The opened up the possibility of securing high-paying
The 1980s was a decade of political, racial, and economic tensions in New York City. Still reeling from the fiscal crisis of 1975, in which the city declared bankruptcy and could not pay for normal operating expenses, the working class suffered as the economy changed from one of manufacturing to service. Before that, according to J.J.Brennan, the city ” actively recruited impoverished African Americans and people from the Caribbean to move to New York just when the city knew it was about to lose the types of jobs these people would be qualified for.” The Great MIgration of the 1900s resulted in an influx of Southern blacks coming to work in northern states, in hopes of achieving the freedom they never could in the south. However, The Great Migration would expose the racial divisions and disparities within the country; They were still discriminated in the New York and were left in impoverished conditions. The black experience during the Great Migration of the 1900s exposed their power over the institute of slavery because they were wanted by Northern states for industrial labor. The Great Migration was the movement of African Americans from rural areas in the southern United States to cities in the northern United States during the 1900’s. The migration took place in two waves. The first wave occurred from about 1915 to 1930. The second wave occurred from about 1940 to 1970. More than 6 million African Americans migrated during these waves. Until they began to arrive in northern states like New york, the vast majority of African Americans were confined to second class status in the south by slaveholders, their descentes and often-time vigilantes. World War I created a gateway for blacks to migrate because it opened up the possibility of securing high-paying jobs in defense plants and other factories.They were also fleeing from the loss of agricultural jobs and ” residual constraints of a Jim Crow society. ” Also, industrialized urban areas in the North, Midwest and West faced a shortage of industrial laborers, “as the war put an end to the steady tide of European immigration to the United States. With war production kicking into high gear, recruiters enticed African Americans to come north, to the dismay of white Southerners…” African Americans from the South were not alone in their pursuit of economic stability as Caribbean immigrants also strove to break political barriers. To elaborate, the Landmark Immigration and Nationality Act of 1967, also known as the Hart–Celler Act, altered the demographic mix of New York City as non-Europeans were allowed to enter the country. The Act, focusing in on immigrants’ skills and family relationships with citizens or residents of the U.S. rather than their country of origin, was able to accept more skilled workers while still limiting the number of people who entered the country. Prior to 1965, the demographics of immigration stood as mostly Europeans, especially in the south bronx, which ” went from being two-thirds white…to two-thirds African American and Hispanic.” Not only did the Hart-Cellar Act change the ethnic makeup of immigration, but it also greatly increased the number of immigrants— “immigration constituted 11 percent of the total U.S. population growth between 1960 and 1970, growing to 33 percent from 1970–80, and to 39 percent from 1980–90.” The image of the South Bronx once represented a better way of life and improvement of standard of living for blacks. Longtime Bronx resident Sam Goodman argues that some Bronx residents “became American” on the Concourse of Dreams…New York City has been one of the first stops on the road to Americanization. The Grand Concourse became that kind of place for the second generation—the children who settled there.” Eastern European immigrants settled on the Grand Concourse, which was designed ‘ as a “speedway” so city dwellers had a fast and direct route to the newly created parks in the northern Bronx and “it includes separate roadways for horseback riding, bicycle paths, pedestrians, and vehicles.” Due to the increased number of bronx residents increased from 201,000 to 1,265,000 between 1900 and 1930, housing in the borough had many more amenities than that of the other borough. In contrast to current views about the Bronx, or even ts condition in the 1980s, ” by the early 1900s, the Bronx had gone from an idyllic country escape to a posh city, full of style. To make a mark, Bronx boosters built impressive, large apartment houses…featured elevators, kitchens, large hallways…” The availability of newer housing, fresher air, and better services in the South Bronx presented an opportunity for migrant blacks to excel. The Bronx had once held power in both the city, and the world, because the economy flourished there. New York City’s 1975 financial crisis widened the economic inequality gap that plagued the city, as it minimized resources in poor black neighborhoods. . In 1975, after the city failed to generate enough resources to support the growing demand for services and pay off their loans, a fiscal and political crisis left New York City without the resources to pay its operating expenses or the ability to borrow money from public credit markets, banks, or the federal government. Many blamed ” public sector workers, the vilification of the poor who sue government service” because those who lost the most were blue collar and low wage New Yorkers . Around that time, ” The pink slips have not been evenly distributed…Black and Puerto Rican people and youth have been hit far out of proportion…’40% of the Black males’ and ‘51.2% of Hispanic workers’ lost their jobs. The service cutbacks have not been evenly distributed. ” Yet, more low-maintenance jobs were also lost, greatly affecting the status of African americans. As Andrew Glassberg stated in his article, “While concern with “productivity” in the municipal workforce was first made a part of public political discourse …the advent of the fiscal crisis has brought…individuals with significant private sector experience… more significantly than their entrance alone… positions of significantly greater power (if not control) than was true for any earlier group of private sector advisors.” As the city began to reel from the fiscal crisis by managing expenses, they distributed