Poverty & Segregation in Syracuse Study Group

In recent years Syracuse’s Post-Standard reported about two studies showing that Syracuse is among the top ten most racially segregated cities in the US and that Syracuse has the highest rates nationwide of poverty in communities of color.

The Peace Council is launching a study group to answer the question, “How did it get this way?” Join us to examine scholarly and journalistic sources that shed light on policies and practices that reinforced and intensified segregation of poor people and people of color here in Syracuse. We will also be hosting guest speakers throughout the study group, residents and activists that will shed light on the lived experiences of long-time Syracuse residents and introduce participants to ongoing work local work against poverty and segregation. The purpose of this study is to learn about Syracuse's history and current work to address poverty and housing issues in the city.

Meeting dates

Tuesday evenings from 6:30-8:30 pm
Jan 26, Feb 2, Mar 1, Mar 22, Apr 5, Apr 26, & May 3.

This group will meet in the Clover Corner at the Southwest Community Center (401 South Ave, Syracuse). This is a wheelchair accessible location.
Please note: the Feb. 23 meeting date has been canceled because Alicia Garza, a co-founder of the Black Lives Matter movement, will be speaking at Hendricks Chapel. We hope everyone will plan to attend Ms. Garza's presentation!

Registration is closed for the study group. We apologize if you were looking forward to participating. In order to ensure a high quality experience for everyone, we have to limit the number of people. Please contact Amelia if you have any questions.

For information, call Amelia at 472-5478.

Books & Availability
  • Salt City & its Black Community: A Sociological Study of Syracuse, NY. S. David Stamps and Miriam Burney Stamps. Syracuse University Press, 2008. 335 pages.
  • Human Rights in Syracuse: Two Memorable Decades; A Selected History from 1963-1983. Zoe Cornwall. Human Rights Commission of Syracuse, 1989. 221 pages.
    Salt City and Its Black Community can be purchased new for $30 from Syracuse University Press or Amazon or used for about $20 from Amazon (maybe other websites). Four copies exist in the Onondaga County Public Library system (and possibly more through interlibrary loan). At least two more copies are in SU's library (for anyone who can take out books there). We encourage anyone who can afford it to purchase Salt City and Its Black Community to make sure library copies are available for those who cannot afford it. We will also purchase a few copies for anyone to borrow. We may have to find creative solutions to make it available to everyone who wants to participate.
    Human Rights in Syracuse is no longer in print. There are a few copies available through the Onondaga County Library system, and we will also be able to make relevant chapters available digitally.


Readings by Date

This section will be updated regularly. Please check back between meetings for any articles we may add or other changes to the schedule.

For January 26:

  • Chapter 2, Salt City and its Black Community. (If you do not have a copy of the book yet, you can read it on a sample from Google here.)
  • Onondaga Historical Timeline, created by SPC committee Neighbors of the Onondaga Nation with input from the Onondaga Nation

Additionally, here are links to the Post-Standard articles cited at the top of this page and some of the studies they report on:

For February 2:

On February 23:

Alicia Garza, co-founder of the Black Lives Matter movement, will speak at Hendricks Chapel on SU campus. Event starts at 7:00 pm, doors open at 6:30. Download the flier.

For March 1:

Our guest: Sharon Owens, Executive Director of Southwest Community Center, to talk about the recent Consensus report and the HOPE anti-poverty initiative


For March 22:

  • Chapter 4, Salt City and Its Black Community
  • Chapter 5, Salt City and Its Black Community

For April 5:


Our discussion will focus on housing issues and will address many of the group's core themes.

For April 26:

  • Chapters 5, 7, 8, 9 of Human Rights in Syracuse
  • Salt City and its Black Community, Chapters 8 and 9 ’Pie in the Sky: Economic Dilemmas in the Syracuse Black Community’ and 'Education and Syracuse Schools'

For May 3: