A Black community blossomed in Arizona and then was choked by industrial development

By Joshua Bowling | AZ Central

Mary Turner grew up in Randolph when the Arizona community was even more remote than it is now. She worked summer jobs in the cotton fields and learned how to drive on the dirt roads.

Many of those roads — King Street, Malcolm X Street, Kennedy Street, Carmichael Street — bear the names of Americans tied to the civil rights movement.

Randolph was a largely Black community that grew from the 1920s through the 1960s as families increasingly moved West from the South and the Midwest. The community in Pinal County never incorporated as a city or town. Instead, it remains a small, unincorporated area southeast of Phoenix, surrounded by Coolidge, Casa Grande, Florence and Eloy.

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