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Rochdale Village and the rise and fall of integrated housing in New York City.

When Rochdale Village opened in southeastern Queens in late 1963, it was the largest housing cooperative in the world. When fully occupied its 5,860 apartments contained about 25,000 residents. Rochdale Village was a limited-equity, middle-income cooperative. Its apartments could not be resold for a profit, and with the average per room charges when opened of $21 a month, it was on the low end of the middle-income spectrum. (3) It was laid out as a massive 170 acre superblock development, with no through streets, and only winding pedestrian paths, lined with newly planted trees, crossing a greensward connecting the twenty massive cruciform apartment buildings. Rochdale was a typical urban post-war housing development, in outward appearance differing from most others simply in its size. It was, in a word, wrote historian Joshua Freeman, "nondescript." (4)

Appearances deceive. Rochdale Village was unique; the largest experiment in integrated housing in New York City in the 1960s, and very likely the largest such experiment anywhere in the United States (5). It was located in South Jamaica, which by the early 1960s was the third largest black neighborhood in the city. Blacks started to move to South Jamaica in large numbers after World War I, and by 1960 its population was almost entirely African American. It was a neighborhood of considerable income diversity, with the largest tracts of black owned private housing in the city adjacent to some desperate pockets of poverty. In the late 1950s, there was an exodus of at least 25,000 whites from some of the few remaining mixed areas in South Jamaica. (6) Despite that, at least 80% of the original families in Rochdale were white, the overwhelmingly majority of those were of Jewish background. (7) I was a member of one of those Jewish families, and lived in Rochdale from 1964, when I was ten years old, until 1973.

Rochdale was not isolated from its surrounding community. School children from Rochdale and the surrounding neighborhoods attended racially balanced schools, and their parents shopped in Rochdale's malls and its cooperative supermarkets, the first in South Jamaica. Historian Joshua Freeman notes, "Rochdale seemed to embody everything the civil rights movement ... called for." (8) This was widely recognized at the time. A lengthy article in the New York Times Magazine in 1966 by the veteran radical journalist Harvey Swados sensitively analyzed the problems and promises of integration in Rochdale, concluding, that Rochdale was providing the largest and most important practical test in New York City, of the dominant question of the era--"could blacks and white live together?" (9)

This hope was very much of its time and place. Rochdale Village was one of the most tangible products of a period in New York City's history, from the mid-1950s through the mid-1960, that can be seen, in retrospect, as the apogee of the belief in integration, in theory and in practice. To be sure, support for integration was often shallow and tentative; the opposition was often effective and tenacious; and the final results were in many ways frustratingly meager. Nonetheless, there was a surprisingly wide consensus, often starting from vastly differing perspectives, that reached the conclusion that integration was possible, practical, and necessary, and was the best way to resolve the city's growing racial tensions. In the end, the imbalance between the high-minded rhetoric and the paucity of positive results helped bring this optimistic time to an end. For a variety of reasons, Rochdale Village was an important exception to this pattern, a concrete achievement of the era of integration. (10)

Integration was one of the dominant liberal ideals of the 1950s--at its heart is the conviction that to achieve full incorporation of blacks into American society as equals, persons of different races had to work, learn, play, and live together. As such it was commended by a wide and unstable coalition, ranging from ex-Communists, independent leftists, New Deal Democrats and Rockefeller Republicans, as well as some hard-nosed and utterly pragmatic government officials and business executives.

One of the chief animating principles behind the liberal conviction for integration, perhaps chief among them that prejudice was irrational, and its negative effects could be counteracted through education, counseling, effective legislation, and practical demonstrations of the efficacy of integration, or what was called social engineering. Sociological studies provided some of the intellectual muscle for these arguments, such as this 1951 study that lauded early attempts at integrated housing by the New York City Housing Authority:
 We are in effect rejecting the notion that has characterized much of
 sociological thinking in the field of racial relations, the notion
 originating with William Grantv Sumner, that "state ways cannot
 change folkways." The evidence of our study is that official policy,
 executed without equivocation, can result in large changes in
 beliefs and feelings despite initial resistance to the policy. Thus,
 it is clear from our data that although most of the white housewives
 in the integrated projects we studies, did not, upon moving into the
 projects, like the idea of living in the same buildings with Negro
 families (and certainly the community as a whole did not favor it),
 a considerable change in attitudes and folkways has taken place as a
 consequence of their experiences resulting from a state way. (11)

There was a related belief that the state was beginning to do its part, by stigmatizing and criminalizing segregation. Anti-discrimination legislation in New York City, the most expansive anywhere in the United States, which by the late 1950s covered public housing, publicly assisted housing, education, public accommodations, publicly assisted housing, and multiple unit private rental property, provided ambiguous support for this conviction. (12) This expanding scope of open housing legislation could be read in the multiple ways. The more complacent could imagine that history was on the side of integration, though others were angered that the anti-discrimination ordinances largely relied on moral suasion for their enforcement, and were largely ineffective. Still there was general hope that in time, the laws would be strengthened, and the government would help lead the way to a more egalitarian society. (13)

Radicals as well as liberals shared the commitment to integration. The political sentiments of the Popular Front were also overwhelmingly integrationist and this is represented in many of the most characteristic products of Popular Front sensibility, such as Earl Robinson's and John LaTouche's "Ballad for Americans" (1939.) (14) Although liberals and radicals differed on many things, and the politics of the late 1940s and early 1950s tended to pull them apart, the need to create a genuinely integrated society was not one of them. If the era If McCarthyism drove a wedge between liberal and radical alternatives on civil rights, by the end of the 1950s there was a new convergence. As the Communist left became increasingly moribund and irrelevant, old leftists with a special commitment for civil rights often joined non-Communist organizations, pushing the liberal civil rights consensus, as Joshua Freeman has demonstrated. (15) By 1960 old sectarian differences were not exactly forgotten, but for those who wished to move on, it was now far easier to do so.

To give an example of this from the history of Rochdale Village, Doxey Wilkerson was one of the most prominent black Communists of the 1940s and 1950s, and contributed an essay, representing the Communist point of view, to the seminal 1944 collection, What the Negro Wants. By the early 1960s his communist days were behind him, and he was teaching at Yeshiva University, with a special interest in promoting integrated education. (16) In 1965 a group supporting integration in Rochdale, one typical of the time in its ideological inclusion, ranging from old leftists to mainstream democrats, arranged for Wilkerson to become a special advisor to the local school district, and he led frequent seminars on how to best implement integrated education in Rochdale. The push for integration in Rochdale and its schools in the early 1960s was marked not by a liberal-left fissure, but a liberal-left collaboration. (17)

But the founding act of Rochdale was another sort of collaboration, between one of the city's leading social democratic organizations and an individual who had the reputation for ruthless pragmatism. The developer of Rochdale Village was the United Housing Foundation (UHF) the builder of some 33,000 units of cooperative housing from the early 1950s to the mid-1970s of increasingly gargantuan proportions, culminating in Rochdale Village's younger, larger, and better-known sibling, Co-op City in the Bronx. The UHF was a central organization in New York City's post-war social democratic establishment. (18) The UHF had its roots in the anarchist wing of the Jewish labor movement in the early 20th century. (19) The charismatic president of the UHF, Abraham Kazan was the developer and for many decades manager of the Amalgamated Houses, one of a number of left-wing Jewish housing cooperatives that flourished in the Bronx in the 1920s. His residual anarchist beliefs led him to favor the creation of practical voluntary cooperative endeavors on a non-profit basis that would provide a non-revolutionary alternative to market capitalism. The UHF, founded in 1951, supported its ambitions of building attractive inexpensive housing in the city. (20)

