Events

Seminar, Malgeri Modern American Society and Culture

A Decent Home: The 1950s Suburban Boom on Long Island

Author: Michael Glass, Boston College
Comment: Rebecca K. Marchiel, University of Mississippi
 

Tuesday, April 26, 2022, 5:15PM - 6:30PM

The House Act of 1949 famously promised “a decent home…for every American family.” But this was just a goal, not a right of citizenship. This paper revisits the debates that culminated in the 1949 Act to argue that it was the piecemeal liberalization of mortgage credit, more than anything else, that led to the explosion of mass-produced suburbs in the 1950s. From the perspective of new subdivisions on Long Island, the public-private partnership at the heart of federal housing policy led to chaotic construction, financing scandals, and systemic racial exclusion, which together established durable patterns of race and class inequality.  

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