American Studies: Cities in America Essay

Submitted By telliott2014
Words: 938
Pages: 4

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American Cities

Post World War II brought about great change in U.S. cities. These changes were occurred because of programs the government instituted after the war. The greatest change was seen with the demographics of a city. This change brought the movement of white Americas out of the inner city to the suburbs and the Africa Americas of the south migrating to northern cities. After the war many soldiers came back to their families with no where to live or work. There was no where to build in the city for new living arrangement the only option was to move out of the city and to the suburbs. The government then focused on the infrastructure of the city by implementing a new free way system to make the city accessible to those living in the new suburbs. The government instituted many tax breaks and bills to make the move easier for the returning soldiers. The G.I. Bill was the most influential offering free education for veterans and cheaper rates on homes in the suburbs.
The sparked a large movement of white middle class families out of the city along with the move was the huge population increased known as the baby boom. The baby boom was another factor contributing to the move out of the city. One of the examples of these new suburbs that was brought up in class Levittown. Named after William and Alfred, who ultimately built 140,000 houses and turned a cottage industry into a major manufacturing process (Jackson, 234). Located on the outskirts of Manhattan this was one the first examples of what was soon to come in suburbs. This sounds great and it was Levittown benefited many people by giving them a place live. However, it didn't help out everyone Levittown was a 100% white for majority 1950s through the 1960s. African Americans and other minorities were stuck in the city.

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This was the beginning of the end for the industrial city because the jobs followed people factories were moving to more rural areas. There are many reasons as discussed in lecture why the jobs moved out of the city. First, it was cheaper to build the big factories where there was more space available. Second, this was during the cold war era where Americans were on high of alert of an attack at all times. Everything being placed in one central location in city could be a huge target for an attack.
So what does that mean for the city with the people and the jobs leaving? The example used in class was Detroit it became almost a ghost town in certain areas and where there were people it was not a good place to live. Poverty struck most of the city and what William Julius Wilson said it went from “institutional ghetto to a jobless ghetto”. This was referring to the public to the public housing minority groups were forced to live because their was no where else to go. The once Industrial people at least were able to obtain jobs and pay the bills while keeping some sort of standard of living. These conditions were not great but better that the jobless ghetto were we saw a spike in crime rates and even worse poverty. The standard of living was quite poor with times of now running water or heat in these public houses. There were no more jobs in the city so, what were these people to do because they can't move to the suburbs. “The once-lively streets-residents remember a time, not so long…