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Segregated company housing takes shape in Beloit

Fairbanks Flats


Fairbanks Flats are a rare example of segregated company housing, the only known community housing built exclusively for black workers in Wisconsin. Fairbanks Morse, an engine manufacturer, was Beloit's largest employer. Increased production during World War I attracted hundreds of African American workers from the southern US. Morse proposed to house these workers in bunker-like flats north of the existing working class community. This plan raised issues of racial conflict and segregation. Eclipse Home Makers, Inc., a specially organized subsidiary, purchased land on the west side of the Rock River in hopes to "contain" the large number of blacks in one place on the outskirts of town. Despite official concern and private pleas, Fairbanks Morse continued plans for development of the flats.

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Related Topics: Wisconsin's Response to 20th-century change
Post-war African-American Migration
Desegregation and Civil Rights
Creator: Unknown
Pub Data: Wisconsin National Register of Historic Places.
Citation: Fairbanks Flats. Wisconsin National Register of Historic Places. Online facsimile at:  http://www.wisconsinhistory.org/turningpoints/search.asp?id=1462; Visited on: 4/24/2014
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