Kazan and the UHF always balanced a utopian confidence in a better world in birth with a very nuts and bolts practicality on how to achieve it. Rochdale was named after the Owenite socialists who had started the modern cooperative movement in England in 1844, and the UHF always tried to impart the sense, with some success, that there was something special about living in a cooperative. (21) As for Kazan's business acumen, a brief story--one day, about the time of the building of Rochdale, Kazan was meeting with Gov. Nelson Rockefeller. The governor, impressed with Kazan's savvy, gave him the highest praise a Rockefeller could bestow. He told Kazan that he "could have gone into private business, and made himself a fortune." If Kazan was flattered by Rockefeller's remark, he remained true to his principles. "I am a co-operator," he replied, "interested only in building the cooperative commonwealth." (22) Kazan saw cooperative housing as just the first step towards creating his commonwealth. Rochdale had two cooperative stores, a credit union, a pharmacy, and an optical center, and perhaps most impressively, and despite the determined efforts of Con Edison to prevent it, a cooperatively owned power plant that furnished all gas and electricity to Rochdale. There were unrealized plans for cooperative stores that would sell shoes, furniture, and gasoline, as well as a cooperative barber and beauty shop, bowling alley, and a medical center and hospital. (23)

But at the same time, Kazan had hitched the fortunes of his cooperative commonwealth to a man whose name became a byword for ruthless pragmatism, and the bitter scourge of airy idealisms of any kind, Robert Moses. If Kazan and Moses were an unlikely duo, who initially viewed each other with much suspicion, by the mid-1950s Kazan had become in the words of Joel Schwartz, "Moses' favorite redeveloper." (24) Moses found in Kazan a partner his equal in tough-minded resoluteness, who could build attractive housing quickly and inexpensively. Moses and Kazan shared an unswerving commitment to slum clearance and urban renewal, and Kazan, like Moses, did not flinch, when necessary, at tenant removals. For his part, as Kazan's protege, Harold Ostroff asserted, "If you had Moses on your side, you knew that you didn't need anything more than a handshake to know that Moses would be with you through thick and thin." (25)

Kazan recalled in his memoirs, "Rochdale Village owes its existence to Robert Moses." (26) This is so. Without Moses's advocacy, and his complete mastery of all of the bureaucratic arts, from threatening, cajoling to begging, Rochdale Village never would have been built.

Rochdale Village was built on the grounds of the Jamaica Race Track, which in the early 1950s was the most popular sporting venue in New York City, drawing 2 million customers annually, more than any of the city's three baseball teams. But the facilities were shabby, transportation was difficult, and there was little room for expansion. The close of Jamaica, with its sale to go to the refurbishing of the state's three other thoroughbred tracks, was rumored from 1953, publicly announced in 1954, and finally happened in 1959, after much dithering and dickering between the interested parties. (27)

Needless to say, Moses was one of those interested parties, and as City Construction Coordination he did his best to get his hands on the property from at least 1955 onwards. His initial thoughts for the area included using the site for private houses, for a city housing project, for a mixed use development with public, middle-income, and high income rental housing, a campus for Queensboro Community College, and a new baseball stadium for the increasingly restless Walter O'Malley. Nothing came of any of these suggestions. By October 1956, Moses had decided the best use of the Jamaica site would be a private middle-income housing cooperative, and announced this intention at a speech at the headquarters of the UHF. (28)

Moses repeatedly said in the late 1950s that the development of the Jamaica site was his favorite ongoing project, and he gave several reasons for this. Like many city officials of the era, he was very concerned about building affordable middle income housing in the city to staunch the flow to the suburbs, and Rochdale did something about this on the grand scale. He loved the size of the project. As he told a reporter in 1957, it "would be on a big-enough scale so that we could do a bang-up planning and building job there." (29) And most important for Moses, the lot, once the racetrack was razed, would be empty. He told the Times in 1959 that it was his favorite project because, "we have 170 acres there with nothing on it at all. No people to move." (30) By that year political problems and bad press over tenant relocations were mounting for both Moses and his for the UHF. Kazan said of Moses that "the difficulties he had encountered in clearing the Lincoln Center site were still fresh in his mind when he learned that the Jamaica racetrack was going to be given up." (31)

But the other reality about the Jamaica site was that if a middle-income cooperative was going to be successful there, it would have to be integrated. It would be welcomed by the neighborhood only if there was complete confidence that blacks could live there freely, and that Rochdale would not cut it itself off from the neighborhood. Local blacks were often suspicious of Rochdale, and black homeowners worried that Rochdale would lead to a decline in real estate values. (32) And at the same time, there was great worry within the UHF and elsewhere that whites would not be interested in moving in large numbers to South Jamaica. This proved to be unwarranted, in part because of the UHF's reputation, and in part because Rochdale proved, as Harold Ostroff wrote in 1968 "that if you offer such an attractive economic buy that people will not be able to afford their natural prejudices." (33) As Kazan told the UHF board in 1960, Rochdale "could attract a more integrated population, [with] more non-white families than have been participating in our previous activities." (34)

The UHF and Robert Moses had very different reputations in the area of civil rights. The UHF in the early 1950s was one of only a handful of private developers in the nation who had a rigorously enforced open housing policy in its cooperatives. (35) However, this did not translate into large numbers of blacks in early UHF cooperatives, which remained closely tied to the Jewish labor movement, and had an overwhelmingly Jewish population. Nonetheless, blacks sat on the board of the UHF and its constituent and affiliated cooperatives. (36) Its publications regularly stressed the important role the cooperative movement had to play in ending residential segregation in the North, such as a 1956 article by Eleanor Roosevelt that complained that progress against housing discrimination had been "pitifully slow" and that cooperatives should be in the vanguard of change. With Rochdale Village, the UHF would have its chance (37)

On the other hand, Moses had long before Rochdale staked out his reputation as a leading critic of civil rights legislation, and as was typical with Moses, his criticism tended towards the acidulous. He made no secret of his opposition to the landmark 1945 Ives-Quinn anti-discrimination law, which made New York State the first state in the nation to ban discrimination in employment, and in the late 1940s was the most vocal supporter of the right of Metropolitan Life to bar black tenants from its Stuyvesant Town development. (38) In the mid-1950s he was still a critic of civil rights legislation, both in public--telling the New York Post in 1956 that his only regret about his fight to prevent discrimination in publicly financed projects was "that he lost"--and in private, that same year, writing to a city official he blasted a rather bland statement on civil rights from the Mayor's Commission on Intergroup Relations as "contemptible," and as "stimulating racial, ethnic, religious, ideological and economic controversies." (39)

Moses was a racial conservative, who feared the extension of civil rights legislations to private home owners and developers. (40) At the same time, Moses was enough of a pragmatist to know which way the wind was blowing, and he had long since made a peace of sorts with civil rights legislation. If he defended the right to discriminate at Stuyvesant Town, as he told the Post in 1956, he thought that Metropolitan Life's decision to exercise that right had been "grievously misinformed" and the attendant political controversy avoidable. He accepted the need to follow state and city anti-discrimination ordinances, and grudgingly acknowledged that the State Commission Against Discrimination (SCAD) had "worked reasonably well," albeit because the "left-wingers" had been kept in check, and the work of SCAD largely remained in the realm moral suasion rather than aggressive enforcement. Moses often worked with developers with special commitments to interracial housing such as the UHF, and on occasion tried to convince recalcitrant developers that fighting an open housing policy would be more trouble than it was worth. (41)

