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remain fairly continuous throughout these four decades, especially as far as housing was concerned.Only in the mid-s did staff begin lobbying on behalf of a broader constituency. Appeals staff made to those who lived in public or rented accommodation provide one indication of the shifts that took place in the branch’s housing policy between the s and the mid-s. While the greater emphasis the branch placed on public accommodation owed much to the economic downturn, and subsequent change of personnel on the branch’s executive committee, it was a change of emphasis only confirmed when the arrival of tens of thousands of southern migrants fully exposed the city’s lack of integrated public accommodation. While branch officials had led tenant strikes in the Mount Pleasant area of the city in the summer of , it was the proliferation of such collective cases in the s that encouraged the branch to focus less on individual plaintiffs than the structural causes of residential segregation.45 Educated by their experiences dealing with the U.S. Housing Authority, branch members stopped locating discrimination as the outcome of individual events (for example, a prejudiced landlord who refused to rent to a black tenant), and instead acted on the premise that such conditions were the consequences of urban planning (for example, a bank’s policy of redlining).46 If unscrupulous landlords and white homeowners’ associations dominated the branch’s housing strategy from  to late , then federal and municipal authorities (and, to a lesser degree, and detrimentally ,realty associations) did so between the early s and s. This transition was made most vigorously in the branch’s wartime activism. When the House of Representatives baulked at the government ’s initial attempt to pass the Lanham Defense Housing Bill in late , it was officials from the Cleveland branch who began an intrepid letter-writing campaign to amend the act. “If the bill is passed in its present form,”their petition read,“Negroes will not get the protection in these new housing projects that they have received in the past under the USHA.”47 Continuing to adhere to this strategy of revising and refining legislation after the war, branch members won their biggest victory when they were invited to help draft a nondiscriminatory amendment to Cleveland’s municipal housing ordinance in late .48 Similar campaigns occupied branch officials through the s as members worked to replicate the so-called Fair Housing Practices Law  ANDREW M. FEARNLEY 1VERNEY_pages:Layout 1 10/7/09 11:54 AM Page 214 that the Association’s New York branch had successfully secured the passage of in .49 A telling register of the branch’s attempts to expand the appeal of its campaigns, redirect the focus of those efforts, and continue the method for their prosecution was the new way in which it created and managed information.Under new bureaucratic procedures introduced gradually by staff through the mid-s, surveying and polling of residents became a commonplace activity. One internal memorandum graphically referred to these surveys as“pulse-feeling”techniques. And by the time the branch’s Housing Committee had completed its massive “fact-gathering” exercise in , such methods were a routine way in which the branch related to its members. Yet while the postwar decades came to see the branch take its bearings more precisely from the city’s population,the marshaling of that information became much more specialized as committees assumed a more formal role in the work of the branch.50 The consequences of assigning specialized committees to particular campaigns were considerable. It meant that by the s, although the housing committee was operating from a fairly sophisticated understanding of the mechanics of segregation, it was not necessarily working in concert with the branch’s other committees.Attempts to integrate the city’s schools in the early s were seriously handcuffed ,for example,by the branch’s failure to prosecute a campaign that meshed an understanding of the city’s racial geography with an appreciation of the financial inequalities such urban patterns produced. School superintendent Paul Briggs’s contention, made before the  Commission on Civil Rights, that the disparity in Cuyahoga County’s tax base was the single greatest reason education provision remained unequal, suggest this was no minor failing.51 With all the attention scholars have given to battles over schools, housing, and workplaces, they have generally neglected the frequently poisonous confrontations that took place over public recreation facilities . Yet as the riots that began in a Detroit...


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