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Beyond the melting pot; 

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the Melting Pot 




By Kevin Lynch, i960 


A Study of the Housing Experiences of Boston's Middle-Income Families. 
By Lloyd Rodwin, 1961 


From Thomas Jefferson to Frank Lloyd Wright. 
By Morton and Lucia White, 1962 


The Process of Growth in Boston, 1870-1900. 
By Sam B. Warner, Jr., 1962 


Edited by Oscar Handlin and John Burchard 


The Negroes, Puerto Ricans, Jews, Italians, and Irish of New York City. 
By Nathan Glazer and Daniel Patrick Moynihan, 1963 

The Joint Center for Urban Studies, a cooperative venture of the 
Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard University, was 
founded in 1959 to do research on urban and regional problems. 
Participants have included scholars from the fields of architecture, 
business, engineering, city planning, economics, history, law, philosophy, 
political science, and sociology. This book is one of a series in which 
the Joint Center presents its principal findings. 

the Melting Pot 




Second Printing, January, 1^64 

Copyright (c) 196^ by 

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology 

and the President and Fellows of Harvard College 

All rights reserved 

Library of Congress Catalog Card Number: 6^-1800$ 

Printed in the United States of America 

i<- g 




JLhis is a beginning book. It 
is an effort to trace the role of ethnicity in the tumultuous, 
varied, endlessly complex life of New York City. It is time, 
we believe, that such an effort be made, albeit doomed 
inevitably to approximation and to inaccuracy, and although 
it cannot but on occasion give offense to those very persons 
for whom we have the strongest feeling of fellowship and 
common purpose. The notion that the intense and unprece- 
dented mixture of ethnic and religious groups in American 
life was soon to blend into a homogeneous end product has 
outlived its usefulness, and also its credibility. In the mean- 
while the persisting facts of ethnicity demand attention, 
understanding, and accommodation. 

The point about the melting pot, as we say 
later, is that it did not happen. At least not in New York 
and, mutatis mutandisj in those parts of America which re- 
semble New York. 

This is nothing remarkable. On the con- 
trary, the American ethos is nowhere better perceived than 
in the disinclination of the third and fourth generation of 
newcomers to blend into a standard, uniform national type. 
From the beginning, our society and our politics have been 
at least as much concerned with values as with interests. 
The principal ethnic groups of New York City will be seen 


maintaining a distinct identity, albeit a changing one, from 
one generation to the next. One group is not as another and, 
notably where religious and cultural values are involved, 
tliese differences are matters of choice as well as of heritage; 
of new creation in a new country, as well as of the main- 
tenance of old values and forms. Our discussion of these 
differences necessarily touches, even dwells, on the conse- 
quent, widely varying patterns of achievement in areas 
such as education, business, and politics. Understandably 
enough, the unevenness of achievement in such matters is 
the source of resentment and even bitterness by many indi- 
vidual members of the different groups. It may be that our 
discussion will also be resented by such persons, for much 
the same reason. We would therefore, in advance, ask a 
measure of forgiveness for taking up a subject which needs 
to be discussed, but which cannot be aired without giving 
pain to some. 

The Joint Center for Urban Studies of the 
Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard Uni- 
versity sponsored this study, and its indefatigable director 
Martin Meyerson sustained it in adversity. A grant from the 
New York Post Foundation made possible much of the re- 
search and writing. We are singularly indebted to a great 
many scholars and fellow New Yorkers who have given us 
information, ideas, and encouragement. We would like par- 
ticularly to acknowledge the counsel of Daniel Bell, Leonard 
Covello, Father Joseph P. Fitzpatrick, S.J., Herbert J. Gans, 
Frederick L. Holborn, Will Maslow, Michael Parenti, and 
Lloyd Rodwin. Nancy Edelman and Victor Gioscia helped 
with research on the Puerto Rican and Italian sections. Pro- 
fessor James S. Coleman generously provided an analysis of 
the results of the 1962 New York gubernatorial election. 

This work was conceived and organized by 
Nathan Glazer. He wrote "the Negroes," "the Puerto Ri- 
cans," "the Jews," "the Italians," and most of the "Intro- 
duction." Daniel Patrick Moynihan wrote "the Irish" and 
most of "Beyond the Melting Pot." We have discussed and 
criticized each other's writing, and worked together to for- 
mulate the thesis that the book presents. 

TT. 7 . N.G. 

Washington D.P.M. 

April, ip6^ 



THE NEGROES 24 25 Numbers 
29 Jobs 

44 Education 

50 The Family and Other Problems 
53 Housing and Neighborhood 
67 Leadership, Politics, Intergroup 


RICANS 86 86 

91 The Migration 

99 The Island-Centered Community 

110 The Mobile Element 

116 Lower Income 

122 The Next Generation: 

Family, School, Neighborhood 

129 Culture, Contributions, Color 




The Economic Base 


The Passion for Education 


Community, Neighborhood, Integration 




Culture and the Future 




The Community 


Family Influences 










The Green Wave 


The Democratic Party 


The Roman Catholic Church 


The Wild Irish 


"There Are Some of Us Left" 


The Party of the People 


City of God and Man 





The Jews 


The Catholics 


Negroes and Puerto Ricans 


The Role of Politics 


The Future 








An 1660 William Kieft, the 
Dutch governor of New Netherland, remarked to the 
French Jesuit Isaac Jogues that there were eighteen lan- 
guages spoken at or near Fort Amsterdam at the tip of 
Manhattan Island. There still are: not necessarily the same 
languages, but at least as many; nor has the number ever 
declined in the intervening three centuries. This is an essen- 
tial fact of New York: a merchant metropolis with an ex- 
traordinarily heterogeneous population. The first shipload 
of settlers sent out by the Dutch was made up largely of 
French-speaking Protestants. British, Germans, Finns, Jews, 
Swedes, Africans, Italians, Irish followed, beginning a 
stream that has never yet stopped. 

The consequences of this confusion, soon to 
be compounded by the enormous size of the city itself, have 
been many. Not least has been the virtual impossibility ever 
of describing New York City or even the state in simple 


terms. By preference, but also in some degree by necessity, 
America has turned elsewhere for its images and traditions. 
Colonial America is preserved for us in terms of the Doric 
simplicity of New England, or the pastoral symmetry of the 
Virginia countryside. Even Philadelphia is manageable. 
But who can summon an image of eighteenth-century New 
York that will hold still in the mind? A third of the battles 
of the Revolution were fought on New York soil, but 
Bunker Hill and Yorktown come easiest to memory, as do 
Paul Revere and Patrick Henry. 

History, or perhaps historians, keep passing 
New York by. During the Civil War "New York [State] pro- 
vided the greatest number of soldiers, the greatest quantity 
of supplies, and the largest amount of money. In addition. 
New York's citizens paid the most taxes, bought the greatest 
number of war bonds, and gave the most to relief organiza- 
tions." 1 Yet it is recalled as a war between Yankees and 
Southerners. The Union preserved, the American mind 
roams westward with the cowboys, returning, if at all, to 
the Main Streets of the Midwest. The only New York image 
that has permanently impressed itself on the national mind 
is that of Wall Street — a street on which nobody lives. Paris 
may be France, London may be England, but New York, we 
continue to reassure ourselves, is not America. 

But, of course, it is America: not all of 
America, or even most, but surely the most important single 
part. As time passes, the nation comes more under the in- 
fluence of the city — consider the effect of television in the 
past fifteen years. As time passes, the nation comes more to 
resemble the city: urban, heterogeneous, materialist, tough; 
also, perhaps, ungovernable, except that somehow it is gov- 
erned, and not so badly, and with a considerable measure of 

With all this, our feeling for the city is at 
best remote. Even New Yorkers seem to avoid too direct an 
involvement. The taverns of the West Side of New York 
boast tunes as old and as good as many gleaned in Appa- 
lachian hollows, but when the latter-day folk singers of Mor- 
risania and Greenpoint take to the night clubs, they give 
forth with "Barbree Allen" and the "Ballad of the Boll 
Weevil." Even the sociologists, wedded to complexity and 


eager for fresh subjects, have tended to shy away from the 
city. Chicago has been far more thoroughly studied, in part 
because of the accident of the existence of a great depart- 
ment of sociology at the University of Chicago. But it is no 
accident that a department of equal distinction at Columbia 
University during the 1940's and 1950's had almost nothing 
to do with New York. Big as it was, Chicago still offered a 
structure and scale that could be more easily comprehended. 

When magazines on occasion devote issues 
to San Francisco or Chicago or Houston, and publish pic- 
tures of well-dressed and distinguished people in elegant 
settings, and tell us that these are the important people in 
this city, it is easy to believe them. When the same maga- 
zines get to New York and do the same, the informed reader 
cannot help but think they are indulging in a game. True, 
there must be important people in New York, but are they 
this banker, this publisher, this playwright, this society 
leader? The head of a huge corporation or financial com- 
plex in Chicago or Pittsburgh or Boston does play an im- 
portant role in his city. He will be a central figure in a great 
movement to reform city government or rebuild the city 
center. In New York, the man who heads an institution or 
corporation of equal size is only one of many. The men 
who can sit around a table and settle things in smaller cities 
would here fill an auditorium. Indeed, in New York one 
can fill an auditorium with people of many kinds, who in 
other cities can sit around a room — high school principals, 
or educational reformers and thinkers and leaders, police 
captains and experts on crime and law enforcement, 
housing project managers and experts on housing and 
urban renewal, hospital directors and specialists in any field 
of medicine, directors of societies that help the poor and 
organizations that raise money from the rich, professors of 
sociology and owners of art galleries. 

Of course there are important people in 
New York. But they have been men like Robert Moses, who 
has no equivalent in any other city in the United States, 
and whose major virtue was that he was well enough con- 
nected with enough of the centers of power to get something 
done, to get things moving. Everyone was so astonished at 
this fact that for a long time it hardly mattered that what 


he was getting done on a scale appropriate to the city's size 
was brutal and ugly, and only exacerbated its problems. 
The Rockefellers are also important in New York City. 
Perhaps only their combination of wealth and energy and 
political skill makes it possible for them to approximate 
the role that the Mellons play in Pittsburgh. But really 
there is no comparison. The Mellons can be a moving force 
in remaking the center of Pittsburgh, and in reshaping the 
image of that city. But all the wealth and skill of the Rocke- 
fellers, wedded to the power of Robert Moses, produce a 
smaller impact on New York. Robert Wagner, the mayor 
of New York, is an important man. He probably has never 
met, and never consults, men who in cities of a million or 
two million people would be movers of city affairs. 

We must begin with this image of the city. 
New York is more than ten times as large as San Francisco, 
and twice as large as Chicago, but this does not suggest how 
much more complicated it is. For in the affairs of men, twice 
as large means four or eight times as complicated. Twice as 
large means that the man on top is perhaps four or eight 
times away from what happens on the bottom. But attempts 
at calculation understate the complexity. When you have 
24,000 policemen in a city, it not only means that you need 
a few additional levels of authorities to deal with them — 
those over hundreds, and five hundreds, and thousands, and 
five thousands — but it also means (for example) that there 
are enough Jewish or Negro policemen to form an organiza- 
tion. And they too can fill a hall. 

The interweaving of complexity that neces- 
sarily follows from its size with the complexity added by the 
origins of its population, drawn from a staggering number 
of countries and from every race, makes New York one of 
the most difficult cities in the world to understand, and 
helps us understand why so few books try in any serious way 
to understand it. 

Ideally, if we are to describe one aspect of a 
city, in this case its ethnic groups, we should begin by 
spreading out as a background something about the city as 
a whole. We should speak about its politics, its economic 
life, its culture, its social life, its history. But none of these 


aspects of the city can be adequately described or explained 
except by reference to its ethnic groups. 

Consider the politics of New York. Major 
changes are now taking place in the city. The power of the 
regular Democratic party — the "machine" — to name its can- 
didates has been broken. In 1961 Mayor Robert F. Wagner, 
having been denied the nomination, ran in opposition to the 
regular party, and won. To explain what happened, we have 
to say that he won with the support of lower-class Negro and 
Puerto Rican voters, and middle-class Jewish voters who 
together were enough to overcome the opposition of Italian, 
Irish, and white Protestant middle-class and upper-working- 
class voters. One could describe his victory and the political 
transition now underway in the city without using ethnic 
labels, but one could barely explain it. For in New York 
City ethnicity and class and religion are inevitably tied to 
each other. The votes of the poor and the well-to-do cannot 
be understood without looking into the question of who the 
poor and the well-to-do are, without examining their ethnic 

Similarly, to describe the economy of New 
York fully, one would have to point out that it is dominated 
at its peak (the banks, insurance companies, utilities, big 
corporation offices) by white Protestants, with Irish Catho- 
lics and Jews playing somewhat smaller roles. In wholesale 
and retail commerce, Jews predominate. White-collar work- 
ers are largely Irish and Italian if they work for big organi- 
zations, and Jewish if they work for smaller ones. The city's 
working class is, on its upper levels, Irish, Italian, and Jew- 
ish; on its lower levels, Negro and Puerto Rican. Other 
ethnic groups are found scattered everywhere, but concen- 
trated generally in a few economic specialties. 

Despite all this, it remains something of a 
question just what role the ethnic groups play in the devel- 
opment of New York economy. New York is affected by the 
growth of suburbia, where it is easier to locate plants and 
shopping centers, and where the middle class prefers to live 
— and presumably this would be happening no matter what 
ethnic groups made up the city. New York is affected by the 
growth of the Far West and Southwest, for more and more 
productive and commercial facilities are located in those 


areas. New York is affected by the power of unions in old 
centers, just as Detroit and New England are, and this en- 
courages some plants to move away. Its original growth was 
touched off presumably by the fact that it was the terminus 
of the best level route to the Midwest, both in the canal era 
and the railroad era, and that it has the best natural port on 
the Northeastern Seaboard. These factors are quite inde- 
pendent of the nature of its population. 

But there are other elements in the relation- 
ship between the population of New York and the economic 
development of New York. New York is now plagued by low 
wages in manufacturing. In the years since the end of the 
Second World War, the city has declined, relative to other 
cities, in the wages paid in manufacturing industries. This 
is a very complicated matter. Yet it must be of some signifi- 
cance that its manufacturing wages have fallen at a time 
when it has had a vast influx of relatively unskilled and un- 
trained manufacturing labor. If through some historical 
accident the immigrants of the period 1946-1960 had been 
of the same level of education and training as the refugee 
German and Austrian Jews of 1933-1940, might not the eco- 
nomic history of the city have been different? Clearly, the 
main lines of the economic history of New York have been 
fixed by great factors that are quite independent of the 
nature of the population. Yet obvious as this is, there are 
important connections between what a people are, or what 
they have been made by history and experience, and their 
economic fate, and as economists now become more and 
more involved in considering the development of people of 
widely different cultures, they may learn things that will 
throw more light on the economic development of New 

New York's culture is what it is presumably 
because it is the cultural capital of the richest and most im- 
portant nation in the world. If America's culture is impor- 
tant. New York's culture must be important, and this would 
be true even if New York were all Anglo-Saxon and Prot- 
estant. And yet, the fact that the city is one-quarter Jewish, 
and one-sixth Italian, and one-seventh Negro — this also 
plays some part in the cultural history of New York. Ethnic 
identity is an element in all equations. 


The census of i960 showed that 19 per cent 
of the population of the city were still foreign-born whites, 
28 per cent were children of foreign-born whites, another 
14 per cent were Negro, 8 per cent were of Puerto Rican 
birth or parentage. Unquestionably, a great majority of the 
rest (31 per cent) were the grandchildren and great-grand- 
children of immigrants, and still thought of themselves, on 
some occasions and for some purposes, as German, Irish, 
Italian, Jewish, or whatnot, as well as of course Americans. 

Of the foreign-stock population (immi- 
grants and their children), 859,000 were born in Italy or 
were the children of Italian immigrants; 564,000 were from 
the U. S. S. R. (these are mostly Jews); 389,000 from Poland 
(these too are mostly Jews); 324,000 from Germany; 312,000 
from Ireland; 220,000 from Austria; 175,000 from Great 
Britain; almost 100,000 from Hungary; more than 50,000 
from Greece, Czechoslovakia, Rumania, and Canada; more 
than 25,000 from Yugoslavia, around 10,000 from the Neth- 
erlands, Denmark, Finland, and Switzerland; more than 
5,000 from Portugal and Mexico. There were more than a 
million Negroes, and more than 50,000 of other races, 
mostly Chinese and Japanese. From almost every country in 
the world there are enough people in the city to make up 
communities of thousands and tens of thousands with or- 
ganizations, churches, a language, some distinctive culture 
(see Table 1). 

Let us introduce some order into this huge 
buzzing confusion. The best way to do so is historically. 
English stock has apparently never been in a clear majority 
in New York City. In 1775 one-half of the white population 
of the state was of English origin, but this proportion was 
probably lower in New York City, with its Dutch and other 
non-English groups, and with its large Negro population.^ 
After the Revolution and the resumption of immigration, 
English and Scottish immigrants as well as migrants from 
New England and upstate New York probably maintained 
the British-descent group as the largest in the city through 
the first half of the nineteenth century. 

In the 1840's Irish and Germans, who had 
of course been present in the city in some numbers before 
this time, began to enter in much larger numbers, and soon 


became dominant. By 1855 the Irish-born made up 28 per 
cent of the city, the German-born 16 per cent of the city;^ 
with their children they certainly formed a majority of the 
city, and they maintained this dominance until the end of 
the century. In 1890 Irish-born and German-born and their 
children made up 52 per cent of the population of New 
York and Brooklyn (then separate cities).* 

In the i88o's Jews and Italians began to 
come in large numbers (there were of course sizable com- 
munities of both groups in the city before this time), and 
this heavy immigration continued until 1924, and on a re- 
duced scale after that. 

The Negroes began to enter the city in great 
numbers after World War I, the Puerto Ricans after World 
War II. 

Thus six great groups have entered the city 
two by two, in subsequent epochs; and to these we must add 
as a seventh group the "old stock," or the "white Anglo- 
Saxon Protestants." The two terms are of course not iden- 
tical, but the overlap among those they comprise is great. 
The "old stock" includes those New Yorkers who descend 
from families that were here before the Revolution. They 
were largely of English, Scottish, and Welsh origin, but also 
included Dutch, French, and other settlers from Northwest- 
ern Europe. It has been relatively easy for later immigrants 
of the same ethnic and religious background — from Canada 
and from Europe — to assimilate to this "old stock" group if 
they were in occupations of h igh status and of a t least 
mo derate'aiiiuence ;*' ' " ~ ~" ^ 

What is the relative size of these seven 
groups in the city today? For all except the Negroes and the 
Puerto Ricans, who are listed separately in the census, it is 
difficult to give more than a very general guess. The ac- 
cepted religious breakdown of the city population, based on 
sample surveys and estimates by various religious groups, 
indicates tha t. less than a quarte r of^lhg_^ opulation is Prot - 
..g stant, and more than half o f that is Negro.^ The white 
Protestants of course include many of German, Scandina- 
vian, Czech, and Hungarian origins. It is thus not likely 
that mo ^f tVi^T^ r^hnnt n ne-twentieth of the population of . 
^lecity is "old stock," or "WASP." Public opinion polls 


which ask for "national origin" suggest that about a tenth 
of the population is IrislL anoth er tenth German. T he same 
sources suggest that about a sixth is Italian. Jewish or- 
ganizations estimate that one-quarter oL the population is 
Jewish. The census reports that Negroes form 14 per cent 
of the population, Puerto Ricans 8 pe r cent. WeTiave ac- 
counted for about 90 per cent of the population of the city. 
(In Table 2 we have arranged from the various censuses 
since 1900, when New York assumed its present physical 
extent, figures indicating the changing size of these various 
elements in the population of the city.) These figures, aside 
from being inexact (except for Puerto Rican and Negro), 
also assume that everyone in the city can be neatly assigned 
to an ethnic category. Of course this is in large measure 
myth; many of the people in the city, as in the nation, have 
parents and grandparents of two or three or four groups. 

Despite the immigration laws, old groups 
grow and new groups form in the city. Thus, Batista and 
Castro, as well as the growing size of the Spanish-speaking 
population, have encouraged the growth of a large Cuban 
community o f 50,000. For despite the stringent immigration 
laws, the United States is still the chief country of immigra- 
tion in the world, and 2,500,000 were able to enter this 
country as immigrants between 1950-1959. Very large num- 
bers of these immigrants settle in New York and its region, 
where large communities of their compatriots make life 
easier and pleasanter. Buried in this vast population of the 
city are new groups (such as 18,000 Israelis) that in any 
other city would be marked and receive attention. In 
New York their coffee shops and bars and meeting places 
and political disputes and amusements and problems are of 
interest only to themselves. Only when an immigrant group 
reaches the enormous size of the Puerto Ricans does it be- 
come a subject of interest, attention, and concern. 

New York cannot be read out of America 
because of its heterogeneity; but it is true its heterogeneity 
is to some extent extreme, even among the heterogeneous 
cities of the Northeast. The cities of the South, except for 
the presence of Negroes, are far more homogeneous. They 
are largely inhabited by white Protestants whose ancestors 
came from the British Isles. The cities of the Great Plain — 


from Indianapolis to Kansas City — are also somewhat less 
mixed. Their largest ethnic element is generally German; 
and Qpr pians have also found it easiest to assimilate to the 
white Ans^lo-Sa xon Protestant culture tliat is still the nuiiil 
m American Hie. ihe'Tttf^s of th^'TE^r West, too, are in 
their ethnic aspect somewhat different from the cities of the 
Northeast. Their populations, if we trace them back far 
enough, are as diverse as the populations of Northeastern 
cities. But these immigrants have come from the East, Mid- 
west, and South of the United States, rather than from 
Europe. This second immigration to the Far West has made 
them more alike. If you ask people there, "Where did you 
come from?," the answer is Illinois or Iowa, Oklahoma or 
New York. In the Northeast, the answer is more likely to 
be Germany or Sweden, Russia or Italy. In terms of immedi- 
ate origins, the populations of Far Western cities consist of 
lowans and Illinoisans and New Yorkers, rather than Ger- 
mans, Jews, and Italians. 

But now what does it mean for New York 
that most of its population is composed of people who think 
of themselves — at least at some times, for some purposes — as 
Jews, Italians, Negroes, Germans, Irishmen, Puerto Ricans? 
Is New York different, because of this fact, from London, 
Paris, Moscow, Tokyo? 

Do we not, in every great city, meet people 
from all over the world? We do; but we should not confuse 
the heterogeneity of most of the great cities of the world 
with that of New York. The classic heterogeneity of great 
cities has been limited to the elite part of the population. It 
is the small numbers of the wealthy and exceptional who 
represent in those other cities the variety of the countries 
of the world, not, as in the United States, the masses. This 
for the most part is still true of the great cities of Europe, 
even though large numbers of Irishmen and colored people 
now form part of the working class of London, large num- 
bers of Algerians part of the working class of Paris. Those 
with very special skills and talents have always been drawn 
from all over the world into its great cities. Thus, the spe- 
cialized trading peoples — Phoenicians, Syrians, Greeks, Jews 
— have formed, for thousands of years, part of the special- 
ized commercial and trading classes of the Mediterranean 



cities. And even today, trade with foreign countries is still 
in large measure carried on by nationals of the countries 
involved, who have special knowledge of language and con- 
ditions and local laws and regulations. There is also to be 
found in all great cities the diplomatic corps, now enor- 
mously swollen by international agencies of all sorts. There 
are the people involved in cultural and artistic activities, 
who may be of any part of the world. These elites, commer- 
cial, political, cultural, today give such cities as London, 
Paris, and Tokyo an international flavor. It is these people 
we think of when we say that people from all over the world 
flock to its great cities; they do, but they are relatively few 
in numbers. 

The heterogeneity of New York is of the 
masses — numbers so great that Negroes are not exotic, as 
they are in Paris, Puerto Ricans not glamorous representa- 
tives of Latin American culture, as they might be in Lon- 
don, Italians not rare representatives of a great nation, as 
they are in Tokyo. Here the numbers of each group are so 
great, so steady and heavy a presence, that it takes an effort 
of mind to see that all these group names describe a double 
aspect: those one sees around one, and those in some other 
country, on some other continent, with a different culture. 

Admittedly, even this heterogeneity of the 
masses is not unique to the cities of the United States. The 
cities of Canada and Latin America have also drawn their 
populations from varied groups (though none equals New 
York in its variety). Even in the great cities of the past one 
could find sizable differences among the masses. In Athens 
one might presumably find countrymen from every deme, 
in Paris workers from every province. There was probably 
a tendency for them to cluster together. Even though all 
spoke the same language, they spoke different dialects. Even 
though they were all of the same religion, they may have 
preferred to worship among friends and relatives. Even 
though they all participated in some forms of a glowing 
national culture, they must have preferred their own pro- 
vincial specialties in food, folk music, and dancing. 

But in New York the masses that make up 
the city have come not from different provinces but differ- 
ent countries. Their languages have been mutually unintel- 



ligible, their religion radically different, their family struc- 
tures, values, ideals, cultural patterns have been as distinct 
as those of the Irish and the Southern Negro, of urban Jews 
and peasant Italians. 

This is the way it was, but will it be relevant 
for New York City much longer? The foreign-language press 
declines rapidly in circulation; the old immigrant quarters 
now hold only some of the old-timers. The immigrant socie- 
ties play little role in the city's politics. The American 
descendants of immigrants diverge markedly from the peo- 
ple of the old country. American descendants of Germans 
seem no more committed to the unity of Germany and the 
defense of Berlin than other Americans, the foreign policy 
of the American Irish seems to have nothing in common 
any more with the foreign policy of a neutral Eire, and the 
political outlook and culture of Americans of Italian de- 
scent seem to have little in common with what one can see 
in Italy. (New Italian movies exploring the limits of mod- 
ern sensibility are as incomprehensible to Italian immi- 
grants as to other immigrants.) And perhaps the Jewish 
commitment to Israel is best explained by the recency of 
the establishment of the state and the permanent danger 
surrounding it. American culture seems to be as attractive 
to the children of immigrants as the descendants of pioneers 
(and indeed, as attractive to Indonesians or Russians as to 
Americans). The powerful assimilatory influences of Ameri- 
can society operate on all who come into it, making the 
children of immigrants and even immigrants themselves a 
very different people from those they left behind. In what 
sense, then, can we put immigrants, their children, their 
grandchildren, and even further descendants into one group 
and speak of, for example, "the" Irish? Must we not speak 
of the middle-class Irish and the working-class Irish, the 
big-city Irish and the small-town Irish, the recent immi- 
grants and the second and third and fourth generation, the 
Democrats and the Republicans; and when we do, is there 
any content left to the group name? 

Perhaps the meaning of ethnic labels will yet 
be erased in America. But it has not yet worked out this way 
in New York. It is true that immigrants to this country 
were rapidly transformed, in comparison with immigrants 



to other countries, that they lost their language and altered 
their culture. It was reasonable to believe that a new Amer- 
ican type would emerge, a new nationality in which it 
would be a matter of indifference whether a man was of 
Anglo-Saxon or German or Italian or Jewish origin, and in 
which indeed, because of the diffusion of populations 
through all parts of the country and all levels of the social 
order, and because of the consequent close contact and 
intermarriage, it would be impossible to make such distinc- 
tions. This may still be the most likely result in the long 
run. After all, in i960 almost half of New York City's 
population was still foreign-born or the children of foreign- 
born. Yet it is also true that it is forty years since the end of 
mass immigration, and new processes, scarcely visible when 
our chief concern was with the great masses of immigrants 
and the problems of their "Americanization," now emerge 
to surprise us. The initial notion of an American melting 
pot did not, it seems, quite grasp what would happen in 
America. At least it did not grasp what would happen in the 
short run, and since this short run encompasses at least the 
length of a normal lifetime, it is not something we can 

It is true that language and culture are very J 
largely lost in the first and second generations, and this 
makes the dream of "cultural pluralism" — of a new Italy 
or Germany or Ireland in America, a League of Nations 
established in the New World — as unlikely as the hope of a 
"melting pot." But as the groups were transformed by in- 
fluences in American society, stripped of their original / 
attributes, they were recreated as something new, but still 
as identifiable groups. Concretely, persons think of them- 
selves as members of that group, with that name; they are 
thought of by others as members of that group, with that 
name; and most significantly, they are linked to other mem- 
bers of the group by new attributes that the original immi- 
grants would never have recognized as identifying their 
group, but which nevertheless serve to mark them off, by 
more than simply name and association, in the third gen- 
eration and even beyond. 

The assimilating power of American society °" 
and culture operated on immigrant groups in different ways, 



to make them, it is true, something they had not been, but 
still something distinct and identifiable. The impact of 
assimilating trends on the groups is different in part be- 
cause the groups are different — Catholic peasants from 
Southern Italy were affected differently, in the same city 
and the same time, from urbanized Jewish workers and 
merchants from Eastern Europe. We cannot even begin to' 
indicate how various were the characteristics of family struc- 
ture, religion, economic experience and attitudes, educa- 
tional experience and attitudes, political outlook that dif- 
ferentiated groups from such different backgrounds. Ob- 
viously, some American influences worked on them in com- 
mon and with the same effects. But their differences meant 
they were open to different parts of American experience, 
• interpreted it in different ways, used it for different ends. 
In the third generation, the descendants of the immigrants 
confronted each other, and knew they were both Americans, 
in the same dress, with the same language, using the same 
artifacts, troubled by the same things, but they voted dif- 
ferently, had different ideas about education and sex, and 
were still, in many essential ways, as different from one an- 
other as their grandfathers had been. 

•^^ The initial attributes of the groups provided 
only one reason why their transformations did not make 
them all into the same thing. There was another reason-^ 
and that was the nature of American society itself, which 
could not, or did not, assimilate the immigrant groups 
fully or in equal degree. Or perhaps the nature of human 1 
society in general. It is only the experience of the strange^ 
and foreign that teaches us how provincial we are. A hun-* 
dred thousand Negroes have been enough to change the 
traditional British policy of free immigration from the 
colonies and dominions. Japan finds it impossible to in- 
corporate into the body of its society anyone who does not 
look Japanese, or even the Koreans, indistinguishable very 
often in appearance and language from Japanese. And we 
shall test the racial attitudes of the Russians only when 
there are more than a few Negroes passing through as 
curiosities; certainly the inability of Russians to get over 
anti-Semitism does, not suggest they are any different from 
the rest of mankind. In any case, the word "American" 



was an unambiguous reference to nationality only when it 
was applied to a relatively homogeneous social body con- 
sisting of immigrants from the British Isles, with relatively 
small numbers from nearby European countries. When the 
numbers of those not of British origin began to rise, the 
word "American" became a far more complicated thing. 
Legally, it meant a citizen. Socially, it lost its identifying 
power, and when you asked a man what he was (in the 
United States), "American" was not the answer you were 
looking for. In the United States it became a slogan, a 
political gesture, sometimes an evasion, but not a matter- 
of-course, concrete social description of a person. Just as in 
certain languages a word cannot stand alone but needs some 
particle to indicate its function, so in the United States 
the word "American" does not stand by itself. If it does, it 
bears the additional meaning of patriot, "authentic" Ameri- 
can, critic and opponent of "foreign" ideologies. 

The original Americans became "old" Amer- 
icans, or "old stock," or "white Anglo-Saxon Protestants," 
or some other identification which indicated they were not 
immigrants or descendants of recent immigrants. These 
original Americans already had a frame in their minds, 
which became a frame in reality, that placed and ordered 
those who came after them. Those who were like them 
could easily join them. It was important to be white, of 
British origin, and Protestant. If one was all three, then 
even if one was an immigrant, one was really not an im- 
migrant, or not for long. 

Thus, even before it knew what an Italian 
or Jew or an Irishman was like, the American mind had a 
place for the category, high or low, depending on color, on 
religion, on how close the group was felt to be the Anglo- 
Saxon center. There were peculiarities in this placing. Why, 
for example, were the Germans placed higher than the 
Irish? There was of course an interplay to some extent 
between what the group actually was and where it was 
placed, and, since the German immigrants were less im- 
poverished than the Irish and somewhat more competent 
craftsmen and farmers, this undoubtedly affected the old 
American's image of them. Then ideology came in to em- 
phasize the common links between Englishmen and Ger- 




mans, who, even though they spoke different languages, were 
said to be really closer to each other than the old Americans 
were to- the English-speaking, but Catholic and Celtic, Irish. 
If a group's first representatives were cultured and edu- 
cated, those who came after might benefit, unless they 
were so numerous as to destroy the first image. Thus, Ger- 
rnan Jfw<; ^i^ hn arrived in th e iS/f^'s f^nH iSr^n's benefited" 
^xom. their own characteristics and their link with Germans, 
until they were overwhelmed by the large number of East 
European Jewish im migr ants after iBB cu A new wave of 
German Jewish immigrants, in the 1930's, could not, re- 
gardless of culture and education, escape the low position 
of being "Jewish." 

