Where Can a Negro Live?

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The article that I examined, ” “Where Can a Negro Live?: A Study of Housing Discrimination In Hartford (Series Part 2)”, is the second in a series of articles featured in the Hartford Courant. It was published on Aug 20, 1956. The article tells of the plight of people of color seeking to leave the city to take residence in neighboring suburbs. A black doctor with financial means to purchase a home in a private housing development in a nearby suburb, was refused by the builder. According to the article, some upwardly mobile “Negroes” sought to relocate to the north to improve their lives only to find that they were barred from living in white neighborhoods. The barring was done not only by individuals renting or selling their homes, but also by real estate agents and mortgage lenders. The article tells of the discrimination people of color faced when attempting to move out from Hartford’s slums. The article reveals that housing barriers at that time were not created solely by policies and laws, but they were enforced by the social ideals of people of the citizens.

Discussion Questions:

1.) In the article, a negro who was new to community said that he and his wife found that the north was more “vicious” than the south, because people were more discrete about their discrimination. Do you agree or disagree with that statement and why?

2.) In the beginning of the article, Rotberg describes zones that were accepted as “Negro areas” and areas that were transitioning from older white to Negro. What could have been the cause of areas transitioning from “older white to Negro”?

Related Source Materials:

I attempted to find the other articles in the series, so I went to the Hartford Courant website. I searched for the title of the series in the query. Unfortunately, they don’t offer articles from the 1950’s on the web. I revised my search and looked for “housing discrimination Hartford” instead. I came back with a very recent article, “Housing Discrimination Case Brings Damages, Highlights Lost Opportunities” [1]. I also did a Google search for “where can a negro live hartford”. I came back with several hits under the Cities, Suburbs, and Schools Project. The one I found the most interesting was a document on the Trinity College Repository. It is an oral history interview on civil rights in the state of connecticut [2]. I used Command + F to quickly search the document and find the portion that matched my search. Once I was able to get access to VPN off campus, I searched again for the series of articles through the Trinity College Library news and newspapers database. I was successful and found all seven articles. “Where Can a Negro Live?: A Study of Housing Discrimination In Hartford PART I” [3] was at my fingertips.

1. Gosselin, Kenneth R. “Housing Discrimination Case Brings Damages, Highlights Lost Opportunities.” Hartford Courant 5 Aug. 2013: n. pag. Web.

2. Caplan, Eleanor Neiditz. Oral history interview on Connecticut Civil Rights (with video) by Anique Thompsonfor the Cities, Suburbs, and Schools Project, Jul. 2011. PDF.

3. Rotberg, Robert. “Where Can a Negro Live?: A Study of Housing Discrimination In Hartford PART I.” Hartford Courant 19 Aug. 1956: n. pag. Print.