Gentrification: British sociologist Ruth Glass coined the word in 1964 to describe the displacement of the working class by the middle and upper classes in postwar London.

For Glass, gentrification was a direct result of British class struggles, where the affluent class or “gentry” moved into urban areas and fixed up old and deteriorating homes and businesses. Gradually, the original residents were pushed out by higher rents, property values, prices and taxes.

In the U.S. in 1964, the suburbs were king. But by the late 1970s, groups of suburbanites wanted to return to urban areas, seeking out opportunities only found in cities. These urban areas had suffered from years of neglect and lack of business investment. While the process brought new opportunities for the area, it also brought problems to the long-term residents.

Our cover story, “Southern Discomfort,” by contributing editor Glenn Cook, looks at how the current gentrification wave is affecting Durham, North Carolina. The historic city played an important role right after the Civil War, where African-Americans carved out their own neighborhoods. It also is the site of several pivotal events during the Civil Rights era.

Whether you view gentrification as positive or negative depends on who you are and where you live. For the Durham Public Schools, the process offers the promise of a revitalized tax base. However, when the state’s charter school policies are considered, the influx of residents could mean even fewer resources for schools and students.

This is our annual security issue, so be sure to read “School Security Balance,” by Associate Editor Michelle Healy, and our other security-related articles.

As always, I welcome your comments and suggestions.

Until next issue...

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