The ethnic group in American society be- 
came not a survival from the age of mass immigration but 
a new social form. One could not predict from its first arrival 
what it might become or, indeed, whom it might contain. 
The group is not a purely biological phenomenon. The Irish 
of today do not consist of those who are descended from 
Irish immigrants. Were we to follow the history of the germ 
plasm alone — if we could — we should find that many in 
the group really came from other groups, and that many 
who should be in the group are in other groups. The Prot- 
estants among them, and those who do not bear distinctively 
Irish names, may now consider themselves, and be generally 
considered, as much "old American" as anyone else. The 
Irish-named offspring of German or Jewish or Italian 
mothers often find that willy-nilly they have become Irish. 
It is even harder for the Jewish-named offspring of mixed 
marriages to escape from the Jewish group; neither Jews 
nor non-Jews will let them rest in ambiguity. 

Parts of the group are cut off, other ele- 
ments join the group as allies. Under certain circumstances, 
strange as it may appear, it is an advantage to be able to 
take on a group name, even of a low order, if it can be 
made to fit, and if it gives one certain advantages. It is 
better in Oakland, California, to be a Mexican than an 
Indian, and so some of the few Indians call themselves, at 
certain times, for certain occasions, "Mexicans." In the 
forming of ethnic groups subtle distinctions are overridden; 
there is an advantage to belonging to a big group, even if it 



is looked down upon. West Indian Negroes achieve im- 
portant political positions, as representatives of Negroes; 
Spaniards and Latin Americans become the representatives 
of Puerto Ricans; German Jews rose to Congress from dis- 
tricts dominated by East European Jews. 

Ethnic groups then, even after distinctive 
language, customs, and culture are lost, as they largely were 
in the second generation, and even more fully in the third 
generation, are continually recreated by new experiences in 
America. The mere existence of a name itself is perhaps 
sufficient to form group character in new situations, for the 
name associates an individual, who actually can be any- 
thing, with a certain past, country, race. But as a matter of 
fact, someone who is Irish or Jewish or Italian generally 
has other traits than the mere existence of the name that 
associates him with other people attached to the group. A 
man is connected to his group by ties of family and friend- 
ship. But he is also connected by ties of interest. The ethnic 
groups in New York are also interest groups. 

This is perhaps the single most important 
fact about ethnic groups in New York City. When one sj>eaks 
of the Negroes and Puerto Ricans, one also means unorgan- 
ized and unskilled workers, who hold poorly paying jobs in 
the laundries, hotels, restaurants, small factories or who are 
on relief. When one says Jews, one also means small shop- 
keepers, professionals, better-paid skilled workers in the 
garment industries. When one says Italians, one also means 
homeowners in Staten Island, the North Bronx, Brooklyn, 
and Queens. 

If state legislation threatens to make it more 
difficult to get relief, this is headline news in the Puerto Rican 
press — for the group is affected — and news of much less im- 
portance to the rest of the press. The interplay between ra- 
tional economic interests and the other interests or attitudes 
that stem out of group history makes for an incredibly com- 
plex political and social situation. Consider the local laws 
against discrimination in housing. Certain groups that face 
discrimination want such laws — Negroes, Puerto Ricans, and 
Jews. Jews meet little discrimination in housing in New 
York but have an established ideological commitment to all 
antidiscrimination laws. Apartment-house owners are against 



any restriction of their freedom or anything that might affect 
their profits. In New York, this group is also largely Jewish, 
but it is inhibited in pushing strongly against such laws by 
its connections with the Jewish community. Private home- 
owners see this as a threat to their homogenous neighbor- 
hoods. These are largely German, Irish, and Italian. The 
ethnic background of the homeowners links them to com- 
munities with a history of anti-Negro feelings. The Irish 
and Italian immigrants have both at different times com- 
peted directly with Negro labor. 

In the analysis then of the conflict over anti- 
discrimination laws, "rational" economic interests and the 
"irrational" or at any rate noneconomic interests and atti- 
tudes tied up with one's own group are inextricably mixed 
together. If the rational interests did not operate, some of 
the older groups would by now be much weaker than they 
are. The informal and formal social groupings that make up 
these communities are strengthened by the fact that Jews 
can talk about the garment business, Irish about politics 
and the civil service, Italians about the state of the trucking 
or contracting or vegetable business. 

In addition to the links of interest, family 
and fellowfeeling bind the ethnic group. There is satisfac- 
tion in being with those who are like oneself. The ethnic, 
group is something of an extended family or tribe. And 
aside from ties of feeling and interest, there are concrete ties 
of organization. Certain types of immigrant social organiza- 
tion have declined, but others have been as ingenious in 
remolding and recreating themselves as the group itself. The 
city is often spoken of as the place of anonymity, of the 
breakdown of some kind of preexisting social order. The 
ethnic group, as Oscar Handlin has pointed out, served to 
create a new form of order. Those who came in with some ) 
kind of disadvantage, created by a different language, a ) 
different religion, a different race, found both comfort and 
material support in creating various kinds of organizations. 
American social services grew up in large part to aid in-J 
coming immigrant groups. Many of these were limited to a 
single religious or ethnic group. Ethnic groups set up hos- 
pitals, old people's homes, loan funds, charitable organiza- 
tions, as well as churches and cultural organizations. The 




initial need for a separate set of welfare and health institu- 
tions became weaker as the group became more prosperous 
and as the government took over these functions, but the 
organizations nevertheless continued. New York organiza- 
tional life today is in large measure lived within ethnic 
bounds. These organizations generally have religious names, 
for it is more acceptable that welfare and health institutions 
should cater to religious than to ethnic communities. But 
of course religious institutions are generally closely linked 
to a distinct ethnic group. The Jewish (religious) organiza- 
tions are Jewish (ethnic), Catholic are generally Irish or 
Italian, now with the Puerto Ricans as important clients; 
the Protestant organizations are white Protestant — which 
means generally old American, with a smaller German wing 
— in leadership, with Negroes as their chief clients. 

Thus many elements — history, family and 
feeling, interest, formal organizational life — operate to keep 
much of New York life channeled within the bounds of the 
ethnic group. Obviously, the rigidity of this channeling of 
social life varies from group to group. For the Puerto 
Ricans, a recent immigrant group with a small middle class 
and speaking a foreign language, the ethnic group serves as 
the setting for almost all social life. For Negroes too, because 
of discrimination and poverty, most social life is limited to 
the group itself. Jews and Italians are still to some extent 
recent immigrants, and despite the growing middle-class 
character of the Jewish group, social life for both is gen- 
erally limited to other members of the group. But what 
about the Irish and the Germans? 

Probably, many individuals who by descent 
"belong" to one of these older groups go through a good 
part of their lives with no special consciousness of the fact. 
•It may be only under very special circumstances that one 
I becomes aware of the matter at all — such as if one wants to y 
Lrun for public office. The political realm, indeed, is least 
willing to consider such matters a purely private affair. Con- 
sciousness of one's ethnic background may be intermittent. 
It is only on occasion that someone may think of or be re- 
minded of his background, and perhaps become self-con- 
scious about the pattern formed by his family, his friends, 
his job, his interests. Obviously, this ethnic aspect of a man's 



life is more important if he is part of one group than if he 
is part of another; if he is Negro, he can scarcely escape it, 
and if he is of German origin, little will remind him of it. 

Conceivably the fact that one's origins can 
become only a memory suggests the general direction for 
ethnic groups in the United States — toward assimilation and 
absorption into a homogeneous American mass. And yet, 
as we suggested earlier, it is hard to see in the New York 
of the 1960's just how this comes about. Time alone does 
not dissolve the groups if they are not close to the Anglo- 
Saxon center. Color marks off a group, regardless of time; 
and perhaps most significantly, the "majority" group, to 
which assimilation should occur, has taken on the color of 
an ethnic group, too. To what does one assimilate in modern 
America? The "American" in abstract does not exist, though 
some sections of the country, such as the Far West, come 
closer to realizing him than does New York City. There are 
test cases of such assimilation in the past. The old Scotch- 
Irish group, an important ethnic group of the early nine- 
teenth century, is now for the most part simply old Ameri- 
can, "old stock." Old Dutch families have become part of 
the upper class of New York. But these test cases merely 
reveal to us how partial was the power of the old American 
type to assimilate — it assimilated its ethnic cousins. 

There is also, in New York, a nonethnic 
city. There are the fields that draw talent from all over the 
country and all over the world. There are the areas, such 
as Greenwich Village, where those so collected congregate. 
On Broadway, in the radio and television industry, in the 
art world, in all the spheres of culture, mass or high, one 
finds the same mixture that one finds in every country. 
Those involved in these intense and absorbing pursuits 
would find the city described in these pages strange. An- 
other area of mixture is politics. It is true that political life 
itself emphasizes the ethnic character of the city, with its 
balanced tickets and its special appeals. But this is in large 
part an objective part of the business, just as the Jewish 
plays on Broadway are part of the business. For those in the 
field itself, there is more contact across the ethnic lines, 
and the ethnic lines themselves mean less, than in other 
areas of the city's life. 



How does one write about such groups? If 
one believes, as the authors of this book do, that the distinc- 
tions are important, and that they consist of more than the 
amusing differences of accent and taste in food and drink, 
then it is no simple matter to decide how to describe and 
analyze this aspect of American reality. For it has been 
common to speak about the ethnic groups in terms of either 
blame or praise. 

It is understandable that as foreigners 
flooded American cities all the ills of the cities were laid on 
their shoulders. It is also understandable that the children 
of the immigrants (and they had the help of many other 
Americans) should have defended themselves. They had be- 
come part of America; they spoke the language, fought in 
the wars, paid the taxes, were as patriotic as those who could 
count more generations in the country — and just as they 
had become Americanized and good citizens, others would. 
There is no way of discounting the polemical impact of 
anything written on this question. How many and of what 
kind to let into this country is a permanent and important 
question of American public life. It is also a permanent 
question in American life what attitudes to take in matters 
of public welfare, public education, housing — toward in- 
creasing numbers of Negroes in American cities. This is a 
matter that involves the chance for happiness of many Amer- 
icans, and mobilizes the deep and irrational passions of 
many others. On such issues, most people will simply have 
to use arguments and facts and ideas as weapons, and will 
not be able to use them for enlightenment. Even scholarship 
is generally enlisted in the cause, on one side or another. 
And yet beyond personal interest and personal commitment, 
it is possible to view this entire fascinating spectacle of the 
ethnic variety of the American city and to consider what 
it means. 

At least, this is the point of view we have 
tried to adopt in this book. It is inevitably filled with judg- 
ments, yet the central judgment — an over-all evaluation of 
the meaning of American heterogeneity — ^we have tried to 
avoid, because we would not know how to make it. One au- 
thor is the son of a working-class immigrant, the other, the 
grandson; there is no question where their personal interest 



leads them. On the other hand, we would not know how to 
argue with someone who maintained that something was lost 
when an original American population was overwhelmed in 
the central cities by vast numbers of immigrants of different 
culture, religion, language, and race. 

But the original Americans did choose this 
course; the nation stuck with it for a hundred years; and 
despite the policy of 1924, which was supposed to fix the 
ethnic proportions of the population, then attained, these 
proportions change continually because the immigration 
policy of the United States is still the freest of any great 
nation. And enormous internal migrations continue to 
change the populations of the cities as rapidly and on as 
great a scale as in the era of free immigration. 

A nation is formed by critical decisions, and 
the American decision was to permit the entire world to 
enter almost without restriction. The consequences of this 
key decision, despite the work of such major figures as 
Marcus Hansen and Oscar Handlin, have received sur- 
prisingly little attention. Popular writing, scholarly writing, 
novels, and plays, all seem to find the beginning of the 
process of assimilation most interesting. It is when the im- 
migrants first arrive that everyone is aware of them. By the 
time the problems are less severe, or have become largely 
personal, local color has been dissipated in the flush of 
Americanization, and the writers find less to write about. 
Because of the paucity of the literature and the size of the 
subject, it has proved beyond our capacities to present our 
theses wholly in terms of objective and verifiable statements. 
It would be quite impossible to write a book such as this 
exclusively on the basis of concrete data which are either 
now available or which could, with reasonable effort, be 
obtained. We have nonetheless gone ahead out of the strong- 
est possible feeling of the continuing reality and significance 
of the ethnic group in New York, and by extension, in 
American life. This is what we think we know about the 
subject: this is all we can say except that if we are sub- 
sequently proved wrong, we hope we shall have at least 
contributed to a continuing discussion. 

Some of the judgments — we will not call 
them facts — which follow will appear to be harsh. We ask 



the understanding of those who will be offended. The racial 
and religious distinctions of the city create more than a 
little ugliness and complacency. But they are also the source 
of a good deal of vigor, and a kind of rough justice that is 
not without attraction. Melbourne is said to have expressed 
a particular fondness for the Order of the Garter, which was 
awarded, as it were, on the basis of blood lines "with no 
damned nonsense about merit." This, precisely, is the prin- 
ciple of the balanced ticket and a thousand other arrange- 
ments, formal and informal, that the people of New York 
have contrived to bring a measure of social peace and equity 
to a setting that promises little of either. 

The body of the book describes five major 
groups of the city. There is no great significance to the order 
in which they are arranged. We begin, as the visitor might, 
with what immediately strikes the eye, and proceed from 


the Negroes 


JLo most New Yorkers today 
to whom the word means anything, "Fort Greene" means 
the Fort Greene Houses, the largest public housing project 
in the city, which stands between downtown Brooklyn and 
the Brooklyn Navy Yard. To the eye, it is mostly Negro, 
though the official figures show that a fifth of the 3,500 
apartments are occupied by whites, and another fifth are 
occupied by Puerto Ricans. It would probably surprise 
New Yorkers who recall stories of gang fighting in the Fort 
Greene area to discover that above the housing project, in a 
little park, stands one of the major monuments in the city. 
It commemorates the prison ship martyrs of the Revolution 
and was designed by the great architects of New York's age 
of elegance, McKim, Mead Sc White, who also built the 
University Club, the Columbia University campus, the 
N.Y.U. Hall of Fame, the Pennsylvania Station, and the 
Brooklyn Museum. This monument contains a great central 



column standing amidst urns and eagles, a magnificent 
staircase down which one may approach the project, a com- 
fort station designed like a Greek temple which puts the 
utilitarian structures of Mr. Moses to shame. From the site 
one may view the entire housing project and a good deal 
besides. All this provides a rather grander setting for gang 
rumbles than they usually find. 

It does not pay to extract too much sym- 
bolism from the accidental coming together of a mostly 
Negro housing project and a great monument erected by an 
earlier city. And yet, one does not have to force the sym- 
bolism, because between the New York represented by the 
monument and the New York of the housing project there 
is a close and intimate link. Historical irony makes the elite 
of that older New York and the poor Negroes of the project 
both, for the most part, Protestant. Indeed, more than half 
the Protestants of New York, who are only a quarter of the 
population, are colored. And since the work of the city is 
so often divided along religious lines, it means that the old 
elite and its institutions — churches, charitable societies, 
hospitals — often find they have inherited a special respon- 
sibility for the Negro. 

Fort Greene is rich in symbols. Bordering 
the park to the south stands the huge bulk of the Brooklyn 
Technical High School, one of the specialized high schools 
of the city system which have often served as the first step 
in the economic and social advance of many boys from 
earlier immigrant groups. It is the potential bridge between 
the project and the monument. 



an increase of 340,000 in ten years, coming after an increase 
of 290,000 during the 1940's. During the 1950's the white 
population of the city dropped by almost a half-million. 
The New York of i960 was one-seventh Negro (see Table 3). 
New York of course is not alone in this great 
shift in population. Indeed, it has a smaller proportion of 
Negroes than other great Northern cities. In i960 Chicago 
was 24 per cent Negro, Philadelphia was more than one- 
quarter Negro, and Cleveland and Detroit had even higher 



proportions — both 29 per cent. New York is so enormous 
that even large population changes affect the proportions 
slowly. In Newark, for example, which is a city of 400,000, 
the Negro population increased by 63,000 between 1950 
and i960, and Newark became one-third Negro. But the kind 
of change that transforms a city the size of Newark is for 
New York only a neighborhood shift. 

The Negro population is younger than the 
white, though not as young as the Puerto Ricans. Thus, it 
forms a higher proportion of both the school population and 
the juvenile delinquent population for demographic reasons 
alone. (There are of course other reasons why there are more 
Negro juvenile delinquents.) In the next decade, owing to 
the fact that about three-tenths of New York's schoolchildren 
(almost all white) attend parochial and private schools, the 
Negroes and Puerto Ricans will together exceed the rest of 
the public school population. ^ 

The Negro population is still in large part 
new to the city. In i960 half of the entire nonwhite popula- 
tion of the city above the age of 20 had come from the 
South.2 These Americans of two centuries are as much 
immigrant as any European immigrant group, for the shift 
from the South to New York is as radical a change for the 
Negro as that faced by earlier immigrants. 

The Negro immigrant has not had the good 
fortune of arriving with useful skills and strong institutions, 
nor has he found a prosperous, well-organized Negro com- 
munity to help him.3 The Negro community in the city is in- 
deed an old one, but age has done nothing to prepare it to 
meet the problems of mass migration. In 1910, before the 
first decade which saw a sizable migration from the South, 
New York had 90,000 Negroes, less than 2 per cent of the 
population. Negro writers who remember that antebellum 
New York Negro would often write about it with something 
like nostalgia, but in those days, aside from a tiny Negro "up- 
per class" of minor government employees and professionals, 
the community consisted almost entirely of domestics, labor- 
ers, waiters, unskilled workers. Negroes accepted an inferior 
place in society; and in this inferior place, despite the exist- 
ence of distinctions of class and status, poverty was matter- 
of-course and segregation was universal. This group could 



do little for Negroes coming up from the South and from 
the West Indies. 

During the First World War the Negro 
population increased rapidly. In 1920 it was 150,000, about 
3 per cent of the population. In the 1920's mass im- 
migration from Europe came to an end, and the Negro 
population of the city more than doubled. The migrants 
poured into a New York in which they could not eat in a 
first-class restaurant, go to a first-class hotel, or get a job 
in the white world (aside from some specially reserved 
government jobs) above menial labor. And yet the city did 
offer a large variety of jobs, at pay much higher than Ne- 
groes could get in the South, and, as important, it offered 
Harlem, a more exciting and stimulating environment for 
Negroes then than any other place in the country. 

Segregation helped make Harlem alive. It is 
hard to envisage, as one walks the streets today, with the 
buildings forty years older, and the population greatly 
changed, what^ jjarlem was like in the i ggo's. In those days, 
Negro entertainers and musicians were a rarity on Broad- 
way, and one had to go above 125th Street to find them. Be- 
cause of the unbroken pattern of segregatkbCi, Harlem 
included everyone in the Negro community-Z^the old tiny 
"upper class," the new professionals and white^ollar work- 
ers, the political leaders just beginning to take over the old 
political clubs, the artists and entertainers and writers, as 
well of course as the domestic workers, the laborers, and 
shady characters.* _^ 

Writing in 1930, James Weldon Johnson de- 
scribed a Harlem few of us would now recognize, but he 
helps explain the enormous attractions of New York, even 
though the city did not offer the advantages of jobs in 
heavy industry available to Negroes in Chicago and Detroit: 
"In nearly every other city in the country," Johnson wrote, 

♦ We are today very conscious of the role of public services, in par- 
ticular relief, among Negroes, and the charge is often made that it is 
really relief that is bringing in large numbers of poor newcomers. This 
is part of the story; but it is interesting to recall that in the twenties, 
when there was no such thing as relief and the poor were dependent 
on private charity, the Negro population of New York leaped from 
150,000 to 327,000. And that in the next decade, when public relief 
did become a reality, the increase was much smaller. 



"the Negro section is a nest or several nests situated some- 
where on the borders; it is a section we must 'go out to.' 
In New York it is entirely different. Negro Harlem covers 
one of the most beautiful and healthful sites in the whole 
city. It is not a fringe, it is not a slum, nor is it a quarter 
consisting of dilapidated tenements. It is a section of new- 
law apartment houses and handsome dwellings, with streets 
as well paved, as well-lighted, and as well-kept as any in the 
city. . . . The question inevitably arises: will the Negroes 
of Harlem be able to hold it? Will they not be driven fur- 
ther northward? Residents of Manhattan, regardless of race, 
have been driven out when they lay in the path of business 
and greatly increased land values. Harlem lies in the direc- 
tion that path must take; so there is little probability that 
Negroes will always hold it as a residential section." * 

This makes strange reading today; it made 
strange reading only ten years later, when another major 
Negro writer, Claude MacKay, wrote a book on Harlem. 
Ten years of depression had been for the Negroes a disaster 
that almost rivaled slavery. MacKay quoted estimates that 
60 per cent of the population was on relief, 20 per cent held 
WPA jobs.^ Dependent on casual labor and household serv- 
ice, without salaried jobs, without businesses, Harlem's resi- 
dents suffered far more from the depression than any other 
part of the city. White workers knew what it was to go two 
or three years without steady work, but a case of special 
distress in the white world was the norm in the Negro 
world. Harlem became more frightfully crowded than ever 
— even though there were high vacancy rates in adjacent 
East Harlem — because the population was so impoverished. 
The Negro population continued to rise through natural 
increase and migration, but much more slowly than in the 
1920's. In 1940, on the eve of World War II, it stood at 

With the war, a new period in the history 
of the Negro in New York City began. The age of Harlem, 
as the seat of the Negro renaissance and of depression 
misery, drew to a close as new areas of Negro settlement, 
in Brooklyn, the Bronx, Queens, and the suburban coun- 
ties, were opened up and rapidly increased. The war created 
a new New York for the Negroes — new in the kinds of 



neighborhoods where they lived, the kinds of jobs they held, 
the role they played in politics and social life, and in their 
image of themselves and their relation to other groups. 
Central in this transformation of the Negro position was a 
revolution in the level of income that was typical, and in 
the kinds of jobs that became accessible. 



worked, made a little better than three-fifths what the white 
worker made in New York City, and the wages of the white 
workers were barely above what was needed to survive. As a 
result of the war, and the entry into new types of employ- 
ment, a great change occurred; unemployment fell sharply 
(though it was still higher than among whites), wages in- 
creased, and the gap between Negro and white income 
narrowed. In 1949 the Negro in New York State made about 
seven-tenths as much as the white worker. During the fifties 
the gap has remained at about this figure. The i960 census 
reported that the median income of Negro workers in the 
New York metropolitan area was about 70 per cent of the 
white median. For nonwhite families, it was 73 per cent of 
the median of all families, reflecting the fact that more 
members of a Negro family work.^ 

In other Northern cities during the fifties, 
this gap was smaller. New York was behind Detroit and 
Chicago in wages because it did not have the same concen- 
tration of auto plants, steel mills, stockyards, and other 
heavy industry, in which powerful and progressive unions 
Iiad achieved high wages and a strict equality in pay be- 
tween Negroes and whites. Incomes in New York, with its 
great variety of low-wage and service industries, lag behind 
those for white as well as Negro workers in the big, heavy- 
industry cities. However, as the economy slowed down in 
the late fifties and the early sixties. New York was spared 
the high Negro unemployment of the heavy-industry cities. 
In 1961 the National Urban League estimated that about 
10 per cent of Negro workers in the New York metropolitan 
region were unemployed. This was less than the national 
figure of 14 per cent and much less than the figure of 17 per 
cent in Chicago, 20 per cent in Cleveland, or 39 per cent 



in Detroit J (The i960 census reported 6.8 per cent of male 
nonwhite workers unemployed, as compared with a New 
York City rate of 4.9 per cent.)^ 

Before the onslaught of the industrial un- 
employment of the late 1950's and early 1960's, Negro men 
whether unskilled or semiskilled generally could find better 
jobs in the Midwest than in New York. But the situation for 
Negro women was better. New York is not a workingman's 
town. Its big individual employers are nonunionized banks, 
insurance companies, corporation front offices, "communica- 
tions" industries, retail stores. At the lower levels of skill, 
there are better jobs for women than for men. In i960 the 
median income for Negro women was 93 per cent of the 
median for white women; for Negro men it was only 68 
per cent of the white median.^ 

But it is not only today that we see a pecul- 
iar and characteristic difference between the economic 
power and capacity of Negro men and women. In 1940 in 
New York City, almost as many Negro women as men were 
employed — 81,000 to 88,000. By contrast, among whites, 
two and a half times as many men as women worked. More 
than three-fifths of Negro women then worked as private 
household workers. The enormous Negro community of 
450,000 was in large part supported by the domestic labor 
of women, which was the single most important source of 
income. About a third of the men were engaged in various 
service jobs — as superintendents, bootblacks, watchmen, and 
the like. A quarter worked in skilled and semiskilled crafts, 
a seventh as laborers (see Table 4). 

There were in 1940 only small groups of 
professionals and clerical and sales workers. But perhaps^ 
most striking was the almost complete absence of a business 
class, and this is still true today. The small shopkeeper, 
small manufacturer, or small entrepreneur of any kind has 
played such an important role in the rise of immigrant 
groups in America that its absence from the Negro com- 
munity warrants some discussion. The small shopkeepers 
and manufacturers are important to a group for more than 
the greater income they bring in. Very often, as a matter of 
fact, the Italian or Jewish shopkeeper made less than the 
skilled worker. But as against the worker, each businessman 



had the possibility, slim though it was, of achieving influ- 
ence and perhaps wealth. The small businessman generally 
has access to that special world of credit which may give 
him for a while greater resources than a job. He learns 
about credit and finance and develops skills that are of 
value in a complex economy. He learns too about the world 
of local politics, and although he is generally its victim, 
he may also learn how to influence it, for mean and unim- 
portant ends, perhaps, but this knowledge may be valuable 
to an entire community. 

The small businessman creates jobs. In the 
depression, the network of Jewish businesses meant jobs for 
Jewish young men and women — poor paying, but still jobs. 
The impoverished businessman still needed a delivery boy, 
the small furniture manufacturer needed someone to help 
with the upholstery, the linoleum retailer someone to help 
him lay it. These were not only jobs, they also taught skills. 
In addition, the small businessman had patronage — for 
salesmen, truck drivers, other businessmen. In most cases 
the patronage stayed within the ethnic group. The Chinese 
restaurant uses Chinese laundries, gets its provisions from 
Chinese food suppliers, provides orders for Chinese noodle 
makers. The Jewish store owner gives a break to his relative 
who is trying to work up a living as a salesman. The Jewish 
liquor-store owner has a natural link to the Jewish liquor 
salesman. These jobs as salesmen are often the best the 
society offers to people without special skills and special 
education. As such, they can be important to Negroes, as 
the picket lines before liquor stores in Harlem in i960, 
demanding the use of Negro liquor salesmen, attested. A 
Negro action committee threatened that the pickets would 
soon be in front of the grocery stores. But how different 
matters would be if Negroes owned the grocery stores they 
patronized to begin with, as most groups in the past have, 
and as Puerto Ricans today do.i<^ 

One may scoff at the small businessman as 
pursuing an illusion — who can fight the A 8c P? For a com- 
munity, however, regardless of what the balance sheet 
showed, the small businessman was important. 

Much has been written about the failure 
of the Negro to develop an entrepreneurial class.^^ In the 



early i goo's, Booker T. Washington and W. E. B. Du Bois, 
one an accommodationist and the other a militant, both 
exhorted the Negro to go into business, to develop wealth 
and power. Today Negro business is if anything less im- 
portant than fifty years ago. The catering business, in which 
Negroes played a role of some significance in the late nine- 
teenth century, has declined and fallen into other hands. 
The only important forms of Negro business are beauty 
parlors, barber shops, the preparation of special cosmetics, 
and undertaking parlors. Negro insurance companies (which 
once developed because Negroes found it hard to get in- 
surance from established companies), banks, the Negro press, 
Negro real estate, whatever their importance symbolically, 
are of small importance economically in supplying jobs, 
economic contacts, skills. Perhaps one may make an excep- 
tion to some extent for real estate, for a sizable amount of 
savings has been invested in houses and business property, 
and there are now a good number of real estate brokers and 
operators. And yet, this is for the most part all on a remark- 
ably small scale. When anything even as extensive as a build- 
ing of an apartment house is planned by a group of Ne- 
groes, this is news in the community newspapers.^^ 

There are some obvious explanations for 
lack of Negro businesses. Negroes emerging from slavery 
had no experience with money, and had no occasion to de- 
velop the skill in the planning and foresight that even the 
smallest businessman must have. In this respect, the Euro- 
pean peasant, whose standard of living may have been as 
low as a slave's, was better off, for he had to market his 
produce and manage a small stock of money and goods. 
The upper class of slaves, the house servants who might have 
been given some small education, had as models the lavish 
expenditure of a plantation society, and it was easier for 
them to observe the processes of consumption than those of 
production and marketing.^^ The freed slaves and later the 
migrants to the North were absolutely without financial 
resources, even the scanty sums needed for tiny businesses. 
They met unbending prejudice and discrimination in their 
efforts to get stock, capital, or space for rent. 

Yet surely there were in the great Negro city 
that grew up in Harlem in the 1920's opportunities for the 




business-minded to get a foothold by serving their own, 
as so many ethnic groups had done before them. But other 
factors came into play to inhibit the rise of Negro business- 
men. One of them was that the Negro, while a migrant, was 
not like the immigrants bearing a foreign culture, with 
special needs that might give rise to a market. There was no -^ 
local demand for a Buitoni and a La Rosa to make pasta, 
for a Goodman and a Manischevitz and a Schapiro to sup- 
ply matzos and kosher wine. The only demand was for 
undertakers, hairdressers, and cosmetics. As we know, in 
time these small beginnings in supplying members of one's 
own ethnic community might grow into sizable enterprises 
which laid fee on a world of customers that extended be- 
yond the initial ethnic base. 

Perhaps another way in which Negroes dif- 
fered from European immigrant groups was that they did 
not develop the same kind of clannishness, they did not have 
the same close family ties, that in other groups created little 
pools for ethnic businessmen and professionals to tap. There 
was little clubbing together of the South Carolinians versus 
the North Carolinians versus the Virginians — life in these 
places was either not different enough, or the basis of the 
differences was not attractive enough, to create strong local y 
groups with strong local attachments. The Negro family 
was not strong enough to create those extended clans that 
elsewhere were most helpful for businessmen and profes- 
sionals. Negroes often say, "Everyone else sticks together, 
but we knock each other down. There is no trust among us." 
This is a stereotype and probably has the same degree of 
truth that most stereotypes have, that is, a good deal. With- 
out a special language and culture, and without the his- 
torical experiences that create an elan and a morale, what 
is there to lead them to build their own life, to patronize 
their own? The one great exception to this is the Negro 
church, and it is perhaps no accident that tight churchlike 
groupings among the Negroes have often branched out into 
business enterprise, as was true of Father Divine and Daddy 
Grace and is now true of the Nation of Islam.^^ 

In the end, the most important factor is 
probably the failure of Negroes to develop a pattern of 
saving. The poor may have had nothing to save; but even 



those better off tend to turn earnings immediately into con- 
sumption. The reasons are clear enough to anyone sensitive 
to the frustrations under which almost all Negroes in 
America live. They are sufficient to explain the search for 
pleasure in consumption which makes the pattern of saving 
and self-denial so rare. To quote Elijah Muhammed address- 
ing a great throng in Harlem (and more authoritative voices, 
such as that of the sociologist Franklin Frazier, could be 
added): "You're a sporty people! . . . You look fine and 
well-dressed. . . . But you haven't got anything. You spend 
more than your rich white master and your children! You 
spend your paycheck back for sport! And your masters wait 
for the money they just gave you to come back home." ^^ 

But if problems of incapacity for business 
prevailed among Negroes coming up from the South, it did 
not among that large part of the Negro population of New 
York that comes from the West Indies. We cannot help, 
when we talk about any group, obscuring differences that 
are important within it. When we say "Negroes," we speak 
of those born in the city as well as those coming from the 
South, the middle class as well as the lower class, the native- 
born as well as the foreign-born, the light-skinned as well as 
the dark, the speakers of French and Spanish as well as 
those who speak English. To the external white eye all these 
distinctions seem of no importance. This tendency to create 
a group by perceiving people as being all one occurs not 
only in the case of Negroes — very different groups of Jews 
were merged by the perception of the outer world, more 
than by their own self-perception of similarity. But this 
process affects Negroes more harshly because the outer world 
makes so few distinctions among them. 

