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Black Business Targeted in Harlem Gentrification Fight

Steps to brownstones in Harlem, New York. iStockphoto.com hide caption

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One Harlem pastor is heading up a unique and controversial campaign aimed at dialing back gentrification in the neighborhood — he's encouraging his congregation to boycott local black businesses and stop paying rent.

Writes the New York Times:

"[James D.] Manning, who has been the church's pastor for 27 years, said the intent of the boycott was to return Harlem to its pregentrification days of 1990, without the crack, crime and boarded-up buildings. His hope, he says, is that declining property values will make housing affordable for those he believes are the neighborhood's rightful owners: black people.

Mr. Manning's many critics say his call for a boycott is irresponsible and would devastate a neighborhood that has only recently showed signs of even modest economic well-being."

Read the rest. What do you think of Manning's methods? Should Harlem and other historically black communities across the country welcome economic development? At what cost?

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