In the climate of the late 1950s and early 1960s, Moses didn't hesitate to take credit for his support of integration in Rochdale. In early 1959 he wrote a friendly letter to Elmer Carter, the newly appointed head of SCAD, wanting to set up a meeting. He cautioned Carter that "handsome gestures are no good" in the field of civil rights or open housing legislation. However, he called special attention to the Jamaica project as an example of a valid effort towards integration in housing, and sought Carter's support for the development, which was not yet approved. (42)

The UHF had largely financed its previous cooperatives through union pension funds, though not a penny of union money went to the construction of Rochdale Village. The main reason for this was, as Abraham Kazan noted, that powerful union leaders, such as Harry Van Arsdale, president of the New York City Central Labor Council, were "very cool" about the Jamaica project, because he felt that white families would not move to South Jamaica. Kazan himself needed a lot of handholding, and worried that that Rochdale would become, in his words, a "white elephant," with the UHF left holding the bag on unsold apartments, unless the interest rates were suitably low. Moses wrote Gov. Nelson Rockefeller in September 1959, "I had the devil's own time to persuade the labor leaders to agree to sponsor this project." (43)

Moses was writing to Rockefeller, after the refusal of both unions and private lenders to provide financing, to persuade the state, as the lender of last resort, to pick up the tab for the construction of Rochdale, which, after some typical Moses-style browbeating, it did. In January 1960, various state agencies loaned the UHF all of the outside funding for the cooperative, $86 million in all. Without the active support of Moses and Rockefeller, the two most powerful people in New York State, Rochdale Village never would have been built.

Moses was proud of what he accomplished in Rochdale Village. He saw the Jamaica site as a prototype, the first of a series of integrated cooperatives to be built in the largely minority areas of the city, a way of furthering urban renewal aims and building new middle-income housing relatively inexpensively and non-controversially. (44) In 1963 Moses described Rochdale Village, in part because of its integrated character, and its potential for improving the quality of life in the surrounding areas of South Jamaica, as "the most significant multi-family cooperative going on the city at this time." He planned bus excursion to Rochdale from the 1964 World's Fair in Flushing Meadows to show it off to the world, and ranked it as one of his greatest achievements, comparable to Jones Beach and Lincoln Center. In 1966 he praised Rochdale as a place that "in a quiet way has achieved remarkable success in integration," and he hailed it, as late as 1968, as "a model for the future." (45)

But the ultimate responsibility for creating integration in Rochdale rested upon the people who chose to live there. If they were proud to live in such a community, most were quick to tell you if you asked that they were not civil rights activists. As Harvey Swados reported in 1966 that it would be a mistake to assume that people moved to Rochdale "from conviction, eager to put their liberal, all-men-are-brothers belief to the test." (46) Overwhelmingly, they moved to Rochdale for economic reasons, for the large, inexpensive apartments, and the prospects of good schools and a pleasant community life. For many Blacks, like Lee Reynolds what made Rochdale Village special was simply that it was a housing development that "we had a choice of moving into and not someplace that was left open to Negroes." (47) The Rochdale Village Negro Cultural Society hoped in 1965 that Rochdale, because it was "a voluntarily integrated community it can become an outstanding example of how this American problem of mutual distrust, fear and distortion can be resolved." (48)

However, if the bulk of Rochdale's residents were not civil rights activists, they were willing to try integration. According to Harvey Swados, hundreds of white families who expressed initial interest, and many who had already placed down payments, had second thoughts and backed. (49) There were no racial quotas at Rochdale. (50) The UHF would have accepted whatever the final racial percentages turned out to be, and the number of white families who chose to move to Rochdale surprised many on the UHF staff. The UHF, which had not even had to advertise for previous cooperatives--word of mouth sufficed--had an extensive advertising campaign for Rochdale, which included notices in the black press. (51)

If most Rochdale residents were at least open to the idea of integration, there was also a group of activists, committed to civil rights, who moved to Rochdale as well.

Old hands at political organizing and making their opinions heard, they probably played a disproportionate share in sharing the political discourse in the cooperative. In addition, there clearly was a subtle process at work that drew some persons who had been previously largely apolitical or indifferent to civil rights into the excitement of building an integrated community. (52)

These groups--the long-time activists, those favorably disposed to civil rights, and largely apolitical persons who wanted the best for their community and families--started to coalesce and shape Rochdale's character as an integrated community even before they moved in. The local schools were notoriously substandard, including two of the very last wooden school houses in New York City. Local blacks leery of the presence of Rochdale were in part placated by the promise that the old decrepit schools would be replaced by new buildings within the cooperative. However, the Board of Education, notoriously skittish in any endeavor involving integrated education, was scandalously slow in building the new schools. By early 1962 it was clear to a group of prospective cooperators that the new schools would not be ready when families started to move in. They formed the Rochdale Village Committee for Public Schools, arguing that only by a thoroughgoing embrace of integration, and working with the local community, could Rochdale Village have quality schools. It was a broadly appealing message, and the committee, typical of the period, was comprised by an ideologically diverse coalition of old leftists, social democrats, and many were people who were essentially apolitical, just deeply alarmed at the lack of the lack of progress in building schools, as well as representatives of PTAs from the surrounding community. The committee's fight was largely successful, and shamed the Board of Education into honoring its commitments, and this formed the basis of other struggles, notably the effort to integrate South Jamaica's intermediate schools. (53)

Integration was central to the vital social and organizational life of Rochdale. By design, UHF cooperatives were intended to foster a sense of community by participation in self-government and the flourishing of an active associative life. By November 1965, Rochdale had over 140 clubs, groups, fraternal orders, and other organizations. (54) Many of these organizations went out of their way to form integrated chapters. An integrated bridge tournament in Rochdale was the subject of a laudatory column in the New York Times. (55) One of the most viable organizations in the cooperative was the Rochdale Village Community Chorus; its annual concerts highlighted the fight for civil rights. In 1966 proceeds from the concert went to the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee. Accepting the donation award was Nathan Schwerner, the father of the slain civil rights worker. (56) The belief that Rochdale had a role to play as an exemplar of integration in housing was widespread. The weekly newspaper Inside Rochdale (mainstream to conservative Democrat in its orientation) wrote in 1966 that the cooperative "may easily become a national name as the advocates of Open Housing may look to Rochdale and say to the nation that integrated housing exists and works!" (57)

The internal politics at Rochdale, which were always vigorous, were also integrated. The local politics, which often involved questions of whether the UHF exercised too dominant a role in the management of the cooperative, had no Black or Jewish factions blocs. (58) In 1966 the first two persons elected to the Rochdale Village Board of Directors by the residents of Rochdale (as opposed to being appointed by the UHF) were African Americans. (59) Interracial political cooperation extended beyond Rochdale's borders. In 1964, Kenneth Browne became the first African American elected to the assembly from Queens, with Rochdale providing the margin of victory over a white opponent. In 1966 Rochdale had the only white and black co-chairs of any election district in New York City. (60) Rochdale was indeed creating a citywide model for successful urban integration.

