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View Diary: I just realized I starred in a racist school program 50 years ago (103 comments)

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  •  I can only tell you a little of my story (11+ / 0-)

    My parents moved into the blockbusted Weequahic neighborhood of Newark NJ in 1960 so that my brother and I could have more experience of the real world than we had been getting in a lily-white suburb, East Orange. Unfortunately, our half-White, half-Black school was in no sense integrated.

    You can find out much more than I have time or ability to tell you about what happened there afterward in the DVD Heart of Stone, named after Principal Ron Stone.

    It doesn't get into the fate of the local Native Americans who named the area, however, and who were in my time long, long gone. That will have to be a story for another time.

    America—We built that!

    by Mokurai on Sun Dec 09, 2012 at 12:49:25 AM PST

    •  For a time, about a dozen or so years ago, (9+ / 0-)

      I lived in an apartment in Montclair. There was a guy who lived down the street who used to chat with me every time we passed one another. Eventually, he asked where my parents were from. I said, "Paterson." Then when he asked what area I said that my mother came from South Paterson and my father came from the Totowa section. He said, "My family was the first black family to move into the Totowa section."

      Wow, I just wrote that and realized that if you're not from that area of New Jersey and over a certain age you probably have only a vague idea what I'm describing. But if you're from Newark, you probably do. I remember reading Goodbye, Columbus in high school and we all had a good laugh over the references to various locations which were all nearby.

    •  Northern NJ is tribal territory (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ladybug53, Powell

      I lived in North Newark/Belleville for years and watched the last of the Italians making way for the Latinos.... and the Puerto Ricans coming to grips with the Central and South Americans

      now, East Orange is the most Ghanaian city in North America.

      and the city fathers, with Cory Booker in the lead, are doing all they can to bring white folks into downtown

      Honestly, who wants to live in downtown Newark? It has great transportation, but no parks or open space, and it's just not pretty.

      Meanwhile, the neighborhoods are neglected.  Weequhaic, Down Neck,  Forest Hill, Vailsburt are shadows of what they could be.

      It's not a fake orgasm; it's a real yawn.

      by sayitaintso on Sun Dec 09, 2012 at 06:31:46 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  My grandmother (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Powell

        (born in the 1890s) used to tell us about when Newark was the nice, desirable place to go to shop.

        •  I remember going to Newark as a kid tagging (0+ / 0-)

          along with my mother & grandmother on shopping trips before the malls started to get built in Short Hills, etc. -- this was in the early '50's (e.g., when Philip Roth was growing up in the suburbs).  I think 4 things killed Newark:

          1. New Jersey's crazy tax laws, which made it difficult for Newark to invest in itself;

          2. The mob & its corrosive corruption (e.g., by the late '60's my father, who was an electrical industry manufacturer's rep, couldn't do any business in Newark because so many of the electrical contractors and distributors were mob-controlled; my wife's uncle best childhood buddy was Hugh Addonizio, mayor of Newark, who went to jail around 1970;  my best friend's father almost went to jail because he was corporation counsel for someone he thought was straight but turned out to be mob-controlled; I could go on -- suffice it say that the Sopranos gave me PTSD);

          3. Massive building in the suburbs & thus shifting of population there -- e.g.,  half of my friends in grammar school in the '50's lived in houses built since WWII;

          4. The '67 riots, which were not just massively destructive of housing & infrastructure but accelerated "white flight."

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