Alongside the stream of migrants from the 
South was a stream from the West Indies, primarily the 
British West Indies, and mostly from the single most popu- 
lous island, Jamaica. After 1925 this immigrant stream be- 
came much smaller; most of the New York West Indian ele- 
ment was established in the city by the mid-twenties. In 
1930, no less than 17 per cent of the New York City Negroes 
were foreign-born, and with their native-born children they 
certainly formed between a fifth and a quarter of the Negro 
population.16 They were viewed from the beginning by 



native American Negroes as highly distinctive — in accent, 
dress, custom, religion (they were Anglican), and allegiances 
(they celebrated the King's birthday). Distinctive as they 
were, they were forced to live in the same quarters as other 
Negroes. Furious at a prejudice far greater than that among 
whites in their home islands, they were helpless to do much 
about it. Many, as a consequence, turned radical. Negro 
Communists and labor leaders, it has been said, were dis- 
proportionately West Indian. 1''^ 

But the West Indians' most striking differ- 
ence from the Southern Negroes was their greater applica- 
tion to business, education, buying homes, and in general 
advancing themselves. James Weldon Johnson (whose par- 
ents stemmed from British West Indies) described them in 
1930: they "average high in intelligence and efficiency, there 
is practically no illiteracy among them, and many have a 
sound English common school education. They are char- 
acteristically sober-minded and have something of a genius 
for business, differing almost totally, in these from the aver- 
age rural Negro of the South." ^^ They contributed dis- 
proportionately, all observers have agreed, to the number of 
Negro leaders and accomplished men. Claude MacKay, 
himself a Jamaican, pointed out that the first Negro presi- 
dential elector in New York State, the first elected Negro 
Democratic leader (Herbert R. Bruce, in 1935), one of the 
first two Negro municipal judges, were West Indians. Mar- 
cus Garvey, who in the 1920's, led one of the greatest Negro 
political mass movements in American history, was a Ja- 
maican. ^^ A sociologist wrote (in the only book-length study 
ever made of the foreign Negro in America) in the late 
1930's, "It is estimated that as high as one-third of the Negro 
professional population — particularly physicians, dentists, 
and lawyers — is foreign-born." 20 

The ethos of the West Indians, in contrast 
to that of the Southern Negro, emphasized saving, hard 
work, investment, education. Paule Marshall has described 
this ethos in a remarkably revealing novel about Barbadians 
in Brooklyn. Here is a wife denouncing a husband who has 
not measured up to Barbadian ("Bajan") ideals: 

No ... he ain no Bajan. Look Percy Challenor who was 
working the said-same job as him is a real estate broker and 



just open a big office on Fulton Street. More Bajan than 

you can shake a stick at opening stores or starting up some 

little business. They got this Business Association going 

good now and 'nough people joining. . . . Every West 

Indian out here taking a lesson from the Jew lanlord and 

convertin these old houses into rooming houses — making 

the closets-self into rooms some them! — and pulling down 

plenty-plenty money by the week. And now that the place is 

near overrun with roomers the Bajans getting out. They 

going. Every man-jack buying a swell house in dichty Crown 

Heights. . . .21 

The West Indians have by now pretty much 

merged into the American Negro group, and their children 

do not feel themselves to be particularly different. They 

never found it possible to create a separate residential area. 

They are citizens, have given up the Queen, and lost their 

accents. The group might have been maintained by renewed 

immigration which reached a thousand a year from Jamaica 

alone after World War II; but the new McCarran-Walter 

immigration law of 1952 radically cut the numbers eligible 

to come in from the British West Indies, and the stream was 

deflected to England, thus becoming indirectly responsible 

for the development of a new, large Negro community there. 

One can still detect the West Indian stream in New York 

from first names such as Percy, Cecil, Chauncey, Keith. 

No one has studied why the West Indians 
were superior in business enterprise and educational achieve- 
ment to the native Negro. Very likely the fact that they came 
from islands which were almost completely Negro, and in 
which, therefore, Negroes held all positions in society except 
the very highest, inhibited the rise of a feeling of inade- 
quacy and inferiority, and gave them the experiences and 
self-confidence that Southern Negroes on the whole lacked. 
And the Barbadians in particular were rather better edu- 
cated than our Southern Negroes. 

In any case, notwithstanding the West In- 
dian difference, Negro business did not develop, despite the 
fact that business is in America the most effective form of 
social mobility for those who meet prejudice. The young 
man of ethnic background who encounters discrimination 
may find a place in a business of his own or that of a rela- 


live. Thus the Chinese in America, a small group who never 
dreamed until World War II of getting jobs in the general 
American community, had an economic base in laundries 
and restaurants — a peculiar base, but one that gave eco- 
nomic security and the wherewithal to send children to col- 
lege. It has been estimated that the income of Chinese from 
Chinese-owned business is, in proportion to their numbers, 
forty-five times as great as the income of Negroes from Ne- 
gro-owned business." Jews, Greeks, and Armenians, while 
not as specialized as Chinese, show a similar history. 

Professional men, despite their much higher 
status than shopkeepers among Negroes, have not been 
common either among Negroes, but their history is quite 
different. For while businessmen have always been infre- 
quent, a professional class did develop in the Negio com- 
munity in the fifty years after slavery, but its growth has 
been slow. Thus there were in the nation 3,400 Negro phy- 
sicians and surgeons in 1910, and only 4,000 in 1950. There 
were only 1,450 Negro lawyers in 1950, and the increase since 
1900 had kept pace only with the increase in Negro popula- 
tion. There were only 1,500 dentists — a sevenfold increase 
from 1900, but still very small in relation to the Negro 

But even though the numbers of business- 
men and professionals did not grow importantly, great 
changes did take place in the Negro community in the 1940's 
and 1950's. The dependence on menial labor has been 
broken. In i960 a relatively large proportion of women still 
work — 49 per cent of nonwhite women work, compared to 
36 per cent of white women. But now only one-quarter of 
the women work in domestic households, as against the 
almost two-thirds of 1940; and these are the older women. 
More than a quarter work as professionals and white-collar 

Among the men, the changes in occupation 
have not been as striking, but in their case as well there has 
been a sizable reduction of service workers and laborers and 
an increase in skilled and unskilled workers. A fifth of 
Negro men are employed in professional, technical, mana- 
gerial, clerical, and sales work^^ (see Table 4). 



In a peculiar way, as we shall see again and 
again, the problem of the Negro in America is the problem 
of the Negro men more than the Negro women. It was the 
woman who could get whatever work was available even in 
the worst times. It was the man who was seen as a threat 
and subject to physical violence. It was the woman who came 
in touch with the white world, and for whom favors, if any 
were forthcoming, were more common. Perhaps it was easier 
for whites to be gracious to the women, who, because they 
were women, could be seen as accepting subordination 
with more grace and with less resentment and sullenness. 
Already a member of one underprivileged group (that 
of women), membership in another (that of Negroes) did 
not perhaps weigh so heavily upon her, or so it might appear 
to the white world. 

In New York, the problem of the Negro man 
is if anything exaggerated. What kind of job is he to get? 
Here, as we have said, there is little heavy industry, where 
skilled or unskilled labor, if unionized, can get a good wage. 
He has mostly depended in New York on unskilled labor and 
services. We are dispensing with unskilled labor by new 
machines, better organization, poorer maintenance, and 
simply learning to do without.^^ Just as the Negro Southern 
agricultural laborer has been displaced by machinery, so 
too the Negro urban unskilled laborer is being displaced. 
In the long run, this may be a blessing. In the short run 
(which is likely to be quite long) and for the individual, it 
means strain and suffering and a high rate of unemploy- 
ment. It means a steadier and steadier pressure on the Negro 
male to qualify himself for jobs that demand special skills. 
It means a particularly desperate problem for the Negro 
boy coming out of high school, with or without a diploma, 
and looking for a job in a market where there are few jobs 
for the unskilled, and in a neighborhood and a community 
in which there are few businessmen or professionals or 
skilled workers to give him a break or tell him about the 
breaks (this is the way the unqualified of other groups get 
started). This is the "social dynamite" that so shocked 
James Bryant Conant in the Negro slums of the great North- 
ern cities in the late fifties,^^ and that reduces social workers 
to despair in Bedford-Stuyvesant in Brooklyn and Harlem 



in Manhattan. The problem is not those with the capacity 
to go on to college or even get a good commercial high 
school education — there is always, at least, a government 
job for them. The problem is those who will have to work 
with their hands, in a society that has less and less work 
for people with only hands. 

The array of jobs potentially available for 
Negro men and boys in New York raises special problems. 
There is a great clothing industry, but although the Jewish 
male found work at sewing machines no threat to his manli- 
ness, other males have not been so adaptable. Neither the 
Negro nor the Puerto Rican man seems to find the garment 
industry attractive. In any case the best jobs demand skills 
and training that tend to be kept within the ingroup. The 
same pattern, in even more extreme form, is found in a 
wide variety of skilled trades. Who can become an elec- 
trician, a plasterer, a bricklayer, a machinist, unless he has 
connections? The problem is not just discrimination against 
the Negro but discrimination against any outsider. Here 
again we see the problem created by the lack of a Negro busi- 
ness class. There are Irish and Italian skilled workers, in 
part because Irish and Italians were prominent in contract- 
ing and construction. 

For women there is a great variety of clerical 
and sales jobs, technical and semiprofessional jobs, and there 
are no restrictive and monopolistic unions in these fields. 
The educational attainments required are often moderate, 
and in any case Negro girls seem to do better in school than 
boys. (In a lower-class group, school is a threat to mascu- 
linity, but not to femininity.) And a woman too will be 
satisfied with a clerical and sales job and income that will 
not satisfy a man. 

Both the NAACP and the State Committee 
Against Discrimination are concerned with the skilled crafts, 
hoping to effect a breakthrough in Negro employment. 
Less than 2 per cent of 15,000 registered apprentices in the 
state are Negroes.^^ The difficulties in increasing the number 
are great. Negro youths have little contact through family 
and friends with the skilled trades. They have little experi- 
ence with apprenticeship, and do not always see any point 
in long training at low wages. Skilled labor of any kind 



does not have great prestige among Negroes. Many man- 
agements are indifferent to the measures necessary to reach 
Negro youth, or positively antagonistic, for they see no 
reason to believe they will be good workmen. A shift into 
the skilled trades thus involves changes in the unions, in 
management, in the Negro community. 

There are jobs that involve relatively little 
training but are likewise restricted by a union-employer 
network. The State Commission Against Discrimination 
(SCAD)* and the National Urban League have made inten- 
sive efforts to get Negroes jobs in breweries, as truck drivers, 
and as bakery driver-salesmen.^s These efforts have brought 
small results. The employers blame the unions, the unions 
point to their rules on getting membership (which are gen- 
erally very complicated), and both point to the Negroes — 
they do not come looking for the jobs. But why should they, 
when there are so many problems in getting them, and in 
any case the man on the inside, with the contacts, will get it? 

As one examines the employment picture 
among Negroes, a number of major conclusions become 
obvious. One is that it is easier to change employment pat- 
terns in huge, bureaucratically organized, strongly led or- 
ganizations than in small ones, which are the characteristic 
employers of skilled labor. 

It is the small organization that hires 
friends and relatives, or people of the same ethnic back- 
ground, and where the personal prejudices of the boss can 
come into play. According to the law in New York State, 
discrimination in small organizations (as long as they have 
six employees) is as illegal as discrimination in large ones. 
But one feels that SCAD is perhaps being more diligent 
than it has to be — or than is rewarding — when it turns its 
eagle eye on a small Italian restaurant where it turns out 
only Italians are employed. 

In large organizations, everyone has to learn 
to play according to the bureaucratic rules, to mute his 
personal feelings, and keep them from affecting his actions. 
The small business in New York finds it easier to be tricky 
and evasive than the big one. For the big organization has 

* The name was changed in 1962 to the State Commission for 
Human Rights. 




personnel directors, formal application forms, formal tests, 
formal rating arrangements, formal rules, all of which SCAD 
is empowered to observe or study. 

A second major conclusion is that the 
strictly legal approach to discrimination will have to be 
supplemented with new approaches. The major advances 
possible through legal measures alone have, in New York 
City, been made.The major success of both the law and the 
voluntary organizations has been with the big organizations; 
and there are not many big divisions left to be captured. 
The law can handle pretty well the problems of discrim- 
ination in initial employment, and these have been greatly 
reduced. This is not to say that every job is available 
on equal terms — when is this ever the case? and what law 
can ever overcome the prejudice in favor of pretty girls? — 
but that enough are, as many as there are qualified per- 
sonnel to fill them. But now problems develop that are 
much harder for SCAD to deal with — the problems of ad- 
vancement in bureaucratic organizations. In a big organiza- 
tion this must be based theoretically on capacity and ac- 
complishment. But how is one to be fair about that? There 
are many ways of getting ahead, and many ways of finding 
oneself stuck at the lowest rungs of the ladder. Within the 
organization there are a thousand subtle factors affecting 
advancement that no outside agency can police. 

A third major point: in the follow-up of 
opportunities — following up the first few Negroes into an 
organization, and moving up the bureaucratic ladder — 
one needs people with training and motivation, with the 
ability and skills and education required to hold jobs and 
to advance in them. For one reason or another (and they 
are not, at least on the surface, hard to understand) there 
are today problems in finding enough colored Americans 
with the motivation, training, and ability to fill the op- 
portunities that are available. 

The NAACP report on the apprenticeship 
problem supplies much food for thought in this connection. 
It speaks of "pre-training," and says: 

Indenturing units [that is, firms that have 
apprenticeship programs] almost universally demand that 
apprentices register a good scholastic record, as is evidenced 



by completion of either academic or vocational high 
school. . . . 

Available evidence indicates that Negro 
youth are deleteriously placed with respect to the pre-train- 
ing factor. Nationally, fewer Negroes attend secondary 
school than whites. They also evidence a lower rate of com- 
pletion. Because of a lack of motivation, derived in part 
from acknowledged parental frustrations in the field of em- 
ployment, portions of Negro youth completing high school 
are not apt to have treated their educations with the atten- 
tion commensurate with its importance in later years. . . . 
Negro youths do not emerge from high schools in desirable 
numbers, nor, if they do, is their training on a par with that 
of white youth. . . .^^ 

Again and again, one finds that a break- 
through in Negro employment has not been followed up. 
For example, SCAD has issued a report on employment 
in banks. Each of a number of huge banks, with thousands 
of employees, has a few hundred Negro employees, generally 
about 2 per cent of the total employment.^^ There are 
certainly attitudes and practices in these elite institutions 
which restrict Negro employment at higher levels. A few 
hundred is, however, more than token employment, and 
yet Negro employment shows little tendency to grow since 
these jobs were opened. 

The only areas of white-collar employment 
in which there are really large numbers of Negroes are in 
government agencies, city, state, and federal. This perhaps 
suggests one clue to the Negroes' slowness to seek private 
employment. Negroes still expect discrimination and re- 
buffs. Only in government is this feeling overcome, 
for there the civil service laws ensure impartiality, and 
Negro political strength backs it up. Elsewhere, cases are 
won, changes are made, but the follow-up is slow. 

And yet this is not the whole story. One finds 
other cases of relatively sluggish follow-up in which dis- 
crimination or fear of it could not play a major role. It is 
interesting to note some contrasts between Negro and Puerto 
Rican employment patterns. Negroes and Puerto Ricans 
both work in sizable numbers in hotels. Puerto Ricans 
entered after Negroes, and it is not likely that they face 



less discrimination. Yet many more Puerto Ricans than 
Negroes are employed in the hotel industry.^i The same 
thing holds in branches of the garment industry. Perhaps 
the difference can be ascribed in part to the relative weak- 
ness of clan and extended family feeling among the Negroes. 
One Puerto Rican may be quicker to bring in another, and 
there seems more of a tendency for family and related 
groups to work together. 

Finally, it is the general economic situation 
that will do most to break down discriminatory employment 
patterns, regardless of people's attitudes or the law. The 
big change in Negro employment was a result of wartime 
shortages of labor. Negro unemployment is always higher 
than white, but the gap becomes greatest in times when the 
general unemployment rate rises. Newest in jobs, with 
least protection from seniority, they are the first to go. 
Disproportionately represented among those with poor 
training and undeveloped skills, they are also less capable 
of holding on to jobs in times of difficulty.^^ The critical 
problem of Negro employment today has been created by a 
general economic change — the rapid elimination of un- 
skilled and semiskilled jobs. This social change has nothing 
to do with discrimination, and yet it has dealt Negroes (and 
the whole community, picking up the tab in the form of 
increased costs of relief, youth projects, police, and so on) 
as severe a blow as discrimination. 

Aside from all the problems we have dis- 
cussed, the facts still show that Negroes, at the same levels 
of education as whites, do not get as good jobs, as high 
incomes. These are still the crude, brute facts of discrimi- 
nation. And yet the same facts can be responded to in dif- 
ferent ways. The Japanese in California before the war 
found it impossible to get good jobs outside the Japanese 
community; Jews until the Second World War took it for 
granted that they would find few jobs in engineering or 
with large corporations. But at the same time, Japanese 
attended college in phenomenal numbers; they became the 
best educated racial group in California. Jews did the same. 
This meant frustration for Japanese and Jews who could 
not find jobs for which they had trained and were quali- 
fied. Graduate Jewish chemists peddled cosmetics that they 



had concocted and bottled, graduate Japanese technicians 
worked as busboys. y 

But this overtraining also meant that when 
the barriers came down these groups were ready and wait- 
ing. The Negro today is not. It is true his experience has 
been more frustrating, prejudice more severe, personality 
damage more extensive. And yet in some ways the situation 
is better; never has there been more opportunity for educa- 
tion and training at government expense, never has there 
been a more favorable environment for minority students 
in colleges, never have there been so many opportunities 
making the struggle of education light in contrast to the 
rewards held out. Important leadership elements in the 
Negro community are aware of this situation; but can they 
successfully communicate a sense of urgency to great num- 



New York City. One-quarter of the city's elementary school 
population was Negro in i960; a fifth of the junior high 
school population; only a tenth of the academic high school 
population.^ There are no figures by race on the gradu- 
ating classes of the city academic high schools, but they are 
certainly less than 10 per cent Negro. When we come to the 
free colleges that are the peak of the city's educational sys- 
tem, we do not have figures by race, but it is clear that they 
in no way represent the very large numbers of Negroes in 
the low-income population. New York Negroes do go to 
college in fairly large numbers. In i960 nonwhites formed 
more than 6 per cent of the college graduates of the city, 
more than 10 per cent of those with some college education. 
But these figures conceal a much greater gap in quality.^^ 

The vocational high schools are more than 
one-fifth Negro. The New York City vocational high schools 
teach trades, but it is also well known that they serve to 
keep poor students off the street until they reach the legal 
age for dropping out of school. They serve this function for 
many Negro youths. 

At first glance, the picture may remind us 
of some European immigrant groups of peasant background 



who have little contact with education, little knowledge of 
what value or use it might be, and in which the parents 
are interested in getting the children out of school and at 
work or married as soon as possible. In these groups, very 
often a close-knit family positively discourages further edu- 
cation. The failure of children to pursue their education is 
not a product of social disorganization but of the fact that 
the values of the parents were not the standard American 
values, and they gave no support to education. 

The Negro situation is different. Negroes do 
place a high value on education.^^ The educational attain- 
ments of young men and women are emphasized in news 
stories and announcements. Negro professionals stand at the 
top of the social ladder, and make the highest incomes. 
Parents continually emphasize to children the theme of the 
importance of education as a means of getting ahead; and 
this is true among the uneducated as well as the educated, 
the failures as well as the successful. And yet the outcome is 
a poor one. ^ 

There are not as many good Negro students 
coming out of the high schools as there are places in col- 
leges to put them. Indeed, the major task of the National 
Scholarship Service and Fund for Negro Students, which has 
for years been working on the problem of getting places and 
scholarships for Negro students in colleges, is to find enough 
qualified students, or to get colleges to accept those who 
formally fall below the admission requirements but who 
NSSFNS feels can make the grade. Richard Plant, President 
of NSSFNS, has written that "places [in Northern colleges] 
for five times as many [Negro students as were actually 
placed] might have been found had that number been 
qualified and available." ^^ The former principal of a New 
York City high school reports that one of the best colleges in 
the Northeast was willing to accept Negro students on his 
say-so, regardless of formal record.^^ 

Even money is in some cases no longer a 
problem. A meeting of Medical Fellowships, Inc., revealed 
"that the chief bottleneck in efforts to increase the number 
of Negro physicians is not . . . finding available openings 
in medical schools or even the monies required for a medi- 
cal education but . . . finding college graduates interested 



in medicine who have the requisite high academic stand- 
ing." ^^ We have pointed out that the number of Negro 
physicians has been almost static for fifty years — there is 
certainly no question of the rewards that await Negro doc- 
tors. I 

Studies of Negro students in schools reveal 
too that aspirations are high. One also sees many Negro 
students who remind one of the students of other minorities 
that have met discrimination, students whose motivation 
and drive are great. The emphasis on the values of educa- 
tion does have on many children a real effect, but there are ) 
still many who are unaffected. 

We can think of many reasons why this y 
should be so, after the fact. There is of course the poor 
education Negroes have received in the South; and so many 
students in the New York schools are transfers from the 
South. There is the long heritage of prejudice and discrimi- 
nation that convinces so many of them that it is not worth 

In the minds of most Negroes in New York 
City, the problem of education is essentially the problem 
of segregation. In the South their children are forced to 
attend all-Negro schools with inferior teachers, buildings, 
standards; in New York City their children may attend all- 
Negro schools, with the same deficiencies. Since the Supreme 
Court decision on segregated schools in the South, segrega- 
tion in New York schools has been a major political issue in 
the city. In 1954 Professor Kenneth Clark of City College, 
who had testified for the Supreme Court as an expert on 
the psychological effects of segregation, argued that the deci- 
sion should be applied in the schools of the North that 
were segregated by the effects of the combination of neigh- 
borhood concentration of Negroes and neighborhood school 
zoning. The Board of Education requested the Public Edu- 
cation Association to investigate the problem. A year later 
it reported that in schools of high Negro and Puerto Rican 
concentration the children scored much below children of 
other schools in various tests. The city spent more on the 
education of children in these high-concentration schools, 
supplied more staff. The buildings however were older, and 




there was a higher proportion of substitute teachers. And 
the results were worse. 

The Board of Education then started its 
ponderous machinery in motion to come up with ways of 
"integrating" the schools. To Negro parents the issue was 
simple — the children go to school with other Negro chil- 
dren, their education must be worse. The Board of Educa- 
tion, confronted with enormous Negro areas supplying tens 
of thousands of schoolchildren, and resisting the notion of 
doing away with the neighborhood school, tried to reinter- 
pret the problem as one of education alone, and most of its 
measures adopted in the course of the integration contro- 
versy were designed to improve the education of Negro and 
Puerto Rican children in schools that it saw no way of 
desegregating. Thus, it supplied larger and larger numbers 
of specialized personnel to the so-called "special service" 
schools (those with high proportions of Negroes and Puerto 
Ricans); it supported the Demonstration Guidance and 
Higher Horizon projects, which experimented with substi- 
tuting trips to the opera and more intensive reading in- 
struction for the presumed lack of an appropriate home 
background; it insisted that new regular teachers be as- 
signed to the difficult schools — as a result, many preferred 
to hold on to their substitute status, or teach in the suburbs. 
It rezoned schools, tried to place new schools in border 
areas. By the time they were built, the areas were generally 
all Negro or Puerto Rican. It replaced the old schools in 
the slum areas. 

From the point of view of the militant ele- 
ments in the Negro community, all this was irrelevant — the 
issue was simply the fact that their children had to go to 
schools that were almost entirely Negro and Puerto Rican. 
(The Puerto Rican community actually played little role 
in the controversy.) Meanwhile, this situation became worse. 
In 1957 the Board of Education began to keep meticulous 
records of the numbers of Negro, Puerto Rican, and "other" 
children in each class and in each school, so as to determine 
the effect of measures to integrate the schools. In despair, 
they saw the proportion of Negro and Puerto Rican chil- 
dren rise from 36 to 43 per cent of the elementary school 



population of the schools by i960. In Manhattan 75 per 
cent of the elementary school population was Negro or 
Puerto Rican! What was an "integrated" school under these 
circumstances? In i960, 95 of 589 elementary schools con- 
tained more than 90 per cent Negro and Puerto Rican 
children, 22 of 125 junior high schools held more than 85 
per cent Negro and Puerto Rican children (these figures 
serve to separate "segregated" from "integrated" schools in 
the peculiar language used in New York City to discuss this 
problem; yet it is doubtful that many parents in a school 
with an 80 per cent Negro and Puerto Rican enrollment 
would consider the school "integrated").^^ xhe situation is 
aggravated by the large number of children attending paro- 
chial and other private schools. The executive director of 
the United Parents Association pointed out that while only 
one child in seven in the city in the 5-to- 14-year age-group 
was Negro or Puerto Rican, one out of three-and-a-half in 
the public schools was Negro and Puerto Rican. From 1950- 
1951 to 1960-1961, enrollments in private and parochial 
schools rose from 307,000 to 415,000, an increase of 35 per 
cent, while public school enrollment rose only 11.5 per 

Meanwhile, in September i960 the Board of 
Education succumbed to the pressure of Negro parents de- 
manding the right to send their children out of the districts 
in which they lived to schools with small proportions of 
Negroes and Puerto Ricans. Negro parents, led by Paul 
Zuber, a Manhattan lawyer, and the Reverend Milton Gala- 
mison, minister of the Siloam Presbyterian Church in the 
Bedford-Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn, had forced the 
change by school strikes and threats of further school strikes. 
The Board announced a program of permissive zoning, 
whereby the children attending the "segregated" schools 
would be allowed to transfer to "integrated" schools with 
space available. The first major test of the program came in 
February, 1961, when the parents of 15,000 children headed 
for junior high schools were allowed to request transfers. 
Almost 4,000 requested the transfer to "unsegregated" 
schools, indicating how strongly Negro parents felt about 
the issue. Of those requesting transfers some, however, were 
the parents of "other" children who sought the privilege of 



transferring even more eagerly than did the parents of 
Negro and Puerto Rican children. P.S. 197, a new school 
surrounded by middle-class housing projects in Harlem — 
Riverton and Lenox Terrace — showed the highest percent- 
age of requests.^i 

And yet it is not likely that "permissive zon- 
ing" will have much impact on the education of Negro 
children in the city, despite the passion with which it has 
been espoused by middle-class parents. Even in i960, before 
the impact of permissive zoning had made itself felt, more 
than half the Negro and Puerto Rican children in the city 
attended "integrated" schools. No one has examined these 
schools to see whether a school that is 50 per cent Negro and 
Puerto Rican is by that fact alone better than one that is 
90 per cent Negro and Puerto Rican. In the South, where 
segregation is the formal and legal embodiment of society's 
effort to keep the Negro in a less than human position, 
there is no question its effects are damaging. In New York, 
where it is simply the expression of the existence of the 
Negro ghetto, it is doubtful whether a purely formal effort 
to change the proportions of black and white in a school 
will have much effect, even though it will reduce the politi- 
cal pressure of parents desperately eager to get their chil- 
dren off to the best possible start. 

In the end, the Board of Education accepted 
the principle that the concentration of Negro and Puerto 
Rican children was itself, and independently of the factors 
of poverty and background, educationally disadvantageous. 
And yet one cannot help asking: why were schools that were 
indifferent to the problems of the children of other groups, 
forty and fifty years ago, adequate enough for them, but 
seem nevertheless inadequate for the present wave of chil- 
dren? Why is the strong and passionate concern of the 
Negro community and Negro parents for education so 
poorly rewarded by the children? 

There is little question where the major 
part of the answer must be found: in the home and family 
and community — not in its overt values, which as we have 
seen are positive in relation to education, but in its condi- 
tions and circumstances. It is there that the heritage of two 
hundred years of slavery and a hundred years of discrimina- 



tion is concentrated; and it is there that we find the serious 
obstacles to the ability to make use of a free educational 
system to advance into higher occupations and to eliminate 
the massive social problems that afflict colored Americans 
and the city. 



353,000 Negro families; a quarter were headed by women. 
In contrast, less than one-tenth of the white households 
were headed by women.*^ ^he rate of illegitimacy among 
Negroes is about fourteen or fifteen times that among 
whites.^3 When we find such an impossible situation as that 
discussed in the New York press in i960, in which babies are 
abandoned in hospitals by their mothers, and live there for 
months on end, for there is no room for them anywhere else, 
most of them are Negro children.** 

There are not enough foster homes for the 
Negro children who need care; there is a desperate shortage 
of adoptive parents for Negro children, for there are so 
rhany of them who need adoption. 

More Negro children live apart from par- 
ents and relatives; more live in institutions; more live in 
crowded homes; more have lodgers and other related and 
unrelated persons living with them.*^ 

Broken homes and illegitimacy do not neces- 
sarily mean poor upbringing and emotional problems. But 
they mean it more often when the mother is forced to work 
(as the Negro mother so often is), when the father is in- 
capable of contributing to support (as the Negro father so 
often is), when fathers and mothers refuse to accept responsi- 
bility for and resent their children, as Negro parents, over- 
whelmed by difficulties, so often do, and when the family 
situation, instead of being clear-cut and with defined roles 
and responsibilities, is left vague and ambiguous (as it so 
often is in Negro families). 

We focus of course on one side of the prob- 
lem — there are more unbroken than broken homes among 
Negroes, more responsible than irresponsible parents, more 
nonworking than working mothers, more good homes for 
jMren than poor ones. There is a whole world in which 


these problems do not exist. But the incidence of these 
problems among Negroes is enormous, and even those who 
escape them feel them as a close threat. They escape, but 
family, relatives, friends, do not.^^ 

All this cannot be irrelevant to the aca- 
demic performance of Negro children, and indeed it is 
relevant to a much wider range of problems than educa- 
tional ones alone. In particular, it is probably the Negro 
boy who suffers in this situation. With an adult male so 
often lacking, there is a much greater chance of psychologi- 
cal difficulties. Certainly, even without the problems of a 
figure with whom to identify and on whom to model him- 
self, the Negro boy, as was pointed out in talking about 
jobs, would have problems enough. But it is understandable 
that his knowledge of the adult male world should be weak 
and uncertain, that his aspirations should be unrealistic, 
that his own self-image should be unsure and impaired. And 
this indeed is what studies show. One psychologist reports 
on a comparative study of Negro boys and girls in a New 
York elementary school: the girls "generally have better 
academic performance, a greater span of attention, report 
more positive family atmosphere, have more positive and 
realistic self-concepts." ^^ 

We do not propose a single explanation of 
the problems that afflict so many Negroes; obviously, if the 
schools were better, the students' performances would also 
be better. If housing and job conditions were better, there 
would be less illegitimacy. If the police were fairer, there 
would be less arrests of Negroes. If Negroes had better jobs 
and higher incomes, fewer of them would be sentenced, 
fewer criminals would be made in prisons and reforma- 
tories.* All these things are true. And since it is easier to 
do something about education, housing, jobs, and police 
administration than many other things, there is where we 
should put our emphasis, and there is where we begin. But 
I think it is pointless to ignore the fact that the concentra- 
tion of problems in the Negro community is exceptional, 

• The New York City Police Department does not keep records by 
race. The Department of Correction, however, does. In 1958 more than 
two-fifths of all male first admissions and more than three-fifths of all 
female first admissions to institutions of detention or sentence were 



and that prejudice, low income, poor education explain 
only so much. 

Migration, uprooting, urbanization always 
create problems. Even the best organized and best inte- 
grated groups suffer under such circumstances. But when 
the fundamental core of organization, the family, is already 
weak, the magnitude of these problems may be staggering. 
The experience of slavery left as its most serious heritage a 
steady weakness in the Negro family. There was no mar- 
riage in the slave family — husbands could be sold away 
from wives, children from parents. There was no possibility 
of taking responsibility for one's children, for one had in 
the end no power over them. One could not educate them, 
nor even, in many cases, discipline them. The sociologist 
Franklin Frazier, in one of the most important books writ- 
ten on the American Negro, has traced the history of the 
family, from slavery, to the Southern postslavery situation, 
to the Northern city. What slavery began, prejudice and*^ 
discrimination, affecting jobs, housing, self-respect, have 
continued to keep alive among niany, many colored Ameri- 

This is the situation in the Negro commu- 
nity; it will be the situation for a long time to come. The 
magnitude of the problems in the lower-class and disorgan- 
ized sector of the population is so great that the middle- 
class element is inadequate to deal with them, as other 
middle-class elements, of other ethnic groups, dealt in the 
past (and deal today) with their problems. Consequently, 
while the problems of other groups are in large measure 
their own, the problems of the Negro community become 
the problems of all of us. It is true (as is often pointed out 
by sociologists) that we do not hear of Jewish illegitimacy or 
juvenile delinquency because the community is so blanketed 
with institutions that it gets them before the public agen- 
cies do. But this works only because the proportion of 
problem-solvers to problem-producers in this community is 
so large. 

