One of the biggest events in recent American history to be almost completely memoryholed is what happened to white ethnic urban neighborhoods due to racial integration in the second half of the 20th Century. Tens of millions of living Americans have first hand memories of these enormous events, but nobody wants to hear from them. This is particularly peculiar, since many of the children and grandchildren of the victims are bright people, some with jobs in the media.
I finally found a rare historical account, “The Push and Pull Dynamics of White Flight: A Study of the Bronx Between 1950 and 1980” published in the Bronx County Historical Society Journal in 2009. The author simply interviewed her own mother and several of her mother’s oldest friends, plus the archivist of the Bronx County Historical Society, about what it was like growing up in the Bronx Before Integration (i.e., it was nice), and then What Happened.
In Ms. Roby’s simple model, the Pull is the undeniable appeal of moving to the suburbs as automobiles and highways become more abundant. The Push is blacks and Puerto Ricans moving in, and the subsequent rise in crime and decline in quality of life.