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This type of zoning began to be enforced because of integration, which many Americans were opposed to. In recent years, the idea of exclusionary zoning still lingers as a topic of debate. This is not only an issue of race but also an issue of affordable housing for low income workers.
According to Sternlieb (1973)
Exclusionary zoning and subdivision control in the suburbs as a means of preserving the community status quo and of avoiding certain types of residential growth have been the focus of recent discussions and criticisms. Such land-use controls in conjunction with rising construction costs are seen as substantially reducing the availability of low and moderate income housing in the areas of suburban employment growth. A locality may effect prohibitive minimum price levels for new residential development by zoning its undeveloped lands for predominately single-family homes with requirements for large lots, large frontages, and large livable floor areas to the exclusion of multifamily units and mobile homes. The impact of such zoning policies falls most heavily upon racial minorities since their ranks are proportionately greater than whites among low and moderate income households (Sternlieb 1973)."
According to Pendall (2000), there are many reasons why racial segregation exists in neighborhoods. These reasons include institutionalized racism in both the private and public sectors (Pendall 2000). The author asserts that land use controls, is the primary way local institutions have created exclusionary zoning. The author explains that zoning was originally designed to segregate minorities from non-Hispanic Whites (Pendall 2000).
Zoning, for example, was invented in part to keep minorities away from non-Hispanic Whites (Pendall 2000). The author explains that Even after racial zoning was found to be unconstitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court, large-lot zoning and other land use controls with the potential to exclude racial minorities remained available to municipalities throughout the United States, often as a very thin cover for racial bias. Not until the 1970s did state legislatures and courts in Massachusetts, New Jersey, and California begin to restrain these exclusionary practices. In the same decade, the first of more than a dozen state legislatures began to enact new measures to coordinate and require local planning for growth management (Pendall 2000).
Although exclusionary practices are prohibited those seeking to continue, discriminatory practices have done so with predatory lending or the redlining of black neighborhoods as credit risk. In recent years, there has been a great deal of discussion concerning predatory lending. According to an article entitled "The Prosecution Won't Rest: Washington Law Group Fights Housing Discrimination" predatory lending and housing discrimination has persisted in spite of the Fair Housing Act of 1968 (Jackson 2002). The author asserts that the predatory lending attempts to impose higher interests rate on Black people attempting to purchase homes. These lending organizations also redline black neighborhoods and establish them as high credit risk areas. Doing so enables lenders to charge people buying homes in these areas higher interest rates on their loans.
Federal Policy after WWII
After World War II and prior to the Civil Rights movement, there was a great deal of hostility in the country (a Brief History). The migration of people to the suburbs increased and discrimination followed (a Brief History). One of the most controversial developments was Levittown, which encouraged discrimination against Blacks. Levittown was the brainchild of Abraham Levitt a real estate lawyer (a Brief History). Levitt was also involved in, real estate investment, purchasing land and selling it to developers during the 1920s (a Brief History). In the 1930's during the Great Depression the developers of the Rockville Centre property could no longer make the payments on the land as a result Levitt had complete the development of the land himself.
Since Levitt had no experience with this aspect of real estate he commissioned who two sons to assist him (a Brief History).
The three of them formed Levitt & Sons and completed the project (a Brief History).
After the success of this project, the team continued to purchase land and develop home sites throughout the Depression (a Brief History).
Eventually, after World War II they were awarded a military contract and perfected a method of constructing homes quickly, which was later used in the construction of Levittown (a Brief History). The Levitts ability to build was unique because Not only did the Levitts own their own forests and make their own concrete, but they paid their workers above average wages to avoid unionization and flouted standard union rules -- such as those against spray painting -- to finish the homes faster. Yet their employees never worked more than a five-day week. At its building peak, onlookers at Levittown often saw more than 30 houses a day going up. In four years 17,447 houses appeared on the Long Island potato field. Originally designed for rental to veterans at $60 a month with an option to buy, the houses became a steal starting at $6,990 because longterm government mortgage guarantees made buying even cheaper than renting. People lined up to put $90 down payments on the original models the way they would for tickets to rock concerts or sporting events in the future (Kaledin, 2000)."
Another historical fact about the Levittown communities is the racist policies that governed them. According to Reed (1999) in the 1949 case of Shelly v. Kraemer, the Supreme Court decided that racial restrictive covenants could not be enforced in U.S. courts (Reed 1999).
As a response to this decision, the FHA reformed its policies, through its manuals and booklets (Reed 1999). In addition, in 1950, the organization republished its Underwriting Manual and made certain that it no longer overtly recommended racial segregation or restrictive covenants (Reed 1999). However, by this time Levitt and Sons was the largest developer in the east and when they built the Levittown development outside of Philadelphia restrictive covenants were attached to deeds even though, unlike Nichols's Country Club development, Levittown was designed for ordinary middle-class families. Deed restrictions could no longer be legally enforced, but this proved to be inconsequential; the Levitt firm simply refused to show houses or to accept applications from blacks. William Levitt argued that economic realities required him to recognize that "most whites prefer not to live in mixed communities."
In 1960, not a single black family lived among Levittown's eighty-two thousand residents (Reed 1999)."
Events leading to the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1968
The decision handed down in the case of Brown vs. Board of Education (1954) was just one of the sparks that led to the civil rights movement, which eventually resulted in the Civil Rights Act of 1968. According to Klarman (2004), this case was the most pivotal in the nation's history. Prior to the passage of the Act, there were many protests, marches, sit-ins and boycotts. The most significant boycott was the Montgomery Bus Boycott. According to Klarman (2004) the boy was important because demonstrated black agency, resolve, courage, resourcefulness, and leadership. The boycott revealed the power of nonviolent protest, deprived southern whites of their illusions that blacks were satisfied with the racial status quo, challenged other southern blacks to match the efforts of those in Montgomery, and enlightened millions of whites around the nation and the world about Jim Crow. A less satisfactory outcome would have been disappointing to Montgomery blacks, but it hardly would have negated, or even greatly tarnished, the momentous accomplishments of the movement (Klarman 2004)."
In addition, the author asserts that in the wake of the Bus boycott there were many other direct action protests throughout the south. One such protests took place on February, 1 1960, when four black college students in Greensboro, North Carolina protested at a segregated lunch counter in the Woolworth's drugstore through a sit in (Klarman 2004). One NAACP observer called it the "the most inspiring, and most dramatic appeals for citizenship of anything I have seen in all my 49 years (Klarman 2004)."
This type of protest was covered by national news outlets and spawn similar sit ins throughout the country and they were also encouraged by many northern politicians and President Eisenhower.
In addition, northern supporters raised funds to get protestors out of jail and also held their own sympathy protest (Klarman 2004).
The author asserts that during the next year young Black people and sympathetic whites "stood in" at movie theaters; "kneeled in" at churches; and "waded in" at beaches. All told, an estimated 70,000 people participated in such demonstrations, and roughly 4,000 were arrested. More than a hundred southern localities desegregated some public accommodations as a result (Klarman 2004)."
In addition to these protest there were also the freedom riders in the spring of 1961 (Klarman 2004). These individuals traveled on buses in the South to implement a Supreme Court decision outlawing segregation at interstate bus terminals (Klarman 2004). This was a pivotal part of the movement because the first freedom riders were beaten severely when they attempted to drive through the cities of Montgomery and Birmingham Alabama (Klarman 2004).…[continue]
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