Local issues State issues

The Hillcrest neighborhood fought racist highway development to preserve its history. Now its residents are telling their story.

In Corpus Christi, the Hillcrest neighborhood has hosted generations of families who have built community and created history for more than a century, dating back to the 1800s. However, similar to far too many communities of color across our nation, the development of highways starting in the 1950s threatened to destroy that history and community, with little to no input from residents. The addition of the Harbor Bridge project in the 2000s and 2010s that would bypass the area entirely, leaving only industry as their neighbor, seemed to be a death knell for Hillcrest.

In this case, however, residents decided to organize and fight back as a collective group called the Hillcrest Citizens Alliance for Fairness and Progress.

Now partnering with Texas RioGrande Legal Aid, they are telling the world what happened straight from the primary source in a new Storymap entitled “The Hillcrest Documentation Project.”

Using videos, photography, original documents, and more, we are let into a beautiful community that has taken on attacks from industry and state development which cut right through the heart of Hillcrest, displacing the residents with little options. But through the power of organizing and filing a civil rights complaint, they created far more by themselves than what they were offered.

Hillcrest is a community that had long faced adversity, battling issues like highway development and environmental injustices for decades. Yet it still managed to thrive. The Harbor Bridge project would be a large step backward; it assured to erode further a community which needed to be heard and resourced, not dissected and starved. But when the powers that be would not hear you, it was up to a community to come together and amplify their voices all at once.

Visit The Hillcrest Documentation Project to learn more about what this inspiring and captivating community has done so far, and how much work remains on the horizon.

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