Alas, integration in Rochdale Village did not last. Many in Rochdale believed they had created community institutions and links strong enough to withstand the inevitable racial strains and pulls, but they were wrong. By 1969 the exodus of white families was pronounced, and it continued to grow in the years ahead. Black families of course moved out as well, but almost all of the new families coming to Rochdale were African-American. By the late seventies the original 80% white--20% black percentages had been reversed. Not only white families that left Rochdale; black families did as well, and for much of the same reasons, though at a slower pace than whites. But almost all of the new residents in Rochdale were black. By the end of the 1980s the cooperative was 98% non-white, which it remains today. Rochdale, having weathered some hard times, is still a flourishing middle income cooperative, but it is no longer integrated. (61)

The reasons for the white exodus from Rochdale were complex. Rochdale was never a racial utopia. Most people, who moved to Rochdale, it bears repeating, were not civil rights activists. In its early history one can find the complaints, both by whites and blacks, typical of the time--white fears of black crime, outsiders, and the problems of integrated education; black anger at curt and rude comments and treatment, and fears that the Jews in Rochdale were "pushy" and were trying to unduly dominate the cooperative's political and cultural affairs. (62) Some projects, notably a proposed community swimming pool in Rochdale, clearly failed because of racial attitudes within the cooperative. (63) Probably the dominant view among Rochdale's residents was that by moving to Rochdale they had done more to advance integration than almost anyone else among New York City's millions, and asking them to do more would be unfair. As one man wrote in 1965, "we came to Rochdale, not as fighters for integration, but as people who have accepted integration as a way of life." (64)

One of the paradoxes of Rochdale is that though it was planned during the "era of integration" it opened just as the assumptions that guided that period were beginning to fracture. A new political climate in black communities was emerging even before the first families moved in. In the summer of 1963 the Rochdale Village construction site became one of two foci in the city for demonstrations against discrimination in the building trades unions. At the heated demonstrations, at which hundreds of people were arrested, the protestors called for what they called a "quota" of the work force to be reserved for minorities--the term affirmative action had not yet come into wide usage. This was widely denounced by leading politicians, and left Kazan nonplussed. Many saw the demonstrations as reflecting the goals of Rochdale of creating an integrated community, and many future residents, white and black, participated in the demonstrations, which also helped strengthen the local branches of the NAACP and CORE. The protests also fostered the growth of new organizations such as the Rochdale Movement, an organization with a Black Nationalist orientation that demanded an end to all forms of discrimination against blacks in the Jamaica area. Twice in 1963 Malcolm X addressed the organization, the second time of November 28, 1963, in what may well have been his penultimate public appearance as a minister of the Nation of Islam. (65)

For radicals like Malcolm X integration was at best irrelevant to the quest for black equality. For mainstream liberals too, there was a growing sense of defensiveness at the radical demands, and a frustration that the plans for integration were proving inadequate. By 1965, the figure who perhaps was emblematic of the fight for liberal integration in New York City, the black psychologist Kenneth Clark, could write an elegiac study, Dark Ghetto, which catalogues his growing despair that those in power had the will to shape a genuinely integrated society. (66) If Rochdale was a counter-example to the growing sense of frustration, it was not immune to the era's trends. Long time Rochdale school activist Sue Raskin has speculated that if Rochdale had not gone through the racial turbulence of the late 1960s it might have survived as an integrated community. (67) But this was not to be.

Those in a position of influence in Rochdale Village in the late 1960s are unanimous in their conclusion, across the political spectrum, that the bitterly divisive 1968 teacher's strike doomed integration in Rochdale. (68) Before the strike, an integrated group from Rochdale met with Al Shanker, the president of the United Federation of Teachers, begging him to give Rochdale a dispensation from the strike, fearing its potential damage. Shanker, who was on the board of the UHF, predictably refused. (69) The strike, which directly pitted blacks against Jews in ever escalating volleys of rhetorical violence, irreparably destroyed the fabric of the integration in Rochdale. Black parents and some white supporters stayed in the schools around the clock, fearing among other things, bomb threats. Black Panthers reportedly patrolled outside some of the schools. The strike was a brutal polarizer. You either supported the strike or you didn't. There was no middle ground. Jewish liberals often found themselves despised by both sides. After the damage wrought by the 11-week strike had cleared, there was no longer a constituency, or political future, in supporting integration, in Rochdale, or the city at large. The strike lingered as an unhealed wound. (70)

The problem was most acute in Rochdale's new intermediate school, which opened in the fall of 1967. From the outset the school seemed to be in a state of disarray, with substantial discipline problems. The strike bitterly divided the faculty, and the weak administration of the school seemed unable to bring the faculty together, or deal with the problems in their hallways, or accomplish much of anything else. By 1969 problems with the school led to the beginning of the white exodus. As whites left the public school system, for the first time black children were bussed in from the surrounding neighborhood. (Previously those from the adjacent neighborhoods, like the children from Rochdale, had been able to walk to school.) This further accelerated the loss of white students. The key to successful integration is quality public schools; without them, any attempt to create stable integrated housing will fail. A liberal, integrated group wrote to the Board of Education in 1970, calling for maintaining the current racial balance in the schools, and arguing that Rochdale's residents were willing to make sacrifices for the sake of integration but, "the one problem they cannot accept is a poor school situation. This above all is what causing many white and middle class families to move out of this community." (71)

There were other explanations for the white exodus from Rochdale. Crime was on the rise throughout New York City and was certainly on the rise in and near Rochdale. There was a heroin epidemic in South Jamaica in the late 1960s; the proximity to Kennedy airport and its abundant organized crime networks likely contributed to a rash of car thefts. (72) There was a the deterioration of the physical condition of the cooperative, with a rash of minor, but annoying acts of vandalism and there were protests over increases in carrying charges (the equivalent of rent.). If education provided the primary catalyst to the white exodus, there was no lack of subsidiary reasons.

Many works examining this period in New York City's history have portrayed middle class white families in the outer boroughs as participating in a transforming revolt against liberalism, following Jonathan Rieder's influential work on Canarsie. (73) Generalizations are difficult, and there certainly are people from Rochdale who fit into the "New Deal Jews mugged by the 1960s, turn conservative" narrative. Indeed, Meir Kahane who would soon gain an international notoriety as a right-wing rabble rouser, was living in Rochdale at the time of the 1968 strike, rabbi to Rochdale's orthodox congregation, and leading the newly founded Jewish Defense League. (74) But in general the people in Rochdale changed less than the city in which they lived. By all accounts Rochdale remained a very liberal place. It went heavily for Lindsay in 1969, McGovern in 1972; and strongly opposed the war in Vietnam in local polls. (75) But if people had practical reasons for moving to Rochdale, they had equally practical reasons for leaving. As one person put it, people moved less out of a rejection of Rochdale's founding principles, but "people moved out because it no longer lived up to their expectations." (76)

Certainly those who remained in Rochdale in the early 1970s fought to keep it integrated. But by 1973, fighting for integrated housing was no longer a fashionable issue. That year, WNET, Channel 13, whose programming was broadly reflective of fashionable opinion, had a documentary on racial tensions leading to the white exodus from Rochdale. The reaction in Rochdale was deeply offended, and many complained of the exaggerations and sensationalism in the report. The producer responded that there was overwhelming evidence of serious racial tension in Rochdale, and that the message of the program was that "the possibility of successful integrated housing in New York City is a most difficult goal at best, if one examines the Rochdale experience." (77) The lessons drawn from Rochdale's experiment in integration were not those its founders and first residents had intended.

