Like so many Americans on Thanksgiving Day, I am grateful for a loving family and the ability to take for granted the basics of food, clothing and shelter; for having a warm bed to sleep in; for living without fear. But on this day of “giving thanks” I’m also grateful for possessing something tangible that few people in the world have now or have ever had or ever will have, especially not this generation.
Reading my Mom's 1941 diary entries of dating my dad is like listening in on a BFF conversation. In my upcoming book, Redlined, I had to streamline my parents' romance–so I could get to the meat of the story of my Chicago neighborhood. But Mom's vivid recollection of her evening with "Fred Gartz" is worth lingering over.
"Thirty-seven-year-old Medgar Evers, Mississippi’s NAACP field secretary, was shot in the back with a high-powered rifle as he walked from his car to his home on June 12, 1963. He died an hour later. Again, mass black protests, followed by mass arrests were broadcast on TV around the world. I later learned that neighbors had heard Evers’s children screaming, “Daddy! Daddy! Daddy!” I thought of my daddy. What would I do without my daddy?
“…district threatened with Negro encroachment” is a direct quote from the portion shown here of a 1940 map of Chicago area neighborhoods, illustrating the color grade given to various areas by the New Deal’s creation, the Home Owners’ Loan Corporation (HOLC).
In July 1962, a few months after I graduated from grade school and one year before the first black family moved onto our block, The Saturday Evening Post, a venerable magazine of the time, ran an article entitled, "Confessions of a Blockbuster." I highly recommend it to understand how insidious racist lending policies, exploited by real estate predators, undermined the housing dreams of both black and white families.
Well, the mystery of who bought the Young-Parker house has been solved. As more or less expected, the colored moved in today 6-22-63 From the diary of Lillian Gartz June 22, 1963 This diary entry Mom wrote opens my upcoming book, [...]
This post was originally published on Jan. 11, 2011, and the the references to the 100th anniversary are based on that date. Today is the 100th anniversary of Josef Gärtz, my paternal grandfather, arriving in America, losing the umlaut over [...]
Friedrich der Grosse from NorwayHeritage.com This post was originally published on Jan. 5, 2011. Crossing the North Atlantic in the heart of winter was a grueling experience, as Josef reports in his diary. The first and second days [...]