The Negro middle class suffers deeply from 
the burden of Negro social problems. For as against other 
groups — even the Mexicans in the Southwest, and certainly 
most European ethnic groups — the middle-class Negro can- 



not hide his membership in a community that includes so 
many who make problems. The image of the Negro is still 
predominantly that created by the problem element. But it 
is also true that the Negro middle class contributes very 
little, in money, organization, or involvement, to the solu- 
tion of Negro social problems. Conceivably, institutions 
organized, supported, and staffed by Negroes might be much 
more effective than the government and private agencies 
that now deal with these problems. 

But it is not likely that we will see a massive 
self-help effort. For one thing, the middle-class Negro, sepa- 
rated by a thin line from the lower-class Negro, is often too 
busy maintaining his own precarious adaptation to offer 
sympathy or assistance. But more important, it is not possi- 
ble for Negroes to view themselves as other ethnic groups 
viewed themselves because — and this is the key to much in 
the Negro world — the Negro is only an American, and noth- 
ing else. He has no values and culture to guard and protect. 
He insists that the white world deal with his problems be- 
cause, since he is so much the product of America, they are 
not his problems, but everyone's. Once they become every- 
one's, perhaps he will see that they are his own too. For 
even if he has not chosen his group (and who has?), even if 
he finds nothing positive in it, the group does exist. Groups 
are formed in strange ways. The word Slav comes from the 
word for Slave. The Hebrews were created by a group of 
wandering outcasts. However formed, eventually those who 
are part of groups must make peace with them and accept 

For the Negro, this acceptance must mean, 
in the end, a higher degree of responsibility by the middle- 
class and well-to-do and educated Negroes for the others. 



of New York's population in general and the specific part / 
of it that is Negro is to be found in housing. Here is the 
greatest and most important remaining area of discrimina- 
tion — important in its extent, its real consequences, and its 
social and psychological impact. 



The Negro ghetto in New York City has not 
dissolved, either in Manhattan nor in the other boroughs, 
for the poor or the well-to-do.*^ The ghetto is not sur- 
rounded by a sharp line, and there is less sense of bound- 
aries in New York than there is in many other cities. But in 
each of the four main boroughs there is a single concen- 
trated area of Negro settlement, shading off at the edges to 
mixed areas, which tend with the increase in Negro popula- 
tion to become as concentratedly Negro as the centers. If 
one looks at a map of New York City on which the places 
of residence of the Negro population have been spotted, one 
will find many areas with small percentages of Negroes, 
and it may look as if the Negro population is spreading 
evenly through the city, is being "integrated." But a closer 
examination will reveal that these small outlying areas of 
Negro population are generally areas with public housing 
projects, and the Negro population is there because the 
housing projects are there. The projects in the outlying 
boroughs are partly Negro islands in a white sea. 

There are laws forbidding discrimination in 
renting and selling housing, just as there is a law forbidding 
discrimination in employment. The city and state laws have 
steadily increased their coverage to the point where all hous- 
ing but rooms or apartments in one's own home, and units 
in two-family homes in which one is occupied by the owner, 
must be made available without discrimination on account 
of race, religion, or national origin. Ninety-five per cent of 
city housing is now covered by the law. But the law forbid- 
ding discrimination in housing is much less effective than the 
law forbidding discrimination in employment. It is weaker, 
and provides no specific penalties, though if a landlord re- 
mains adamant, the city can bring him into court. 

But the main reason the law against dis- 
crimination in housing can do less to change this situation 
than the law against discrimination in employment is that 
apartments are not controlled by big bureaucratic organiza- 
tions. The big projects can be prevented from discrimi- 
nating by law. But most apartments are in existing houses 
owned by small landlords. Long before the complaint can 
possibly be acted on, the apartment is gone. There is also 



little danger in a landlord practicing evasive action. It is 
fair to say that this is a law to which the run-of-the-mill 
landlords have responded with massive evasion. It takes 
elaborate measures really to get an apartment the way the 
law is now written. One needs a respectable-looking white 
friend to find out first that the apartment is available; a 
Negro who really wants it and is ready to take it then asks 
for it and is told it is not available; a second white is then 
required in order that he may be told that the apartment is 
still available, so as to get a sure-fire case; then direct con- 
frontation plus rapid action in reporting all the details to 
the City Commission on Human Rights* is required. At 
this point, the landlord will often succumb. The Commit- 
tee on Racial Equality (CORE) as well as Reform Demo- 
cratic clubs and other organizations have supplied the 
whites for this sandwiching technique, and the elaborate 
advance planning and chance for immediate gratification 
have supplied perhaps a more satisfying activity to CORE 
than picketing local branches of Woolworth's. (The white 
pickets were generally in the majority, and were unhappy at 
the Negroes going past them.) 

Perhaps even more significant in reducing 
the effectiveness of the law than landlord resistance is the 
perpetual housing shortage in New York City. This "tem- 
porary" situation is now as permanent as anything in life 
ever is. Someone beginning school in New York City during 
the Second World War may now be married and having 
children in a housing market that has the same "temporary" 
shortage that it had at the end of the war. Even in the 
absence of discrimination, the low-income tenant would 
find it very hard to find cheap housing when it is being 
demolished faster than it is being built. The housing short- 
age means that we deal with a situation of "discrimination 
for" as well as "discrimination against." Just as good jobs 
are reserved for friends, relatives, and insiders, so are good 
apartments. Indeed, the better apartments in New York 
descend through a chain of relatives and friends, year after 
year, decade after decade. The most valuable of these valu- 
able commodities are of course the rent-controlled apart- 

* Formerly the Commission on Intergroup Relations. The name was 
changed in 1962. 



ments. Rent-controlled apartments mean, as a matter of 
fact, discrimination against everyone who has come into the | 
city since 1943. Even without any discrimination on the 
ground of color, Negroes (and in larger measure Puerto 
Ricans) would be getting a poor share of the housing mar- 
ket, and paying more for it, because they are in larger meas- 
ure latecomers. 

But the law^ is not only interested in im- 
proving the housing available to Negroes, it is also inter- 
ested in breaking down the pattern of segregation in hous- 
ing. And here it is hard for the law to be very effective, 
whether in conditions of housing shortage or housing 
plenty. It is again instructive to compare housing with jobs. 
The breakthrough into an area of employment does mean 
a racially mixed working force; the breakthrough into an 
area of white housing has up to now generally meant a 
period of transition ending with the extension of the all- 
Negro and mostly Negro neighborhood. It has not meant, 
the objective that so many feel is desirable and that seems 
so unattainable, a stable, racially mixed area. 

This pattern of white withdrawal or flight 
before incoming Negroes is found everywhere in the nation. 
It is perhaps mildest in New York City, for in Manhattan, 
if not in the other boroughs, people act as they do nowhere 
in the nation. Manhattan is unique because the struggle for 
space is so intense, and so many people want to live there, 
that the flight of some white elements means their immedi- 
ate replacement by other white elements. In Manhattan, 
therefore, one does find mixed areas of whites, Puerto 
Ricans, and Negroes, and it is likely the island will become . 
even more mixed in the future. But one of the reasons that/ 
people live so closely together there is because they can have 
so little to do with each other. Manhattan has few commu- 
nities to protect, for here a variety of "communities" as well 
as many people who are connected to none share the very 
same ground. One element goes to a church, a second to a 
synagogue, a third to neither. One patronizes one kind of 
store, another a store with a somewhat different line of 
similar goods, or a different price range, located right next 
door to the first. One group sends its children to public 
school, another to parochial school, another to private 

56 5 


school, and a fourth, surprisingly large, has no children at 
all — which, again, is one of the reasons they are willing to 
live so close to Negroes and Puerto Ricans. If the groups do 
not share the same apartment houses, they do share the 
same blocks, parks, shopping streets. But they are willing 
to share as much as this, and be as close as this, because they 
really share so little. These are important considerations, 
and the reason why it is unrealistic to compare Manhattan 
with the other boroughs, or the rest of the metropolitan 
area. These areas outside Manhattan are, to a much larger 
extent than Manhattan, communities, and when a commu- 
nity feels threatened by what it feels is an alien element, 
there is a strong tendency for those in it to move away and 
reconstitute something like it, or to find something like it. 

In other cities, less tolerant than New York, 
the community, instead of fading away, may put up a hard 
shell and fight. Here, sentiment, the governmental authori- 
ties, and the law give little support to any violent effort to 
prevent Negroes from moving into white areas. The resist- 
ance comes only from landlords, operating out of prejudice 
or calculations of rational advantage, not from tenants or 
homeowners. There are two other reasons New York has 
had little violent resistance to the expansion of Negro 
neighborhoods: many are renters who will not fight for 
their houses; many are Jews who would not resist a Negro 
move with violence. 

Around the edges of Harlem, of Bedford- 
Stuyvesant, and of the other major centers of population, 
then, there is "integration," if one thinks in terms of people 
living near one another. In the middle-class suburban areas 
around New York, there are a few integrated communities, 
but they tend, more or less rapidly, to become more and 
more Negro, or less and less white, unless the houses are 
quite expensive — a fact that automatically limits the Negro 
market. The Negro population of the city and the metro- 
politan area is rising, and the Negro population of high and 
steady income is also rising; it is understandable that the 
Negro proportion in a desirable and pleasant area, where 
Negroes can buy homes, will also rise. This would be so in 
any case; it is also true that the transition is often speeded 
up by real estate men, Negro and white, encouraging people 



to move out. In southern Queens, in the Springfield Gar- 
dens, Laurelton, Rosedale area, a Tri-Community Council 
exists, and the real estate men are countered by a commu- 
nity organization that encourages white homeowners to stay. 
The same kind o£ effort to freeze the changeover from white 
to Negro occupancy is to be found in Teaneck, New Jersey, 
in Lakeview, Long Island, and other suburban areas. Such 
organizations, which tend to bring together the new and 
old elements in a changing community, and to teach people 
the great truth that people are very much alike, are desira- 
ble. They slow down the transition. Certainly they make 
life pleasanter while the transition goes on, and have impor- 
tant educational effects. But if we look at the over-all pic- 
ture, we cannot but conclude that in most cases the tenden- 
cies for an area to become mostly Negro is irreversible. 

Often prejudice has nothing to do with it at 
all, or hardly anything, and indeed the movement into the 
area may have begun because it showed the least prejudice, 
the least resistance. But the older group may still desire to 
live in a community of "their kind." Rising incomes and 
rising land prices and house prices make mobility easy. 
Often there are differences aside from color between the old 
community and the newcomers. And often the older settlers, 
living in older homes, and now without young children, 
needed only a little push to do what they were already 
thinking of, to move out into a smaller and more conven- 
ient house, or into a suburban apartment. Prejudice is ex- 
tensive but is rarely unmixed or pure. Economic advantage 
in selling out, higher income permitting better housing, 
changing needs and wants, social interests, and other factors 
may play a role in the moving out of the whites. 

The effect of these patterns of growth and 
movement has been to spread the Negro population 
through the city and metropolitan area, but its spread has 
been around a single main concentration in each borough. 
Harlem in Manhattan (the term has grown with the Negro 
community, and it is now almost synonymous with the main 
area of Negro occupancy) has already reached its peak as 
a center of Negro population. Manhattan had still in i960 
more Negroes than any other borough (397,000), but its rate 
of increase in 1950-1960 was by far the smallest. Mean- 



while, the centers of Negro population in the other bor- 
oughs have grown rapidly. The Bronx, which had only 
25,000 in 1940, had 164,000 in i960. Queens, which also had 
about 25,000 in 1940 had 146,000 in i960. Brooklyn has 
grown from 110,000 in 1940 to 371,000. Harlem, which had 
two-thirds of the city's Negro population in 1940, has only 
a little more than a third today.^^ 

Beyond the borders of the city, in other 
cities such as Newark and in suburban areas, there has been 
a great increase in the Negro population. Westchester has 
risen from 32,000 Negroes in 1940 to 56,000 in i960. Nassau 
and Suffolk in this time more than doubled their Negro 
population. In these counties, older Negro settlements that 
very often consisted of servants and handymen have ex- 
panded and been joined by very different, prosperous, 
middle-class communities.^^ 

While discrimination is the main chan- 
nelizer of this population movement, we tend perhaps to 
minimize other factors at work in this process of Negro com- 
munity formation. Even with much less prejudice directed 
against them, Jews have formed dense and concentrated 
suburban settlements. Great Neck did not become Jewish 
because Jews could not move anywhere else, but because it 
was an attractive community, and once there were enough 
Jews to organize synagogues and temples, to support social 
circles and associations, bakeries and delicatessens, it became 
even more attractive. There may be less in the way of spe- 
cialized tastes in food and certainly less in the way of nostal- 
gic cultural attachments to differentiate the Negro middle 
class from the great American average. But there is a dis- 
tinctive and important religious and organizational life, 
and in time, and indeed perhaps the time is now, we shall 
have to recognize that a community that is Negro is not 
necessarily the outcome of discrimination, just as a Jewish 
community is not necessarily the product of discrimination. 
In the absence of discrimination these clusters would con- 
tinue to exist. But there is no question that today, in a 
Negro community, compulsion and limitation are felt more 
strongly than the free decision to come together. 

No one has thought very seriously about 
what truly integrated communities would be like. What 



would be the basis for common action, for social activities 
bringing together people of different groups? The commu- 
nities of New York have always been in large measure 
ethnically and religiously delimited, and the social and or- 
ganizational life of suburbia is lived within the distinctions 
created by religious affiliation. If Jews set up clubs and 
recreational activities and social activities largely on the 
basis of affiliation to synagogues and Jewish community cen- 
ters and other Jewish organizations — as, outside of Manhat- 
tan, they increasingly do — then what areas are left for the 
mingling of Negroes and Jews? They only rarely meet at 
work, and that does not generally affect the communities 
to which the workers return to live. If Catholics do the 
same, there is again little room for social intercourse with 
Negroes. There remains local politics, and one of its chief 
virtues is that it does remind people of the variety of our 
communities, and does require them all to come together. 
It is the white Protestants on whom the 
moral injunction to form a community together with Ne- 
groes falls most heavily, at least from a theoretical point of 
view. For in America religion is a legitimate basis on which 
to erect partially distinct communities, and neither Jews 
nor Catholics need feel that they act in discriminatory fash- 
ion when they base their social life on a religious affiliation 
which does not include Negroes.* But the basis for the 
separation of white and Negro Protestants is much less 
clear. The white Protestants were generally the first settlers 
in the older suburban communities into which Negroes are 
moving. But by now, white Protestant dominance in many 
of these has passed in the face of a heavy Catholic and 
Jewish movement. Many of the white Protestants of these 
communities left long before the Negroes got there, two 
migrations back, so often there are not many white Protes- 
tants left to wonder about the basis of the division of Negro 
from white Methodists, Negro from white Episcopalians 

* Negro Jews are actually only one of the many city sects that have 
grown up among Negroes in imitation of exotic religions. They are for 
the most part not really Jews, just as most Negro Muslims are not really 
Muslims, for they have not gone through the prescribed process of con- 
version. There is a sizable body of Negro Catholics, but the issue of the 
"integration" of Negro and white Catholics in the North does not as 
yet seem to have greatly concerned whites or Negroes.^^ 



and Congregationalists, Negro from white Baptists. Many 
Protestant ministers are aware of their responsibihty and 
their failure, and there is a good deal of discussion and soul- 
searching as to what can be done. Community with the 
Negro will become more and more a Protestant problem 
as religion comes more and more to serve as the major 
legitimate basis for separate communities within the larger 

In the center of the city, among the poor, 
the problem of integration is a very different one. Indeed, 
the search for a decent place to live is so intense that for 
most the additional social goal of a mixed community seems 
a Utopian and irrelevant consideration. But ironically 
enough, it is here, in the center and among the poor, that 
the goal of integration is most earnestly sought and most 
widely found, for a great public agency plays an important 
role today in the housing of the poor in New York. The 
New York City Housing Authority now controls a major 
part of the shelter of the poor in the city of New York, and 
its decisions affect the way they live. In mid- 1962, more than 
450,000 people lived in the 116,000 apartments of the New 
York City Housing Authority. Nineteen thousand more 
apartments were under construction and being occupied, 
with an estimated population of 72,000, and 17,000 more 
apartments were being planned. Within a few years, the 
public housing pool will contain more than 150,000 apart- 
ments, and 600,000 people! About 40 per cent of public 
housing is occupied by Negroes, which means that about 
one out of every five or six Negroes in the city is living in a 
project. The project is now beginningto rival the slum a s p^ 
the environmerin^F poor TTegroesTand it consequently be- 
comes more and more important to consider what kind of 
life is lived there, and what kind of communities are cre- 
ated in them. 

The projects are of course integrated. There 
are none without some Negroes and only a few that are 
entirely Negro. The Housing Authority is concerned over 
the fact that in many projects there is a strong tendency for 
the white population to decline. A few years ago, it at- 
tempted to~k1?epTrrany^foje"cts integrated by favoring the 
applications of white prospective tenants in some, and of 



Negro and Puerto Rican tenants in others.^* Challenged by 
complaints to SCAD, and by articles in the Negro press, the 
Authority has limited its integration efforts in recent years 
to the attempt to recruit a balanced tenant population for 
new projects. But since the over-all tendency is for the white 
population to fall, it is largely white tenants that are 
favored, within of course the over-all maximum income lim- 
itations, and the complex system of priorities that the Au- 
thority must observe. This is part of the Authority's over- 
all policy, within recent years, of attempting to make each 
project a community. Thus the Authority has also tried in 
many projects to reduce the numbers on relief (for some 
projects once contained a very large proportion of families 
on relief), just as it tried to get a mixture of different ethnic 

But the creation of a good community is a 
difficult thing, and the existence of a housing project that 
is divided between Negroes, Puerto Ricans, and whites may 
mean (and often does mean) only the physical proximity of 
groups that have very little to do with each other. In a 
middle-class community as we have seen, the two races sepa- 
rate, among other reasons, becaus.e there are too few ele- 
ments of community to bind them, and their active social 
life goes on within racial and religious groups. In the hous- 
ing project, the situation is generally worse, for the absence 
of ties across group lines is generally accompanied by the 
absence of ties even within the group. A powerful bureauc- 
racy manages the project, and, whatever its intentions, its 
mere existence and its large functions inhibit the develop- 
ment of a community. There are few churches or any other 
kind of organization within the projects. Social isolation of 
tenant from tenant is common, because after all people have 
been bureaucratically assigned to projects and apartments, 
within a limited choice, rather than having located to be 
near friends, family, or institutions. Suspicion is also com- 
mon, in part because there is fear of having transgressed 
one of the many rules of the Authority, and many tenants 
take the point of view that the less the neighbors know 
of them the better. The weakness of the bonds of commu- 
nity within the projects is true whether they are all Negro 
or partly Negro. 



The problem of creating a community is an 
enormous task, and it may seem unfair to demand of a land- 
lord that he undertake this task. But the landlord of 100,000 
families is more than a landlord, and the Authority accepts, 
as the integration policy shows, its responsibility for helping 
to create community within the projects. And yet one won- 
ders whether the mixing of the races in proper proportions 
will play much role in creating good communities. The 
improvement of the projects as communities probably de- 
pends on a host of measures that are even more difficult 
than affecting their racial composition: involving the peo- 
ple of the projects in their management and maintenance, 
encouraging and strengthening forms of organization among 
them (even when the main purpose of these organizations 
seems to be to attack the management), encouraging forms 
of self-help in them, varying their population occupation- 
ally as well as racially by greater tolerance in admissions, 
reducing the stark difference of the projects from their sur- 
roundings by changing their appearance, considering more 
seriously the impact of their design on the social life that 
they enfold, all this and more have been suggested. Some of 
the projects are integrated without any efforts by the Au- 
thority. These are the projects that for various reasons do 
overcome the many drawbacks and become so attractive that 
whites as well as Negroes want to live in them. 

Integration in the projects is probably best 
achieved not by policies to directly affect the mixture but 
by policies to create good communities, making them attrac- 
tive to more families. But in any case, there is not much the 
Authority can do to affect proportions, for the number of 
Negroes in public housing will depend on their future eco- . 
nomic fate in New York. If most of the poor in New York "^ 
are Negro, then most of the housing project population will 
have to be Negro, and the Authority will be helpless to 
affect the situation, short of radical changes in the entire 
idea of public housing. 

The projects are important not only for 
themselves; they are also important for their impact on the 
rest of the city. And perhaps their most important effect 
has been in upsetting the balance of the slums. Large num- 
bers of normal families living in slums (the chief candidates 



for the projects) have been withdrawn from them, leaving 
^ the remaining slums to become the homes of the old, the 
criminal, the mentally unbalanced, the most depressed and 
miserable and deprived. The slums now contain the very 
large families that are not eligible for public housing be- 
cause they would overcrowd it; the families that have been 
ejected from the projects (or were never admitted) for being 
antisocial; those who have either recently arrived in the city 
and hardly adapted to urban life, or those who may have 
been here a long time but never adapted; as well as the dope 
peddlers and users, the sex perverts and criminals, the 
pimps and prostitutes whom the managers reject or eject to 
protect the project population. All these are now concen- 
trated in the slums that ring the projects, and areas that 
were perhaps barely tolerable before the impact of the 
projects are now quite intolerable. As we tear down the 
slums, those that remain inevitably become worse. And 
what after all are we to do with the large numbers of people 
emerging in modern society who are irresponsible and de- 
praved? The worthy poor create no serious problem — noth- 
ing that money cannot solve. But the unworthy poor? No 
one has come up with the answers. 

The structure of the Negro neighborhood ^ 
and the Negro community means that the Negro middle 
class, in the city at any rate, rarely escapes from the near 
presence of the Negro poor, as well as of the depraved and 
the criminal. The middle-class neighborhoods border on 
the lower-class neighborhoods, and suffer from robberies 
and attacks, and the psychic assaults of a hundred awful 
sights. There are the additional frustrations of the dif- 
ficulty of getting a taxi to take one home, the saturation 
of the area by police (whose numbers make it harder to 
escape a summons for a minor traffic violation). Within the 
city, it is not easy to escape, for few neighborhoods are pure. 
In the small suburban towns, with their high-cost houses, 
strict zoning regulations, informal controls for identification 
and ejection of the unwanted and the troublesome, the 
situation is different. There, if the colored middle-class fam- 
ily is successful in entering, it, like the white middle class, 
is protected from the pressure of the social problems thrown 



up by modern society, and most heavily concentrated 
among the colored. There it can enter into the community 
activities that encompass both races without being bur- 
dened by the problems, actual and psychological, of the 
Negro poor. Its success in integration is there aided by the 
fact that it is successfully segregated from the Negro poor. <! 

But in the city, no one can protect himself, 
for the city is free and open, and cannot fence itself off. 
There is thus scarcely a middle-class Negro area that does 
not know that close to it, on its borders and in measure in 
its midst, are all the problems that are so heavily concen- 
trated in the Negro community. 

This is the over-all picture, and yet, despite 
the housing shortage, the segregated new housing, the com- 
munity problems. New York will very likely in the end be 
an integrated city — or rather something even better, a city 
where people find homes and neighborhoods according to 
income and taste, and where an area predominantly of one 
group represents its positive wishes rather than restricting 

We see the signs everywhere. In Manhattan, 
the western edges of the Harlem ghetto show not only the 
hardly integrated pattern of Negroes, mainland whites, and 
Puerto Ricans of different economic levels and different 
family patterns, close together but not mixing. There is also 
a large Negro element that is on the same level, economi- 
cally and socially, as most of the old and new non-Puerto 
Rican white population. This group has older established 
people (as in the Morningside Gardens co-ops) and young 
couples and single young people, scattered through the 
brownstones and apartment houses. Here Negroes and 
whites do begin to form an interracial community that is 
rapidly being taken for granted, and one in which a mixed 
couple (the West Side is the area where they are most nu- 
merous) no longer leads to the turning of heads. 

In the higher-income public projects of the 
City Housing Authority, the so-called middle-income hous- 
ing, in co-ops like Morningside Gardens, in Title I projects 
like Park West Village, we find families living together, not 
in the indifference of forced association but in what are in 



large measure real communities, and where common tastes 
and backgrounds make interracial groups that are more 
than a self-conscious demonstration. 

Up to now, there has been little Negro inter- 
est in co-ops, except for Morningside Gardens. But this is • 
changing. Co-op housing is increasingly becoming the most 
popular answer to the problems of middle-income housing 
in the city. It will also draw less and less on the special type 
of person who is interested in the cooperative idea from an 
ideological point of view (that pool is becoming exhausted) 
and become attractive to large numbers. There is also now 
the model of Morningside Gardens as a successful co-op 
community. For all these reasons, the new co-ops have some- 
what larger Negro contingents. The Negro often buys a 
house because he cannot get a good apartment. In the dis- 
crimination-free co-op housing, Negroes who prefer the city 
can find a way to stay that is not more expensive than sub- 
urban housing. 

Even in Brooklyn, the Bronx, and Queens, 
we find, in addition to the dense all-Negro stretches, lower- 
income and middle-income, many individual families scat- 
tered through the most middle-class neighborhoods. Teach- 
ers, social workers, and other white-collar and professional 
workers may be found living on pleasant tree-lined streets 
with friendly neighbors. 

In Greenwich Village, where few of the 
young bohemians who crowd the streets and coffee houses 
can afford to live, established Negro writers and artists live, 
again without meeting discrimination; and the younger and 
less successful find relatively easy access to the cold-water 
flats of the Lower East Side. 

Even in suburbia, the stronghold of middle- 
class values, exclusiveness, and discriminatory behavior, we 
find the matter-of-course mixing of colored and white in 
many towns. In 1961 on Long Island and in Westchester 
and New Jersey, groups sprang up in a number of suburban 
communities — Great Neck was perhaps the leader — which 
attempted to break down their all-white character, to get 
sellers and real estate agents to show houses to Negroes, and 
to get Negroes to move in. Frances Levinson, of the New 



York State Committee Against Discrimination in Housing, 
was active in trying to coordinate the work of these varied 
groups. In places like Great Neck and Scarsdale, though 
this is only the beginning, it was apparently easier to get 
houses that the owners were willing to sell to Negroes than 
to find Negroes who could afford such houses and who 
wanted to move to such communities. It is perfectly under- 
standable that if one can afford a big house in suburbia. 
Mount Vernon and New Rochelle and some other towns 
that already have large middle-class Negro communities 
have more to offer. For some people and in some places, we 
are approaching the point where we may discover that dis- 
crimination is only the first crude barrier to integration, 
and that people are more complicated than either racists or 
those who deny the reality of race believe. 

It is still an effort for a Negro individual or 
family to live in a non-Negro neighborhood, but it is an 
effort that it is no longer exceptional; we can scarcely guess 
at the numbers who live in all the situations we have de- 
scribed. These situations in which white and colored live 
together without tension and without problems, and per- 
haps even comfortably enough with each other to begin 
finally to appreciate their real differences, mark the course 
of the future in New York. The only question is, how fast, 
and against how much resistance. 



Negroes of Harlem and other New York communities are 
deeply involved in politics. They register and vote in sub- 
stantial proportions, their newspapers keep up a continual 
flow of political news, they are active in club membership 
and in the support of political leaders. Clearly politics is 
seen as an area in which to advance the interests of individ- 
uals and the group.^^ 

What do Negroes want out of politics? 
What everyone else wants: jobs, on all levels from the most 
humble to the highest; recognition and prestige; and the 
advancement of group interests. 




It is perfectly clear on the national level 
what policies are necessary to advance group interests. But 
New York is not Washington and not the South. There is 
no insuperable problem in getting almost any law or policy 
against discrimination, in almost any area, adopted, and in 
getting it enforced. The issue is, will it really be helpful? 

If it is a matter of getting the right to regis- 
ter and vote, or integrating the restaurants, political activity 
can be clear, direct, and effective. But there are no such 
simple political objectives left for Negroes in New York. 
There are already laws against discrimination in employ- 
ment and housing, and while their administration can un- 
doubtedly be improved, the agencies that enforce them (the 
City Commission on Human Rights and the State Com- 
mission for Human Rights) have Negro heads or high 
officials and Negro staff members — there is not much more 
to be done along this line. The Board of Education actively 
tries to integrate the schools. There is no discrimination in 
higher education. There is probably no discrimination in 
restaurants and hotels. It is hard to see how it could be 
maintained in the face of the influx of African emissaries 
and officials. The Committe on Civil Rights in Manhattan 
found in a sampling of East Side restaurants in 1950 that 
more than two-fifths were discriminating. It rechecked in 
1952, and discrimination had dropped to 16 per cent. Since 
1955 it has had only five reports of discrimination, and it 
now considers this problem settled, and the main problem 
to be housing.^6 

In New York City, it seems, there are no 
easy problems any more, or easy solutions. The improve- 
ment of the Negro economic position requires such complex 
and far-flung operations that it is hard to see how it can be 
made a simple political issue. It involves such matters as 
retraining the unskilled, better education all along the line, 
stronger motivation so that people will take advantage of 
retraining and education opportunities, changing the struc- 
ture of New York's economy, changing the role of the 
unions. Even if New York were to adopt a minimum wage 
of $1.50 an hour, the effect might well be to increase the 
level of unemployment among Negroes to a Midwest level 
rather than to improve their general economic situation. 



In housing, as in wages and employment, 
the need is for radical policies that make improvement in 
the situation in general, and these are not particularly at- 
tractive to Negro political leaders in the city (or any others, 
for that matter). They do not urge that low-cost and other 
government-supported housing be restricted to vacant land 
sites, which is the one sure way of increasing the over-all 
supply of low-cost housing in the city. Such a policy would 
mean that they preside over areas of decaying slums while 
their supporters escape to greener fields. Instead one finds 
the popular program of attacking landlords for inadequacy 
of maintenance, proposing ever harsher measures to enforce 
good maintenance, demanding more frequent and more 
severe inspections by city agencies. These are worthwhile 
policies, but to concentrate on inspecting a declining and 
aging stock of low-cost housing does little to increase it, or 
to deal with the conditions that make it possible for land- 
lords to get high rents for crumbling apartments. The kind 
of political courage that would be involved in tracing out 
the real impact of rent control on different groups in the 
city is simply not heard of in American politics. 

In effect, there is little public discussion 
among those active in city politics of policies, except in re- 
sponse to the most blatant scandals. There is certainly no 
more than this low average of discussion among Negro 
political leaders; there is probably less. 

In recent years the emphasis has been on 
political jobs. All good things are scarce and involve con- 
flicts, and on the question of the proportion of jobs in city 
elective and appointive posts held by Negroes we find ran- 
cor and bitterness, and strains on old political alliances and 
allegiances. There is nothing really new here — every new 
group tries to get the nominations and jobs it feels it is 
entitled to, and these are always more than the older groups, 
which fought their way up to a certain proportion of jobs 
and nominations in the past, feel the new group has a right 

But who is to determine what is the "right" 
proportion? Congressman Powell in i960 demanded that 
Negroes should get 21 per cent of the jobs in a Democratic 
city administration, since 21 per cent of the enrolled Dem- 



ocrats in Manhattan are Negro.^'' He said they held only 6 
per cent of high political posts — Commissionerships, board 
memberships, judgeships. Even so, Negroes are doing better 
at getting political jobs in New York than anywhere else in 
the country. 

