Video: Racism in America: Small Town 1950s Case Study Documentary Film
this is levittown pennsylvania a new suburban community up sixty thousand people midway between philadelphia and trenton new jersey with his talents shopping center winding lanes nine purple hours and trees it is fairly typical of communities all over america where families are pursuing the american dream to give their children a better chance in life medical counters or people of modest means nearly all our young people a large proportion of reference varaku social agencies and while many religious groups have established churches they have not yet had time enough to develop programs to adequately serve the community most led the counters are proud and happy and then you environment for many it is the first house of their own and it represents a major financial investment socializes mainly confined to visits with the neighbors okays leather community-wide events but fewer yet for most residents to become a bit of died but the broader aspects of community living letdown was built by one man for whom it is name like many commuter developers he set the initial policy and provided a minimum of essential services when the houses were sold naturally he withdrew its own slender resources in august nineteen fifty-seven levittown pennsylvania attracted international attention when violence erupted and as william myers junior and his family moved in with three bedroom house adaptability and beat green lines it almost all respect to the marriage family is close to the letter paramore they have three small children youngest only one month old myers service and a half years in the army miscarriages baths are doing you worked at the laboratory technician and this begging for a degree has an electrical engineer his wife daisy is a college graduate admired home is modestly burnished and they're like by the family car was bought one parent they're very close levittown norm except in one respect william myers junior and his family heart negroes him involved white community levittown reacted in a number of ways to the new arrivals there were several hundred who congregated on the street in front of the meyers house and there were those among them who felt strongly enough to throw a rock through the picture web but there was another of large group who were repelled by this kind of behavior and organize to help levittown except its first negro neighbors the vast majority of levittown ours went peacefully about their daily activities but in the stores and that the school's and on the front loans levitt counters discussed the matter well i first read a small article newspaper in its first our family and in this community and um.
.. following i am where the engineer on the radio and reading the newspaper that there was some disturbance around this home at the same people had thought what was your day michell reaction always terribly shocked to find it there were people in this community would be so violently opposed to it bratislava had only just accept it as i know was the community prepared to many wait for the entrance of the first big group family in the world wide levittown well there was an attempt by uh… i'll group of ministers who formed a group called a human relations council and they were just getting started on their work i don't know how they expected altimetry accomplish a purpose of educating everyone that i know that they had a an open forum one time and uh..
. just within the last year four months and results other were published in the paper do you feel it was a bad b not really the drop in the pockets and not very many people even read or where they are the color of the meeting that preceded it although there have been a little interest in the formation of a human relations council some weeks before the mars became the main topic of conversation for the people of levittown within a few hours of their arrival in the absence of facts and the start date of information on a situation like this rumor and gossip sweep through the community as the stories passed from one person to another because hardly anybody knows the truth what everybody assumed becomes the fact all i have lots of though as i was busy telling people out of the lead hat but karen well i think they spotted cheaply i mean people presented after they heard it surrender needed a wreath at hearing that there are some outside group had deliberately moved these people in but they were sponsored a paid by an outside group to do this very thing and uh.
.. i had been stolen but are you that wasn't true at all and uh… so i told people that atlas do you feel that understanding the facts of the situation will help so you decide to i'm sure that uh… more reasonable attitude is going to prevail in this community and have great faith in the people here and that they live we'll soon find that there is no need for a time some cubans have been coming and indicate acceptance of the back but for others the myers moving into levittown constitutes an infringement of their own liberties and under the impact of this situation they react with anger and force but they say he reveals their deepest fears and frustrations why did you select levittown philip we were looking for a place to buy a home we looked at level town we'd like to homes here we liked the advantages of levittown seemed to offer a handout comparison to other cities and we understood that was going to be all right we're very happy to buy a home here about your children have you come up with them about marriage we have tried to keep other discussions away from the children uh.
