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Levittown : two families, one tycoon, and the fight for civil rights in America'
David Kushner
Adult Nonfiction F159.L6 K87 2009

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From Publishers' Weekly:

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 nation's 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 Levitts-by now massively successful and nationally lauded-had 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 party's story in the leadup to a combustible summer when the integration of America's most famous suburb caused the downfall of a titan and transformed the nation. (Feb.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

From Library Journal:

In 1957, Bev and Lew Wechsler, activists and residents of Levittown, PA, welcomed Daisy and Bill Myers and their children to move next door. The Myers thus became the first black family to reside in Levittown, built and maintained as an explicitly "whites only" suburb. Rolling Stone contributing editor Kushner (Masters of Doom) frames the Myers's story within the rise of self-assured entrepreneur developer Bill Levitt, who built wildly successful postwar suburbs and was an unrepentant defender of racially exclusive policies. Kushner also limns the contemporary civil rights struggle but focuses on the immediate fallout of the Myers's move into Levittown: nonstop protests, near-riots, and threats from appalled residents backed by out-of-town white supremacists, which were countered by the Wechslers and other forward-thinking residents with support from local Quaker and human rights groups. Though the Myers family prevailed in the courts, and Levitt's communities would be officially integrated by 1960, the tension of that summer is still palpable in this gripping account. Timing gives this publication an additional layer of historic intrigue: in November 2008, voters in Bucks County, PA, home to Levittown, selected Barack Obama for President by an 8.5 percent margin. Recommended for all public libraries and essential for regional collections.-Janet Ingraham Dwyer, Worthington Libs., OH (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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