James Q. Wilson writes: 

Chicago, having about 750,000 to 850,000 
Negroes, has only three Negro judges. . . . New York, hav- 
ing about 1,000,000 Negroes, has seventeen judges, two Su- 
preme Court Justices, one General Sessions Judge, four City 
Magistrates, three Domestic Relations Court Judges, six 
Municipal Court Judges, and one City Court Judge. [This 
comes to just about 6 per cent of the judicial offices in the 
city.] In addition, in New York City (unlike Chicago) many 
Negroes hold administrative positions at the Cabinet and 
sub-Cabinet level.^^ 

Whatever the strains in politics, the clubs 
and committees form one of the most important arenas in 
which the people of different groups meet and test each 
other's feelings and capacities and powers. New York's poli- 
tics serves much more as such a meeting ground than its 
business, certainly more than its formal social life, and 
probably as much as its cultural life. New York has good 
race relations, and it has been helped in this by a number 
of factors. The city does not have politically powerful 
neighborhood homeowning groups, electing their represent- 
atives to the city councils to fight the spread of the Negro 
community and the tax-supported expansion of social serv- 
ices. In any case, the City Council in New York is weak. It 
is the Board of Estimate, dominated by officials elected by 
the entire city electorate, and the mayor, who wield effective 
power — and these are far more susceptible to the citywide 
Negro vote. The important role of culture in the city means 
that talent and genius have a status which transcends group 
membership and which is not found as commonly in other 
American cities. And then the remarkably varied group life 
all through the city's history means that all the groups have 
been somewhat mellowed in their attitudes toward other 
groups, and that New York's Irish and Italians are prob- 
ably somewhat more tolerant in their outlook than Irish 



and Italian groups in other cities. This mellowness is aided 
by the large proportion of Jews, who traditionally (and 
probably because of their traditional lack of power) have 
learned to eschew violence and favor negotiation and con- 
ciliation and live-and-let-live policies.^^ 

And yet, within this context of over-all good 
relations, it is just in relations with the Jews, despite their 
generally liberal outlook, nonviolent temperament, and 
their similar experience as a minority facing problems of 
discrimination, that an observable level of tension has re- 
cently developed.^^^ It would be easy to exaggerate this ten- 
sion. Sensitive, just as the Negroes are, and also timid and 
vulnerable, Jews inflate small incidents. Then, contributing 
to our awareness of this tension, there is the fact that the 
Jewish community supports (as Italians and Irish do not) 
professional organizations devoted to good intergroup rela- 
tions. This means that any sign of tension immediately 
becomes the focus of specialized professional concern (some- 
times from several different Jewish groups) and is rapidly 
brought to the attention of leaders in the Jewish and Negro 
groups, and appropriate governmental agencies — SCAD, 
COIR, the police, the mayor's office, the governor perhaps. 
So it is easy to exaggerate the degree of tension that exists 
between Negroes and Jews. And yet it exists; its existence 
at all is paradoxical; and since it also involves to some ex- 
tent the somewhat frayed relationship of the Negroes to 
political liberalism in general, it is worth examining. ^/^ 

To begin with, anti-Jewish feeling is en- 
demic among Negroes (as Professor Kenneth Clark and 
novelist James Baldwin have at different times observed in y> 
the Jewish magazine Commentary^^) because the Negroes ' 
keep bumping into the Jews in front and ahead of them. 
Expanding into Jewish neighborhoods in Manhattan, the 
Bronx, and Brooklyn (less so in Queens), Negroes become 
the customers of the many Jewish shopkeepers that have 
remained behind. They become the tenants of the Jewish 
owners of property. Whatever the personal qualities of shop- 
keepers and landlords, Negroes are thus often in contact 
with Jews who are making a living from them. The tension 
between landlord and tenant in New York, and particularly 



landlord and low-income tenant, is in any case extreme, 
and it is understandable that it takes very little for it to 
become tinged with anti-Semitic feeling. 

But in addition to this large range of un- 
fortunate contacts, the Negro also meets the Jew as an em- 
ployer. This is likely in a city that is one-quarter Jewish; the 
likelihood is increased because of the heavy Jewish concen- 
tration in the city's small manufacturing. In garment 
factories, in small plants assembling electrical products, toys 
and novelties, plastic products, and the like, the Negro 
operative in low-wage jobs is likely to find he has a 
Jewish employer. Once again, here is a situation in which 
a natural conflict of interests can be interpreted in group 
terms, and is likely to contribute to the strengthening of 
traditional stereotypes of Jews to boot. The Negro is even 
likely to find, in many of the New York industries in which 
he is employed, that the union has a Jewish leadership and 
Jewish staff, and he resents this. Thus, in the low-wage 
laundry industry a Negro and Puerto Rican working force 
is represented by a union whose top leadership is Jewish. 
The worker does not know, nor perhaps is it relevant, that 
these men may have built this union at great sacrifice twenty 
and thirty years before. All he knows is where his dues are 
going, and who is on the payroll. y 

There is one particular form of Negro-Jew^ 
ish conflict which is too important not to mention, trivial 
as it may appear, and that is the large number of Negro 
women engaged in domestic labor for Jewish housewives. 
Many of these contacts have produced good relationships, 
but they have also led to the feelings of exploitation and 
resentment that are almost inevitable in the master-servant 
relationship in a democratic society. One can hazard the 
guess, too, that the democratic ethos of Jewish life — which 
explains why Jewish waiters are the worst in New York — 
probably also helps to make many Jewish women poor em- 
ployers of domestic help. The democratic camaraderie of 
the Jewish housewife with her Negro servant, alternating 
with the uncomfortable haughtiness of someone not used 
to a servant, might both tend to create more resentment 
than the steady formal relationship maintained by house- 
wives with a longer tradition in the use of domestic help. 



Perhaps, too, the liberal Jewish housewife feels guilty in 
relationship to her Negro servant, and this, too, might lead 
to the complementary feeling that the guilt is justified. In 
any case, it is interesting that one study which has gone into 
this matter shows a stronger feeling of anti-Semitism among 
Negro women than Negro men, and the authors suggest that 
this master-servant relationship may be the cause. ^^ 

Even the middle-class Negro often meets the 
Jew in a situation in which one is formally an inferior, 
the other formally a superior. As Negroes move into the 
governmental agencies, which are one of the most important 
areas of employment for the upwardly mobile, they come 
into contact with all the groups that have preceded them. 
But in particular they come into contact with the group that 
got there before them — ^Jews, who in the 1930's entered 
government service in large numbers. This means that the 
Negro schoolteacher now often works under a Jewish prin- 
cipal, that the Negro social worker very often has a Jewish 
supervisor. (The top social worker, James Dumpson, Com- 
missioner of Social Welfare, is a Negro.) On the whole, these 
relationships between teachers and social workers, whose 
training and work tend to develop a high degree of toler- 
ance and insight, have been productive of some of the 
healthiest and most satisfying interracial relationships that 
one may find anywhere. Nevertheless, the relationship be- 
tween inferior and superior in a hierarchy is inevitably 
tension-producing, and the conflict between different people 
is always subject to interpretation in group terms. 

Thus, the dissatisfaction over social services 
for Negroes, and in particular the fact that they are run by 
whites and do not give sufficient jobs to Negroes, often takes 
the form of complaints against Jews and Jewish agencies, an 
inevitable by-product of the distribution of wealth, teachers, 
doctors, and social workers in the city. 

For example: Under a banner headline, 
"They Let Them Die," the Amsterdam News reported on 
February 4, 1961: "Dr. Raphael Gamso, the new superin- 
tendent of Harlem Hospital, admitted to the Amsterdam 
News that he ignored Dr. Aubrey Maynard, director of 
surgery, when he permitted resident doctors from Mt. Sinai 
to enter Harlem Hospital and pick out a number of Negro 



patients whom they carried off to Mt. Sinai for experi- 
mentation." (What actually happened was that service at 
the city Harlem Hospital almost collapsed as a result of a 
shortage of physicians, and Mt. Sinai, a Jewish voluntary 
hospital, agreed to take a number of cases. It seems to have 
selected, over Dr. Maynard's protest, some of the more 
interesting ones.) 

A month later the Amsterdam News at- 
tacked the Higher Horizons program, and in particular, its 
director, Daniel Schreiber, and its reporter wrote: "While 
the program experiments with Negro children there is a 
dearth of Negro teachers connected with the program, par- 
ticularly at the administrative or policy making level" 
(Amsterdam News,, March 4, 1961). 

Disproportion in wealth and power intro- 
duces a hazardous element into the best relationships. Our 
Latin American neighbors, who know us so well and in so 
many ways, seem capable of turning in the twinkling of an 
eye from friends to enemies. So, too, in the case of Negro- 
Jewish relationships. The good relationships cannot help 
but be affected by the disproportion in power, whatever the 
good will on both sides. Just as in underdeveloped countries 
governments insist that the foreign investor take on a cer- 
tain proportion of native employees, so have the political 
organizations of Harlem insisted that the Jewish storekeeper 
have Negro employees, and so, too, they now demand that he 
use Negro salesmen. They lack only the ultimate power of 
expropriation, but if they did, Jewish and other white busi- 
ness might fare as badly in Harlem as the American invest- 
ments in Mexican oil, or in Cuba. 

We can press our colonial analogy a bit 
further. For, if the Jews, in an earlier parallel to colonialism, 
may be seen as exploiters, they are also, paralleling the later 
development of colonialism, those who help and assist the 
deprived group. This role is if anything more exasperating 
than the former one. Negroes know that in New York Jews 
play a disproportionate role in pushing for the kind of 
policies that help Negroes. It is true that these policies — 
fair employment practices, fair educational practices, fair 
renting practices — had their origin on the agenda of Jewish 
organizations at a time when they were as important for 



Jews as they were for Negroes; but the fact is that as times 
changed, as they became more definitely policies in which 
Jewish self-interest was less clearly involved, Jewish organi- 
zations, with their rich resources in money, staff, and con- 
tacts, continued to press for them. Very often Negroes were 
drawn into these activities. And while they played an im- 
portant role, the (largely Jewish) liberal organizations push- 
ing for these policies soon became aware of the very dif- 
ferent levels of participation, organization, and money-rais- 
ing capacity in the two communities. James Wilson tells 
the story of the most effective of these organizations which 
had their origin in the activities of Jewish liberal civil 
rights agencies: 

The fight for an open occupancy ordinance 
in New York City [the bill banning discrimination in hous- 
ing] was led by the New York State Committee Against Dis- 
crimination in Housing (NYSCDH). ... It was created 
largely at the instigation of the leading Jewish organizations 
in New York in 1949 after the failure of a court attack on 
the Stuyvesant Town anti-Negro policies. . . . Four major 
state laws and two New York City ordinances were passed 
in large part due to the efforts of this and related organiza- 
tions. White (primarily Jewish) groups have been the most 
important single factor in the Committee. From the first, an 
effort was made to involve Negroes in its work, and a size- 
able number of prominent Negroes have played important 
roles and occupied top positions. Most of this Negro sup- 
port has come from the ranks of Negro professionals who are 
officers or executives of other organizations (public and pri- 
vate) with an interest in . . . housing. . . . 

Some important white leaders of the Com- 
mittee, however, . . . wish in addition for Negro grass-roots 

Those who work together in such organiza- 
tions represent part of that alliance of liberal and minority 
forces which has played such an important role in the city 
for thirty years. But on the other side there are the grass- 
roots elements who are relatively distant from such activi- / 
ties, and the press and political leaders who talk to them, 
and it is as easy to arouse resentment and prejudice against 
a more advantaged group that is being helpful, particularly 



if there are other contributing factors, as against another 
that is more distant, more powerful, and more hostile. 

Finally, there is, and again the colonial 
analogy is helpful, the central problem of political repre- 
sentation. Jewish (and of course non-Jewish, too) political 
leaders who have for years represented neighborhoods that 
have changed to Negro and Puerto Rican occupancy have 
discovered that regardless of their votes in civil rights and 
other issues, the Negroes want the job for themselves. 

It is against this background that the ex- 
posure in i960 of Borough President Hulan Jack's connec- 
tion with a (Jewish) real estate developer, and his trial for 
accepting a financial favor from him, was particularly exas- 
perating. For it so happened that it was the crusading New 
York Post that uncovered this relationship in the course of 
a long-extended investigation into public policies affecting 
housing. The New York Post had a Jewish publisher, a 
Jewish editor, and a large Jewish readership. It is also true 
it has the most distinguished Negro reporter in the city, 
it had the only Negro columnist (on a non-Negro news- 
paper), and a large Negro readership. But all this did not 
matter.^* The Post became the villain of the case, of what 
was referred to darkly as the "plot" to drive Negroes from 
public life and it was implied, too, that it was a liberal and 
Jewish plot — in view of the prevailing political outlooks in 
New York, a Jewish plot would have to be a liberal plot, 
and vice versa. Meanwhile, about the same time the long- 
delayed trial of Adam Clayton Powell for income tax eva- 
sion came up. Even though Jews had little to do with this, 
and even liberals had little to do with it, the threat to the 
top elective jobs which Negroes held touched such sensitive 
spots that this was irrationally also considered part of the 
Jewish and liberal betrayal of the Negro. 

And indeed, there is a strong element of 
rationality in the irrational amalgam. For whatever the at- 
titudes of liberals on civil rights, in New York City they 
are tied up with good government forces (represented best 
by the Jewish-owned New York Times), and a large part 
of the Negro community will not feel very sympathetic 
toward those who search out every example of financial 
gain from public office. While no leader in the group will 



openly favor illegal gain, it may seem unfair to Negroes 
that their representatives in public office do not get the 
gains from it that members of other groups have in the past. 
Alas, times have changed, and it is harder and harder to 
make anything from public office. In any case, whatever 
some Negroes thought privately about Hulan Jack's dealings 
with Unger, hardly a voice was raised against him. Everyone 
supported him — even the ministers. ^^ 

Now admittedly everything we have to say 
to explain Negro-Jewish relations is also true (to some ex- 
tent) of Italian-Negro and Irish-Negro relations. And yet 
there is less feeling expressed against the Irish and Italians. 
Perhaps for many Negroes, subconsciously, a bit of anti- 
Jewish feeling helps make them feel more completely Amer- 
ican, a part of the majority group.^^ There are probably 
other irrational bases for this anti-Jewish feeling — anti- 
Semitism is a complicated thing — and yet the special tie-up 
of Jews with liberalism is certainly important. 

But political issues, as well as personalities, 
symbols, and the fate of private attempts at gain, do play 
a role in the developing tension between Negroes and 
liberals. Despite the fact that the battle over civil rights is a 
regular occasion for Northern liberals to match themselves 
against Southern Democrats at national political conven- 
tions, Negroes cannot help feeling that liberals do not quite 
do enough. The liberals are part of the same party that 
includes the South (as well as most of the New York Negro 
voters) and are always open to the charge of holding back 
in the fight for civil-rights bills. How much of one's time 
and influence should one devote to this issue? How much 
else should one let go? From the Negro point of view, what- 
ever time and effort one devotes are hardly enough. What 
this means then is a steady strain between the liberal and 
the Negro which can often become quite bitter. 

The bill of complaint then is that the 
liberals frame the Negroes, they don't put up enough of 
them or give them enough recognition, they don't fight hard 
enough for civil rights — in fact, they hypocritically fight just 
hard enough to get Negro votes. And the reaction has been 
a new rise of Negro exclusivism and nationalism: the feel- 
ing that Negroes have to go it alone and should trust no 



one but themselves, and the idea that any disinterested 
common action with democratic-minded whites for public 
policies to improve the condition of Negroes is an illusion. 

An extremist element has been a permanent 
part of Northern Negro life since the 1920's; it has recently 
rapidly increased in strength, stimulated by frustration over 
the South and the rise of independent African states. The 
Nation of Islam (Black Muslims) and similar groups are 
not likely, in view of the much higher level of education 
and sophistication among Negroes today, to be anywhere 
nearly as successful as Marcus Garvey was in the 1920's. 
More important, however, is the adoption of this exclusivist 
feeling by a wide range of Negro leaders, publicists, and 
intellectuals. This development has been as rapid and sud- 
den as the leap in the number of independent states in 
Africa — and the two phenomena are not unrelated. The 
impact of twenty independent Negro states, all with repre- 
sentatives at the U.N. in New York, is already striking, and 
while some of the Africans are patronizing the beauty par- 
lors of Harlem, many American Negroes, going the other 
way, are discovering that they can leave their hair un- 
straightened. There is quite a difference between the subtle 
and complicated early essays of James Baldwin on the rela- 
tionship of Negroes to America, and his writing in 1961 — 
scarcely less subtle, but envisaging the possibility of a much 
more radical divorce of the Negroes from white America 
than he had earlier contemplated. There is an even sharper 
difference between the subtle and somewhat amused treat- 
ment of African nationalism in Lorraine Hansberry's play. 
Raisin in the Sun, and the passion of her advocacy of 
African (and American Negro) nationalism in 1961.^'^ 

There are obviously many types of exclu- 
sivism, and even so, this is only one part of the spectrum of 
opinion to be found among Negro leaders. A. Philip Ran- 
dolph's American Negro Labor Council, organized in i960, 
is exclusivist, but it exists to exert pressure on a labor 
movement from which he does not wish, if possible, to 
isolate himself. The leaders of the National Urban League 
and the NAACP and CORE resist the exclusivist trend and 
still include many whites, though the proportion of whites 
in leadership and on the staffs declines as men of ability 



and training in the Negro community grow more abundant. 
These organizations still represent the old Negro-liberal 
alliance. The local NAACP branches in New York, and 
elsewhere, include few whites and are far more exclusivist 
in their outlook. And the gap between them and the new 
nationalist groups is not so great. 

It is to this grass-roots nationalism and ex- 
clusivism that Adam Clayton Powell and the Amsterdam 
News appeal. Here, when an attack is made on liberal 
allies, the assumption is that they are not allies at all but 
enemies. What the future of this exclusivist outlook and 
feeling will be, it is hard to say. But it does not seem that 
it can be more than a temporary tendency. No group or 
interest gets very far alone in American politics. Particularly 
in New York City, there are too many groups, too many 
interests, for anyone to adopt the attitude that its strength, 
its numbers, require little cooperation with and accommo- 
dation to others. Whatever the psychological satisfactions 
of the present mood, it is doubtful that it is the way to get 
gains for the Negro community, in jobs, in influence, in 
prestige, or in practical policies. One can reject white stand- 
ards of beauty, one can devote oneself to the study of 
African history and culture, one may support the policy of 
African states. There will be more and more of this, and 
this is all to the good. But Africa and nationalism and ex- 
clusivism will have as little to do in changing the conditions 
of American Negro life as Israel and Zionism have to do 
with the conditions of American Jewish life. Emigration 
is only for the few. The problems are here, and they must 
be solved here, and the main impact of the nationalist mood 
(sincere and passionately felt as it is) will be to serve more 
flexible politicians and leaders in getting gains and con- 

We have indicated often enough our feeling 
that Negro communal organization is weak, and insufficient 
to make much impact on the great needs of the poorer and 
disorganized part of the community. As Oscar Handlin 
wrote in his study of Negroes and Puerto Ricans in New 

. . . the ability [of new groups] to develop an adjustment 
that would assure the individuals involved a healthy cre- 



ative life depended both on the nature of the hurdles to be 
surmounted and on the resources available for doing so. 
The hardships of the Negroes and Puerto Ricans arise from 
the fact that the hurdles are unusually high and the re- 
sources unusually meager.^^ 

One must read the Negro New York newspaper, with its 
regular appeals to the community to raise pitifully small 
sums for the local Y or other institutions, to discover how 
fantastically difficult it is to raise money in the Negro com- 
munity. Handlin points out that when Sydenham Hospital 
was integrated, it also shifted from a voluntary to a munici- 
pal hospital.^^ Two sets of institutions manage to raise 
money: those fighting segregation and for equal rights 
(NAACP, NUL, CORE), though they raise less than they 
need, and much of that comes from whites; and the Negro 

In the Negro communities of New York, as 
elsewhere in the country, it is difficult to underestimate the 
importance of the Negro churches. When one says "Negro 
church," it is possible the image of the storefront sect, 
stomping and hollering, taking outlandish names, and twist- 
ing the common heritage into strange forms, still comes to 
the mind of many whites. It is not these churches that we 
speak of, though they of course exist, are important in the 
lives of the people involved, and are also of some weight in 
politics. We have in mind the large institutional churches, in 
well-equipped buildings, with various group activities, with 
associated social services, with a large membership and a 
prominent minister. These churches, which elsewhere in 
America, for most groups, and for most vital areas of con- 
cern, are fifth wheels, are in colored America, and in colored 
New York, in the center of things. And they play a role in 
politics that the churches of no other group can aspire to, 
or would dare to. 

It is not unimportant that Adam Clayton 
Powell, New York's first Negro Congressman, is a minister; 
that Gardner Taylor, the only Negro member of the New 
York Board of Education in i960, was also a minister — and 
that both men lead particularly large churches (Baptist), 
claiming 10,000 members. It is also not without significance 
that Milton Galamison, former head of the NAACP of 



Brooklyn and one of the most prominent figures in the 
fight to "desegregate" schools, is also a minister of a large 
church (Presbyterian). James H. Robinson of the Pres- 
byterian Church of the Master ran for borough president 
on the Liberal Party ticket and was spoken of as a successor 
to Hulan Jack. There are other ministers who play some 
role in politics, and the New York Negro minister is in 
general far less cautious in indicating his preferences from 
the pulpit than the white minister. 

The Negro newspapers regularly devote a 
great deal of space to church activities and report on the 
politics of the national denominations in the greatest detail. 
In i960 and 1961 there was a bitter struggle going on in 
the National Baptist Convention for leadership between 
Gardner Taylor of New York and J. H, Jackson of Chicago. 
It was headline news in the Negro press. (It is not untypical 
of Negro church politics that after a wild convention in 
i960 the matter ended up in court — but the court refused 
to take jurisdiction.) This battle involved the fundamental 
question of the attitude of the church to the new militancy 
of Negroes in South and North. But the main point to 
notice is that it is not often that an issue that is as central 
as this to a group becomes the basis of struggle in white 
denominations. (When J. H. Jackson was victorious in 1961, 
one of his first steps was to remove Martin Luther King 
from a position in the Baptist organization.) 

We have magnificent descriptions of the old 
fundamentalist storefront church in literature (for example, 
James Baldwin's Go Tell It on the Mountain), and we have 
good sociological descriptions of these churches. No one has 
yet described the Negro middle-class churches which seem 
often to make up for the loss of fundamentalist fervor by 
becoming as heatedly involved in the secular political strug- 
gles that affect Negroes. It is this kind of church that is 
rapidly becoming the dominant type of church. We find, as 
part of the middle-class development among Negroes, that 
the same social changes that have made the city church a 
problem for white Protestants may begin to make it a 
problem for Negroes. Members are beginning to move away 
from the areas in which the big churches are located to the 
suburbs e church becomes to some degree the institution 



of an absentee membership; and new ethnic elements move 
into the neighborhood around the church, with no relation- 
ship to it. And just as the white churches long ago had to 
consider what to do as their neighborhoods changed — and 
the majority sold out and followed the membership, with 
a few remaining to serve a peculiar function as city churches 
— so we find some Negro churches considering the problem 
of a new Puerto Rican group around its doors. Here and 
there, in Brooklyn and the Bronx, Negro ministers are 
beginning to think in terms of a mission to the Puerto 
Ricans, just as some white churches are finally beginning to 
think in terms of a mission to the surrounding Negroes. And 
just as conservative members of the white Protestant 
churches find it hard to think in terms of a universal 
church, open to all, so do some Negroes, used to the com- 
fortable community church, the only institution that is 
entirely theirs, find it hard to envisage bringing in Puerto 

But the mere fact that Negro churches must 
begin to think in these terms shows to what an extent they 
have become part of American Protestantism, participating 
in its intellectual and theological development and its prob- 
lems. (Gardner Taylor has served as head of the Protestant 
Council of New York; J. Archie Hargraves, minister of 
Brooklyn's Nazarene Congregational Church, became secre- 
tary of the Board of Home Missions of the Congregational 
Christian Church in 1961.) Since the same factors affect 
them that long ago made their impact on white Protestants, 
one may see the signs of the time when secularization and 
specialization will affect the Negro churches, as they affect 
the older Protestant denominations, and when these 
churches will be less flamboyant, but also very likely less 
influential. The day will come in the Negro church when 
the minister is not wealthier than his parishioners, and at 
that time, the minister will not wield the influence that he 
does today. 

Interestingly enough, even the development 
of Elijah Muhammed's Temples of Islam suggests the 
change in Negro religion and politics. It does not have the 
flamboyance of either Marcus Garvey or Father Divine. It 
emphasizes traditional virtues, as do all storefront churches 



(no smoking, drinking, women), but less because these are 
sinful than because by saving his money and devoting him- 
self to his business the Negro may make himself wealthy 
and successful. This is indeed a nationalist and racist move- 
ment. But it is surprising how much of Horatio Alger there 
is in it, too — and that reflects a great change in the Negro 
community. Elijah Muhammed's young men remind some 
people of fascists, and yet they wear dark business suits 
and are proud of their self-restraint and their discipline. 
The Temple of Islam service, an admirer of the movement 
tells us, is sober and restrained — only hand-clapping greets 
a point well made. Thus, even the most extreme of present- 
day Negro movements suggests the extent of the shift to 
middle-class patterns, and the power they now possess. 

In a community of a million people, one 
can see pretty much what one wants, and this is as true for 
Negroes as for any other group. One can see the large mass 
of problems that are high up on the agenda of city govern- 
ment and civic groups — crime, delinquency, the breakdown 
of family responsibility. And one can see the increasing 
numbers who achieve middle-class status, and for whom the 
only problems are those created by the prejudiced and dis- 
criminatory behavior of others. One can see demagogic self- 
serving leaders in politics and church and civic activity, 
incapable of seeing any problems except those created by 
the white man; and one can see an increasing body of com- 
petent leaders, very often professionals on the staffs of 
private and public agencies, quite up to facing directly and 
squarely the problems of the group and who yet give no 
ground in their insistence on equality. One can see the huge 
ghetto concentrations, and one can see the ever larger areas 
of integration in work, civic activity, politics, housing. One 
can dole out an even-handed justice, saying, on the one hand 
there is this, on the other, that, and it is true among a mil- 
lion people there will be enough examples for any argument. 

And yet, how do we cast the final balance, 
how do we envisage the future? Here there are no agreed-on 
scales, there is only the judgment of those who try to see 
the whole picture, in the light of past history, and to dis- 
cern future trends. Our own judgment is that, in the North, 



a new phase in Negro leadership must begin. The era of 
the leaders who sought "accommodation" to an exploitative 
white world has come to an end everywhere, even in the 
South. The era of the leaders of "protest" has been in full 
swing in New York for a good twenty-five years, though it 
has only recently arrived in the South. Its achievements in 
the city have been great, but it is now entering an era of 
diminishing returns. And because there are as a matter of 
fact few additional gains to be made in New York City by 
protest, the protest leadership shows a tendency to become 
irrational, shrill, and ineffective. (The situation in other 
cities — for example, Chicago — and in the South is entirely 

But the worst of it is that important tasks, 
necessary ones on the agenda of American Negroes, are 
shirked and ignored. These are tasks that conceivably no 
one but Negroes can do. It is probable that no investment 
of public and private agencies on delinquency and crime- 
prevention programs will equal the return from an invest- 
ment by Negro-led and Negro-financed agencies. It is prob- 
able that no offensive on the public school system to improve 
the educational results among Negroes will equal what may 
be gained from an equivalent investment by Negro-led and 
Negro-financed groups, and an increase in the numbers of 
Negro teachers and principals. It is possible that no effort 
to change the patterns of the Negro lower-class family will 
be effective at a time when the white family is in disorder, 
when strong families of whatever kind, native and ethnic, 
show signs of disintegration; but if anything can be done, 
it is likely that Negro agencies will be far more effective 
than public agencies and those of white Protestants. 

Succeeding the period of accommodation, 
then, and the period of protest, one can detect the need for 
a period of self-examination and self-help, in which the 
increasing income and resources of leadership of the group 
are turned inwards. And already a few voices are raised 
to make just this point. This is the argument that John H. 
Johnson, publisher of Ebony and Jet, suggested at the i960 
Convention of the National Urban League. "^^ (Ebony, it 
should be pointed out, is itself rather more self-help 
oriented than the protest-rooted Negro newspapers, and its 



circulation in New York is probably greater than that of 
the local New York weekly Negro community newspaper, the 
Amsterdam News.) This is the argument of Carl T. Rowan, 
the distinguished Negro reporter, in an article in the 
Saturday Evening Post?'^ 

Everywhere in America the argument can 
be met by the counterargument — let the white world reform 
itself first. Even in New York one can say this, and most 
Negro leadership does; but the question is: whatever the 
origins of the burden, on whose shoulders does it fall, and 
how can it best be overcome? 


the Puerto Ricans 



the potential sources of new immigration to New York 
City, his eye might well have fallen on Puerto Rico: he 
would also have concluded that the Puerto Ricans, if they 
were potential migrants, would have a very hard time adapt- 
ing to New York City and indeed might well be considered 
the migrants least likely to succeed. 

Puerto Rico in the middle 1930's, after 
thirty-five years of American administration, was a scene of 
almost unrelieved misery. Rexford Tugwell, the American 
governor of the island during the early forties, titled his 
big book on Puerto Rico The Stricken Land. Its 3,435 square 
miles — a tiny area — held a population of one and three- 
quarter millions. Its death rate had been reduced from the 
very high figure of about 30 per thousand at the time of the 
American occupation at the end of the nineteenth century 
to about 20 per thousand; but its birth rate remained among 



the highest in the world, and the population grew rapidly. 
The island lived off a cash crop — sugar — that had collapsed 
with the depression; it had almost no industry; in any case 
even in the best of times the agricultural workers who made 
up the majority of the population lived under incredibly 
primitive conditions that some observers have described as 
no better than were to be seen in the villages of India or 
China. Sanitary facilities were primitive; shoes were rarely 
worn in the country districts; the ground was infested with 
sewage and parasites and so, too, was the population; and 
a prevalent malnutrition produced a stunting of growth and 
susceptibility to a wide range of diseases. The details of 
the infant mortality rate, death rates from various causes, 
all showed the effects of a grinding poverty that is scarcely 
imaginable in contemporary industrial countries. Most of 
the population was unemployed and underemployed and 
suffered from hunger. 

It is true there was something of a Puerto 
Rican upper class, which lived at the same level as the rich 
in all countries. This tiny upper class had never given much 
signs of energetic leadership or substantial ability. Puerto 
Rico had been a neglected part of the Spanish colonial sys- 
tem. It had been somewhat less neglected by the Americans, 
but here inconsistency in policies effectively prevented occa- 
sional good intentions from making their full impact felt. 
Illiteracy had been reduced from 83 per cent in 1898 to 31 
per cent in 1940; the proportion of children attending school 
had been greatly increased; but shifting policies as to 
whether to teach in English or Spanish, and at what levels 
to introduce which language, led to a relatively ineffective 
education. If Puerto Ricans were not illiterate in both lan- 
guages, it is certainly true that on the whole they learned 
English poorly, and at the same time the Spanish cultural 
heritage was transmitted inadequately. 

The kind of economic situation that pre- 
vailed in Puerto Rico was of course the situation of most of 
the world, and indeed it was often pointed out that the eco- 
nomic situation of Puerto Rico was better than that of 
Latin America in general, even in the middle 1930's. But 
rural poverty of the kind that prevailed on the island is 
often relieved by two considerations: first, the existence of a 



network of culture, religion, art, custom that gives strength 
and grace and meaning to a life of hardship; and second, 
the existence of a strong family system that again enhances 
life. And both a rich culture and a strong family system, in 
addition to their immediate rewards, are often the basis 
for an improvement in life. The net of culture keeps up 
pride and encourages effort; the strong family serves to 
organize and channel resources in new situations. 

In both these aspects Puerto Rico was sadly 
defective. It was weak in folk arts, unsure in its cultural 
traditions, without a powerful faith. Folk arts existed to a 
limited extent: there was a tradition of folk and dance 
music, and a great love of dancing and singing. Indian 
culture was still meaningful in Mexico and Peru, Afro- 
American culture in Brazil and Haiti. But Puerto Rican 
Indians had long before been absorbed into the population, 
and its large African population of former slaves, almost 
one-half of the total population in the middle i86o's, had 
not retained the rich array of African cultural survivals 
that enlivened other parts of the Caribbean. Even Puerto 
Rican Spiritualism, while it owed something to traits bor- 
rowed from Haiti and Cuba (and thus indirectly from 
Africa), seemed to be based more directly on the works of a 
nineteenth-century French writer on occult matters.^ The 
great Spanish cultural tradition to which Puerto Rico was 
linked also led a pale existence there. The Catholic Church, 
the formal religion of most of the population, reflected the 
J. \ weaknesses of the Church throughout much of Latin Amer- 
^J^ ^ j ica: there was a tiny clergy (Puerto Rico has one priest for 
J*^\r ^ .1 7,000 Catholics, New York has one for 750),^ in large meas- 
lure foreign, and not closely attached to the national ambi- 
tions of the people or their daily life. The Church was seen 
as something for the rich — one could not expect that if the 
people migrated, their priests 1 ould follow them, as did the 
spiritual leaders of the many streams of European immi- 
grants to this country. And indeed, they did not. There was 
a strong Protestant group, which was quite different in 
character, but it affected only 15 per cent of the population. 

