North Richmond, California
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In the early 20th Century Italian-Americans populated North Richmond. After World War II, many Blacks moved out west from the South and Midwest to support the war effort in the manufacturing sector, including Richmond's shipyards. Many of theses people moved into North Richmond and to this day most of the residents are of Black descent. Since then the area became known as the, "Ghetto of North Richmond," by the denizens themsleves. Today maintains the label as being, The Ghetto, due to its high crime and poor residents. Since the 1970s Latinos, especially Mexicans have moved into the area, and more recently Asian immigrants. The area has high-crime and high unemployment and underemployment.
The West Contra Costa Housing Authority of Contra Costa County is located in North Richmond, due to the fact that many people live in housing projects here and live on Section 8 assistance. North Richmond is served by the Contra Costa County Sheriff.
Sports especially Baseball and Basketball are important activities in the neighborhood, especially for young men, they play baseball at the North Richmond Ballfield Complex and Shields-Reid Park. Baseball has been a tradition here and has been played joyfully by the residents for decades. The Hyphy movement of Vallejo and Oakland resonates in this community, especially with young people who many of which are aspiring rappers and singers. Hip hop, Rap, and R&B music, like with many African American strongholds is the pillar of young peoples community here.
The town is has a reputation as being extremely dangerous. It is often vilified in the media arguably with justification, as its citizens are often the victims or perpetrators of gang violence, shoot outs, and drive by shootings. This is one of the main reasons for it making the evening news. Drug dealing is a common crime, as is drug possession. Many criminals live in North Richmond, such as drug dealers, notable those who sell Marijauna. Many Richmond Sex workers which make very little money, live in the town.
Faith is very important to many residents, especially the African American majority which maintains a strong Christian faith of varying denominations. The local pastors and reverends have considerable influence amongst the populace, especially the older adults and seniors. There are several churches.
North Richmond is next to the Chevron Oil Refinary in Richmond, the public health risk associated with burn off and chemical spills especially of sulfur trioxide are major concerns for the entire area. There is a community warning system of loud sirens, similar to those that warn of an impending bombing campaign, that warn people to, "Shelter, Shut, and Listen," every time there is a chemical spill. The Richmond dump is also in a tiny strip of Richmond that runs through the town.
Although North Richmond has a notorious reputation of crime and prostitution, with plenty of justification, North Richmond has a dynamic industrial history. The community is home to many farms and greenhouses. When riding along the Richmond Parkway thousands of flowers are visible from the expressway in and surrounding greenhouses. An important industry in this town is Action Recycling; which collects bottles and cans from residents in exchange for money for each unit.
A Native American tribe, the Scotts Valley Band of Pomo Indians of Lake County, has proposed a casino on a 28 acre site which they have purchased. Some local clergy have expressed feelings of disconcertion, the impoverished community has generally welcomed the project as a good revenue source. One of the sticking points that has won over many residents is outreach by the tribe. This outreach has especially focused on comparing their people's struggle to that of Black people's.
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Last updated: 08/20/06.