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Race and Housing in the Postwar City: - page 14 / 23

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homeowners remained undeterred. As one press report noted, "The

Negro homeowners have shown no disposition

for their homes. They are being supported by

munity

in

Norfolk

and

elsewhere."

In

both

to retreat in the fight a united Negro com­ Miami and Norfolk,

black agency in on the outcome

the pursuit of better housing of neighborhood race wars.28

had

a

decisive

impact

By the mid-1950s, neighborhood racial violence had become a nationwide scourge. In 1953 and 1954, mob violence, bomb-throw­ ing, and house-burning occurred in Chicago, Atlanta, Kansas City, East St. Louis, Cleveland, Philadelphia, Indianapolis, Los Angeles, Tampa, and several California cities, to name just a few such cases. In Louisville, Kentucky, for example, in May 1954, a black man, Andrew E. Wade, and his family moved into a new house in the Louisville suburb of Shivley. They were welcomed by burning crosses, gun­ shots, and rocks, while the Shivley Newsweek whipped up white sen­ timent against the Wades. A local Klansman, Millard D. Grubbs, called on whites to organize to prevent "the establishment of a black beachhead in every white subdivision." Grubbs had earlier headed a racist group called the American White Brotherhood. In June, the Wade's house was destroyed in a dynamite explosion, and Wade himself was arrested for "breach of peace." Later, the liberal journal­ ist Carl Braden, the white man who had purchased the Shivley home on behalf of the Wades, was jailed as well. Officials offered the analy­ sis that the bombing was a communist plot to stir up trouble between whites and blacks - a common explanation in the cold war era.29

In Chicago, a continuing hotbed of racial animosity, neigh­ borhood racial conflicts continued virtually nonstop through the 1950s. In August 1953, on Chicago's far southeast side, racial vio­ lence sprouted again as one black family moved into the all-white Trumbull Park public housing project. For months, systematic mob violence, whipped up by white neighborhood improvement associa­ tions and a local newspaper, the Daily Calumet, terrorized Donald and Betty Howard. To keep up the pressure, white demonstrators often targeted the Howard's home with "aerial bombs," a type of loud firecracker with a bright flash, sometimes tossing as many as one hundred each night. But within a year, eleven black families were

21

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