Crisis in Levittown, PA
In the years following the Second World War, millions of Americans relocated to the suburbs. This was easily enabled by the generous grants provided to building contractors, the GI Bill cheap loans, and a Fair Housing law which was forcing down the values of properties in urban areas in case the minorities were staying there. The end result was the all-white suburbs witnesses in television sitcoms during the 1950s and 1960s. These places were hygienic, trimmed, happy–and almost solely white, even by the way it was designed.
Even though there existed no law that barred blacks from living in the suburbs, their entry would frequently cause harassment and unrest. This was mostly because of fears that the minority ownership would decrease values of properties. In fact, the manual of the Federal Housing Authority openly placed a red line or simply devalued the families of the minorities in suburban areas up to 1966.
In August 1957, the Myers family, a black family belonging to the middle-class which was no different from any other suburban families, relocated into Levittown, Pennsylvania, a newly planned suburban development located just outside Philadelphia. Together with his sons, Levitt designed the very first Levittown on Long Island in 1952. This was to be the second of the very many projected done. The development project was designed with an unwritten proviso that will see them remain completely white.
Levittown was opened to the veterans of the Second World War and their new families. This significantly changed the face of suburbs for it turned to be a place inhabited mainly by the upper-middle class and the rich. Levittown was an completely a new kind of community- vast, similar strip of houses with no tradition, no industry, and no centre. Planners and sociologists pronounced it a suburban slum in the making. Even so, the original inhabitants of Levittown ignored their predictions and thrived.
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The Myers would then undergo harassment, snubs, and threats, and many more simply because of fear and prejudice. A related pattern occurred in “Levittowns” across America. In 1963, it was the turn of the Levittown, New York to integrate. This integration would saw them enduring the same painful results.
The film Crisis in Levittown, PA is the 1957 documentary depicting the Levittown affair. It demonstrates the showdown between the citizens of Levittown and their black neighbours. This showdown required an intervention by the authorities of the state. The Myers formed part of a symbol of resistance in the civil rights movement. For instance, Daisy Parks was celebrated as the “Rosa Parks of the North.”
Crisis in Levittown, PA is a film that shows in a great way that the way “up” was not open to many individuals. The reasons given to this fact were both official and unofficial.
However, 40 years from its establishment, Levittown is missing its raison d’etre and the original spirit. The community that was at the forefront in providing the solution to the housing crisis of the great postwar joined the ranks of exclusionary suburbs in the middle age. Even though Levittown residents are still struggling to overcome the limitations of the Levitt’s vision, many other individuals purport that Levittown offers totally zero solution to the today’s housing crisis. for instance, the cost levied on a two-bedroom Cape Cod or a ranch on 60 times 100 feet was designed to be afforded since buyers only needed to part with $6,990 monthly and mortgages of $65 which were federally subsidized. Today the amount has escalated to $125,000 due to increased taxes.
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