.. i figured i i feel that something that we had options solve about bringing each other kind of any more than we have to wear doing it for their children but i don't feel that they are all you have to understand the problem incidents do you think of negro family moving here will affect the community as a whole definitely in what way i think that while the properly that is what i mean did it go down here they're allowed to moving here and a number can you give a basis for that judgment yes we used to live in washington d_c_ we saw very good example of that there repetition of an experience that would be grateful is there to be no escape from living near negroes and part of the dream of middle-class respectability if the negro family can't afford what you can forward how do you justify your feeling of superiority the illogic of one's own position becomes apparent and instead of just a case in the old travel myths are involved what other objections aside from the federal property values do you have against america the whole thing centers around at work integration well mister myers said because has promised that anything but peaceful since you again he's got three children and uh…
evidently he philosophy or be accepted socially and uh… i don't feel that they ever will be but the hall of trouble with this integration business deals that day and the amt at probably well end up with what makes it socially and you will have i concur anal sex marriages in becoming people with a white but the only way they buy into that despite education and by bettering themselves not by pushing in the way they have here do you intend to move at the time now that's not very impossible situation we have we have our home here and if the cardinal going on and run realistic that is down there a lot of us the g_i_s particularly who are going to be wallace welfare moms as the lines are drawn those on either side become more adamant pension develops and feeds on suspicion and mistrust but has been the effect of the mars coming here well it's it's created a great deal of attention laptop from neighbors because we all feel the site but uh.
.. it's actually machine everyone ten summer home i mean this test is affecting our homes and uh… it's bound to create tension it's the subject just talked about all the time but there are others who are part of the matter is yes i cared about him for palm trees and do you think do they support the mariners frankly i don't know what reasons they come up for it if there are marcyle at that time i don't think what reasons they can have four do you think minds will be able to live here comfortably comfortable what course of action are you going to follow i'll do what i can object help to get them out legally and peacefully and as far as accepting them socially that's a charming act to take sides in such a situation is more than a matter of one's own country firemen believes becomes a subject for community-based for those who believe a man has a right to live anywhere he wishes answers are simple and straightforward has this affected your relationship with neighbors in all week disgusted freely and people for anything and that we've tried to keep depicting the stack that was the important thing have you heard any rumor many nammal i'll call repeat them because i think you'd like to repeat rumors and i don't think it's there to keep them allowed do you think rumors contributed to the reaction of those opposing the marriage shirley dead uh.
.. we had some very interested citizens here who left pledged themselves to a fact-finding pro-family tryptophan i'll those rumors as quickly as they were started by fax do you think the marriage will be able to live comfortably in levittown i think that i helped out i think majority of people here will allow grow accustomed to lead and i realized that old they are for the weekend the good neighborhoods which i'm sure they are i think the majority of people here or not but the violent uh… well violent group that we have heard so much of that do you think the marriage then let it be a little bit property values uh… i don't think that the miners had anything to do a little town property decreasing or increasing i think if purely a white problem money ground brown in what way i think it is the feeling of uh… drying croak which will influence the property not the minority group those who want an integrated community take their spam based on their own v feelings are part of a community should be do you feel that the marriage will lead to a large numbers of other to growth coming here from now i don't think that i pain uh.
.. there will be are probably a normal odd entrance and but might be a little time people who want the harmful come here it's not um… what people think that bad hoping flock won't be any that's paying namphy in normal how health and that point i would like to see integrative group here and i would like to see well my child and i hope my children go to and live in a group that is representative of the world not being integrated garbage they did not now representative of employed we pulled back the removal of that that the um… and secure the problem is eventually when you'll find that there are no more area to which a white person can move without having negro family and all that would be beat the best uh… and that there could be to uh.
.. degradation and it's probably something that will happen in future perhaps the near future for someone answered it's tremendously complicated adept at the maze of past associations and presently employed sometimes opinions are expressed with great misgivings and a sense of guilt the past slips through despite what they say it being poor american be difficult if one's background rejects this decision in fact ob the people aren't dampening late and gration they had child my children that they have to married and my job doesn't even know what and he came back from the fan any and and and they have found out there trying in binding hampton a return address and i think they're in handling all the fear that you like i mean if if you can merrick new so maybe you wish by the way we both seem to be from below the mason-dixon line of where you bro acount in kentucky at you know maybe negroes report you came to lead the payroll my father hate david and area where there were several college people and active i think they don't want my best friends with the proper role at children have no prejudice we became very close friends and later years she had become a registered nurse in trying very hard here that major chilean acclaim atmosphere and we have talked nap in two thousand and mary anne got to get the banks they hire killed and jackie grow out help me and atmosphere that they have to live in a personal relationship and separately within the group was trying to improve ur circumstances seems to make a difference i'll uh.
