Hyslop, the assistant manager of Queens Library's Long Island division, wanted to gather primary source material detailing efforts of Laurelton residents to fight back against "blockbusting and red-lining," techniques whereby real estate agents and banks colluded to create racially segregated neighborhoods, primarily through "white flight."Hyslop, through his research, had found newspaper clippings indicating that the Laurelton Jewish Center, with the help of Laurelton residents Jay Steingold and Rabbi Howard Singer, had fought back against block-busting, beginning in 1964 with the creation of the Greater Laurelton Fair Housing Council."They seemed to really want an integrated neighborhood," Hyslop said.Hyslop's project never really got off the ground. The Laurelton Jewish Center has since relocated and members of its aging congregation indicated that many records were likely discarded during the move.But through his research, Hyslop has developed some insight into a fascinating, and racially sensitive question: Why did the process of integrating black residents into neighborhoods that were traditionally populated by Italian, Irish and Jewish residents go much more smoothly in Laurelton than it did just up the road in Rosedale?"It's a bit of a mystery," Hyslop said, adding that he does have a theory. "Active community participation, groups like the Laurelton Jewish Center, seem to have made the situation much better."Maps available at www.social
©2007 Community News Group
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