Nor was there much strength in the Puerto 
Rican fa^i'Iy. In some ways, it was similar to the family 
type of peasant Europe, patriarchal and authoritarian, the 



man reigning as absolute despot, demanding obedience and 
respect from wife and children. And yet, this was not the 
family of the Polish or South Italian peasant. The major 
difference was the wide extent of consensual or common- 
law marriage; more than one-quarter of the marriages were 
of this type, and as a result about one-third of the births 
were formally illegitimate. The evaluation of the consensual 
marriage form is a difficult thing — was it only the conse- 
quence of the distance between the Church and the people, 
the absence of priests, the expense of church ceremonies and 
formal weddings? This is the explanation that is often 
given. Yet consensual marriage also reflected an instability 
in the marriage form. The breakup of consensual marriage 
was common. More serious for the strength of the family 
were the widespread existence and acceptance, in legal and 
consensual marriage, of concubinage and sexual adventur- 
ism on the part of the men, which meant that children often 
grew up in confused family settings, and which introduced 
a strain between husbands and wives. Children were loved 
in Puerto Rico — this was fortunate since there were so 
many. And yet many observers believed that their mothers 
often loved them to the point of overprotection to make up 
for neglect by their husbands.^ 

Both the European peasant and the Puerto 
Rican jealously guarded the virginity of the female children, 
and superstitiously kept them apart from men. But while 
the European peasant could often then arrange the mar- 
riage of his virginal daughter or of his son so as to enhance 
his property situation, marriage in Puerto Rico was more 
typically a matter of an early escape of the young daughter 
with a man whom her parents had not chosen and whom she 
herself scarcely knew. Marriage at the age of 13 and 14 was 
not uncommon. Indeed, a random sample of the island's 
population in 1947-1948 showed that 6 per cent of the 
married women had been married at 14 or earlier, a fifth 
had been married at the ages of 15 or 16, a quarter at the 
ages of 17 and 18, another fifth at the age of 19 or 20 — 
seven out of ten were married before 21!^ This, combined 
with the feeling that a man and woman married or living 
together should have children as soon as possible, meant a 
very early induction into childbearing on the part of women, 



S S ^ '\ ^^ early induction into responsibility for many children 
^ ^ i» on the part of men. Adolescence did not exist for most 
' ^x ^ Puerto Ricans, who moved directly from childhood to adult 
I responsibility. 

And yet, the family, despite these weak- 
nesses, was perhaps one of the stronger elements in the 
Puerto Rican situation. Men might have children with a 
number of women, but they took responsibility for all of 
them. There was a relatively high degree of breakup of 
marriage (for a peasant culture), and yet there were always 
places in families for the children. The institution of the 
godparents, the compadre and comadre who were "co- 
parents" for each child, meant that a second set of parents 
stood ready to take over if the first was overburdened with 
too many children, too many woes, or was broken up by 
death or desertion. Children were overprotected, it seems 
true, but they were not resented and neglected; and perhaps 
Q the second is worse than the first. 
^ t But in competition with the more tightly 

rknit and better integrated family systems of, say, Chinese 
J and Japanese peasants, the Puerto Ricans did badly. In 
Hawaii, where at different times Chinese, Japanese, and 
Puerto Ricans had been imported to work on the planta- 
tions, the Chinese and Japanese rapidly moved out of the 
plantations, into the cities and into better-paying occupa- 
tions, achieving positions of such high prestige that their 
descendants now sit in Congress. There were few Puerto 
Ricans, but they often left the plantation only to fall into 
dependency in the cities. In 1930, they showed the highest 
rate of juvenile delinquency of any of Hawaii's many eth- 
nic groups; the highest proportion on relief. "The Puerto 
Ricans," an authority reported, "have constituted an excep- 
tionally heavy charge on the community, while the Japanese 
and Chinese have required the least." ^ 

There was no reason to think the Puerto 
Rican would make a better adjustment than this in the 
more demanding and less tolerant atmosphere of the New 
York City of the thirties. And indeed, he did not. When 
Lawrence R. Chenault made the first book-length study of 
New York Puerto Ricans in the mid-1930's, there were 45,- 
000 migrants from Puerto Rico in the city, and he found 



that they were heavily overrepresented on the relief rolls. 
As early as 1930 a social worker at a meeting of the National 
Conference of Catholic Charities stated that the Puerto 
Rican family was the biggest social work problem in New 
York at the time.^ Nothing — in education, in work experi- 
ence, work training, or work discipline, in family attitudes, 
in physical health — gave the Puerto Rican migrant an 
advantage in New York City. 

Who could have expected to find that the 
Puerto Rican migration to New York City, then, has been 
as successful as it has? It was as little to be expected as the 
transformation of the island itself, a transformation so star- 
tling, and so little heralded by anything in Puerto Rico's 
earlier history that it is reasonable for two books on Puerto 
Rico published in i960 to bear the titles Puerto Rico: 
Land of Wonders and Puerto Rico: Success Story J New 
York must be as grateful to the leader of this transformation, 
Luis Mufioz Marin, as the people of Puerto Rico itself: 
for the great advances in education, health, self-respect, 
work capacity, and training that have taken place under 
Mufioz Marin's regime have meant a steadily rising level 
of New York's Puerto Rican population. 



1910; 7,000 in 1920; 45,000 in 1930. 

This group already included some profes- 
sional people and businessmen in small stores, but the over- 
whelming majority of the employed men and women were 
engaged in unskilled work, as laborers, porters, factory 
operatives, and domestic workers. The center of the com- 
munity was East Harlern, from 97th Street to as far as 125th 
Street, from Fifth Avenue to ThirB^'ATIi^erra-er-ThBTe' was also 
a small groiip around the Brooklyn Navy Yard and in 
South Brooklyn. In Manhattan, where three-quarters of 
the Puerto Ricans lived, they met the old East Harlem 
Italian community on the east, and the growing community 
of Negroes to the north and west.^ There was also a large 
Jewish group in East Harlem, withdrawing to other parts 
of the city, principally to the Bronx. The paths of migra- 
tion through the city are fixed by such matters as lines of 



transportation and availability of housing at the next high- 
est level one can afford to pay. Just as the Jews moved out 
of East Harlem along the IRT subway to the East Bronx, 
so, too, did the Puerto Ricans, when in 1945 the East Har- 
lem community began to fill up and overflow. 

But until the 1940's there was plenty of 
room in the old-law tenements of East Harlem — ^vacancy 
rates in the middle thirties there were 15 per cent.^ There 
is no history of any conflict with the Jewish group. With 
the local Italians, relations were cool. The tight Italian 
community did not find it easy to open up to strangers; 
the youth, of course, simply followed in the pattern of 
adolescent ethnic hostility, and the mild Puerto Ricans, 
whose history had had plenty of misery but remarkably 
little violence, were taken aback. Even the Italian adults 
have at times been violent in their sentiments, for during 
the depression it was easy to blame anyone for one's 

Even in these early days a characteristic 
pattern of response to the American Negro could be seen 
in the Puerto Rican community. For the Puerto Ricans are 
a mixed people. And while in their own minds a man's 
color meant something very different from what it meant to 
white Americans, they knew very well its meaning for 
Americans. About one-fifth of the Puerto Rican group in 
New York in the thirties was listed in census returns as 
Negro (a slightly smaller proportion than were then listed as 
colored in the Puerto Rican census). Chenault believed "The 
American Negro is inclined to resent all of the people from 
the West Indies [he includes the Puerto Ricans in this 
group] because of their competition in the labor mar- 
ket. . . ." While on his part "The Puerto Rican, if white 
or slightly colored deeply resents any classification which 
places him with the Negro. . . . Finding the American- 
born Negro confronted with serious disadvantages in this 
country, the Puerto Ricans want to maintain their own 
group and to distinguish themselves from him. . . . People 
who have studied the relations of the West Indian groups 
in Harlem report that . . . the darker the person from the 
West Indies is, the more intense his desire to speak only 
Spanish, and to do so in a louder voice." ^^ 



But whatever the complications introduced 
in attitudes toward Negroes by this factor of color in the 
Puerto Ricans themselves, relations actually seem to have 
been pleasanter than with the Italians. In later years, the 
young people coming into this first section of Puerto Rican 
settlement, "El Barrio," would find their adjustment com- 
plicated by the hostility of Italian youth, while Negro youth 
was more willing to accept them.^^ 

In 1940, the group was still small — 70,000 — 
still predominantly concentrated in East Harlem, with a 
sizable subconcentration in Brooklyn along the waterfront, 
and a small group in the Bronx. The census showed a sharp 
reduction in the number of Negroes, to about 11 per cent. 
Whether this was the result of a change in the composition of 
the group that took place in the depression years is hard to 
say; it would seem unlikely that so great a change should 
have taken place, and perhaps the uncertain census takers 
were for some reason listing more mixed Puerto Ricans as 
white. (By i960 the proportion of colored among the New 
York Puerto Ricans was only 4 per cent.) 

During the war, Puerto Rico, four days 
from New York by boat, was cut off to normal passenger 
movements. There was almost no addition to the Puerto 
Rican population until 1944. Then there was a heavy in- 
migration of 11,000. The next year, with the end of the 
war, air service between San Juan and New York was intro- 
duced. The situation of the potential migrant was trans- 
formed. In 1945, 13,500 entered the city; in 1946, almost 
40,000. And New York was in the middle of a mass migra- 
tion rivaling the great population movements of the first 
two decades of the century. 

The movement ebbed and flowed with eco- 
nomic conditions in the city. During the early years the 
movement to the mainland was almost exclusively to New 
York City, and very few Puerto Ricans went beyond the 
city to settle elsewhere. By 1950 the census showed 187,000 
Puerto Ricans in the city, and 58,000 children of Puerto 
Rican parents, making a community of more than a quarter 
of a million. The peak year of the migration was 1952-1953, 
when 58,500 settled in the city. Toward the end of the 
fifties, with worsening economic conditions, the migration 



tapered off — to 31,500 in 1956-1957, 16,200 in 1957-1958, 
22,700 in 1958-1959, 14,200 in 1959-1960, and only 8,000 
in 1960-1961. (By this time, only three-fifths of the migrants 
to the mainland were settling in New York.) However, 
these figures are of net migration. The actual numbers 
moving back and forth for permanent or temporary settle- 
ment are much greater, and two or three times these num- 
bers of "new" Puerto Rican migrants are probably added to 
the city each year. 

In 1961, before the release of census figures, 
it was estimated there were 720,000 of Puerto Rican birth 
or parentage in the city.^^ The census, however, revealed 
only 613,000 of Puerto Rican birth or parentage in the city. 
The great movement of migration seemed to have come to 
an end, but the high birth rate of the Puerto Rican popu- 
lation guaranteed that those of Puerto Rican origin would 
make up an increasing proportion of the city. In 1961, more 
than one-seventh of the births in the city were of Puerto 
Rican parents (24,746 out of 168, 383). ^^ The crude birth 
rate of the Puerto Rican population of New York was 40 
per thousand. (For nonwhites, it was 30; for others, 20.) 

By i960 El Barrio in East Harlem was only 
one of the important Puerto Rican areas of the city. A heavy 
concentration of the Puerto Rican population in East 
Harlem was prevented first by the desperate housing short- 
age, which made it impossible for El Barrio to expand into 
the areas to the north, east, and west, and second, by the 
vast program of slum clearance and public housing, which 
broke up the Puerto Rican concentrations (in the oldest 
and most decrepit housing, of course) as soon as they were 
formed, and prevented new concentrations from forming. 
And so Puerto Ricans spread rapidly throughout the city 
in the late 1940's and 1950's — to the West Side, to Washing- 
ton Heights, to Chelsea, the Lower East Side; and outside 
of Manhattan, in the downtown Brooklyn and the near 
Bedford-Stuyvesant areas; in the Bronx, through the Morri- 
sania, Melrose, and other districts; into sections of Queens; 
and outside the city into Newark and other communities in 
New Jersey. There was scarcely an area in the older 
boroughs in which Puerto Ricans were not to be found. 



Thus because of the housing shortage and slum clearance 
they rubbed shoulders with everybody in the city.^^ 

All through the forties and fifties Puerto '^ 
Rico itself was undergoing great changes. The chief impact 
of the New Deal on Puerto Rico had been somewhat larger 
sums for relief — there seemed no solution to the chronic 
problems of unemployment and underemployment, poor 
living conditions, and poor health conditions. A succession 
of American governors found it impossible to do much, 
perhaps because it is always hard for a colonial country, 
whatever its goo^jntentions, to do something for a colony."^ 
In 1940, however, Luis Mufioz Marin's new Popular Demo- 
cratic Party won an election. The American government 
obliged him with a governor of his own choosing, Rexford 
Tugwell, who had already spent some time on the island 
in the middle thirties trying to develop a plan to pull it 
out of its chronic misery. The Second World War provided 
the new government a nest egg with which to work, for the 
excise tax on Puerto Rican rum, which came to replace in 
part scarce wartime whisky, was held by the federal govern- 
ment for Puerto Rico. 

Mufioz first thought primarily in terms of 
solving the agrarian problem by the distribution of the large 
estates, and while something was done along these lines, it 
was not the main engine of Puerto Rican transformation. 
Puerto Rico was too crowded to think in terms of prosperous 
family-type farms; it needed its main cash crop, sugar, and 
other cash crops; and at the same time, to compete, it needed 
efficient organization, higher mechanization, and thus even 
less labor than was then employed in agriculture. The em- 
phasis of the Muiloz-Tugwell regime was put on develop- 
ing industry, at first through direct government building 
and operation, and later, and far more successfully, through 
the stimulation of foreign mainland investment. Puerto | j 
Rico finally found a major virtue in its connection with 1 
America — the American market, and access to American '' 
investment capital and economic skills. Six hundred new 
factories were tempted to open in the island by tax exemp- 
tion, government-supported economic and market analysis, 
and by a variety of other means. Forty-one thousand jobs 





^ . were created by the new factories, paying average wages far, 
^>V?*^^^ greater than those in agriculture. One-quarter of U.S. 
brassieres and electric shavers now come from the island.^^ 
What this meant was a steadily rising income 
on the island, increase in numbers of workers with experi- 
ence in manufacturing, an increase in urban population. It 
meant money for improved health services and schools, and 
^ better living quarters for the poor. All this was done by a 
Y'^^freejiy elected Puerto Rican government. In 1948 Puerto 
Rico elected its first native governor, and in 1952, under a 
constitution it had itself drawn up, it was granted as much 
f independence as it wanted, and remained part of the 
United States as a Commonwealth. --*iJi£?^!:f!X^^^^''^ I' ^ 
The bearing of all this on New York is that 
the Puerto Rican migrants in the 1950's were not the same 
as those of the 1920's and 1930's. On the whole the migrants 
were better educated than the average Puerto Rican; they 
had a somewhat higher level of skill; they tended to come 
from the urban areas.^''' Whatever their drawbacks in rela- 
tion to the older established New Yorkers, they were a 
better-than-average representation of the people of Puerto 
Rico, and the average itself rose rapidly from 1940 on. The 
early fears of an importation of tropical diseases were un- 
founded; health conditions on the island itself rapidly 
improved, and in New York certain diseases could not be 
transmitted because of the prevalence of aqueducts, sewers, 
concrete sidewalks, and shoes. 

The economic and political transformation 
of the island did not, however, mean that all the Puerto 
Ricans were happy to stay at home. The reconstruction of 
the island destroyed almost as many jobs — poor ones, it is 
true, but jobs— as it made. The fine needlework that had 
occupied women at home, in line with Puerto Rican mores, 
was reduced by foreign competition, which paid even less 
than the miserable wages this provided in Puerto Rico. The 
increasingly mechanized sugar industry needed less labor all 
the time. And while the new jobs in the new factories paid 
good wages for Puerto Rico, wage rates in contrast to those 
in the United States remained low. Whatever the situation 
in other tropical islands, in Puerto Rico, where ^almost 
everything, including most food, has to be imported, prices 



are high, and low incomes mean only a low standard of 
living. Eighteen per cent of the working force was unem- 
ployed in 1939-1940, 13 per cent was unemployed in 1957- 
1958 — twice as many as were then unemployed on the main- 
land.i® But the two unemployment rates have been converg- 
ing. In 1962 the unemployment figure on the island was 11 
per cent. ^^^;^ ^ cc[^^ oppv^sS^vrw 

Unquestionably, ecofieffrrrrfarfors were and 
are decisive in explaining the great migration out of the 
island. And yet there were other matters, too. There was firsT^ 
the growing impact of contact with the mainland — its prod- / 
ucts arousing dreams of material comfort, its mass media 
publicizing them, its merchandising techniques spreading 
the desire for a change to every hamlet on the island. There 
was the additional experience of the Puerto Rican GI's. '^ 
Over 65,000 had served in the Second World War, 43,000 
in the Korean War. Their experience of the normal leveTl 
of material comfort taken for granted in the U.S. Army • 
was impressive. (Indeed, 40,000 of those who served in the 
Korean War were volunteers, despite the Puerto Rican ex- 
perience with a segregated army in the Second World 
War.)i^ The American standard of living, experienced in- 
directly and directly through mass media and personal con- 
tacts, was a powerful agitating force. And as the Puerto 
Rican population of New York itself grew, and migrants 
and their children went back and forth by cheag^^ir^lane' 
everyone had_ direct perso_naI knowledge of what liXe jvas 
like in New York. Once the stream is started and the road 





open, once the path is made easy, any minor cause may be 
sufficient to decide to try one's luck in New York: a poor 
marriage, overbearing parents, a sense of adventure, a desire 
to see New York itself. One must not underestimate another 
set of material advantages: the schools, hospitals, and wel- 
fare services. These are good on the island, comparatively 
speaking — they are of course much better in the richest 
city in the world. These, too, played a role. 

Finally, there was the complex impact of 
the population problem. The economic pinch on the indi- 
vidual grew tighter because, just as his demands and desires 
were rising, his family was growing, too, and to sizes that 
were exceptional even for Puerto Rico. For while the death 




i)>'! Ill 



rate, and in particular the infant mortality rate, dropped, 
the birth rate did not. 

The island government needed emigration 
as well as economic development to cope with these prob- 
lems; if it did not encourage emigration directly (an un- 
necessary provision), it planned for and assisted it. 

A characteristic of countries with both high 
birth rates and the benefits of modern medicine is that the 
death rates drop earlier, and faster, than the birth rates. 
This was the case in Puerto Rico. But in 1950 the birth rate 
began to decline. The decline has continued throughout 
the decade.^^ Some demographers believe the decline is in 
large part caused by the removal of so many people in the 
most fertile age-groups from the island to New York — in 
effect, the population problem has been transferred rather 
than transformed.^^ But there is no question that the situa- 
tion is changing, and that long-range decline, even if delayed 
a few years, will finally set in. 

During the forties, Puerto Rico's population 
problems were studied with the same intensity and skill 
that were devoted to its economic and social problems. De- 
spite the fact that 85 per cent of the population were 
nominally Catholic, the Church, the study showed, played 
little role in molding attitudes toward family size. It had 
had an impact in preventing during the thirties the free 
operation of birth-control clinics. But its political power 
on the island was less than on the mainland, and certainly 
less than in New York City. Mufioz Marin's governmentl 
was, if not anticlerical, humanist, and certainly did not take I 
the opposition of the Church to a rational approach to, 
population problems seriously. Contraceptive advice and 
devices were made available, and an operation for steriliza- 
tion of women was made cheap and easy, and widely pub- 
licized (in part by the Church's denunciation). The studies 
showed that while the upper-class and middle-class groups 
used contraceptive devices to a large extent, this was not 
popular among the great majority. The sterilization of 
women who had had a number of children was more popu- 
lar. Indeed, many New York Puerto Rican women will go 
back to the island to have children so they can take ad- 
vantage of this operation. In one group of Puerto Rican 



families in an East Harlem slum area, for example, no less 
than 20 of the 75 mothers had had the sterilization opera- 
tion performed — a startling proportion.22 In 1949, on the 
island, 18 per cent of the mothers giving birth in hospitals 
took the opportunity to be sterilized.^^ There seems to have 
been no decline in the popularity of the operation since. 

The reasons why contraception did not work 
are interesting. There was first of all the problem of using 
it under the incredibly crowded sleeping conditions in 
Puerto Rico, and in the absence of modern sanitary facili- 
ties. There was second the attitude of the Puerto Rican male 
to his sexual rights. He dominated the sexual relationship, 
expected the woman to be passive and submissive, and 
would not take kindly to the notion of giving her some con- 
trol of sexual relations by cooperating in contraception. 
Then, too, man and wife simply did not discuss sex — both 
might be wrong about what the other thought, but they 
did not know it. So, for example, investigators discovered 
that husbands and wives both wanted less children than 
they had, but each thought the other did not care or pre- 
ferred more children than they actually did! There was, too, 
the traditional suspicion and jealousy involved in these 
marriages, which not only prevented frank discussion but 
also meant that men suspected that women who fitted them- 
selves with diaphragms were planning to be unfaithful. In 
this complex situation, contraception would have a hard 
time of it, and when tried, would fail. Under the circum- 
stances, sterilization, which required one action, little dis- 
cussion before and none afterwards, no male complaints of 
deprivation, and was certain, was the most favored course.^^ 

In New York, of course, things are different. 
The relations between men and women change, children 
are raised differently, the attitudes toward having children 
change. But old attitudes exist alongside new ones, old-style 
families alongside new ones, and meanwhile there is a very 
heavy Puerto Rican birth rate in the city. 



island Puerto Ricans are close and complex, and quite 
different from the relationship of earlier migrant groups to 



their homelands. Puerto Rico is a part of the United States, 
and there is no control over movement between the island 
and the mainland. Puerto Rico is brought relatively close 
by air, and air passage is not too expensive. The island 
government takes a strong interest in its people. Indeed, 
many would be hard put to say whether they belonged to 
the city or the island. A great part of the movement between 
New York and San Juan consists of people going back and 
forth for visits, to take care of sick relatives or to be taken 
care of, of children being sent to stay with one family or 
another. One index of the movement is entries into and 
withdrawals from New York public schools. In 1958-1959, 
10,600 children were transferred from Puerto Rican schools, 
and 6,500 were released to go to school in Puerto Rico.^^ 
Going back is not, as it was in earlier migrations, either 
the return of someone who is defeated and incapable of 
adjustment, or of someone who has made a small competence 
that will look big in the homeland, although there is more 
and more of this movement. Going back is too easy for it 
to have such great significance. 

Something new perhaps has been added to 
the New York scene — an ethnic group that will not assim- 
\ ilate to the same degree as others do but will resemble 
N^ I the strangers who lived in ancient Greek cities, or the an- 
^ ' cient Greeks who set up colonies in cities around the 

So, for example, Luis Ferre, a candidate for 
governor of Puerto Rico in i960, arrived for a spell of 
campaigning in the city — after all, as it was pointed out, 
30,000 Puerto Ricans from the city return to the island 
every year. This is consequently as important a bailiwick 
in which to get votes as many on the island. Nor is there 
for Puerto Ricans any problem of dual loyalty — on the 
island they vote in its elections, in New York in its elections 
— ^just as one votes in California one year, and if one moves 
to New York, there the next. 

But there are interesting consequences for 
the community. To continue on the problem of politics, 
relatively few Puerto Ricans, compared with Negroes in the 
city, or with the non-Puerto Rican white groups, register 
and vote. A huge campaign was mounted in i960 to register 



100,000 Puerto Ricans in the city. It was estimated at the 
beginning of the drive that only 100,000 of a potential 
300,000 voters had been registered in 1958. This drive 
claimed it had registered 230,000 Spanish-speaking citizens; 
a year later, however, after the primary that renominated 
Mayor Wagner, his campaign manager said that only 120,- 
000 Puerto Ricans were registered to vote (New York has 
permanent registration; perhaps the extra 110,000 of the 
earlier claim reflected non-Puerto Rican Spanish-speaking). 
One of the difficulties in registering Puerto Ricans is that 
the state constitution requires that one demonstrate literacy 
in English. After Mayor Wagner's election to his third term 
in 1961, it was estimated that no less than 200,000 Puerto 
Ricans were in effect disfranchised by this provision of the 
state constitution, and in December, 1961, the city filed a 
proposal for a constitutional amendment that would per- 
mit residents to take literacy tests in any language in which 
a daily or weekly newspaper was published in the state.^^ 
Clearly, people active in politics and the leaders of the 
Puerto Rican community expect that Spanish will be the 
major language in use in the community for as long ahead / 
as anyone can see. As against the situation in some earlier 
immigrant groups, where dominant opinion in the city and 
in the group insisted on the need to learn English and 
relegate the immigrant tongue to a minority position, in the 
Puerto Rican group many leaders — and they are young 
people, for the entire group and its leaders too are young — 
expect and hope that Spanish will maintain a strong posi- 
tion in the group. The city government on its part encour- 
ages city employees to learn Spanish, and issues many an- 
nouncements to the general public in both languages. Con- 
ceivably this will change, but Spanish already has a much 
stronger official position in New York than either Italian or 
Yiddish ever had. This is one influence of the closeness of 
the island, physically, politically, and culturally. y 

This closeness to the island is unquestion- 
ably a factor in another interesting characteristic of the 
Puerto Ricans in New York, the relative weakness of com- 
munity organization and community leadership among 
them. The early group was so completely working class and 
below that it was understandable that professionals and 



businessmen would find little in common with the other 
Puerto Ricans, and tended to blend into the Spanish- 
language group in the city. This consisted not only of some 
immigrants from Spain but of immigrants from Cuba and 
other parts of Latin America. In 1930 New York had 137,- 
000 Spanish-speaking people, of whom only a third were 
Puerto Rican. It was understandable that those of higher 
status tended to understress their connection with a group 
of low status. As the Puerto Rican group grew in the city, 
something happened to the Spanish-speaking that is remi- 
niscent of what happened to the high-status German Jews 
when the poor East European Jews arrived — the effort to 
maintain a separate image for themselves in the public 
mind failed. When the overwhelming majority of the 
Spanish-speaking in the city became Puerto Rican, the sta- 
tus of all the Spanish-speaking began to reflect the status of 
the new Puerto Ricans among them. While there is still 
some tendency for the upper-income and high-status Puerto 
Rican to identify himself as a Hispano, Spanish-speaking, 
this is declining. Under these circumstances, the growing 
size of the Puerto Rican group, and the fact that it now 
forms probably four-fifths of all the Spanish-speaking, has 
led to a recapture of some of the leadership elements that 
might have tried to separate themselves from the Puerto 
Rican group when it was smaller: it has also led to the 
acquisition of new leadership elements from the longer- 
settled, and perhaps better-educated, non-Puerto Rican 
Spanish-speaking in New York. The Spanish-speaking begin 
to act to some extent as if they all are in the same boat. Some 
of the leadership in the Puerto Rican group today comes 
from non-Puerto Ricans who have been in the city longer 
or have had more varied training and experience. Thus, 
Emilio Nunez, the first Spanish-speaking city magistrate, 
appointed in 1951, was born in Spain. The five Spanish- 
speaking members of the executive board of the Skirt- 
makers' Union, Local 23 of the ILGWU, include one South 
American, one Mexican, one Cuban, and only two Puerto 
Ricans, though the Puerto Ricans make up by far the 
largest part of the Spanish-speaking membership.^^ La 
Prensa, an old and established Spanish daily, with originally 
little Puerto Rican emphasis, was a few years ago completely 



revamped as a tabloid to appeal directly to the Puerto 
Rican population. 

The fact that a newspaper that was origi- 
nally designed for another group, and that was owned by 
the Italian newspaper publisher and businessman Fortune 
Pope, was so easily modifiable into an organ of the Puerto 
Rican group is itself a sign of the relative weakness of what 
may be called indigenous organization among the Puerto 
Ricans. The other newspaper of the Puerto Rican group, 
much larger in circulation than La Prensa, II Diario, was 
owned by a Dominican, and edited by a New York news- 
paperman who formerly edited a newspaper in the (then) 
Ciudad Trujillo. Today both newspapers are owned by 
the transit operator O. Ray Chalk, who is also not a Puerto 
Rican. These newspapers do serve the community, in ex- 
pressing its concerns, in supplying various services, in help- 
ing people find their relatives, in guiding their readers to 
find the agencies that might help them, in carrying com- 
munity news and community items. But they are not the 
creations of the community or of groups within it. And 
this is what one sees in many other areas of Puerto Rican 

We have already referred to the weakness of 
Catholicism in Puerto Rico. Roman Catholicism is not a 
national church, as it is in Ireland and Poland. It sets the 
general frame of life by baptizing (most), marrying (less), 
and burying, and its calendar sets the holidays and festivals, 
but its impact on the people, in guiding their lives and 
molding their ideas, and in serving as a vessel for their 
social life, is relatively small. It is, as elsewhere in Latin 
America, a church for the women. In New York the Catho- 
lic Church is engaged in an energetic program to increase 
the number of Spanish-speaking priests, and to widen the 
circle of activity among the Puerto Ricans. Since the Puerto 
Ricans have spread so widely through the city, the Church 
has for the most part carried on its Puerto Rican work in 
established parishes. The Puerto Ricans have not created, 
as others did, national parishes of their own. Thus the ca- 

* This situation may be changing. After this book was in press, the 
two newspapers were merged, and a new Spanish-language daily began 



pad ties of the Church are weak in just those areas in which 
the needs of the migrants are great — in creating a surround- 
ing, supporting community to replace the extended families, 
broken by city life, and to supply a social setting for those ' 
who feel lost and lonely in the great city. This is a task that 
smaller churches, with an active lay leadership, and a minis- 
tering group that is closer to and of the people, can do 

Most of the Puerto Ricans in the city are 
Catholic, but their participation in Catholic life is small. 
It is interesting for example that there are but 15,000 Puerto 
Rican children in parochial schools in the New York Arch- 
diocese, against almost ten times as many in the public 
schools, a much smaller percentage than for any other Cath- 
olic group in the city. There are only 250 Spanish-speaking 
priests in the Archdiocese of New York for the Puerto Rican 
population, and most of these — as many in Puerto Rico 
itself — have learned Spanish to minister to the group. In 
1961, in 42 Catholic parishes in New York City with Span- 
ish-speaking priests, there was only one Puerto Rican. And 
the proportion of the Spanish-speaking priests to the Catho- 
lic Puerto Rican population was still one-third or one- 
fourth what it was for other New York Catholics.^^ 

As the problems of the first generation are 
overcome, as families become stabler, incomes higher, and 
the attachment to American middle-class culture stronger, 
Catholicism will probably also become stronger among the • 
Puerto Ricans. But it does not seem likely that it will play 
as important a role among them as it plays in the European 
Catholic ethnic groups. For there is already well-established 
a strong rival to Catholicism among the Puerto Ricans, and 
if we were to reckon religious strength not by mild affili- 
ation but by real commitment, it would be likely that there 
are not many less committed Protestants among the Puerto 
Ricans than there are committed Catholics. 

Protestantism's history on the island dates 
from the American occupation, when some major denomi- 
nations divided up the island and began work there. A 
1947-1948 study of the island showed that about 82 per cent 
called themselves Catholic, that 6 per cent of the population 
belonged to the major Protestant denominations, 2 per cent 



to Protestant sects, and 2 or 3 per cent were Spiritualists.^^ 
The Mills-Senior-Goldsen 1948 study of New York Puerto 
Ricans showed about 83 per cent CathoHc and slightly 
higher proportions of Protestants in the major denomina- 
tions — 9 per cent — and in the sects — 5 per cent.^^ But the 
fervor of the Protestants seems greater than that of the 
Catholics; and the fervor of the members of the Pentecos- 
talist and similar sects of the hundreds of the storefront 
churches that dot the Puerto Rican neighborhoods is even 

There are about 70 Spanish-language Prot- 
estant churches of major denominations in the city, and 
close to another 50 that have both English and Spanish 
services. Another 70 have some Spanish members. All told, 
there are about 14,000 Spanish-speaking members of major 
Protestant denominations in the city, about 10,000 in their 
own all-Spanish churches.^^ Attendance in the Spanish 
churches is high, evangelical zeal puts most Anglo-Saxon 
Protestantism to shame, and the willingness to spend money 
to support the church is also great.^^ 

This is now largely an indigenous move- 
ment, staffed by Puerto Rican ministers. The Protestant 
church leaders of the city have been anxious to have the 
English-language churches also reach out to the surrounding 
Puerto Rican population. But for regular, denominational 
Protestantism, this is not an easy task. The strength of 
Protestantism is that it forms a community, and its weak- 
ness is that in forming a community it finds it difficult to 
reach out from its original ethnic or class base to attract 
other groups. The most catholic of the Protestant groups, 
the Protestant Episcopal Church, has been most successful 
in developing integrated churches of mixed native Protes- 
tant and Puerto Rican members, just as it is also this church 
that is most successful in developing churches that integrate 
white and colored members. Father James Gusweller's West 
Side Church of St. Matthew and St. Timothy is the best- 
known example of such an integrated church. 

But the most vigorous and intense religious 
movements among the Puerto Ricans are the Pentecostal 
and independent Pentecostal-type churches. The i960 study 
of the Protestant Council of New York located 240 such 



churches — there are certainly more than this. Their mem- 
bership was conservatively estimated at about 25,000.^3 
These tiny churches generally run services every day of the , 
week. They demand of their members that they give up 
smoking and alcohol and fornication. They are completely 
supported by their memberships, and often a church of 100 
members will support a full-time minister. The Pentecostal 
movement, which began in America, has for reasons that 
are not clear been successful in penetrating a number of 
Catholic areas, for example Italy and Chile. Two Catholic 
sociologists who have studied the Pentecostal churches in 
New York suggest that they derive their strength from 
Catholicism's weakness. Many migrants feel lost in the city; 
many search for a community within the Church, and the 
integrated Catholic parish, whose base is another ethnic 
group and whose priests are not Spanish, cannot give this. 
The preachers and ministers of the Pentecostal Church in 
New York are almost all Puerto Ricans. Though it was 
initially spread to the island by English-speaking evange- 
lists, working through translators, the requirements for 
preaching and ministering make it possible for devout 
members to rise rapidly to such positions. "In the Catholic 
Church," one member told the investigators, "no one knew 
me." Here, if a stranger comes in, he is warmly greeted; if / 
a member falls sick, he is visited; the tight congregation is 
one of the most important expressions of a community that 
is found among Puerto Ricans in New York.^* 

Some of the Pentecostal churches have 
grown beyond their storefront beginnings and are now quite 
large, but despite their growth they maintain the allegiance 
and support of the earlier days, and maintain a sense of 
community in the larger group. 

