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Before the Highway: Learn More

Links to articles and videos about communities throughout the United States that were isolated or destroyed by the creation of the interstate highway system

The "Before the Highway" package of articles published on examines — through the eyes of seven witnesses age 50 or older — the displacement caused by the creation of the interstate highway system in the mid-20th-century.

The articles and video links below provide deeper and different dives into the history of the highway program, and the lasting impact it has had on predominantly low-income communities of color. The links also lead to informative content about projects both planned and underway to repair some of the damage done. 

A historical map of the National System of Interstate and Defense Highways

Library of Congress

The federal highway system as of June 1958. Click on the image to enlarge the map.


Specific Cities (alphabetical by state):


The 'Before the Highway' Interviews   

Visit the "Before the Highway" landing page for interviews with impacted communities in Florida, Minnesota, New York, Ohio, Tennessee and Texas. 

Page published February 1, 2023

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