In many ways New York City has changed beyond recognition in the forty years since Rochdale Village first opened. As one who remembers as a 10-year old roaming the still unfinished and unlandscaped grounds of Rochdale when it was brand new, I know I have. Robert Moses and the UHF are long gone, and their ideas of planning seem past exhumation. Most housing experts write that because of their costs, their tax structures, and their social impact, huge cooperatives like Rochdale are urban dinosaurs that have long since waddled to their well deserved extinction. (78) But if much has changed, one way in which New York City remains the same is that in both in its housing and its schools, it remains one of the most segregated cities in the United States, especially in black outer borough neighborhoods like South Jamaica. The only difference between then and now is that segregation is now taken for granted and accepted, as an unalterable facet of urban living.

In his classic 1955 work, The Strange Career of Jim Crow, C. Vann Woodward wrote of the "forgotten alternatives" of America's racial history. (79) Woodward of course focused on the Reconstruction and post-Reconstruction periods, and his work scraped away layer upon layer of conventional wisdom that held that blacks and whites living together and sharing power as equals was a preordained failure. A similar veneer obscures the efforts to create genuinely integrated communities in the 1960s. History of course cannot be rewritten, and like Reconstruction, the effort to create an integrated Rochdale in the 1960s was ultimately a failure, a forgotten alternative. Success is imitated; failure is shunned. But if Rochdale's efforts at integration were not a success, as one longtime activist told me, in different ways and in new guises, "it is an experiment that has to be tried again." (80)

(1) Earlier versions of this paper were presented to the Rochester United States Historians (RUSH) group and the Columbia University Seminar on the City, and I am grateful for their incisive suggestions, and for the comments of Rob Snyder and Clarence Taylor.

(2) Peter Eisenstadt was managing editor of The Encyclopedia of New York City (Yale University Press, 1995), and editor in chief of The Encyclopedia of New York State (Syracuse University Press, 2005.) He is currently a volume editor for the Howard Thurman Papers Project (Morehouse College, Atlanta.).

(3) United Housing Federation, Rochdale Village: A New Concept in Community Living (New York, 1967).

(4) Joshua Freeman, Working-Class New York: Life and Labor Since World War II (New Press: New York, 200), 119

(5) For a review of integrated housing projects and developments in the United States from the 1950s through the mid-1970s is Morris Milgram, Good Neighborhood: The Challenge of Open Housing (Norton: New York, 1977)

(6) The rise of black South Jamaica lacks a good history, but see Pearl Renfroe Grissom, Some Factors Affecting the Lives of Negroes in South Jamaica (Family Welfare Society of Queens: New York, 1932); James M. Rose, A Study in Triumph: African Americans in Queens Co, NY, 1683-1993 (Store Front Museum/Paul Robeson Theatre: New York, 1986); Edward Carpenter and Jacquelyn Peterson, South Jamaica: A Community Study (Queens College Children and Parents Center: New York, 1966.)

(7) There are no hard figures on the black-white percentages in Rochdale when it opened, but a UHF advertisement claimed there were 4,700 White families in Rochdale, "Rochdale Village, a Self-Help Community," New York Times (hereafter NYT), April 8, 1964, or roughly 80% of the population. Abraham Kazan, the president of the UHF estimate that 20%, of Rochdale was African American, Reminiscences of Abraham H. Kazan, 512-13, Columbia Oral History Collection. Harvey Swados, in "When Black and White Live Together," NYT Magazine Nov 13, 1966, gives a figure of 15% African American. Some contemporary observers gave a lower percentage of African Americans in Rochdale. Myron Becker in "City Housing Project Plan Stirs Up Rochdale Village,' Long Island Press, (hereafter LIP) April 11, 1965, cites a figure of 8%. The Rev. William Mowat, who conducted a survey of race and religion in Rochdale, is cited as claiming in 1965 that the African American population was "far fewer" than 20%, but he didn't offer his own figures, Jerome Zukosky, "Rochdale Village--A Test of Race and Religion," New York Herald Tribune, March 14, 1965. In the absence of conclusive evidence, the UHF figures should be taken as authoritative.

The one extant study of religious affiliation in Rochdale, from 1965, concluded (with an unspecified methodology) that there were about 4,000 Jewish households in Rochdale, which means of the 4,700 white families in Rochdale, about 85% of them would have been Jewish, The Protestant Council of the City of New York [William R. Mowat], An Experimental Ministry to a High-Rise Middle-Income Housing Complex (New York, 1967), 3 For anyone who lived there in the mid-1960s, this seems about right.

(8) Joshua Freeman, Working-Class New York, 119.

(9) Harvey Swados, in "When Black and White Live Together," NYT Magazine Nov 13, 1966

(10) One author who has described New York City from the late 1950s through the early 1960s as an "era of integration" is Vincent J. Cannato, The Ungovernable City: John Lindsay and His Struggle to Save New York (Basic Books: New York, 2001), 268-271.

(11) Morton Deutsch and Mary Evans Collins, Interracial Housing: A Psycholosocial Evaluation of a Social Experiment (University of Minnesota Press: Minneapolis, 1951), 126. The Deutsch and Collins study was sponsored by Marshall Field Foundation, which worked extensively with city officials, including Robert Moses, in unsuccessful efforts to build private interracial housing in Greenwich Village in the early 1950s, see Joel Schwartz, The New York Approach: Robert Moses, Urban Liberals, and the Redevelopment of the Inner City (Ohio State University Press, Columbus 1993), 139-142, 179-183.

(12) For anti-discrimination law in New York City and State, see Paul Moreno, "Division of Human Rights," in Peter Eisenstadt ed., The Encyclopedia of New York State (Syracuse University Press: Syracuse, NY: 2005), 749; Tod M. Ottman, "Government That Has Both a Heart and a Head: The Growth of New York State Government during the World War II Era, 1930-1950," (Ph.D. diss., SUNY Albany, 2001), 188-189; Stephen Grant Meyer: As Long as They Don't Move Next Door: Segregation and Racial Conflict in American Neighborhoods (Rowman and Littlefield: Latham, Md, 2000), 158-161.

(13) Perhaps the emblematic figure in the liberal campaign for open housing at the time was Charles Abrams, the author of Forbidden Neighbors: A Study of Prejudice in Housing (Harper: New York, 1955), the best-known study of its subject. In 1955 he was named chairman of the State Commission Against Discrimination, and he worked for several years to increase its jurisdiction and enforcement powers. He resigned in 1959 after a clash with newly elected Gov. Nelson Rockefeller. Abrams recognized both the promise and the problems with state enforcement of civil rights legislation in New York State. For Abrams see A. Scott Henderson, Housing and the Democratic Ideal: The Life and Thought of Charles Abrams (Columbia University Press: New York, 2000), esp. 157-166.

(14) For the importance of integration and multiracialism in the Popular Front see Michael Denning. The Cultural Front: The Laboring of American Culture in the Twentieth Century (Verso: New York, 1996). 115-161, 445-454.

(15) Freeman, Working Class New York, 93-95.