(The "Jardin Botanicas" of the Puerto 
Rican districts evidence the strength of "Spiritualism," 
which to a few Puerto Ricans is a religion, but which is 
more akin to an occult science like astrology. The Botanica 
will sell, in addition to herbs prescribed by the practi- 
tioners, books on mysticism and other subjects, and reli- 
gious pictures and objects, for this occultism is practiced or 
believed in, to varying degrees, by many who are nominally 
or also Catholic.^^) 



n Protestantism is an interesting ii_minorij^ 

phenomenon among the Puerto Ricans; and there exists 
here a real field for competition between Catholicism and 
Protestantism in the city. It is impossible now to predict 
how things will come out. There are some potential areas 
for conflict. For example: Will Protestant social welfare 
agencies try to serve Puerto Ricans? Up to now this has 
been left to city agencies and to Catholic agencies. A third 
to a half of the clients of the family and child-serving agen- 
cies of Catholic Charities are now Puerto Ricans; since the 
Protestants have to take some responsibility for the Ne- 
groes, it is understandable that they have dragged their feet 
somewhat in staking out a claim to lost souls among the 
Puerto Ricans too. But according to the press releases of 
Billy Graham's three-day crusade to the Spanish-speaking 
of New York in i960, 500,000 of New York's Spanish- 
American population are considered unchurched — which 
means that the religious organization of New York Protes- 
tantism considers most of the field available for sowing. If 
Protestant agencies should also make this claim, some seri- 
ous headaches will arise for the public agencies (such as the 
New York City Youth Board) which distribute cases to pri- 
vate agencies, and help support them. 

Aside from the storefront churches, organi- 
zational life is not strong among the Puerto Ricans. There 
are many social organizations, based on place of origin on y .^.f ^^ 
the island, but they do not have the importance of the 
immigrant societies among earlier immigrants. It is under- 
standable they should not; their functions for recreation 
and entertainment have been usurped by movies and tele- 7 

vision and other commercialized recreation, their practical / 

functions — aiding the poor and the sick — are now in the // 
hands of public and private agencies. One can always find / 
functions for an organization if one is organizationally^/ y- 
minded, bvjt^Puerto Rico, just as the rest of Latin America,' 1 \w^^ 
has always been weak in spontaneous grass-roots organiza- I 
tion. Probably the rise of organization has been inhibited 1 
too by the factors that have dispersed the population and 
prevented the development of a great center for the Puerto 
Rican population — housing shortage, slum clearance, and 
the availability of public housing. In 1948 only 6 per cent 




of the migrants belonged to Puerto Rican organizations, 
somewhat more men than women, and more of the older 
migrants than recent arrivals.-^^ Compared to some other 
ethnic groups, this seems low. 

If slum clearance has been a factor prevent- 
ing the growth of certain kinds of organization among 
Puerto Ricans, it has also been the occasion for the birth 
of other kinds of organization, the groups that try to pre- 
vent the bulldozing of a neighborhood, or, in the cases of 
more selective renewal as on the West Side,* the weeding 
out of the "bad housing." The demolition of the houses 
that affront the neighborhood means precisely the demoli- 
tion of those that house vast numbers of Puerto Ricans — 
families living in single rooms, families taking in migrant 
relatives, displaced children, and temporarily homeless 
friends. Ironically, "improving a neighborhood" means 
moving out those who are most crowded, have the least 
room, and whose resettlement offers the most difficult prob- 
lem for themselves and city agencies. But in the defense of 
their threatened homes, an organization will often be cre- 
ated, and nascent leaders will become real leaders, develop- 
ing experience in cooperating with and fighting with other 
groups and city agencies. In a New York neighborhood one 
may find out that a community exists only at the point where 
one is ready to destroy it, and it rises up to protect itself. 
More realistically, however, the threatened destruction is not 
what demonstrates that a community exists; it is rather that 
the threat creates a common interest where none existed 
before, and brings out people ready to take leadership to 
protect the threatened interest. Under such circumstances 
(as in the West Side Urban Renewal scheme), since one of 
the aims of the enterprise is to create neighborhoods and 
communities, one might sophisticatedly conclude that the 
aim has been effected in the fight to carry through the plan, 
and modify it to deal with the problems that everyone 
agrees are problems (overcrowding and antisocial elements). 

There are probably many and subtle ways 
in which the relation to the island affects the organizational 

* We refer to the West Side Urban Renewal Project, which will dis- 
place most of the present Puerto Rican population of the area from 
87th to 97th Street, from Central Park West to Amsterdam Avenue. 



life of Puerto Ricans in New York; but one clear impact is 
seen in the role of the Office of the Commonwealth of,/ 
Puerto Rico in New York City. The Migration Division of 
the Department of Labor of the Commonwealth of Puerto 
Rico maintains offices in a number of cities of the mainland, 
the largest in New York, and this is for the Puerto Rican 
community of New York what the NAACP and the Na- 
tional Urban League are for the Negroes. It serves as an 
employment agency and an orientation office for new mi- 
grants; it represents Puerto Ricans and Puerto Rican inter- 
ests on various city committees and organizations, formal 
and informal, private and government; it helps organize the 
Puerto Rican community where such organization seems 
necessary, as, for example, in the i960 campaign to increase 
registration, in which it took a leading and active role. It 
is concerned with the way city agencies handle problems of 
special interest to Puerto Ricans, and will make its position 
known to them, and it cooperates in the elaborate exchange 
programs and conferences whereby New York tries to edu- 
cate its personnel in the problems of their Puerto Rican 
clientele, and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico tries to 
educate its people on the problems the migrants face in 
New York. It is also concerned with the public relations of 
the Puerto Ricans, supplying information and correcting 
misconceptions. It has been the chief agency in attempting 
to get Puerto Ricans to move to other cities besides New 
York, and its efforts have helped reduce the proportion of 
migrants who settle in the city from 85 per cent in 1950 to 
about 60 per cent, which is the figure for the last few years. 
(Jews had the same problem early in the century, when 
their organizations were worried about the huge concentra- 
tion of Jews developing in New York City. The "Galveston 
Project" tried to get them to move elsewhere — it was by no 
means as successful as the Migration Division has been.) 

Under the sociologist Clarence Senior (who 
in 1961 became a member of the New York City Board of 
Education) and now under Joseph Monserrat, it has been 
an efficient and effective organization, with a staff of great 
competence and skill, and it has drawn on some of the best 
people outside the Puerto Rican community to aid it in its 



work, just as every branch of the Commonwealth govern- 
ment has. 

But it is again a special twist for New York's 
Puerto Ricans that its equivalent of NAACP and NUL, or 
of the Jewish community organizational complex, should be 
a government office, supported by government funds. It is 
understandable that we do not leave newcomers to New 
York to sink or swim any more: but it may very well be 
that it is because the Puerto Rican group has been so well 
supplied with paternalistic guidance from their own govern- 
ment, as well as with social services by city and private 
agencies, that it has not developed powerful grass-roots or- J 

But perhaps with greater income, more lei- \ 
sure, and the solution of their most pressing problems, the j 
Puerto Ricans will find they want things for themselves that | 
the Commonwealth and the city do not provide. 



Puerto Rican migrants in various parts of the world and 
came upon the interesting case of the Puerto Ricans of the 
island of St. Croix. This is one of the American Virgin 
Islands. Its native population consists of English-speaking 
Negroes, descendants of Africans imported to work on sugar 
plantations. St. Croix went into decline more than a century 
ago; it has long been a depressed island losing population 
(from 27,000 in 1835 to 11,400 in 1930). Since the United 
States acquired it in 1917, it has in effect lived off funds of 
the American government. 

Under these circumstances, for this to have 
begun to attract Puerto Rican migrants in the later 1920's 
and 1930's is somewhat surprising; what is even more sur- 
prising is that they have been economically successful, and 
seem to be on the way to taking over the economic life of 
the island. They arouse the same resentment among the 
natives by their energy and competence that Jews and Chi- 
nese have aroused in lands which these peoples have pene- 
trated. "The newcomers . . . ," it is reported, "work harder 
and produce more than the natives." They are preferred 
in the sugar fields, where they are asserted to be "more in- 



telligent and more adaptable to new methods." They also 
do about 40 per cent more work in the fields than the na- 
tives. They form one-quarter of the population but own and 
run more than half of the 122 businesses on the island — 
despite their recent arrival, and in an impoverished state: 

The Crucian reaction to this aspect of the 
invasion is strong but ineffectual. It varies from bitter jokes 
to half-hearted attempts to organize "buy Crucian" cam- 
paigns. Soon stores will display signs "English spoken here," 
runs one of the current stories. On every hand one hears the 
assertion that the Puerto Ricans are "clannish," that they 
hire only fellow Puerto Ricans, that they help each other in 
financial crises, that the larger and wealthier storekeepers 
will help newcomers start businesses in competition with 
the local people. Several Crucians interviewed were honest 
enough to confess that if they owned stores, and dared to do 
so, they would hire Puerto Ricans themselves because, as 
one civic leader said, "The Puerto Ricans have taught us 
how to work and produce." ^'^ 

They also have one of the highest birth 
rates on record (66 per thousand against 20 per thousand 
for the Crucians); they do not seem to take well to the 
Crucian schools — there is a great deal of truancy, and there 
are very few of them in the local high school (some go back 
to Puerto Rico for secondary education). 

Certainly the New Yorker reading this story 
of Puerto Rican migrants in another getting will have cause 
for musing and wonder, and may conclude that "success" 
andJ^faiJ.^;:;g!^^jTerelative matter^^andd^g^jnd,_on__the^cl^ 
J^igejhat^i^^£i^gsented^nd the grading for the contest. The 
challenge of New York City is one of the most severe in the 
world; the grading is the hardest; and a sizable degree of 
success in adjustment by Puerto Ricans in the city tends to 
be swamped in consciousness by the problems of a new mi- 

It is also true that adjustment means incon- 
spicuousness, and the well-adjusted Puerto Rican is not seen 
as a Puerto Rican; he tends to be only someone with a 
Spanish name. The successful and adjusted withdraw to 
Washington Heights and two-family or one-family houses 
in the Bronx and Queens. The newcomers, crowding the 



rooming houses of the West Side and Chelsea, are in some 
of the busiest sections of the cities, with a large and active 
previously settled population that is made all too aware of 
their presence, and they are also easily accessible to any 
reporter out on a story. There is no answer to this problem 
of distribution and the images it creates. But the Puerto 
Rican story is more complex, and the degree of success 
greater than appears on the surface. 

The Puerto Ricans of St. Croix are very 
much like the Puerto Ricans of New York; from the evi- 
dence, the only important difference seems to be that fewer 
of them are white, more dark. And their relatives in New 
York have very much the same impulses to better them- 
selves, and the same business-minded instincts. As against 
however the easy-going Crucian competition, here we have 
A 8c P and Macy's. Yet in the face of heavy competition and 
a high rate of small business mortality, the New York 
Puerto Ricans have shown themselves amazingly fertile in 
spawning small stores. In 1948, when Mills, Senior, and 
Goldsen looked around for dense Puerto Rican neighbor- 
hoods in the city, they located them by the number of gro- 
cery stores, the distinctive "Bodega." They found no less 
than 468, and the count was certainly incompleted^ The 
population has gone up two and a half times since, and the 
number of stores has probably kept pace. 

The Puerto Rican migration division esti- 
mated a few years ago that there are 4,000 Puerto Rican-run 
businesses all told in the city. This is an amazing figure. It 
is considerably more, for example, than the much larger 
Negro population has established, even though, in terms of 
period of major migration, it is thirty years ahead of the 
Puerto Ricans. It suggests that one of the widely accepted 
reasons for the low participation of Negroes in small busi- 
ness — discrimination in loans — probably is not of primary 
importance, for it is not likely that the Puerto Rican, with 
his characteristically accented and poor English, impresses / 
the banker or supplier any more than a Negro does. Two 
other factors seem to explain the difference: one is that the 
Puerto Rican, coming from a country where he is not of the 
lower caste, does have a business tradition, and while not 
many successful storekeepers have migrated to this country, 



many have eked out a living in times of unemployment by 
peddling one thing or another. A second reason is that he 
has a special function — supplying products to a group with 
special needs in food, records, books, herbs, and what have 
you. There is further the special bond of language. 

What is the future of the Puerto Rican 
businessman? There is no question that his path is not easy. 
There is the competition of the chain stores, more effective 
as tastes change and as English becomes more common. And 
there is, helping the chain stores, as if they needed it, the 
public policy of wiping out large numbers of small business- 
men in the areas of older housing. This is an unfortunate 
consequence of slum clearance and urban renewal, and 
could be added to the many considerations that already 
suggest that these policies should be changed. The destruc- 
tion of Puerto Rican businessmen in East Harlem, the old 
Barrio, which has been almost entirely leveled for new hous- 
ing projects, was prodigious. The losses on the West Side 
will ultimately be as great. But entrepreneurial drive is one 
of those aspects of human potentiality that is not easily 
destroyed, and a businessman will be able to do business 
under even the most adverse circumstances. One already sees 
such adaptations as the sprouting of Puerto-Rican owned 
"superettes" on the West Side which serve a partly non- 
Puerto Rican clientele. 

There is as yet little that the Puerto Rican 
storekeeper supplies the rest of us. But again, the energy 
that leads to the Bodega and the small restaurant will un- 
questionably apply itself to the problem of finding some- 
thing to sell. There was after all nothing in Greek food that 
served as the basis of the Greek restaurant industry, and the 
Chinese had to invent a few dishes before they could sell 
meals to the unenlightened barbarians. There may be noth- 
ing in Puerto Rican cuisine today that any of the rest of us 
want, but it is amazing how brief traditions are and how the 
need can be father to the invention. In twenty years we may 
see a Puerto Rican equivalent to the Pizza Parlor. 

The 1950 census already showed that there 
were slightly more Puerto Ricans proportionately in the 
category "managers, officials, and proprietors" than there 
were in the Negro group. There were somewhat fewer pro- 



fessionals. But we must say something about the profes- 
sional group among the Puerto Ricans. The overwhelming 
majority of the migrants to New York came to seek work 
and were poorly qualified in skill and education. They were 
superior to the average Puerto Rican, but an elementary 
school education in Spanish, while better than illiteracy, 
still does not open up many doors in New York. However, 
from the beginning, in the twenties, there was a sizable flow 
of Puerto Ricans who came here to study and who in the 
end settled here. These became the basis for an important 
part of the Puerto Rican professional group that is the 
leadership group in the Puerto Rican community today. 

Even during the heavy migration of the 
forties and fifties a sizable proportion of the immigrants 
were well educated and came here for advanced study or 
for specific jobs — 5 per cent of the migrants in 1958 had had 
four years of college. Puerto Rico and the mainland often 
form one job market for the educated Puerto Rican as they 
do for the less educated.^^ We can expect a good deal of 
movement back and forth, as the balance of opportunity 
for upper-level employment shifts between New York and 
Puerto Rico. The University of San Juan, for example, has 
grown to an enrollment of 17,000, and many of the students 
will in time end up here, just as some of the Puerto Ricans 
in the city's colleges and universities will end up there. 

The opportunities for professional and 
other well-paying white-collar employment for Puerto 
Ricans in the city will certainly increase. There has, for 
example, been nothing equivalent among Puerto Ricans to 
the flow of Negroes into city and other government offices, 
and yet here are certainly opportunities for a group that 
will make up perhaps an eighth of the city in 1970. There 
is the whole area of trade with Latin America, which re- 
quires bilingual personnel of all types. Conceivably this area 
of employment will also increase as the American govern- 
ment devotes more attention to Latin America, and as Latin 
America (hopefully) becomes more prosperous. 

Will Puerto Ricans meet discrimination as 
they strike out for better jobs? A great deal depends on the 
development of racial attitudes among New Yorkers. Puerto 
Ricans in the city were about 4 per cent colored according 



to the i960 census, but many more than that bear some 
indications of the mixture of white and black that has been 
going on in the island for centuries. 

One index of discrimination is low. Rela- 
tively few complaints of discrimination are filed by Puerto 
Ricans with the State Committee Against Discrimination. 
Between 1945 and 1958 there were 273 complaints, and in 
the last two years of this period they were running at the 
rate of 40 to 50 a year. Only 12 of the complaints in this 
entire period were over sales and clerical jobs, only 4 for 
jobs as craftsmen; all the rest were for jobs as service work- 
ers, operatives, and laborers.^^ One would think that there 
are enough Puerto Ricans going into professional and 
white-collar work, and they are sufficiently sensitive to 
slights and discrimination, to have produced more com- 
plaints than this if discrimination were a serious problem. 
On the other hand, the Puerto Ricans are much less aggres- 
sive in fighting for and demanding their rights than are 
Jews and Negroes. 

The 1950 census already indicated a remark- 
able shift upwards in the occupations of the second genera- 
tion of Puerto Ricans. In 1950, 37 per cent of Puerto Rican 
men were operatives, 28 per cent were service workers (see 
Table 5). These were the two great categories of employ- 
ment — the semiskilled in the various factories, toy, plastics, 
printing, assembling and the like, and porters, kitchen 
workers, elevator operators, and other workers in the hotels, 
restaurants, and office buildings. But if one looked at the 
Puerto Ricans born in this country who were under 24 and 
at work — still a small group, but suggesting the shape of the 
future — there were radical declines in these categories, and 
there was an increase in the sales and clerical category from 
9 per cent for the Puerto Rican-born to 24 per cent for the 
native-born. Of course this group is still too young to num- 
ber many professionals or businessmen, but one can be sure 
the proportion of these in the second generation will also 

The changes among women are even more 
striking. In 1950, more than four-fifths of young Puerto 
Rican women migrants were working in factories (mostly 
clothing factories) and only 7 per cent were in clerical and 



sales. Among the young native-born, on the other hand, the 
proportion working as operatives dropped in half, and the 
number working in clerical and sales rose to 43 per cent! ^^ 
There has been a great increase in the native-born in these 
ten years, and there has been a major change in the over-all 
employment figures; how big it is we shall not know until 
we have further detailed reports from the i960 census. 



determines how we interpret it: our rhetoric explains that 
society is at fault. It is interesting to look back at the great 
study of poverty conducted by Charles Booth in London 
toward the end of the nineteenth century. Booth in a rather 
unimaginative and matter-of-fact way went through the 
whole population of London, looking for those who were 
poor and miserable and finding out the reasons why. The 
huge mass of poverty in London 60 to 70 years ago con- 
tained remarkably few able-bodied men, who were healthy, 
who had some modicum of education, who had some skill, 
and who were not mentally unbalanced. 

This rather obvious conclusion is neverthe- 
less one that seems to play little role in present-day discus- 
sions of poverty. It does not explain everything — the pro- 
portion of unemployed does go up and down in response to 
conditions that have nothing to do with the qualities of 
individuals. But for any individual, and for any group 
made up of individuals, such factors as education, health, 
and skill are very important in determining income; and 
for a society as a whole the level of health, education, and 
skill is not only related to income but probably related to the 
level of employment too. 

We have spoken up to this point of the suc- 
cessful and the adjusted among the Puerto Rican migrants. 
It takes no discerning eye to see that there is a sea of misery 
among the newcomers. 

As to its extent: Puerto Rican median fam- 
ily income was considerably lower than even nonwhite 
median family income — l3,8ii as against $4,437 — in i960. 
This was 63 per cent of the median income for all New 
York families. Unemployment among the Puerto Ricans 



seems to be consistently higher than among nonwhites and 
whites. The census of 1950 showed, for men, 7 per cent of 
the non-Puerto Rican whites, 12 per cent of the Negroes, 
and 17 per cent of the Puerto Ricans unemployed; for 
women, 5 per cent of the non-Puerto Rican whites, 8.5 per 
cent of the Negroes, and 11 per cent of Puerto Ricans. A 
random sample of New York City households in 1952 
showed 15 per cent of the Puerto Ricans unemployed, 6 per 
cent of nonwhites, 4 per cent of the non-Puerto Rican 
whites.^2 In i960, 5 per cent of all New York males, 6.9 per 
cent of nonwhite males, and 9.9 per cent of all Puerto Rican 
males were unemployed. 

In explaining misery among the Puerto 
Ricans, the high birth rate must be taken into account. 
While the birth rate among Puerto Ricans in the United 
States does not reach the heights of that in St. Croix, it was 
estimated in 1950 at 43 per thousand. The nonwhite birth 
rate was 29 per thousand, the white birth rate 17 per thou- 
sand.^^ By i960 the crude birth rate had declined slightly, 
to 40 per thousand, but it was still twice the continental 
birth rate, and half again as much as the nonwhite birth 

These are crude figures, affected by the fact 
that so many of the Puerto Ricans are in the childbearing 
ages, so few of them are aged (in 1950 of 605,000 New York- 
ers over 65, only 5,000 were Puerto Rican; and it was esti- 
mated that of 865,000 over 65 in i960, only 18,000 would 
be Puerto Rican).*^ But even making adjustment for this 
factor of a disproportionate number of young people, the 
Puerto Rican birth rate is remarkably high. Puerto Ricans 
begin bearing children younger, and bear more of them. 
The 1950 analysis showed that for women between 15 and 
19 the Puerto Rican rate was about five times the continen- 
tal white rate (the Negro rate for this age group was almost 
as high); for women 20 to 24 it was almost twice the white 
rate, and a third higher than the Negro birth rate.*^ The 
early arrival of children and the large numbers of children 
mean that a family income that in 1950 was slightly less 
than that earned by Negroes must support more people. 

We see the strain in a number of ways. For 
example, there have been a number of studies of adjusted 



Puerto Rican families, families that are not on relief, that 
are not broken, that do not have any severe problems. It is 
interesting to note how many of these families have only 
one or two children.^^ The job at $50 a week, which man- 
ages to support such a small family in an apartment in the 
Bronx and which, compared with the |i2 a week income 
that was left behind on the island, represents real advance- 
ment, is completely inadequate to support five children or 
more. All problems tend to pile up. The bigger family may 
not get into a good apartment or a housing project. The 
crowding in a small apartment may mean more illness and 
poor management of children. 

One sees the impact of the large families in 
welfare statistics. Once again, the same $50 a week that 
means bare self-sufficiency with one child (and it may mean 
more, for a child or two can be left with a neighbor or a 
relative and thus permit the mother to add to family in- 
come) means the need to go to welfare for supplementation 
with a large family. One-half of all the families in the city ^ 
receiving supplementation from the Department of Wel- 
fare are Puerto Rican. One-quarter of all the Puerto Rican 
children in the city are on some form of assistance. About 
one-seventh of all Puerto Ricans are on public assistance. 

It requires special reasons to explain an in- 
capacity to support oneself in New York. Some of these rea- 
sons are to be found in age, some in disablement. Puerto 
Ricans make no significant contribution of the aged and 
disabled to the welfare load. They do however contribute 
one-half of the home-relief cases and one-third of the aid-to- 
dependent-children cases. And when one reads that more 
than half of the home relief cases consist of six persons or 
more, one discovers that the special misfortune that con- 
signs so many Puerto Ricans to the relief rolls is their large 
number of children.*^ 

Health also plays a special role. The Puerto 
Rican is not happy about going on relief; no one is, but one 
must be aware that the prevailing degree of poverty coexists 
with a high value placed on the maintenance of dignity and 
self-respect. There is no shame in a woman with children 
and without a husband to support her going on relief; that 
is understandable. But there is a good deal of shame in a 



man being forced to go on relief. If however he suffers from 
an understandable and acceptable misfortune — he has had 
an accident, he is in ill-health and cannot work — then there 
is no shame in requiring public assistance. Now as a matter 
of fact there seems to be a higher degree of illness among 
Puerto Ricans. Many arrive with ills, many acquire them in 
the strain of transition. Dr. Beatrice Bishop Berle, who has 
made a subtle and understanding study of the health prob- 
lems of a sample of eighty Puerto Rican families, reports, 

. . . The data on the eighty Puerto Rican 
families in this study, the clinical impression of physicians 
who treat Puerto Rican patients, the high incidence of new 
cases of tuberculosis . . . and the high admission rate to 
mental hospitals . . . reported for Puerto Ricans suggest 
that the general susceptibility to illness is high among 
Puerto Ricans in New York City as compared to other seg- 
ments of the population. . . . 

But there is more to the story. Dr. Berle 
points out that Puerto Ricans come here to progress, to 
work and make a better life for them and their children: 

In order to progress one must work, and in 
order to work one must have health. In New York, a man 
can no longer take pride in his biceps. He is expected to 
wield a pen or operate a complex machine if he is to be 
respected and progress. . . . 

Under these circumstances, illness may be 
an aspect of lack of success and may therefore become a jus- 
tification for failure. Failure is inevitable when the discrep- 
ancy between an individual's aspirations and the limited 
employment opportunities open to him due to lack of 
schooling or special skill cannot be reconciled. To prove 
illness so that one may be cared for then becomes a vital 

A good hospital will exhaust a large battery 
of tests to prove that there is nothing wrong with such an 
individual. Each new doctor, each additional test, confirms 
the man or woman in his conviction that he is sick, and that 
he is not being helped. . . . [But such individuals] are 
actually sick since they are unable to carry on the activities 
of their daily lives in the environment in which they 
live. . . . 




. . . occasionally, a sick man is made whole. 
Apparently this is a matter of luck or a result of a careful 
manipulation of the environment by interested persons. In 
a family, school, church, settlement house, trade union, or 
neighborhood, when a dedicated individual with imagina- 
tion who can mobilize some social or economic resources 
establishes and maintains a relationship with a man in 
trouble, things begin to happen. As a young American 
Negro who had become a member of the council of a local 
Baptist church in the neighborhood put it: "For the first 
time in my life I felt I was somebody." ^^ 

Everything may contribute to breaking the 
circle of dependency: more education, more training, fewer 
children, fewer illnesses, better housing, dedicated people 
who are interested in you, etc., etc. Some times at the bot- 
tom of the scale things are too far gone for anything to 
break the circle. Here are the "multiproblem" families, 
afflicted simultaneously by a variety of miseries — a child 
who is a drug-addict, another who is delinquent, a father 
who is psychologically or physically unable to work, or per- 
haps is not there. Here are the families so vividly described 
in Julius Horwitz's The Inhabitants, a novel by a man who 
has worked as an investigator for the welfare department. 
(Eight thousand employees are required to service the 300,- 
000 people in the case load of the welfare department of 
the city.) Perhaps the worst misfortune of this bottom layer 
in New York is the need to deal with large numbers of 
harried city employees who have no contact with each other, 
or, in truth, with their clients, except for the specific mal- 
function which brought them into action. The school- 
teacher or principal can do nothing about what goes on at 
home; the welfare investigator's role must be simply one of 
testing whether the family is qualified; the probation officer 
is supposed to keep in touch with his case, not the case's 
family, and can do nothing if the home in which the pro- 
bationer lives is located in a tenement that is a center for 
drug addiction or thievery; the housing project employee 
(if the family is lucky enough to be in one) is concerned 
with financial eligibility, the payment of rent, and the main- 
tenance of the physical property; the hospital hands out 
drugs and treatment, and so on and so on. And social work- 



ers and others now and then set up a joint project to see if 
out of the welter of bureaucratic confusion there can be 
fashioned an instrument that responds to famihes and indi- 
viduals as full human beings. 

The Puerto Rican has entered the city in 
the age of the welfare state. Here and there are to be found 
the settlement houses of an earlier period, in which a fuller 
and richer concern for the individual was manifested by 
devoted people from the prosperous classes. The job of such 
social workers today is largely to humanize and coordinate, 
often through arousing the people of a neighborhood to 
bring pressure on public authorities, the various agencies on 
which the poor are so dependent. But there are few such 
agencies and social workers who can stand outside the sys- 
tem and see what is wrong with it, and within each Puerto 
Rican community there flourish individuals — "interpreters" 
— who accompany the unfortunates on their round of the 
city agencies, and who claim to be more skillful in finding 
their way through the maze of regulations and require- 

In New York City one of the greatest mis- 
fortunes of the unfortunates who cannot help themselves is 
the enormous difficulty of managing one of the most com- 
plex and ingrown bureaucracies in the world. An equal mis- 
fortune is the housing situation, which consigns those with- 
out sufficient resources and without energy to the frightful 
one-room furnished dwellings carved out of brownstones 
and apartment houses principally on the West Side of Man- 
hattan. There are better living quarters, at cheaper rents, in 
the Bronx and Brooklyn. But when one is overwhelmed by 
so many misfortunes, the energy to take the subway to look 
for an unfurnished apartment, to get together the few sticks 
of furniture and the minimal kitchen equipment (the wel- 
fare department will pay), is often literally beyond the ca- 
pacity of many families. And so they migrate dully from one 
of these awful dwellings to another scarcely better a few 
blocks away. On these lower levels, what are needed are 
rehabilitation programs on a scale that scarcely anyone 
dares propose. It may cost no more than what the many 
agencies now spend, but the difficulties of breaking through 
the encrusted barriers that assign functions to each agency 



are simply too great for a new and more effective arrange- 

Meanwhile, one generation on relief gives 
rise to another. One-quarter of the Puerto Rican children in 
the city are on public assistance. The culture of public 
welfare, which Horwitz has so brilliantly described, is as 
relevant for the future of Puerto Ricans in the city as the 
culture of Puerto Rico. 

During the fifties, despite all this, there was 
not an exceptionally high rate of delinquency among 
Puerto Rican children.^^ But it takes a while to adapt to a 
new culture, and one may reasonably expect that the 
"Americanization" of the Puerto Ricans under conditions 
we have described will lead to somewhat higher rates of 
delinquency and crime in the future. Today, a good deal of 
Puerto Rican crime consists of crimes of passion involving 
members of the community, but once again, it is not un- 
reasonable to expect that in the future more and more of 
this violence will be turned outward. Rates of admission 
to mental hospitals are higher than they are on the island, 
or for New Yorkers in general.^^ And the Midtown study 
of mental health showed a remarkably high rate of impair- 
ment for the Puerto Ricans in the East Midtown area. This 
is not one of the typical areas of Puerto Rican settlement; 
the authors suggest that this group, isolated from the main 
body of new migrants, may be under greater strain than 
Puerto Ricans in more characteristically Puerto Rican parts 
of the city,^^ yet the findings are consistent with other find- 
ings on rates of illness. The migration it seems has hit New 
York Puerto Ricans very hard. For some reason, the rate 
of suicide seems to be less than it is on the island.^^ jj- jnay 
have risen since this study was made in the late forties. 



families, schools, neighborhoods? How are they growing 
up? 53 

A typical pattern of migration of families 
with children is for the father to migrate alone, stay with 
relatives and friends, find a job and living quarters, and 



then gradually bring over the rest of the family. Many fam- 
ilies are consequently divided between Puerto Rico and 
New York, and when they are united, if ever, they show 
wide differences in degree of knowledge of English, assimila- 
tion, and the like. A second pattern of migration involves 
a woman with children — her husband has deserted her, or 
she has decided to leave home and go to New York, where 
jobs are plentiful, where the government is reputed to be 
"for the women and the children," and where relief is 

The Puerto Rican mother works here much 
more often than she does in Puerto Rico, but women still 
tend, if at all possible, to stay home to take care of the chil- 
dren. Fewer of them work than do Negro mothers. 

The question then is what kind of care the 
children get from these mothers, many of whom have been 
married since what we could consider childhood. In Puerto 
Rico, despite rapid urbanization and industrialization, and 
many consequent social changes, it is perfectly clear how 
one raises children. The boys are praised for their manli- 
ness, taught to be proper males, and aside from requiring 
them to be respectful to their fathers (whether or not these 
still live with their mothers) are left to raise themselves. In 
radically different fashion, the girls are carefully watched, 
warned to keep their virginity — without which a proper 
marriage is inconceivable — and relatively early escape from 
this restrictive stifling atmosphere into marriage and moth- 

But in New York both traditional patterns 
raise serious problems. If the boys are left to themselves, 
they find bad friends, may take to drugs, will learn to be 
disrespectful and disobedient. And even if a boy survives 
the streets morally, how is he to survive them physically, 
with cars and trucks whizzing by, and tough Negro and 
Italian boys ready to beat him up under slight provocation? 
If the girls are guarded, are raised in the house as proper 
girls should be, they become resentful at a treatment that 
their classmates and friends are not subjected to. In addi- 
tion, guarding in Puerto Rico means to keep an eye on one's 
daughters in a community where everyone was known and 
you knew everyone. Here, since the streets are dangerous, 



it means keeping the girl literally in the house. And if the 
house is a furnished room or apartment, tiny and over- 
crowded, it seems cruel and heartless to do so (yet many 
Puerto Rican parents do). 

