everdream: (Default)
( Apr. 8th, 2009 12:57 pm)
This is an extended comment I made over at Shakesville. If you want to read teh post that I responded to, just go over there:

YES to Sundown Towns. I,too, read it a few years ago and found it amazing.

The part that got to me a lot in that book (among others) was how public transit was built to essentially segerate white people from the "others". You can see this sort of thing on the Main Line just outside Philadelphia (where I lived for several years). The nice, clean commuter train rain through the center of old money towns like Ardmore, Villanova, Bryn Mawr, etc.

The 100-which went from 69th street out to Norristown (a dying town in Montgomery County and home to lots of poor minorities) also ran to these towns but the edge of them, away from the center. As not to have to make the "acceptable" commuter train people have to deal with the often poor, often cast off people that used the 100 every day to get to menial wage jobs (like cleaning the many hotels and office buildings on the Main Line) and home again.

Also, it should be noted that Ardmore is the only town on the Main Line that has ANY kind of black population. It was mentioned in this book the reason is that people who cleaned the white people's houses and offices settled here after it became not so common to have them live in house with their white bosses. Recently, there was an article in Philly.com that wants to take the "rich kids" that live in places like Narberth, Penn Valley, etc and move even more of them to Harriton High School (the second high school in the Lower Merion district). Supposdely, this is to ensure that the student population is more evenly distributed, but the reality is that a lot of the not as entitled students in that district go to Lower Merion High School. Harriton was actually built because parents wanted their students not to mix with the students at Lower Merion back in the 60s, I beleive, and this whole tradition of segeration/othering is still continiuing there.
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