Black Quotidian: Everyday History in African-American Newspapers

November 23, 1946

On November 23, 1946, the New York Amsterdam News’ headline story discussed a report by civil rights advocate Dr. Channing Tobias regarding housing conditions and crime in Harlem. Housing in Harlem, Tobias said, “is so generally bad, especially in the side streets where the masses live, as to constitute a continuing menace to health and life. It is a common thing for little children to compete with rats for bunks in which to try to rest at night, while seldom a week passes that some person is not burned to death in an old law tenement.” Describing what must be done, Tobias argued, “We must do away with complete racial segregation in the City of New York whether it is based upon race, nationality, or economic status: for nothing so tends to create double standards of personality as the segregation of people on account of such accidents as color and creed. As long as Negro citizens of New York are fenced in as they are in Harlem without opportunity for living alongside other people, their personalities will be rated below par. We must support housing programs of the government and private groups and individuals that are based on sound democratic principles to the end that the major housing needs of the community may be met.”  

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