Slavery, segregation, discrimination, and the struggle for equality have defined the African American experience in Baltimore. At the start of the Civil War, Baltimore had 25,680 free blacks-more than any other U.S. city-and only 2,218 slaves. Over the next century, blacks increasingly were confined to residences near the city center, where many lived in substandard housing and competed with European immigrants for jobs as domestics or laborers. Restaurants, schools, and other facilities were segregated until the mid-1900s. The NAACP, CORE, and other groups pressed for fair housing and other civil rights. By the 1960s African Americans had gained new housing opportunities on both sides of the Gwynns Falls.