Once a strategically important city at the juncture of the Ohio and Mississippi rivers, Cairo, Illinois is in terminal decline after decades of racial turbulence.
Spurred on by an impromptu excursion to photograph a collapsed bridge in western Kentucky, I decided to visit a part of the state that I had not yet fully explored. From Owensboro to Paducah, from the isolated Land Between the Lakes to dense streetscapes, I toured the back roads in hopes of finding something new to write about and to photograph. Then, I came across Cairo, Illinois. What the hell happened here?
After a recent drive through Cairo, Illinois (article forthcoming), and seeing the effects of decades of racial segregation and violence, and then economic decline and population loss, I wondered what other major and minor cities in the United States has experienced such steep and dramatic losses? Besides Cairo, Detroit and Wheeling, I asked my Facebook readers of other examples.