In the 1940s and 50s, the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) intentionally integrated public housing projects. They did it quietly in order to avoid opposition. Nicholas Dagen Bloom has written about this in Public Housing that Worked. I’d like to write an article about the people behind these efforts — and the documents I found in the NYCHA archives at LaGuardia, but meanwhile, here are a few items (above).
Brief description of each slide:
01-Julia Waxman (Julius Rosenwald Fund) letter to NYCHA. How have you succeeded in integrating public housing?
02-Gerard Butler of NYCHA responds to Julia Waxman at the Rosenwald Fund to say racial integration hasn’t caused any extraordinary or unsolvable problems
03-Angry Kingsborough NYCHA tenant writes to mayor to complain of mixed-race housing in 1941
04-Mayor LaGuardia forwards the Kingsborough letter to NYCHA for comment
05-F.M. Didisheim of NYCHA responds to Mayor LaGuardia explaining that there has been no trouble whatsoever thus far on the racial score.
06-In 1945, NYCHA responds to a NY Amsterdam News article accusing NYCHA of racial segregation. There is no segregation by building or by floor, NYCHA says.
Also see Selena Blake’s terrific documentary, Queensbridge, The Other Side.
The top photo comes from the NYCHA Photo collection at the LaGuardia-Wagner archives.