Dating back to the early 1800s, the area has been a residential community for generations of African-American residents who are low-income. The brick company recruited African-Americans from the south to move north to work in the brick plant, and built company housing for the workers and their families. Over the 170 years that the brick plant operated, some workers were able to purchase their homes, while other workers rented their homes from the brick company. When the plant closed down in 1973, company representatives told the remaining renters that they now owned their rented homes, since the company was going out of business. In fact, the titles were never transferred from the company to the families.
To attain better housing, schools, and economic opportunities, many residents have moved away from the neighborhood. White residents of Brickville include persons who are low-income, as well as ministers and lay individuals drawn to the community by their faith to provide solidarity and assistance to the poor. Other White residents include urban pioneers and young professionals with an interest in buying inexpensive, dilapidated homes, and rehabilitating them both to inhabit and sell.