davidson, N.C. from as early as 1929. The research combines extensive archival research with semi-structured interviews of various stakeholders, including town residents, to highlight the enduring history of segregation in Davidson and its relationship to the continued exposure of asbestos to residents of color on the town’s west side, which historically housed poor white mill workers and, even today, a significant number of African Americans. Lack of action, despite recommendations to study community exposure in the 1980s, constituted a case of environmental injustice, specifically environmental racism. Residents explicitly link the lack of action to race, the lack of archival records available, and the disregard of government agency recommendations to highlight the large-scale silences and systems of oppression that exist within the town.