GHETTO The term ghetto is derived from the Italian ghetto, which originally meant "foundry." In 1516, officials of Venice, Italy, created a restricted area for the city's Jewish population. Since this area was once the location of a cannon foundry or ghetto, the term ghetto itself was thereafter used to describe Venice's Jewish quarter. Similarly, other Italian cities began restricting Jews to small innercity enclaves which, following the Venetian example, were also called ghettos. Hence, usage of the term in Europe and, later, the United States was generally reserved to those innercity areas restricted to Jews. Modern usage of the term, however, has been broadened to include any section of a city in which large numbers of a minority group live or to which they are confined as the result of economic, political or social discrimination and pressure.
As a result of the twentieth century migration of rural American blacks to the cities of the South and North, and white resistance to integration, the term "ghetto" in the United States is most commonly used to refer to those innercity areas in which blacks are confined or "locked-in" because of socio-economic discrimination. See also: KERNER REPORT.