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Show Notes
1. Port City: From Generation to Generation​
The ocean is Norfolk’s greatest ally and worst enemy.


It bore enslaved Africans to the city’s shore and hid them as they escaped bondage. The ocean supports the region’s biggest industry: Naval defense. And the ocean creeps into the homes of Norfolk residents, as well as the Naval station—threatening livelihoods, histories and futures.

Episode 1 features interviews with Tommy L Bogger (Norfolk State University), Cassandra Newby-Alexander (NSU), as well as the voices of Johnny Finn, Jackie Glass, Vincent Hodges, Monét Johnson, Andria McClellan Skip Stiles, Kim Sudderth, and Paul Riddick.  Voice actors  are reading memoirs and interviews of John Thompson, Ishmael (Virginia Gazette), and interviews with formerly enslaved people originally recorded in writing through the Works Progress Administration Virginia Writers Project. The names of the WPA interviewees are Charles Grandy (Norfolk), Matilda Carter (Hampton Roads), and Fannie Nicholson (Hampton Roads).


Blackjacks: African American seamen in the age of sail. Jeffrey L Bolster.


Free Blacks in Norfolk, Virginia, 1790-1860: The Darker Side of Freedom. Tommy L. Bogger.


Slavery and American Sea Power: The Navalist Impulse in the Antebellum South. Matthew J. Karp.


Weevils in the Wheat: Interviews with Virginia Ex-Slaves. Thomas E. Barden and Charles L. Perdue Jr.

Download Episode 1 transcript.

Follow the Repair Lab on Twitter for updates @theRepairLab.

2. Segregating the City
“I’ve only lived where white folks have allowed me to live.”


Historically racist patterns in the housing market are built upon

and replicated by new climate resiliency plans in Norfolk, VA.


Episode 2 takes us from an early hub for Black community in Norfolk to a white neighborhood on the outskirts of town, hostile to Black newcomers. We’ll hear how Norfolk’s Vision2100 document reinforces the dangers that Black residents have endured through de facto and de jure segregation. And, how the government has worked hand in hand with the free market to shore up harmful patterns of segregation.

Quote above from Paul Riddick.


Featuring original research by the Repair Lab.


Learn more about what went down in Coronado at this interactive storymap that details the events.


Featured at the beginning of this episode, “In Their Own Interests” by Earl Lewis is a great history of Black community in Norfolk, VA.


Alease Balmar Brickers’s interview selection is from Duke University’s “Behind the Veil” Oral History Project.


Johnny Finn’s project “Living Together/Living Apart” provides a rich multimedia window into the past and present of racial segregation in the Hampton Roads area.


Explore HOLC’s redlining maps firsthand through the University of Richmond’s “Mapping Inequality” project here. “Mapping Inequality” was co-created by Ladale Winling, who fact-checked the redlining part of this episode.


This episode features the voices of: Eric Hollaway (Earl Lewis, “In Their Own Interests”); Alease Balmar Brickers; Barbara Faison (as the voice of the Journal and Guide); Paul Riddick, former Norfolk City Council member; Johnny Finn, CNU; Cassandra Newby-Alexander, NSU; Kim Sudderth, Practitioner-in-Residence and Norfolk Planning Commissioner; Andria McClellan, Norfolk City Council Member; Jackie Glass, Virginia State Delegate


With support from The Bureau of Investigative Journalism, Music Theory Studios in downtown Norfolk, WTJU, the UVA Race, Religion and Democracy Lab, and the Karsh Institute of Democracy.  

Download Episode 2 transcript.

Follow the Repair Lab on Twitter for updates @theRepairLab.

Ladale Winling on redlining
How are East coast cities complicated by 1930s home loans?


In this short interview, hear how racist and classist redlining policies are

just one example of the American home finance system working

exactly as it’s supposed to.

LaDale Winling is an award winning urban historian and an expert on redlining and housing discrimination.

Explore redlining maps for your city, or any city in the US, on the “Mapping Inequality” project here. This project is one of many by Ladale. See more of his work on his website,

Download interview transcript.

Follow the Repair Lab on Twitter for updates @theRepairLab.

3. The City Displaced
The St Paul’s quadrant in Norfolk, VA, gets redeveloped in the name of resilience,in a historical pattern that disperses residents.


The redevelopment flood-proofs the neighborhood, but it’s not the families who dealt with the construction, the multiple forced moves, or the chronic flooding who get to reap the benefits of the new infrastructure.   

Archival selections via ODU’s Digital Collections and WTKR.


Read coverage on the St Paul’s Transformation Project here, here, here and here.

Watch Soledad O’Brien’s BET feature on the St Paul’s Transformation Project.

More about the gentrification of Ghent in this article.


Here’s a PBS documentary where you can learn more about Section 8 housing choice vouchers.

Download episode transcript.

Follow the Repair Lab on Twitter for updates @theRepairLab.

4. The City Dreams
"What is gonna happen for us –
or to us – with this project?"


April lives in Grandy Village in Norfolk, VA. Her waterfront neighborhood floods a lot, but that’s getting fixed with the Ohio Creek Watershed Project. The project is a dream come true, but the reality is more complicated. 

Archival selections from the Virginia General Assembly and via the City of Norfolk.


Sea-level rise estimates are drawn from a 2017 NOAA report, cited in the 2021 Virginia Coastal Resilience Master Plan.


Read WTKR’s coverage on the Ohio Creek Watershed Project here.


Here is the City of Norfolk’s page on the Ohio Creek Project, and the project’s official website.


Learn more about Wetlands Watch and their work on their website.


Read about sea-level rise and explore maps, projections and impacts at the National Climate Assessment.


Here’s Andrew Kahrl’s work on coastal real estate development in the US.

Download episode transcript.

Follow the Repair Lab on Twitter for updates @theRepairLab.

5. Resilient City
"If we are to save our city,
we're going to have to throw everything at it."


Different approaches to resilience in Norfolk reflect different ideas about what resilience means. Big solutions have big effects, but leave some residents behind. Others aim to fill gaps left behind by the big ones.

Archival selections via the City of Norfolk.


Read the City of Norfolk’s report on the Floodwall Extension Plan here.


Learn about the Environmental Justice Policy Clinic here.

Download episode transcript.

Follow the Repair Lab on Twitter for updates @theRepairLab.

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