The River Street Neighborhood was the oldest and largest African American community in Boise, Idaho. Growing up as one of the few African Americans in Boise, I can remember learning that this neighborhood was “our place”. It was where “we” used to live before the town’s segregated housing codes ended as a result of the Civil Rights crusade of the 1960s. While a few African Americans remained in the neighborhood, the vast majority of us left during the 1970s. The neighborhood was a multi-ethnic enclave and the black population was only a few black families; however, River Street was the largest black neighborhood in Boise for most of the twentieth century.
I have always wondered about the role the neighborhood played in the formation and history of our community. I have also wondered how the dissolution of this neighborhood has affected Boise’s African Americans since the late 1960s. There are several routes that can be taken in order to answer these questions. This website is one large step; however, historical archaeological investigations can add artifacts and archaeological data to what is known about the River Street Neighborhood.
Collecting additional oral history interviews and digitizing archival data for this website is definitely something that will continue well into the foreseeable future. Please contact me if you would like to contribute to this project.
Public Archaeology Project at the Erma Hayman
In 2015,the CCDC gave the go-ahead to conduct an archaeological field school in the River Street Neighborhood. The field school will be administered by the University of Idaho’s Department of Sociology and Anthropology. Click Here if you want to know more about the upcoming archaeological excavations in the River Street Neighborhood.
If you’d like to know more about the project in general, please Contact Me.