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Don't Blame UsSuburban Liberals and the Transformation of the Democratic Party$
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Lily Geismer

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780691157238

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691157238.001.0001

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Good Neighbors

Good Neighbors

(p.43) 2 Good Neighbors
Don't Blame Us

Lily Geismer

Princeton University Press

This chapter reveals that the fair housing movement in the Route 128 area created the grassroots support and legal means to fight racial discrimination through methods that simultaneously revealed the serious limits of suburban activists to solve the problems of systemic inequality. The agendas and policies of the fair housing movement grounded in the ideals of equal opportunity and meritocratic individualism led to the creation of pathbreaking new laws and a new outpouring of support for the cause. The movement, nevertheless, succeeded in helping only a handful of primarily middle-class African Americans move into affluent communities. While the results did have symbolic importance, they did little to alleviate the housing problems of the majority of Boston's African American population or patterns of systemic residential segregation. Thus, the fair housing movement contributed to liberal ideals and modes of activism and perpetuated larger patterns of residential and class inequality.

Keywords:   fair housing movement, Route 128, equal opportunity, meritocratic individualism, fair housing activism, racial discrimination, housing problems, segregation, residential inequality, class inequality

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