Reliving the Turmoil: Syracuse's 15th Ward

By Students in Reading and Research at Syracuse Academy of Science Charter School

Students create a position on urban renewal and how they say it destroyed a community

The 15th Ward was a neighborhood in Syracuse that held about 90% of the city’s black people in the 1950s and 1960s. The newspapers claimed that the 15th Ward was full of blighted houses and lots of violence. That was mostly not true.

What it was full of, were families that cared about each other and helped each other out. Planning began in 1935 for the I-81 project, but it did not go smoothly.

Neighborhoods were destroyed and riots broke out because of the destruction of the 15th Ward community.

After gathering as much information as we could, we started to form our own opinions on what urban renewal can do to a city. We were presented with an assignment: to assume the voice of an individual living through this social issue. We had to create a clear position on urban renewal and reference specific facts or key points.


Nicolas Salibrici teaches Reading and Research, an elective open to 9th through 12th graders, at Syracuse Academy of Science Charter School located at 1001 Park Ave. Over the past month, students in his classes have conducted research about Urban Renewal and how it affected the city of Syracuse. -- Photo by Ashley Kang

Below are some of our student perspectives on this local, historical issue.