.. down uh… colored people that i have enjoyed their friendship i would not let that determine whether i've become friends with them by the caller uh… others have you heard any rumors i had heard several write-up which then naked and taken and rumors go the one that bothered me most about the fact that the mask family can't move the ends this terrible all-white sections and trying to be the first family canadian to stock he other ones economy if they had done it before i believe that if they didn't come here kickoff trouble than i am against what they're doing defensible played a game trying to find them hopefully i think that i had two children behind for them there are those who live in levittown who like it and couldn't stay they have no intention of according the same privileges to the mother some of them quite a bit more comfortable to talk in the group you're aware that a negro family has moved into levittown i heard about it what was your reaction dynamite dynamite people but have you done about it well love i guess we just discussed it how do you feel about the merit moving you know monitoring definitely again that before coming to levittown did you have any contact with me grow while only hiking on the floor plan or we can have any colors people and at that time i had might have no feelings either way while we're waiting for our house to be dealt with the chapter nine and uh.
.. why was my first contact with them often work in going through college section to work and i was very happy i was moving into an all-white community have you ever discussed the merits of whole with your children never need for any house what anything mentioned power are cannot about colored people because i fieldset they have to wedge be in contact with them swiss technic and why should that ninety prejudice i think they have moved here at that very relaxed and and karla faye the fact that killed if like the idea they were uh… their work on children and before mike unattended left here for the first time and he often came home and fed there had been travel between them during the day yet it becomes convenient to exaggerate forms or fears and to help a neighbor increased her my boy it he likes ortiz it down there every saturday through the voice from the neighborhood and uh… k there was an argument occurred something realtor by four and a colorful it's not an argument well from that time mourned for the whole remainder of the summer before i was afraid to get down there because the cardboard scott at getting together and every time they would get airline to me that we think the gravel at i went to the principal everything about it a major factor is fear fear of economic loss loss of status fear of violence and fear up intermarriage do you think other negro families will come to levittown definitely f what do you think will happen well i a m just what's happening already don't have a spirit of the crater where they have to uh.
.. school teachers and that we can so that's just a good example of what is going to happen what's wrong with that i do not like uh… have that two daughters and two sons and if there's too many colored people are and i definitely will get out and i think it might i don't worry fascinating with colored people well i'm very definitely influx magnet math eventually what it's going to come to know if children are eight together they're not going to think of anything a mang together mein kampf inside and i don't feel that they should be a track all moved one of them raising wud be proud to have myself quite communities and that they aren't quite frankly and event actaully live account i've not been bout for some leftovers the basic issues involved had nothing to do with intermarriage our property values loss of status fear of crime neighborhood declined are being in the minority they saw it as a test of democracy what was your reaction to the marriage moving in while i was happy to see this become more than american community there seems to be a large group opposed to the march what would be your attitude toward them or the rhodes uh.
.. i don't know if they're a large groups of people possible mild after all we have some i don't know i just close to sixty thousand people out of town those model never more than five of six hundred if you go about a shopping center not but i'm also he was in ten thousand people for shopping center waali rose will follow up with calls from our moving inland engaging in what they were engaging in you don't think they have a better large majorities against america moving near wolf lodge forty one oh from the immediate neighbors right here before the marveling at how wouldn't positive castro what the proportionality i welcome the my laptop cooper force of the post also i don't think that's the main issue involved in this case anyway what is the mainly when issues are out of these people to look like america of issues with mixed up with a good neighbors but are you going to do about it clinton to try to be a good man you feel that the marriage coming to lead the payroll who will lead to a large numbers of other key groups coming here i don't know do you think the mars will be able to live here comfortably i think i'll put a little time but they will cancel have you heard any rumors about the matter fault dozens and dozens of romance but parenting all that is being paid by the in a city of that uh.