(16) Doxey Wilkerson, "Freedom--Through Victory in War and Peace," in Rayford W. Logan, What the Negro Wants (1944 repr; Univ of Notre Dame Press, 2001), 193-216. Wilkerson, a professor of education at Howard University, joined the Communist Party in 1943. In 1946, as a party member, he criticized the revival of the Communist Party's far fetched scheme for self-determination within a black homeland in the South, arguing that, progress for black Americans was possible without the overthrow of capitalism, see Joseph R. Starobin, American Communism in Crisis, 1943-1957 (University of California Press: Berkeley, 1972), 132-33

(17) Doxey A. Wilkerson, "Teacher Institute of Individualizing Instruction For Classroom Integration at P.S. 30 and P.S 80, Queens, New York City: 1965-66," (1966), report in possession of author. See also Edmund Gordon and Doxey Wilkerson, Compensatory Education for the Disadvantaged: Programs and Practices: Preschool through College (College Entrance Examination Board: New York, 1966); interview with Herbert Plever, September 2004; Wilkerson collaborated with another former Communist, Annie Stein, in preparing the educational park proposal for Rochdale; Jack and Sue Raskin interview, September 2004. For Annie Stein's role as an advisor to Milton Galaminson's in his campaign to integrate New York City's public schools (with its major demonstration coming in February 1964, a few months after the opening of Rochdale), see Clarence Taylor, Knocking at our Own Door: Milton A. Galamison and the Struggle to Integrate New York City Schools (Columbia University Press: New York, 1997), 55-63, 141.

(18) For social democracy and housing in post-war New York City see Freeman, Working Class New York, 105-124 and Hilary Botein, "'Solid Testimony of Labor's Present Status': Unions and Housing and Postwar New York City," (Ph.D. Diss., Columbia University, 2005.)

(19) For Kazan's early contacts with anarchism, in the years around World War I see Reminiscences of Abraham H. Kazan (1969), Columbia Oral History Collection, 25-27; interview Harold Ostroff, September 2004. For Jewish anarchism in New York City see Paul Avrich, Anarchist Portraits, (Princeton University Press: Princeton, 1988, 176-199, and Tony Michels, A Fire in Their Hearts: Yiddish Socialists in New York (Harvard University Press: Cambridge, 2005).

(20) For background on Kazan, early cooperative activity in New York City, and the UHF see Kenenth G. Wray, "Abraham E. Kazan: The Story of the Amalgamated Houses and the United Housing Foundation,", Master's Thesis, Columbia University (1991), Andrew Hazelton, "Garden Courts to Tower Blocks: The Architecture and Social History of the Labor Cooperative Housing Movement in New York, 1913-1950,"; Tony Schuman, "Labor and Housing in New York City: Architect Herman Jessor and the Cooperative Housing Movement," paper in possession of the author; Hilary Ann Botein, "'Solid Testimony of Labor's Present Status:' 70-101; "Radicals in the Bronx," video produced Michal Goldman; Co-producers: Ellen Brodsky and Andrew Hazelton; 2004; Amalgamated Housing Cooperative, Story of a Co-Op Community: The First 75 Years (New York, 2002); Richard Plunz, A History of Housing in New York City: Dwelling Type and Social Change in the American Metropolis (Columbia University Press: New York, 1990), 151-59

(21) The UHF saw the cooperative movement as a "third way" between capitalism and communism See for instance Norman Thomas, "People's Capitalism" Co-op Contact (April, 1956), vol 1, no 8. As late as 1964 the UHF reprinted excerpts from Robert Owen's classic socialist tract, "A New System of Society," in their journal, Co-op Contact (March, 1964), vol. VI, no II.

(22) Abraham E. Kazan Dies at 82; Master Co-Op Housing Builder," NYT, Dec 22, 1971

(23) Reminiscences of Abraham E. Kazan, 504; "Land Acquired for Rochdale Village," Co-Op Contact, June-July 1960

(24) Joel Schwartz The New York Approach: Robert Moses, Urban Liberals, and Redevelopment of the Inner City (Columbus, Ohio; Ohio University Press, 1993), 135

(25) Interview with Harold Ostroff, September 2004.

(26) Reminiscences of Abraham Kazan, 493.

(27) For the sale of the Jamaica Race Track see Stanley Levey, "Racing Now Virtual King of Sports, Topping Baseball in Gate Appeal," NYT, April 30, 1953; Arthur Daley, "What's That, John?" NYT, Dec 20, 1953; Alexander Feinberg, "New Racing Plant for City Mapped." NYT, Jan 16, 1954; Jockey Club Plans Gives $100 Million Plan for State Tracks," Sept. 1, 1954; Leo Egan, "Strong Opposition to "Dream" Race Track Here", NYT, March 26, 1955; Joseph C. Nichols, "Two Long Island Courses Will be Rebuilt," NYT October 28, 1955; Homer Bigart, "Moses Plans Deals on Jamaica Race Track," NYT October 5, 1956; Charles Grutzner, "Slum Work Urged to Spur Economy," NYT, April 18, 1958; "Jamaica Project Pleases Moses," NYT, May 18, 1959; Charles Grutzner, "Jamaica Track Open to Housing if Aqueduct Gets Idlewild Plot," NYT_Jan 24, 1959; "Huge Co-Op Plan Favored by Moses," Aug 20, 1959, NYT "Great Housing Opportunity," [editorial] NYT_Dec 4, 1959; Press Release Feb 18, 1960, State of New York, Executive Chamber, Albany, UHF Clipping File, UHF Papers, Kheel Center, ILR Cornell; Charles G. Bennett, "Jamaica Housing Meets Opposition," New York Times, April 14, 1960; "Riverside Houses Voted as Revised," NYT_April 29, 1960; "Racetrack Housing Approved by City," April 29, 1960; "Reminiscences of Abraham H. Kazan," 493-504. Although it possibly entered into private discussions, I have found nothing to indicate that the racial mix in South Jamaica was a factor in the decision to close Jamaica Race Track.

(28) Robert Moses to John Cashmore, August 26, 1955, Folder B, 1955; Robert Moses to F. M. Flynn Aug 22, 1955 C, 1955; Robert Moses to Robert F Wagner July 6, 1955, Folder W 1955, Robert Moses Papers, New York Public Library. Homer Bigart, "Moses Plans Deals on Jamaica Race Track," NYT October 5, 1956. The text of Moses' speech proposing the development of the Jamaica Race Track is reprinted in Robert Moses, "The Role of Housing Cooperatives in Urban Redevelopment," Co-op Contact (Nov, 1956). Vol I, No. 11.

(28) Robert Moses to Wagner, July 6, 1955; Robert Moses to F.M. Flynn Aug 22, 1955, Robert Moses Papers.

(29) Charles Grutzner, "Moses is Annoyed by a "Slow" Track," New York Times, Oct 18, 1957.

(30) "Jamaica Project Please Moses," May 18, 1959

(31) Kazan, "Reminiscences," 493. For the increased hostility of the press towards Moses in the summer and fall of 1959 see Robert Caro, The Power Broker: Robert Moses and the Fall of New York (Vintage Books, New York, 1974), 961-1025

(32) For black fears of declining real estate values, see Swados, "Where Black and White Live Together."

(33) Harold Ostroff, speech at Princeton University, April 18, 1968, in possession of author. Donald Martin, one of Kazan's closest aides, is quoted as arguing the lesson of Rochdale Village is that "people can put up with a lot of integration when they can get good housing at an attractive price," Kenneth G. Wray, "Abraham E. Kazan: The Story of the Amalgamated Houses and the United Housing Foundation," 50. See also "Rochdale Tenants: New Home is Okay," LIP, February 26, 1964; Anne Estock, "Big Boosters for Largest Co-Op," Long Island Press, March 29, 1964.

