(speaker)New School for Social Research (New York, N.Y. : 1919-1997)
March 26 1964
Attorney Charles Abrams founded the New York City Housing Authority and was president of National Committee Against Discrimination in Housing at the time of this lecture. Abrams describes cities as “this century’s frontier,” and the “the surviving outpost of the deprived.” Abrams offers a global perspective on urban poverty, describing conditions in Manila, Ankara, and Hong Kong, as well the United States. He discusses the impact of the Great Migration on US cities, as well as white flight. Abrams emphasizes the relationship between racism, income inequality, and urban housing challenges. He also details the impact of redlining, restrictive covenants, and credit rationing, and the relationship between such initiatives and zoning regulations. From 1935 and 1950, Abrams states, Federal Housing Authority programs engaged in a number of exclusionary policies and practices that perpetuated a systemic racism and exacerbated urban housing conditions. Abrams also details the practice of dismantling African-American communities under the guise of “urban renewal.” Abrams argues against such practices and policies, and speaks in favor of integrated housing and anti-discrimination laws. During the question and answer period, Abrams comments on rent strikes in New York City, efforts to repeal fair housing legislation in California, labor unions, and measures to ease income inequality.
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