Using one of Martin Luther King Jr.’s last public pronouncements as a foundation, we argue that access to public transportation is an important civil right in the United States and that public transportation continues to have a direct bearing on economic opportunities of poor people of color as well as their general right to the city and its many spaces and place-based resources. Almost fifty years since King’s assassination, public transportation systems also continue to be important arenas for reinforcing but also challenging racism and discrimination. This paper, written by geographers and a community activist, connects the broader African American experience to a critical understanding of the racialized politics of mobility. Through a case study of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, we argue that a contemporary challenge facing many communities is not just one of getting equitable access to public transportation or planning transport in a more opportunity-producing way, but the contemporary situation is even more dire as activists fight simply to keep public transportation a reality in cities across the United States.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Geography, Planning and Development
- General Earth and Planetary Sciences