David Kushner Levittown: Two Families, One Tycoon, and the Fight for Civil Rights...
Migration to suburbia has long been an American ambition, but its allure was never stronger than in the post-WWII years, when the fantasy of a dream house played to the imagination of millions of Americans, especially returning veterans. Already waiting for many of them was a model community on the North Shore of Long Island called Levittown, the brainchild of Abraham Levitt and his sons, William and Alfred, the nations first real estate tycoons. But Levittown came with its own set of requirements: perfectly manicured lawns, no fences and no black families. In 1957, as the Levittsby now massively successful and nationally laudedhad already expanded to a second model city, two families challenged the segregationist policy: one, a white Jewish Communist family, secretly arranged for the other, a black family, to buy the house next door. In an entertaining round-robin format, Kushner relays each partys story in the leadup to a combustible summer when the integration of Americas most famous suburb caused the downfall of a titan and transformed the nation. (Feb.)
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Jewish Community Center
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