Arnold R. Hirsch's article the “Massive Resistance in the Urban North” is an in-depth account of segregation and the resistance associated with desegregation in the northern United States from 1953-1966. The article focuses on Trumbull Park Homes in Chicago; a housing project built by the federal government. Trumbull Park housed mostly poor individuals, and blacks were beginning to move into the previously all white community. In 1953, the Howard's were the first black family to move into Trumbull Park homes and what ensued was over a decade of violence (Hirsch, 1995, 523). The “Massive Resistance in the Urban North” provides a glimpse into the brutality of racism during the civil right era, and how long segregation truly took to overcome.
Arnold R. Hirsch's article the “Massive Resistance in the Urban North” tries to prove that racism, and the violence associated with desegregation was just as rampant and brutal in the north through the 50's and 60's as it was in the south. Throughout the article, Hirsch shows that during this era the country was less divided regarding segregation than many individuals may have previously thought. There was racism and violent acts focused on blacks across America. Hirsch covers many issues revolving around desegregation such as: how brutal and violent desegregation could become, the mind frame of some of the individuals involved on both sides, how hard life must have been for African Americans at the time, and how it took years upon years for desegregation to truly occur regardless of location.
This article helped in shaping my understanding of the Civil Rights era in the urban north in various ways. I had previously related much of the racism and violent acts committed against African Americans of this time period with the southern United States. However, it is now clear that violence relating to desegregation was happening across America. In addition, while reading I realized how hard it is for me to truly relate to the civil rights era which was a time filled with so much racism and inequality. In my lifetime, I have never been exposed to anything comparable. Moreover, this article helped to shape my understanding of the Civil Rights era by reenforcing the notion that white people of that time had a “fear” of losing their communities, churches, jobs, and so on to African Americans. This “fear” created a mob mentality amongst white people that caused them to behave irrationally and commit crimes against African Americans strictly based on their race.
Furthermore, I learned more about how hard life was for African Americans of this time regardless of where they were in the country, and what they had to endure to live. The African Americans were harassed and attacked when they went to the store, church, or pretty much anywhere else. Store owners and others who provided services for the African Americans were threatened and vandalized. This article reminded me of how courageous these individuals were when standing up against racism. It truly amazes me how the African Americans of this time were able to demonstrate restraint from being violent against the people committing violent acts against them. Instead they choose to protest non-violently for the most part. One account in the article involving the Howard family pointed out just how harsh it could be for some African Americans. Hirsch (1995) states “the Howard family bore the brunt of South Deering's displeasure. Crowds repeatedly threw bricks, stones, and sulfur candles through their windows, forcing the Howard's to replace their living room windowpanes with plywood. Another weapon in the arsenal of the anti-black protestors was the aerial “bomb”. Such bombs were fireworks that, according to the commission on Human Relation, propelled a series of charges, which exploded with a “brilliant flash” and deafening thunder. On the worst nights, one hundred such noise-making devices might be detonated” (527).
Based upon the evidence and support provided within the article I do believe Hirsch provided an accurate interpretation of the events surrounding Trumbull Park. Hirsch utilized a variety of credible sources including: reports, old newspapers, and historical documents. I found the most interesting source utilized in the article was the ACLU operative/informant. While this information was semi-questionable it was intriguing to hear of what people back then might have been thinking. Some of the personal experiences and/or accounts included in the article from individuals are extremely harsh which makes the story seem like it could have been exaggerated a little, however, I do not believe it was. Moreover, I found this article to be very convincing that racism was everywhere in America during the civil rights era because of how it was focused on a certain area, and how it showed a more personal account of the time period. The accounts from individuals actually involved in this era with pictures included made the article seem very real. The picture of Donald and Betty Howard using plywood to board up their window really made the story sink in, along with the picture of Donald Howard boarding a police escort wagon.
In conclusion, Hirsch's article was intriguing, and eye opening to say the least. It provided great insight into such a complex era in history. The article reveals the true nature of desegregation along with its ugliness. In my opinion, Hirsch is able to successfully demonstrate that during the Civil Rights era the country was less divided than many individuals may have previously thought regarding segregation.
Hirsch, A. (1995). Massive Resistance in the Urban North. Journal of American History, 82(2), p.522-550.
Humans are a fascinating species. The integration of a new culture was very hard for the new Americas. Let's face it, even now, compared to any other country we are babes. The North and South had very similar opinions of slavery. We now know that the North wanted to abolish it in the south because it could not compete financially. It might not have been so important otherwise. It is hard to deal with differences in culture and not understanding can cause frustration. Many do understand another culture and do not agree with their way of life. Change comes whether it is wanted or not and in a thousand years it wont matter because we'll all be the same. Then we'll have to find something else to fight about. Man must learn tolerance or die from intolerance.
Fear of losing jobs and community affects a mans ability to support his family. Any immigration of people to a new area forced by government should be properly researched first to accommodate all those involved. I wonder what will happen when our troops return home?
This is written well. Would like to see more of your opinions about desegregation. Was there research done on Hirsch's journal? Are his findings fact? This is a very important subject to rely on anyone else to form an opinion. But, if you are turning this in at school for an assignment, it will probably score well.
Forgewright, I wrote this a little more than two years back for a cultural type college class. The information I came across in my research was unlike anything I had ever read before regarding desegregation. It was very real and very harsh. Much of my research was done on an article called "Massive Resistance in the Urban North" by A. Hirsch (1995) which I would recommend reading to anyone who hasn't. I haven't had a chance to delve deeper into this topic as of yet but one day I will.
I grew up not allow to associate with other races. My granny was right out of the back hollars of Kentucky. My father was a Babtist minister so he did have a little more tolerence. Most of the truth has only come out in the last decade. It's really our fiancial system that can be blamed for most of our problems today. As a human race, we own nothing. We should worry about the health of Earth. Money and property is a falsehood. No one should be homeless or hungry. I'll write a story later about a social system that I believe is how we should live.
Our law system is another big problem. It causes drug and crime problems. Sorry I dont want to get political, but people should talk about our problems.
Forge, I agree that people should talk about our problems, and it should be everyday people not the tv news or politicians. I look forward to reading your social system story, this is a very hard topic because it is tough to figure out a system that all people or most would agree with.
True, I would never think to see the day that everyone agreed on anything. A system with money or any kind of monetary gain is only used to enslave it's population. I'll leave this be for now I tend to ramble... lol
I am very glad this subject came up. I should tell you a story that happened where I grew up in 1963.
I grew up in a small town on the coast of Oregon. It was the type of town where everybody knows everybody. Sporting a year round population of 1600 there was no sign of the normal problems seen in large cities such as drugs and gang violence.
I was sixteen years old when they hired a new teacher for the English department at the high school so I remember it well. When the new teacher moved to town the good townsfolk discovered that his wife was black and his children were mulatto. They moved into a house just up the street from where I lived.
Some things you never forget, like the noise the good townspeople made when they went up the street passed my house late one night. I'll never forget the look of fear on that poor families faces as they drove them back down the street with all their belongings loaded into three pick-up trucks as I looked out the window trying to see what was going on and not wanting to be involved. Most of all I remember being glad for the first time in my life that my parents were too drunk to get out of bed. I could forgive them for being alcoholics but I could never forgive them if they had been involved in something like this. They took that family and all their belongings outside the city limits and dumped them alongside the road.
So yes, racism was and still is rampant throughout the country although I believe that the younger generation is not as racist as the older generation.
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