.. rats were behind it that the jews were beyond a doubt this group of that group was behind it they were all kinds of relative some of them were pinched by the laboratory summers as a result of this period there's all kinds of malicious brunner source are ridiculous you know you could see how people picks up the looks in the atmosphere is our people did accept them spread them but course do you think the future of levittown will pay well i'll tell you i don't like eleven thousand and i won't spoil the u_s_a_ and i think it's going to provide for us for this country specifically in levittown as elsewhere in america there are those who believe that the rights and privileges of citizenship longer all regardless of their race or color or creed and there are those who believed in equality too but in a somewhat more limited six in my business whoever's got money and has put credit i want to pay cash to buy a car that has no discrimination color religion or any part of that sort has the coming of the myers affected your homework personally my whole life that has no effect nothing whatsoever but on the neighbors they have a right because the average white person whether the levittown has born five children volatile put it this way if the levittown is migrated in hordes of negroes which they have a right to come here but it is something that happens that way pretty sold mine able be avenue negro son-in-law arava daughter-in-law how about what wasn't marked within his rights as a citizen to move wherever you please well let's put it this way mister meyerson allah negroes have at right time go better than them they're as good as i am they can go anywhere they want i mean they have a right god given rights in their and being a good american-arab the rights of the civil rights they have the right to pursuit of happiness but by the same token we have uh.
.. mixed community standards of proven fact that those mics communities are over a third empty he could have stayed there he had a beautiful home they are the only reason that mister myers came into levittown is to show people they could get he actually was in anyone to come to levittown from my personal opinion is this there is something bigger behind this is that your personal opinion only parts of the pack no i say it's a fact and i would tell antibody and i mean at barton nobody i would tell them in a meeting including at the gentlemen at this uh… the head of this uh… committee for bring in mister marty i felt him when did you first hear america moving here i had to have i missed a lot of jolla seven that popular story what does that utility meant dishwasher i don't always want to be a part time job but i've seen in their seven in the morning till night at night and if it was that it was an engineer where did you hear that's why i heard it from the waitresses and net they asked me did you see a new neighbors and i can make jet discuss that the public what did you do i didn't do anything there you have it an american community constantly in a moment the press neighbor set against neighbor as they differ or what should be done about one week grow and his family who have come to share with them the american dream of a better way of life for their children many seem convinced that property values must be crime when a community our neighborhood becomes integrated but studies which have been made prove the opposite to be true property values go up provided there is no wave of panic selling and even when there is pain actors situation has stabilized prices climb back and frequently go even higher than they were when initial sale to a negro was made soviet aggression of negroes and the white community result in a higher rate of crime violence or juvenile delinquency not at all negroes living in predominantly white communities joel or incidents of crime than average for the general population is intermarriage the ultimate goal of negroes in seeking to integrate into previously quite communities the studies show that of all the reasons negroes have for seeking equality of opportunity intermarriage is the least and of all the fears that whites expressed this is the great negroes ego with the right to buy or rent the kind of housing only open market which they can afford this basic principle of the free enterprise system of which were justly proud is now denied to them in many communities the exclusion of negroes from white communities and their restrictions only grow neighborhoods fixes negative ideas about them witcher carried over from generation to generation these false notions cause the abandonment by the black population a large areas within our great cities at tremendous cost of the nation aided by a prosperous postwar economy negroes have held fast to their wartime gains and that's not to improve their lot in life advances against discrimination have been made in many fields a new n much larger negro middle class has grown up able ambitions and confident these families are determined to leave the old densely packed segregated neighborhoods and they are economically able to do it they have the money to buy their way out of the slow what happened in levittown was merely the beginning apart is to follow in communities all over the country during the next few years as negroes like all other americans get better education better jobs and accumulate more state and we prepare our communities to receive these new neighbors indignity m_p_s or when we record communities with violence and abandon them impact this is the challenge posed for us as levittown or sum it up for themselves i don't think you can take the middle of the stadium here for the war against them highest-ranking at and for forty non-violent then knowing cavitation provided adam had any prejudice said and collard except that i would like to have what happened that way we would academically at any other native shielded from the clinton and speak to them and it was bad heartworm correct to lived in the community negroes would be living fallible what you're looking for him belief that named and hopefully to find the leak coordinator if not wind with collar is white or black tights with a good fit if in fact but the market all immigrants out it right now i know better than them they're as good as i am but the only reason to mister myers came into levittown is to show people they could get here haha i just feel that within their legal rights to move in here they move in or buying something that i have no complaints ever more power and al and can move and that account at bank accout downhill i don't think it from minors awful for people who property decreasing or increasing purely a quite crop up nodding crap crap rendition of the right of these people to look like america of issues breaks up with is a good neighbors.