schaffer at optonline.net
Tue Feb 17 12:38:38 MST 2004
February 17, 2004
Ohio Town's Water at Last Runs Past a Color Line
By JAMES DAO
ZANESVILLE, Ohio — In January, a strange thing happened when people
along Coal Run Road turned on their taps. Drinking water came out. Not
the sulfur-tinged, bug-infested stuff that collected in their cisterns
or swirled in their wells. Cool, clean,
straight-from-the-pumping-station city water.
The story of how they got that water, and were for years denied it,
seems anachronistic in 21st-century America. But it speaks volumes, the
residents contend, about disparities in living standards that are
related to the color of one's skin.
For years, decades really, residents of the hollow had been asking local
officials to extend water lines down their narrow, twisting roads. Not
enough water pressure, they were told. Too expensive. Too hilly.
Yet just up the hill, not 200 yards away, homeowners have had running
municipal water for years. One new homeowner even installed a hot tub
and routinely sprinkled his lawn, something residents of the hollow
could never do with their 1,000-gallon cisterns, which were constantly
Almost all the people living at the top of the hill are white. Almost
all the people in the hollow are racially mixed: white, black and
American Indian. And it increasingly seemed to residents of the hollow
that this had something to do with their plight.
full at: http://www.nytimes.com/2004/02/17/national/17WATE.html
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