By WILLIAM M. HARTNETT and MOLLY HENNESSY-FISKE
Palm Beach Post Staff Writers
Lillie Knight and Marcy Proano work at the same school in northwest Fort Pierce.
Knight is black, a media aide at C.A. Moore Elementary.
Proano is white, a speech therapist.
At the end of the day, Knight heads to her nearby home at 18th Street and Avenue O, a part of town where blacks comprise nearly 90 percent of the population.
Home for Proano is Port St. Lucie, a city where four out of five residents are white. She, too, once lived in Fort Pierce, but crime drove her out.
Knight knows the feeling. The 59-year-old Fort Pierce native feels safe enough to have stayed in the area for more than 40 years. But she discouraged her son, an investment consultant, from moving back from Orlando. Instead, she’s considering a move of her own.
“After he’s gone to school, there was nothing for him here,” Knight said.
Knight and Proano, co-workers of different races who live in neighborhoods that mirror the color of their skin, reflect a demographic trend throughout the country and across the Treasure Coast.
While in many ways segregation is considered a social relic, a computer analysis by The Palm Beach Post of census data from the past 20 years indicates that it has been prematurely eulogized. A surprising number of blacks and whites still live largely isolated from each other in neighborhoods that bear little resemblance to one another.