(34) UHF Minutes, April 8, 1960, UHF Collection., Kheel Library

(35) For the lack of private interracial developments in the 1950s, see Eunice and George Grier, Privately Developed Interracial Housing: An Analysis of Experience (University of California Press: Berkeley, 1960.)

(36) Henry Lee Moon, the NAACP director of publicity, and the author of the important Study The Balance of Power: The Negro Vote (Doubleday: Garden City, NY, 1948), lived in the Queensview cooperative and served on the bard of directors of Rochdale Village from 1963 to 1966 and two terms as a director for the UHF; Bea and Jack Moss, "One of Queensview's Most Distinguished Families," Co-op Contact (March, 1956), vol I, no 5; United Housing Federation, Rochdale Village: A New Concept in Community Living (New York, 1967), 24.

(37) Eleanor Roosevelt, "Housing for Everyone" Co-op Contact (May, 1956) vol I, no 7. See also Donald D. Martin, "Open Membership," Co-op Contact (October 1957), vol. II no 8, on Little Rock and open housing, "Civil Rights and Housing,: Co-op Contact (Feb-March 1960), vol. IV no 3

(38) For Moses' opposition to civil rights legislation see "Wha's The Matter with New York," NYT, 1 August, 1943 (I am grateful to Martha Biondi for this reference), and for Moses on the Ives-Quinn law, see the New York Journal-American, Feb 21, 1945, cited in Martha Biondi, To Stand and Fight: The Struggle for Civil Rights in Post War New York (Harvard University Press: Cambridge, 2003 19. For his role at Stuyvesant Town see Biondi, To Stand and Fight, 121-136, and Schwartz, The New York Approach, 84-107

(39) New York Post, July 1, 1956; Robert Moses to James Felt, August 20, 1956, F Folder Robert Moses Papers. To his close friend Herbert Bayard Swope he wrote in early 1956 that civil rights legislation, if vigorously enforced "will turn the clock a quarter of a century, Moses to Swope, S Folder, 1956; Robert Moses Papers.

(40) The influence of Mencken on Moses is worthy of further study. In 1955 Moses wrote the dying man what can only be considered a fan letter, "Nothing could have delighted your friends more than to learn that you are back at the books and dictation. Today you have no enemies because you have outlived the bums," Moses to H.L. Mencken Sept 12, 1955, "W" 1955, Robert Moses Papers. Moses shared Mencken's distrust of reformers. For both men the 1928 Al Smith campaign (in which of course Moses was intimately involved) provided contradictory messages; a hatred for both human bigotry and rural small-mindedness, and a belief in the power of government to transform average people's lives for the better along with a profound distrust for the forms and rituals of democracy. For Moses' impassioned comments on the bigotry provoked by the Smith campaign, See Moses to Oscar Handlin, H, 1957.

(41) New York Post, July 1, 1956. In Robert Moses, Public Works: A Dangerous Trade (McGraw-Hill: New York, 1970), 431-433, Moses quotes a letter he wrote in the late 1940s privately criticizing the president of Met Life for his conservatism and "poor advisers" on racial matters. For other examples of interracial housing projects backed by Moses see Joel Schwartz The New York Approach, 136-143; Lawrence Kaplan and Carol Kaplan, Between Ocean and City: The Transformation of Rockaway, New York (Columbia University Press: New York, 2003), 88-89.

(42) Robert Moses to Elmer Carter, March 13, 1959, C, 1959, Robert Moses Papers. Robert Caro's The Power Broker.has nary a mention of the Housing Foundation, Abraham Kazan, or Rochdale Village.

(43) Kazan, "Reminiscences," 504. Robert Moses to Nelson Rockefeller September 30, 1959, Rockefeller Subject Files, 1959-1962, Housing, New York State Archives. The reluctance of union officials to provide funds for Rochdale was confirmed by Nicholas Gyory, former president of the Millinery Workers International Union, interview with Nicholas Gyory, November 2005.

(44) Moses to J. Anthony Panuch, Nov 30, 1959 P Folder, Robert Moses Papers.

(45) Robert Moses, "Rochdale: Mster Planner Moses Views a Master Housing Plan," Dec 1, 1963; Robert Moses, Public Works, 466; Robert Moses, "Rochdale Village: A Model for the Future," Newsday Feb 3, 1968

(46) Swados, "When Black and White Live Together."

(47) Zukovsky, "Rochdale Village, a Test of Race and Religion." New York Herald Tribune, March 14, 1965

(48) Reprinted in Inside Rochdale, Jan 27, 1965

(49), Jerome Zukosky, "Rochdale Village--A Test of Race and Religion," New York Herald Tribune, March 14, 1965; interview with Anita Starr, November 2004

(50) A rumor reported in the Long Island Press that Rochdale was planned to be 60% white, 40% black was vigorously denied;_see Abraham Kazan to Florence Goodman, June 7, 1961, UHF files, Kheel Library, ILR Cornell. Harold Ostoff gave me a similar unambiguous denial about quotas in Rochdale when I interviewed him, and I see no evidence to challenge his account; interview September 2004.

(51) "Enjoy Country Living in Rochdale Village," advertisement in NYT, Jan 8, 1961. There was a notice about Rochdale at the same time in the New Pittsburgh Courier, a well-known black paper that had a national edition, Pat Patterson, "Long Island Sounds," Jan 7, 1961.

(52) Interview with Eddie Abramson, November 2004; interview with Joseph Raskin, March 2006.

(53) "One of Last 5 Wooden Schools in City to Be Closed Tomorrow," NYT Apr 9, 1964, Rochdale Village Committee for Public Schools, "Letter to Dr. Ryan, Werner, and Members of the Board," Dec 5, 1963, letter in possession of the author; interviews with Jack and Sue Raskin, September 2004; Herb and Sylvia Plever September 2004; Adele Goret September 2004. See also the important account in David Rogers, 110 Livingston Street: Politics and Bureaucracy in the New York City Schools (Random House: New York, 1968), 509-11, provided by an anonymous informant from the committee, which maintains the Board of Education was intending to use of one of Rochdale's elementary schools primarily for whites, the other primarily for blacks; this is disputed by those I interviewed, who argued the problem was the remarkable torpor of the Board of Education, which they challenged in a number of imaginative ways.

(54) Inside Rochdale, Nov 14, 1965

(55) Alan Truscott, "Bridge: Woman Student is Winner at Integrated Event in Queens," NYT July 13, 1967, and the bridge column in the NYT for Jan 31, 1968.

(56) For Rochdale Village Community Singers, see Inside Rochdale Feb 11, 1966, March 3, 1966, programs of Rochdale Village Community Chorus in possession of author.

(57) Bernard Seeman, "Rochdale Village Must Set An Example," Inside Rochdale, November 26, 1966. Inside Rochdale, editorialized in 1968 that because of the urban crisis, "We Need More Rochdale Villages," Inside Rochdale, Feb 12, 1968.

(58) Swados, "When Black and White Live Together."

(59) Interview with Jack and Sue Raskin, September 2004.

(60) Interview with Eddie Abramson December 200; interview with Juanita Watkins, January 2005.

