Four weeks ago, a nonpartisan research group in Washington, D.C., released a national report with stunning local conclusions: In the past 40 years, every black neighborhood in Buffalo has stayed poor or grown poorer.

The findings drew little attention at the time, in the midst of both the Covid-19 pandemic and its accompanying economic collapse. But in the month since, many of the neighborhoods identified as “persistently poor” in the report have exploded into protests – and observers in Buffalo’s black community say that’s no coincidence.

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Persistent Poverty

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