economic and political power within one class, while another lost leverage. Even the administration knew the injustice that was to occur when they stated, ” Where I sit now in a line agency supervisory position there is a lot of demand for increased services… most surprising thing is the lack of demand from minority groups. There’s a general belief that the city can’t afford to do it.”As the 1980s came near, minorities began to take the livelihoods into their own hands. As a result, the pristine image of the Bronx changed as white immigrants fled to the suburbs, leaving the south bronx to the impoverished blacks and Puerto Ricans. In the mid 1900s, ” low income blacks and Puerto Ricans from the south bronx began moving north and west into neighborhoods that had previously been socially cohesive, economically sturdy, and most significant…white.” As ” the borough’s new inhabitants were thought to embrace drugs, welfare, and crime,” whites left because ” Bronx communities were no longer adequate in quality for middle class families,” and they took all the wealth and resources with them. South Bronx deteriorated along with the social status of any who lived in it. For example, ” When she arrived during the early 1970s, Regina moved in with her sister, into a cramped apartment in the South Bronx. Like other Dominican immigrants, she immediately found employment in a sweatshop and worked long hours .” Newly arrived immigrants did not have the opportunities to obtain high wage jobs, because they were only offered unskilled ones.Additionally, New York legislature minimized many black’s dependency on government supplements like welfare, because they believed that the increase of African Americans in the city had strained housing and community resources. As whites fled to the suburbs, : unskilled jobs were disappearing in the postwar years as small businesses and whole industries closed or relocated. The well-worn path to the middle class was crumbling just as the new pilgrims were starting their own journey. Without jobs, families foundered.” Not only did the fiscal crisis make most residents unemployed, it also took away their only chances to maintain a stable life. As a result of the poverty that ensued, ” the city responded…by expanding welfare benefits. Yet they did not expect welfare clients to demand for more. The city, choosing to save itself from economic distraught, withdrew the negotiable individualized grants. To elaborate, ” The New york State legislature imposed a flat-grant system that left no room for negotiating. Every family would get the same basic sum of money, with additions only for each extra child.” In an effort to save the south bronx, legislatures exacerbated its conditions as blacks were deprived now of jobs, and welfare. Similarly, New York City’s efforts to increase government efficiency failed seeing that arson in the south bronx destroyed thousands of homes. To elaborate, with the collaboration of the RAND corporation, the Lindsey administration decided on which fire stations to maintain and which to close based on accessibility and response time. However, the methodology was flawed, the analysis was rife with biases, and the results were interpreted in a way that stacked the deck against poorer neighborhoods. The slower response times allowed smaller fires to rage uncontrolled in the city’s most vulnerable communities.” The administration underrated fire departments as 50 fire units were shuttered or moved. Despite the models’ predictions of minimal impact, response times increased and the number of fires that nearby companies fought as much as quadrupled. As Father Robert Banome stated, ” We had five hundred fires a month, going constantly. Whatever the reason for that was, it was the system; it was the welfare system. It was the greed of the landowners, those who owned these buildings and wanted to make a quick profit, who saw that a new element was coming in, a difficult element that they would have to deal with, skyrocketing prices, which made them want to get their insurance. And so people on drugs would be hired; they were professional arsonists who would be hired to do in a building, for a hundred dollars to set fire to a building.” They had underestimated the significance of firefighters in impoverished communities. Furthermore, arson became a bigger problem as a consequence of government intervention. When RAND’s calculations did not work, the administration intended to mitigate the social consequences of the fire by offering fire insurance for landlords in fire prone neighborhoods, and special welfare payments made to fire victims.While the fiscal crisis did require sacrifice in some services, ” nineteen seventy-seven was particularly brutal year for fires in the city… fires had become a social emergency, especially in the city’s poorest best neighborhoods.” With nothing to rely on, blacks and landlords took advantage of the system by burning up their own homes. For example, ” once “welfare families” learned they could be placed on top of waiting lists for newer and better maintained public housing if they had been “burned out” of their apartments, many set fires to their homes or the landlord would let them know when the building “might” burn.” These kinds of scenarios where common within the poor community, and landlords played even bigger roles. They ” collected federal fire insurance money based on previously assessed value of the building” that was just burnt. ” In short, the properties were worth more burned, rather than as a home for tenants. Once burned, many structures were then abandoned or stripped of anything valuable.” Both tenant and landlord stood to benefit if the building burned down. As J.J. Brennan stated, ” Obviously, without the policies put in place at the end of the 1940s the Bronx would have had a different story. ” The arson changed the physical and geographic structure of the south bronx, leaving it in rubbles and concrete. Despite have moved across the Mason Dixon line, blacks were still subjected to discrimination and racism. As a result, when the fiscal crisis occured, they were given the short end of the stick, while whites were able to overcome this obstacle. The Fiscal Crisis defined both the South Bronx and blacks because it stagnated them in a powerless, impoverished state for decades to come.