I’ve been reading Rick Perlstein’s Nixonland for some time now. What has especially stood out to me in my reading of that book has been Perlstein’s discussion of the inner-cities, where there were riots.
The inner-cities had problems, to put it mildly. The housing was old and dilapidated. Unemployment was high. And African-Americans could not really move out of the inner-cities to someplace else on account of racial discrimination. According to Perlstein’s narration, anti-discrimination laws and government programs were not sufficiently ameliorating these problems. Moreover, I recall reading in other books that businesses were reluctant to set up shop in the inner-cities, due to apprehensions about crime. Imagine being trapped, with no way to move up and out of one’s predicament. That’s what I imagine it was like for a number of African-Americans who lived in the inner-cities. It may still be like that. (I speak here from my limited knowledge and experience.)
One of the Democratic candidates for President in 1968—-it may have been Eugene McCarthy—-proposed mass transit as a way to give African-Americans in the inner-city mobility so that they can find work in other areas. That sounds to me like a good idea.