(61) Numbers on the white exodus need to be pieced together from many sources; in 1970, 447 families, representing about 7.6% of the apartments, left Rochdale, Leonard Bridges to Rochdale Village Board of Directors, Dec 15, 1970, UHF Papers, Kheel Library. By 1973, 1800 families, or about 31% of the families are reported as having moved out over the previous three years, "Cooperation Means Responsibility," Rochdale Village Bulletin, May 1973. Estimates of the black population of Rochdale include 50% in 1974, Rochdale Village Preparing for 10th Anniversary Dinner, Long Island Press, Jan 6, 1974, 70% in 1977, Murray Schumach, "If it Really Takes All Kinds, Queens Certainly Takes All Kinds", NYT, March 2, 1977, and 85% in 1979, A Vision of Utopia Fading at Rochdale," _NYT June 8, 1979. The White population continued to decline, and by the early 1990s, Rochdale Village was 98% non-White, Diana Shaman, "Queens Co-op Working Out Problems," NYT, March 12, 1993.

(62) For negative comments by blacks on their Jewish neighbors see, Swados, "When Black and White Live Together;" Zukovsky, "Rochdale Village, a Test of Race and Religion;" conversation with Donna Rodriguez, December 2004. For racialized comments on crime by black "outsiders," see Helen Katz, When Will the Madness End?" Inside Rochdale Nov 26, 1966; Inside Rochdale Dec 11, 1966; "Crime Plagues Local Stores," Inside Rochdale January 1970.

(63) For the sad story of the swimming pool see "Hearing on Addition For Lincoln Center to be Held June 19," NYT, June 6, 1963; "Rochdale Pool Starts Protests Swirling," LIP, May 1, 1963," "Residents Oppose Rochdale Pool Site," LIP May 4, 1963. Proposed Department of Parks Recreation Center at New York Blvd and 134th Street (New York 1963); Queens Borough President Mario J. Cariello to Commissioner of Parks Newbold Morris, May 4, 1964, Department of Parks and Recreation, Rochdale Village, 1964, Municipal Archives.

(64) Inside Rochdale, April 15, 1965. This was in opposition to the plan to build low income housing adjacent to Rochdale, a plan opposed both by Rochdale and South Jamaica community groups.

(65) For the demonstrations at the Rochdale construction site see William Booth, "Inside Story of the Rochdale Fight," New York Amsterdam News, Aug 3, 1963; Peter Khiss, "143 More Seized in Protests Here," NYT July 24, 1963; Hal Shapiro, "Why They Picket at Rochdale," LIP August 8, 1963; Martin Arnold, "Rights Protests Cost $15,000 a Day in Police Overtime," NYT Aug 6, 1963; Rockefeller Bars Negro Job Quota; Hails Union Plan," NYT July 26, 1963; Will Lissner, "Pickets Chain Themselves to Cranes," NYT September 6, 1963 Homer Bigart, "Wagner's Panel on Hiring Negroes Notes Progress," NYT August 5, 1963 Simon Anekwe, "Rochdale Defendants Freed in Queens Picketing Trial," New York Amsterdam News December 7, 1963; interviews with Herman Ferguson, January 2005; William Booth, May 2005, Paul Gibson, May 2005. For Malcolm X's two appearances at the Rochdale protests, see New Pittsburgh Courier, Dec 7, 1963; interview with Herman Ferguson, February 2005; Holly Ho, "Long Island--Inside Out," New Pittsburgh Courier, Dec 7, 1963. Malcolm X's mentions the Rochdale Movement in his March 1964 interview, By Any Means Necessary: Speeches, Interviews and a Letter (Pathfinder Press: New York, 1970), 7.

(66) Kenneth B. Clark, Dark Ghetto (Harper and Row: New York, 1965), 240.

(67) Interview with Sue Raskin, September 2004.

(68) Those who mentioned the school strike as a major factor in the white exodus include Libby Kahane April 2005; Eddie Abramson, December 2004; Juanita Watkins, January 2005; Harold Ostroff September 2004; Jack and Sue Raskin, September 2004; Herb and Sylvia Plever, September 2004; Anita Starr, November 2004; Cal Jones, December 2004; Omar Barbour November 2004. For the teacher's strike see Jerald E. Podair, The Strike that Changed New York: Blacks, Whites, and the Ocean Hill-Brownsville Crisis (Yale University Press: New Haven, Conn., 2003)

(69) For the meeting with Shanker, interviews with Jack and Sue Raskin, September 2004; Cal Jones, December 2004

(70) Interviews with Jack and Sue Raskin, September 2004; Cal Jones, December 2004

(71) Susan Raskin to Mrs. Helene Lloyd (Board of Education), June 19, 1970; document in possession of author. For problems at Rochdale's intermediate school, IS 72, see interviews with Larry Lapka, Sue Raskin, Anita Starr, Ellen Page, Nancy Brandon, Francesca Spero, Kenneth Tewel, and George and Beryl Korot.

(72) Interview with Omar Barbour, November 2004.

(73) Jonathan Rieder, Canarsie: The Jews and Italians of Brooklyn Against Liberalism (Harvard University Press: Cambridge, Mass 1985). For other books with similar themes see Jim Sleeper, The Closest of Strangers: Liberalism and the Politics of Race in New York (Norton: New York, 1990); Samuel G. Freedman, The Inheritance: How Three Families and the American Political Majority Moved From Left to Right (Simon and Schuster: New York, 1998), Vincent J. Cannato, The Ungovernable City: John Lindsay and His Struggle to Save New York (Basic Books: New York, 2001).

(74) Meir Kahane was rabbi of the orthodox synagogue in Rochdale for a year from the fall of 1968 to 1969, and lived much of the year in Rochdale. His family moved because his position ended--his congregation was tired of his extra-congregational activities and his penchant for controversy, which led to his growing unease in living in an integrated setting; interview with Libby Kahane, April 2005; Libby Kahane, "Meir Kahane," unpublished ms. in possession of author.

(75) A June 1968 pool in Inside Rochdale found 81% of Rochdale respondents concluding victory was not possible in Vietnam; an August 1973 poll in the same publication found a majority declaring the returning POWs were not heroes. Eddie Abramson lost his position as district leader in 1968 because of his support of Johnson's Vietnam policies; a rally for the presidential bid of Robert Kennedy had been planned for Rochdale Village for the Sunday after his assassination, in large part because of his heavy support in Rochdale Eddie Abramson, December 2004; Cal Jones December 2004.

(76) Technite post, We Finally Visited Rochdale, post 51, Rochdale Forum, March 6, 2002.

(77) Hal Levinson, "Channel 13 Responds to Rochdale Complaints," Inside Rochdale, May 1973. For reactions to the WNET program by Rochdale, see the issues of Inside Rochdale and Rochdale Village Bulletin, April 1973.

(78) For an argument that economics make a return to the building of middle-income cooperatives impossible, and that as a result New Yorkers "seem reluctantly reconciled to the vertiginous drop in the volume of affordable housing," see Louis Winnick, "When an Apartment Fulfilled an Ideal," NYT July 22, 2000.

(79) C. Vann Woodward, The Strange Career of Jim Crow (Oxford University Press: New York, 1955)

(80) Interview with Herb and Sylvia Plever, September 2004.

Peter Eisenstandt (2)
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Author:Eisenstadt, Peter
Publication:Afro-Americans in New York Life and History
Date:Jul 1, 2007
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