Suburbia in the 1950s and the Discrimination against African American Housing Devolopments
Blue: 2017 Chevrolet Ad
Maroon: New Development Signage and New Housing Lot
Yellow: Women Working Switchboard at the U.S Capitol
Purple: MLK Memorial
Brown: Levittown Suburbs
Black: Traffic Jam
Orange: Chevrolet Ad 1952
Red: HOLC Redlining
Teal: Washer Ad
Salmon: Men working at the U.S Stock Exchange
Green: White Neighbors riot sign
Blue #2: I4 Traffic
In the postwar 1950s, the American economy was booming, having reached a level of economic prosperity never before seen in U.S history. With more citizens now in the workforce, many were able to live a life they never imagined. The economy surplus of manufacturing consumer’s goods and production of housing throughout the U.S. created a consumer-run economy. The American people were working harder and longer, and ultimately spending more.
With the return of soldiers back home, their newly formed families were in need of housing. The 50s marked a time in which single-family housing was the norm. Thus, came the world of suburbia. The modern American suburb was invented by real-estate developer, William Levitt. The source of his success was that of Levittown, Pennsylvania, a planned community of homes to almost twenty thousand Americans. Levittown was highly regarded because of the low prices of housing and the accommodations offered to buyers. These suburbs were set apart for others because of the idea of creating a community, filled with shopping complexes, educational centers, and recreational areas. These close-knit communities gave Americans the opportunity to live on their own, commute to work, and return home to their families. With the booming economy in place, citizens were able to strive for the life they couldn’t previously attain.
While these new suburban communities expanded the housing market drastically throughout the United States. The fifties also marked a time of great struggle for the African American Communities. Not only was it a time of civil struggles but also housing struggles. Many of the newly form suburban communities were not as excepting as they were to white Americans. Thus, communities began to be formed dedicated to the housing of African Americans. These communities provided affordable housing, similar to that of the rural suburban housing popping up throughout the U.S.
With all genders having a place in the workforce, the America people were able to gain financial success and freedom for the poverty-stricken war year.
With Americans now earning more money, due to having higher paying jobs, they were able to obtain items that were once unobtainable.
The financial market gave Americans the ability to delve into more risky financial opportunities, such as the stock market.
Not only did the 1950s introduce many new innovations in the automobile industry. Americans were now able to afford luxury vehicles.
The commercial culture in the U.S in the 1950s subdued the new American ideal for the biggest and best technology out there. Advertisements drew the consumers in to purchase more, even if they didn’t need it.
Very similar to today, companies entice consumers with flashy advertisements for the newest technology. Americans fall for the trap continuously, spending over eight thousand dollars for unnecessary products.
With the housing market expanding because of the influx of soldier returning home, housing communities began to pop up throughout the U.S.
These communities gave the residents a chance to live away from the hustle of the industrial cities, live on their own and build a family.
It provides a close-knit community of thousands of exactly the same houses. Areas, such as Levittown provided residents with a community along with nearby shopping complex’s and recreational areas.
With the establishment of communities outside of the city center, Americans were now involved in the rat race.
Commuting since the 1950s has become the norm. On average citizens commute up to an hour daily to and from work and school.
While communities were prosperous in much of the U.S this was not the cause for the African American population. Many were segregated to industrial parts of cities.
Much of the new suburban communities were not accepting for blacks in the 1950s, forcing citizens to live in dilapidated housing complexes with no amenities.
With the advancement of the civil right movement throughout the 50s, communities dedicated to improving the living situations for blacks began to pop up throughout the U.S. Washington Shores, a community in Central Florida, gave affordable housing to the black population, while, still adhering to the close-knitted life of American suburbia.
While the 1950s were a prosperous time in American history, due to rising employment rates and economic prosperity, they did provide their struggles.
With the majority of the white population moving to rural suburbs, much of the African American population remained in the industrial city centers. Providing insufficient housing accommodations for those working continuously to maintain their lives. The 1950s is always depicted as a flourishing time in American history, and while that is true to some extent, many were struggling just as much as they were during the war.
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Wyatt, Donald. “Better Homes for Negro Families in the South,” Social Forces 28, No. 3 (Mar. 1950): 297-303.