America has long been an incubator for Utopian experiments, the husks of which are littered throughout the country. Among them is Soul City, in rural North Carolina. It was conceived in 1969 by Floyd McKissick, a civil-rights maverick who viewed economic empowerment as the most viable means for uplifting Black people. McKissick saw Soul City as a chance to not only champion “Black capitalism,” but also as an opportunity to eradicate the social ills plaguing overpopulated urban areas.
If it had succeeded, Soul City might have served as a blueprint for future cities. Instead, after a decade, it went bankrupt.