Randolph

 

The Randolph neighborhood, originally known as Sydney or the “Black West End,” was first built as a neighborhood for Black Henrico residents in the 1800s.

 

Randolph was annexed by the City of Richmond in 1867, in the aftermath of the Civil War. By the early 1900s, small bungalows were being advertised and sold to Black Richmonders in the neighborhood.

Through redlining and segregation, the neighborhood’s housing stock and infrastructure were allowed to decline until it reached “slum conditions,” which were then targeted for urban renewal in the 1970s. In conjunction with the Downtown Expressway (VA-195) cutting the neighborhood off from the wealthy Fan District, much of the area was seized, condemned, and demolished.

Neighbors whose properties were taken were promised homeownership and relocation grants, but RRHA did not follow through on the promise. Instead, RRHA set about building new suburban-style homes and utilitarian garden apartments, erasing the historic fabric of the neighborhood. They renamed it Randolph after Black educator Virginia E. Randolph.

After more than 40 years and in the fallout of the 2008 recession, many RRHA homes and lots in Randolph were left vacant and abandoned. In 2017, the Maggie Walker Community Land Trust and project:HOMES joined together to help rehabilitate these homes into affordable homeownership opportunities once more.

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