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Growing Suburbs oral history collection

Identifier: OH GS


The Growing Suburbs oral history collection contains seven interviews with individuals with knowledge or first-hand experience of the suburbanization that took place around Baltimore following World War II, circa 1950-1970. The narrators include city planners, developers, and Baltimore citizens who left the city for the suburbs.


  • 1995 January 26-October 13

Conditions Governing Access

The collection is open for research use.

Conditions Governing Use

The reproduction of materials in this collection may be subject to copyright restrictions. It is the responsibility of the researcher to determine and satisfy copyright clearances or other case restrictions when publishing or otherwise distributing materials found in the collections. For more information visit the MCHC’s Rights and Permissions page.

Biographical / Historical

At the close of World War II, waves of families moved out of Baltimore and into the residential neighborhoods outside the city, or the suburbs. Initially, this was due in large part to the Servicemen's Readjustment Act of 1944, also known as the G.I. Bill. In addition to educational benefits, returned servicemen were eligible for financial rewards and low-cost mortages.

With the benefits from the G.I. Bill, many veterans now had the money to purchase larger homes for their growing families, and they looked to do so in areas that were less racially diverse. Through the practice of blockbusting, real estate agents persuaded white families to sell their properties in the city far below market prices, using fearmongering tactics to scare families into believing that their neighborhoods would soon be overrun by racial minorities. Agents would then turn around and sell the properties for inflated prices to black families seeking upward mobility. This move became commonly known as "white flight," and had a significant impact on Baltimore's growing infrastructure.


7 Items (7 oral histories)

Language of Materials


Scope and Contents

This collection includes seven oral history interviews, given to the Maryland Center for History and Culture by the Baltimore City Life Museums (BCLM) when they closed in 1997. The BCLM conducted interviews to explore the relationship between the city and the county, and account for the housing expansion between the 1950s and 1970s. Specifically, trying to understand blockbusting and white flight during that time period. The individuals interviewed include city planners, developers, and Baltimore citizens who left the city for the suburbs.

Guide to the Growing Suburbs oral history collection
Cathryn Kinde
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the H. Furlong Baldwin Library Repository

H. Furlong Baldwin Library
Maryland Center for History and Culture
610 Park Avenue
Baltimore MD 21201 United States