I’m going to take the road less traveled in my response to Professor Miller’s presentation of the 1950’s and here’s why. It’s my belief that when Historians write or tell stories about our History it should always have its roots and foundation built on objective and empirical research. The story should be presented from a position that’s impersonal, equitable, even-handed, impartial, unbiased, uncolored, unprejudiced and most of all, the entire story should be told. Anything less becomes (HIS~STORY)…not History; His~Story is often a consistent pattern in school text books, they never seem to tell the truth…the hold truth and nothing but the truth. They emphasize the good qualities of historical figures often portraying them as saints and heroes when in fact they are villains.
Professor Miller missed a number of opportunities to tell the complete story on several occasion during the video, but due to our restriction placed on the length of the required response I will comment on only one and that’s the story on Levittown.
Let’s examine a statement about Bill Levitt…. “Bill Levitt was an amazing character…He’s kind of the Henry Ford of the middle of the 20th Century” sounds like a great guy but what Professor Miller failed to mention was that, Bill Levitt only sold houses to white buyers, excluding African Americans and any other race that was not white from buying houses in his communities even after housing segregation had been ruled unconstitutional by the courts. Even after the NAACP filed a lawsuit against the federal mortgage agency on behave of six black WW II veterans who were denied the right to purchase a home in Levittown. By 1953, the 70,000 people who lived in Levittown constituted the largest community in the United States with no black residents.
(Lizabeth Cohen, Politics of Mass Consumption in Postwar American. New York: Vintage Books, 2003, 217)
These WWII Veterans defended the American way of life and even fort and died side by side with white soldiers in a time of war, yet they were denied the rights to purchase a home in the same community of their follow brothers after the war.
Bill Levitt’s continued to maintain an unofficial policy not to sell homes to minorities; but he could not prevent existing homeowners from reselling their home to Black buyers. So in 1957, William and Daisy Myers, a black couple with young children, bought a house in Levittown, Pennsylvania from the former owners. The Myers family faced endless harassment as well as implicit and explicit threats of violence from other residents in the community, with little help from the local…