The radical boy-girl disjunction does not 
work in New York City, To the mind of the migrant parent 
the social agencies and settlement houses are no great help 
and often seem nests of sin. To the social worker or young 
minister working in the slums the dancing and other co- 
educational activities seem to be inducting young boys and 
girls into proper American behavior patterns, to be teaching 
them how to relate to each other in ways that are not purely 
sexual and exploitative, and perhaps in a measure they do 
accomplish this. To the Puerto Rican (and often Negro) 
parents what goes on seems simply shocking invitations to 
premature pregnancy. Very often then the children who go 
to the centers and the church activities are the ones from 
the most disorganized families, where the effort to raise 
them in proper fashion has been given up, and they are 
allowed to run wild! ^^ 

In this confusing situation there are two 
possibilities. One is to give up. There is a widespread belief 
among migrant parents that the government prevents dis- 
ciplining of children, but this seems to be in part a ra- 
tionalization for the difficulty of making the adjustment to 
the great freedom of American children, for the Puerto 
Rican Commonwealth protects children as much as New 
York City does. The parents feel inadequate at handling the 
children (and one can sympathize with such feelings in a 
teen-age mother) and explain the inadequacy by the gov- 
ernment's responsibility for the children. Another sign of 
giving up is the frequency with which Puerto Rican parents 
express the desire that their children should be sent away 
someplace where they may learn discipline, manners, and 

But a more typical reaction to this confus- 
ing new situation is a tightening of the screws, not only on 
the girls but on the boys too. Many cases of disturbed 
Puerto Rican boys that come to the attention of social agen- 
cies are cases of anxious concern by parents, overprotection, 
exaggerated fear of the streets — their physical and moral 



dangers.^6 What is exaggeration or what is reahsm in think- 
ing of the New York streets is a difficult question. The 
Puerto Rican mother is not as well disciplined as the native 
American mother who, in her desire to see her child become 
independent, can steel herself to forget the dangers her 
children face in such a simple act as coming home from 
school. The overprotection of the boys is often a response, 
social workers feel, to dissatisfaction with the marital rela- 
tionship. The pattern is of course a common and wide- 
spread one, and there is nothing especially Puerto Rican 
about it. 

The screws will also be tightened on the 
girls. Even without a tighter discipline against the greater 
dangers, the same discipline here as in Puerto Rico is going 
to be felt as a serious deprivation. One also faces the change 
in the age of marriage. Half the girls in Puerto Rico will 
be married by 19 and freed from the stern parental super- 
vision. But there is no place in Puerto Rican cultural and 
family patterns for the older working girls who will not get 
married at such young ages here, and who are expected to 
scurry home from work as fast as they did from school. 
When one social worker suggested to a Puerto Rican girl 
who was working that she get away from the traditionally 
strict supervision of her father by moving into a residence, 
the girl was shocked. "She seems to think that in Puerto 
Rico they would consider any girl who moves away from her 
family into a residence as someone who goes into a house of 
prostitution." ^^ 

Then another problem is created by the in- 
evitable shift from the extended family in Puerto Rico to 
the smaller one in New York. The Puerto Rican mother 
expects to have someone around to relieve her in the care of 
her children — there will be a mother, a sister, an aunt, a 
comadre, and she will be living with her or close enough to 
be helpful. In New York this traditional pattern will often 
be found, but it is much more difficult to maintain. It can- 
not be arranged, for example, to have mother or sister move 
next door in the same housing project. Children become 
much more of a bother, much more of a strain. One is 
expected to take care of them completely on one's own, and 
without help. An anthropologist who has studied this mat- 



ter feels that the more traditional Puerto Rican family in 
New York does a better job raising its children than the 
nuclear family of man and woman, for in the latter the 
mother is likely to feel resentment and strain.^^ 

The changing city no longer provides the 
neighborhood that is exclusive to one ethnic group. And 
the city administration insists that in the low-rent housing 
under its management the groups be mixed as much as pos- 
sible (20 per cent of the city's low-cost housing is now occu- 
pied by Puerto Ricans, and about a seventh of the Puerto 
Rican population now lives in them). And so the models 
for new conduct in rearing one's children vary; there are 
Negro, Jewish, and Italian models of child rearing and child 
discipline, as well as the American models of the welfare 
workers and the settlement houses, and a variety of sub- 
variants in each. What degree of discipline, what kind of 
punishment and rewards, what expectations should one 
have from one's children — the Puerto Rican mother is at a 
loss in deciding the right course. 

We speak of the Puerto Rican mother, be- 
cause on her falls the main task of child rearing, in part 
because so many of them manage homes without males pres- 
ent, or with males who take no particular responsibility for 
the children; and because in the traditional Puerto Rican 
home the father expects, aside from his demand for respect 
and obedience, to have little to do with the children. He 
also considers it beneath his dignity to participate in the 
management of the home, and considers it his prerogative 
to be off by himself whenever he wishes to be. But of course 
his traditional position is seriously challenged in America. 
Not only can the mother get relief and throw him out, not 
only can she get a job that pays as well as his does (she can 
often do this in Puerto Rico, too, today), but society does 
not prevent her from following an independent course. The 
women, many of the men grumble, are "spoiled" here; the 
women, on the other hand, will often express preference for 
a man raised in America who does not expect the same 
self-effacement from them. Nor are the courts or the police 
or the social workers sympathetic to the position of a tradi- 
tional Puerto Rican male standing upon his dignity. His 



world often falls apart — this is why there is so often a 
descent into incapacity and into mental or physical illness. 

And then there is the role of the school in 
the lives of the children. Even the least-schooled migrant 
knows the value of education; Puerto Ricans universally 
would like to see their children well educated, and hope 
they will be professionals. But school is often a frustrating 
experience. The shift to a new language has been peculiarly 
difficult for the Puerto Ricans. We can only speculate about 
the reasons why Jews and even Italians, coming into the city 
at roughly the same ages, with much less formal knowledge 
of English, should have made a rather better linguistic ad- 
justment. Certainly the schools did much less to ease their 
path. Of course in the years of the heaviest Jewish and 
Italian migration the school-leaving age was much lower, 
children often began working at 12, and the problems that 
the schools must today face (which are severer with the older 
children) were reduced. In other words, the children who 
could not learn English forty years ago got out before their 
problems became too noticeable. But we can only guess at 
the differences — no one seems to have gone back to see what 
the schools did when whole districts were filled with Yiddish- 
speaking and Italian-speaking children. 

Probably no public school system has spent 
as much money and devoted as much effort to the problem 
of a group of minority children as the New York public 
school system has devoted to the Puerto Ricans. There are 
now hundreds of special personnel to deal with parents, to 
help teachers, to deal with special problems of students. The 
magnitude of the problems is barely communicated by fig- 
ures. "On October 31, 1958," reports the Board of Educa- 
tion, "of the 558,741 children in our elementary schools, 
there were 56,296 children of Puerto Rican ancestry whose 
lack of ability to speak or understand English represented 
a considerable handicap to learning." ^^ 

The numbers alone are enormous; there is 
the additional problem of the rapid movement of the new- 
comers. On the West Side of Manhattan, one of the major 
sections of entry for new migrants, the turnover in an area 
containing sixteen schools was 92 per cent; which means 



that each year the school confronts what is in effect a com- 
pletely new student body.^^ 

It is probably particularly difficult for the 
adolescent boys to adjust to this situation. The pattern of 
maintenance of male self-dignity makes it embarrassing to 
speak English with an accent. Dr. Berle believes it is easier 
for adolescent girls who have not had this emphasis in their 
upbringing to adapt to the English language school. (Per- 
haps the Jewish tradition of self-ridicule — dignity there is 
only for the old — stands them in good stead in new situa- 
tions. One is astonished at the willingness of Jewish store- 
keepers to speak a most corrupt Spanish to deal with their 
Puerto Rican clientele: in contrast to their customers they 
are shameless.) 

Meanwhile, there is a good deal of school- 
leaving at the earliest possible age, and relatively small pro- 
portions today go into the academic high schools. The regis- 
ter for New York City schools in October i960 showed that 
18 per cent of the elementary school students, 17 per cent 
of the junior high school students, and only 8 per cent of 
the high school students were Puerto Ricans. The propor- 
tion in the academic high schools was 5 per cent.^^ 

The other side of the coin is an impressive 
amount of activity by young, educated Puerto Ricans to 
raise the level of concern for education. For example, Puerto 
Rican social workers, professionals, and teachers have set 
up an organization, Aspira, devoted to working with stu- 
dents and their parents so that they will take all possible 
advantage of educational opportunities. It runs workshops 
in which plans to get through high school or into or through 
college are worked out, it gives lectures on professional 
opportunities, looks for money for scholarships, reaches 
parents and community organizations. The young Puerto 
Rican leaders also run an interesting annual youth confer- 
ence that gives a revealing insight into the concerns and 
struggles of the young people. This group clearly sees Puerto 
Ricans as following in the path of the earlier ethnic groups 
that preceded it, and speaks of them as models of emulation 
rather than as targets for attack. Its identification is with 
the Jews or Italians of forty years ago, rather than with the 
Negroes of today. It has a rather hopeful outlook, which 




emphasizes the group's potential for achievement more than 
the prejudice and discrimination it meets. One can only 
hope that this buoyant outlook will be better sustained by 
life in the city. It is a note in tune with the gentleness and 
gaiety of the Puerto Ricans themselves. 



Hispanic-American strand added to the culture of the city. 
They organize art shows and book fairs, and one feels they 
could make a contemporary Puerto Rican Educational Al- 
liance hum with activity if they had more financial re- 
sources. They would like to see in the city a Spanish news- 
paper that was not a sensational tabloid. (As one Puerto 
Rican leader said, he would like to see a Spanish Jewish "*^ J* 

Daily Forward — this is the great Socialist daily that educated f Yt 

the Jewish immigrants.) Despite this spirit, one sees for- 
midable obstacles in the path of establishing a high His- 
panic-American culture among the Puerto Rican immi- -^ 
grants. The Nobel-prize-winning author of Platero_ and I^ 
and Pablo^Casals, two great cultural figures of the Spanish- 
s peaking ^w orld^Jhave chosen to live in Puerto Rico; it isHp'^j" 
hardly imaginable^th^L tliey could have found as congenial \ 
a settingJn^j±.e.JBuerto Rican community of New Y(^k.';;2 

There are a few small groups in the city 
which give lectures, music and dance demonstrations, but 
the audiences for these are tiny. There is an occasional 
effort to try to do something about a Spanish theater or to 
mount a Spanish play, but as yet there is no regular living 
theater. / 

The Puerto Ricans, despite their numbers in 
the city, come from a small country, in which the Spanish 
cultural heritage has not been strong and has been affected 
by sixty years of contact with America to produce a certain 
amount of cultural schizophrenia; Puerto Rico can and does 
depend upon the cultural products of the whole Spanish- 
speaking world. And so Puerto Ricans read magazines and 
books printed in Spain and Latin America (as the Cuban 
Bohemia, which is popular among them) and see movies 
made in Latin America. 




But there is a more general reason why we 
cannot expect any striking new cultural strands to be 
brought to the city by immigrants, regardless of their source. 
The fact is that all cultures, even in their homelands, be- 
^ . come more and more alike under the impact of mass media. 
The Puerto Ricans, like many in Latin America, read the 
Spanish editions of the Reader's Digest, Life, and Sexology 
(relabeled in Spanish Luz), and the content carried by a 
different language comes more and more to parallel the 
common content of the most successful and widely distrib- 
uted cultural products. 

Under the impact of movies and television, 
the people, even if they could speak and say something dis- 
tinctive, are dumb. The Yiddish stage and the theaters set 
up by other groups in the nineteenth century could flourish 
for a while because in the age of handicraft culture their 
products were almost as good as any others. It would have 
to take a striking degree of cultural self-consciousness on 
the part of Puerto Ricans to create a vital Spanish stage 
when there are thirty movie theaters showing Spanish- 
language movies. And by the time the more subtle and 
sophisticated cultural needs that might demand a stage or 
serious magazines are developed, the processes of assimila- 
tion will guarantee that the need will be met in the general 
cultural arena. 

But if the prognosis for high culture is 
doubtful, New York's folk culture — and in time, one feels 
sure, its commercial culture — is already deeply affected by 
the Puerto Rican migration. In every area of Puerto Rican 
settlement little record stores carry a remarkable variety 
of Latin American music; the same records, and live music, 
pour from hundreds of rooms and apartment houses, and 
from small and large (and even internationally known) 
dance halls. As the group becomes larger and more self- 
conscious, the special Puerto Rican passion for music and 
dancing will mark the rather cold and sharp city more and 

Indeed, if one spreads the word "culture" to 
include "ethos," one sees even more significant effects. The 
Puerto Ricans add to a rather tough and knowing cast of 



New York characters a new type, softer and milder, gayer 
and more light-spirited. One hears little of these more posi- 
tive elements of the Puerto Rican migration as yet, for the 
problems created by the mass migration take first place, 
both for the Puerto Ricans and the city. 

Indeed, in speaking of the contribution of 
Puerto Rican migrants to New York City, one hears little 
of culture and rather more of the economic benefits of the 
migration. The Waldorf-Astoria and certain branches of 
the clothing industry, we are told, would not be able to 
manage without Puerto Rican labor. But then suppose for 
some reason there had not been this migration from the 
island? In part it would probably have been replaced by a 
somewhat greater migration of Negroes from the South; the 
Southern pool is not inexhaustible, but in proportion to the 
population of the cities, more of it has gone to Chicago, 
Detroit, and Philadelphia than has come to New York. 
Perhaps the two labor sources mutually complement each 
other, and where one is abundant, the other falls off. 

But it is also possible there might have been 
a shortage of the lowest-priced labor in the city: in which 
case sections of the garment industry might have migrated 
to Pennsylvania and the South even faster than they did, 
and new factories based on cheap, semiskilled labor might 
have located elsewhere. The immovable industries (hotels 
and restaurants and laundries) would either have had worse 
service or charged more. There would have been other eco- 
nomic effects: for one consequence of the abundant quantity 
of cheap labor in the city was the fact the large parts of the 
housing stock were rapidly ruined by subdivision and over- 
crowding, and that the city had to invest more in welfare 
services. If one wants to argue the advantages of a migra- 
tion on economic grounds, one must run the risk of the 
figure turning out against the migration rather than for it. 
This is not to say that there was a striking economic dis- 
advantage to the Puerto Rican migration for the city; but 
it cannot be demonstrated that the city is better off as a 

The Puerto Rican migration, it is true, re- 
sponded to the supply of jobs in the city closely; but the 



fact that there was an inexhaustible and easily mobile sup- 
ply of low-cost labor also affected the kinds of jobs that 
existed in the city. 

A more significant Puerto Rican contribu- 
tion to the city of New York, one suspects, will be in the 
area of attitudes toward color. There New York, as well as 
all America, does need improvement, and the Puerto Rican 
migration is likely to have interesting and varied effects on 
the city's attitudes. The Puerto Ricans introduce into the 
city a group that is intermediate in color, neither all white 
nor all dark, but having some of each, and a large number 
that show the physical characteristics of both groups. And 
second, they carry a new attitude toward color — an attitude 
that may be corrupted by continental color prejudice but 
it is more likely, since this is in harmony with the trends 
that are making all nations part of a single world commu- 
nity, that the Puerto Rican attitude to color, or something 
like it, will become the New York attitude. 

The Puerto Ricans are not paragons of 
democratic color attitudes, but in contrast with American 
prejudices they show a very different picture. The upper 
classes in Puerto Rico, and the middle classes too, are almost 
entirely white. In the United States one knows that what- 
ever the status of the Negro the dominant factor in his 
history is prejudice. In Puerto Rico one knows that what- 
ever the status of the Negro he is what he is because of 
historical circumstances in which color prejudice has played 
little part. He was a slave, and when he was emancipated 
he was a landless laborer, and he has had no opportunity. 
And so he is poor, less educated, more frequently not legally 
married, and the rest. In the lower classes, where everyone 
is poor and without opportunity, there is no strong sense of 
difference based on color; intermarriage is common, and 
people are aware of color and hair and facial features as 
they are aware of any other personal and defining character- 
istics of an individual. They say he is darker or lighter the 
way we say he is blond or brunet, and personal taste in 
marriage and sexual partners may lead one, it appears, to 
someone of differing color almost as often as it will to some- 
one of the same color. In Puerto Rico, in fact, there seems 
to be much less concern over color than there is in Jamaica, 



where among the Negro population that makes up almost 
the entire island there are subtle distinctions made in shade, 
and persons try to marry lighter than themselves. So indif- 
ferent is the lower class Puerto Rican to this aspect of 
people that one cannot detect any pattern in marriage^ — 
the more successful marrying lighter; darker men marrying 
lighter women; or what not. • 

Indeed, the mixture of races in Puerto Rico 
has been proceeding on a level that is almost without exam- 
ple in history. One effect of this mixture is that in every 
census there are less and less people who are definably 
Negro. In i860 almost half the Puerto Ricans were listed in 
a census as Negro. By the end of the century only two-fifths, 
in 1950 only one-fifth. ^2 Presumably this has happened only 
as a result of the fact that the traits which define a Negro 
are now distributed more widely through the population, 
because physical anthropologists take it as gospel that the 
hereditary genes do not change their proportions in a popu- 
lation unless the people carrying them reproduce less 
rapidly, and there is no evidence that Negroes reproduce 
less rapidly than whites in Puerto Rico. Perhaps, owing to 
poverty, they survive less. Another peculiar feature of the 
Puerto Rican racial distribution is that there seem to be 
less colored women than men, according to the best study 
of the physical anthropology of Puerto Rico. Why this 
should be so was as mysterious to the physical anthropologist 
making the study as it is to the lay observer.^^ It is also 
interesting that the proportion of colored Puerto Ricans 
in New York drops from census to census. Do the colored 
return to Puerto Rico? Or are the census takers' reactions 
to color changing? 

There is color discrimination on the island, 
but it often reflects the attitude to the poor, the worker, 
the miserable. Father Joseph Fitzpatrick, the author of many 
subtle and insightful studies of the Puerto Ricans in New 
York, describes the matter as follows: 

The traditional upper class always prided 
itself on being white and has always been very sensitive to 
the matter of color or racial characteristics. They became 
important factors in anyone's attempt to claim identity 
with a pure Spanish lineage. [In the 1940's, for example, 



the fraternities at the University of Puerto Rico and exclu- 
sive clubs in San Juan did not admit anyone who was 
clearly colored.] . . . The same attitude is found also 
among some of the poorer people who apparently seek dis- 
tinction by identifying themselves as pure white. The au- 
thor has been frequently surprised by the preoccupation 
with color of people in some of the poor mountain sec- 
tions. "Look, Father, do you notice how white everyone is 
here!" is mentioned with a spontaneity and candor that is 
quite striking. These same people, however, will deny that 
there is racial prejudice or discrimination in Puerto Rico. 
They insist that the distinction is one of class, not color. 
People are excluded from social participation not because 
they are colored, but because they are lower class. . . .^* 


American color attitudes must have influ- 
enced some upper-middle-class Puerto Ricans. And yet 
the all-white social clubs of San Juan preceded the Ameri- 
can occupation, because for them whiteness was a sign of 
pure (and legitimate) descent, and the all-white fraternities 
of the University reflected the same attitudes. 

But what happens in New York? Here now 
only 4 per cent of the Puerto Ricans are clearly colored. 
In the forties, it seemed possible to look forward to a time 
when the Puerto Rican group would split, and the darker 
ones would be absorbed into the over-all American Negro 
community, just as West Indians and other colored immi- 
grants of backgrounds very different from those of Ameri- 
can Negroes were absorbed. And it was often pointed out 
^hat_ perhaps the Puerto Ricans clung to Spanish so 
strongly because this differentiated the colored among them 
from the lower caste in American life. 

Mills and his colleagues argued in 1950 
that the intermediate in color were least assimilated, most 
passionately attached to whatever identified them as Puerto 
Rican because they were not unambiguously white or 
colored.^5 Clearly, color was a problem for Puerto Ricans 
in New York, as it was for upwardly mobile ones of the 
island. And its psychological impact on individuals, the 
anxiety it created, was perhaps greater than any objective 
difference of treatment on the basis of it would warrant. 
For we think that the brown-skinned in New York are not 



subject to the kind of prejudice that Negroes are; indeed 
Puerto Ricans believe that they have opened up and can 
open up areas of the city in which Negroes have never 
lived. But personal problems are not only a reflection of 
reality but also of what one thinks reality is, and Puerto 
Ricans may feel their degree of color is more of a problem 
than it really is. It is perhaps suggestive of this problem 
that Dr. Berle reports a social worker's comment that 
every Puerto Rican drug addict he had dealt with was the 
darkest in his family.^^ 

Father Fitzpatrick's study reveals that de- 
spite these problems and this anxiety, the newcomers still 
maintain the pattern of a single Puerto Rican community 
in which people mingle in social events of all kinds in 
disregard of the color marks that so affect American social 
behavior. Indeed, since we are without a Puerto Rican 
upper class or Puerto Rican upper-class institutions here, ^ 
one could say that there is even less race prejudice among 
Puerto Ricans in New York than on the island. 

Even more interesting: Father Fitzpatrick's 
study of marriages in the city shows a sizable proportion 
between persons of different color, and it would appear 
that at least a sixth of Puerto Rican marriages are what to 
American eyes would be "intermarriages." 

There is unfortunately some evidence that 
when there are Americans at mixed social gatherings the 
Puerto Ricans present may be embarrassed at the mixture 
of color. As they mix more with Americans and become 
more middle class, this embarrassment may grow. But after 
fifteen years the break between colored and white Puerto 
Ricans has not occurred; the community is maintained; 
and if it continues as a single community in which color 
consciousness is not the cancer it is in American life, the 
Puerto Ricans may bring a greater gift to New York than 
any special cultural product. 

The pressures of the attitudes of one-quarter 
of the population (Negroes and Puerto Ricans), who will 
soon be one-third of the population, will combine with the 
presence of the U.N. and the impact of the colored nations 
on American politics, and New York may be very different 
in ten years. Visitors from the Midwest are already startled 



by the numbers of social groups and couples of different 
colors to be seen on the streets; in some sections of New 
York, as on the West Side, the native white population is no 
longer even startled. 

But all this is sheer speculation, as is the 
prediction of some expansive leaders of the Puerto Rican 
community that New York will become a bilingual city. 
(Indeed, it may soon be possible for Puerto Ricans to vote 
without being literate in English; and perhaps the school 
system may be tempted soon to take the radical step of see- 
ing whether instruction in Spanish, for some grades, may 
not help solve some of its problems.) The Puerto Ricans 
are adapting to a city very different from the one to which 
earlier immigrant groups adapted, and they are being 
modified by the new process of adaptation in new and 
hardly predictable ways. In 1961 an Italian was replaced by 
a Puerto Rican as Democratic political leader in a district 
in East Harlem, and many saw Puerto Ricans entering the 
same path that Italians took forty years before. But it is a 
different city, and a different group, and one can barely 
imagine what kind of human community will emerge from 
the process of adaptation. 


the Jews 


A\. LEADING figure in Jewish 
community affairs relates that a Jew always eagerly asks, in 
any situation, "How many are Jews?" And when he gets 
an answer, he asks suspiciously, "How do you know?" 

Self-consciousness, curiosity, pride — all these 
are Jewish traits; caution, timidity, fear — these are Jewish 
traits, too. But our interest for the moment is in the more 
mundane subject of figures. 

The U.S. Census does not ask about religion. 
But sociologists, planners, journalists, and people in general 
are so interested in this question that it might have done 
so a long time ago except for, among other reasons, the 
strong opposition of certain Jewish organizations. At the 
same time, the Jewish community demands that such figures 
exist; so Jewish organizations have developed techniques 
for estimating the Jewish population. In 1957 the census 
did ask a question about religion, as a pretest for a possible 



question about religion in the i960 census. Some informa- 
tion from this sample was released before the Jewish organi- 
zations that oppose official statistics on Jews had developed 
pressure enough to seal the returns. This abortive census 
study had at least the result of loosely corroborating the 
figures derived in less direct ways. 

We know that somewhat more than a quar- 
ter of the population of New York City is Jewish; that about 
a third of the white and non-Puerto Rican part of the popu- 
lation of the city is Jewish; and that this huge concentration 
of Jews, the greatest that has existed in thousands of years 
of Jewish history, forms about two-fifths of all the Jews in 
the United States. The city and surrounding suburban coun- 
ties together include about half of the nation's Jews,^ and 
almost all the rest have once lived in the city, will at some 
time live there, or have parents or children who live there. 
New York is the headquarters of the Jewish group. The 
euphemistic use of the term "New Yorker" to refer to "J^^'" 
which is not uncommon in the United States, is thus based 
on some reality. 

There have been Jews in New York City 
since almost its beginning. The first group, which landed in 
1654, were "Sephardic" Jews, as those originally from Spain 
and Portugal are called, and spoke Portuguese. But they 
were also "Dutch" Jews, for they had been driven from 
Spain and Portugal at the end of the fifteenth century and 
settled in Holland. They were also "Brazilian" Jews, having 
for some decades formed a large and important Jewish 
community in Brazil until the Portuguese, driving out the 
Dutch, had sent them on their way again. The synagogue 
these first Jews established is appropriately named Shearith 
Israel, "the Remnant of Israel," and in its latest physical 
form stands at Central Park West and 70th Street. There 
an ancient form of the Jewish service is carefully preserved 
and elegantly performed. 

The special prominence of Jews in New 
York is, however, of much later origin. During the middle 
of the nineteenth century there was a sizable immigration 
of Jews from Germany. In 1880 there were perhaps 80,000 
Jews in the city. Still, they were only 4 per cent of the 
population, which was then mainly Irish, German, and old- 



Stock American, and they were mostly German-speaking 
(from Austria, Bohemia, and Hungary, as well as Germany 
itself). This largely German immigration became concen- 
trated in business, particularly retail trade, and was econom- 
ically quite successful. The German names of leading de- 
partment stores in a dozen cities remind us of this wave of 
immigration. In the i88o's began the enormous migration 
from Eastern Europe, particularly from the Russian Empire, 
but also including sizable streams from pre-World-War Aus- 
tria-Hungary and from Rumania. By 1910 there were a 
million and a quarter Jews in New York City. They then 
formed more than a quarter of the population, a proportion 
they have maintained ever since. 

This great migration, which continued, ex- 
cept for the interruption of the First World War, until it 
was reduced by law in 1924, has stamped the character of 
New York. The city's Jews are descendants of the Yiddish- 
speaking, Orthodox and Socialist Jews of Eastern Europe. 
Despite a half-century of American life, which has made the 
grandchildren now coming to maturity very different from 
what their grandparents were, they retain much that recalls 
their origins. 

By 1924 there were almost two million Jews 
in the city. The old German Jewish community, marked off 
in language, religion, culture, and occupation from the new 
immigrants, was a tenth part or less of New York Jewry. 
When we see the contrast between these two groups (the 
variations within each were of course also great), we must 
ask what made them in any sense a single group. The Ger- 
man Jews could have stood off from the East European, 
Yiddish-speaking Jews and insisted they had nothing in 
common. Indeed, in practice, tone, and theology, the Re- 
form Judaism of the German Jews diverged from the Or- 
thodoxy of the immigrants as much as the beliefs and 
practices of Southern Baptists differ from those of New 
England Unitarians. 

Two wills make a group — the self-will that 
creates unity, and the will of others that imposes a unity 
where hardly any is felt. Conceivably this will of others had 
an effect on Jews, for since the 1870's anti-Semitism had 
been rising in the upper social circles to which the German 



Jews felt closest. Perhaps German Jews feared that, regard- 
less of what they thought and felt, non-Jews would identify 
them with the new immigrants. Whatever the reasons, they 
themselves sensed this identity. Out of a multitude of insti-/ 
tutions and organizations, a consciously single Jewish com- 
munity was formed by the time of the First World War. 

The identification of the older group with 
the newer one took many forms. It was evident in the or- 
ganization of charitable institutions to give immigrants 
money, guidance, training, and education so as to "Amer- 
icanize" them. In 1917 a single Federation of Jewish Chari- 
ties was formed to serve all Jews without discrimination. 
In 1906 wealthy German Jews founded the American Jewish 
Committee to defend Jewish interests, which meant, at that 
time, primarily the interests of East European Jews. Promi- 
nent Jews of the German group — ^Louis Marshall, Louis 
Brandeis, Jacob Schiff, Oscar Straus — were involved in the 
great strikes that created the powerful garment trades unions 
before the First World War. Both the bosses and the strikers 
were generally East European Jews, and German Jewish 
dignitaries served as mediators. Both communities cooper- 
ated in Jewish relief during the First World War, and ele- 
ments of both helped create a Jewish state in Palestine. (Ele- 
ments of both also opposed it.) Since 1920 the new groups 
that have arrived — Sephardic Jews from Greece and Turkey 
in the twenties, German refugees of the thirties, or displaced 
persons of the forties and fifties — have been met not by 
"German Jewish" or "East European Jewish" institutions, 
but by institutions that are simply "American Jewish." 

What is this Jewish community? There is 
no organization that includes all Jews, though the United 
Jewish Appeal may come close in that it collects from very 
many. The neat division of "Protestant, Catholic, Jewish" 
makes it easy to think of Jews as a religious group, but 
whereas a single organization baptizes and keeps track of 
all Catholics (at least for statistical purposes), there is no 
central Jewish religious organization, except for a small 
coordinating group that links the rabbinical and congre- 
gational associations of the three Jewish denominations. In 
any case, most Jews in New York City belong to no syna- 
gogue or temple, and many of them are nonreligious, or 



even antireligious. And yet we know from experience that 
when asked, "What is your rehgion?" even these answer, 
"Jewish." 2 

If the category of religion does not define 
Jews well, neither does the category of national origin or 
culture, for Jews have come from a score of countries and 
speak many different languages. The Sephardic Jew has 
to learn Yiddish expressions just as the non-Jew does; his 
"Yiddish" is not a German dialect, but Spanish. Nor does a 
common sentimental commitment to a national homeland 
define Jews, for, despite the feeling of many Jews for Israel, 
many are violently opposed to the whole idea. And yet, 
despite the difficulty of finding the common denominator, 
there is really no ambiguity about being Jewish, even though 
people are Jewish in different ways. 

There is first of all the fact that the over- 
whelming majority of American Jews do stem from a single 
culture — the Yiddish-speaking culture of Eastern Europe, 
which had a single, strongly defined religion, which we now 
call Orthodoxy but which was once only traditional Juda- 
ism, intensified by the isolation of the East European Jews 
from world culture. This East European group had been 
stamped with a common character by common experiences: 
a strong governmental and popular anti-Semitism, and the 
development in response to it of a variety of ideological 
movements, such as Socialism and Zionism, as well as the 
huge migratory movement that dispersed this group to the 
United States, Canada, Argentina, England, France, Israel, 
and South Africa. The worldwide migration of this vigorous 
people makes American Jews at home almost everywhere 
they go, for other descendants of East European Jews, speak- 
ing or understanding Yiddish, will be found almost every- 

This dominant group created a Jewish cul- 
ture in which almost everyone ate gefilte fish and knew a few 
Yiddish tags, and which has served as the first stage in the 
assimilation to America of very different kinds of Jewish 
immigrants. But there is more to the creation of a Jewish 
community than the link with Eastern Europe and the crea- 
tion of a single American subculture. There is also, linking 
all Jews, the sense of a common fate. In part, the common 



fate is defined ultimately by connection to a single religion, 
to which everyone is still attached by birth and tradition if 
not by action and belief. In part, it reflects the imposition 
of a common fate by the outer world, whether in the form 
of Hitler's extermination or the mild differential behavior 
that is met in America today. 

This "community," then, is a group that 
may never act together and that may never feel together, 
but that does know it is a single group, from which one 
can be disengaged only by a series of deliberate acts. Only 
a minority are "Jews*' if we use some concrete defining 
index. Only a minority belongs to synagogues, is sent to 
Jewish schools, deals with Jewish welfare agencies, is inter- 
ested in Jewish culture, speaks a traditional Jewish language, 
and can be distinguished by dress and custom as Jews. But, 
added together, the overlapping minorities create a com- 
munity with a strong self-consciousness and a definite char- 

The easiest way of identifying a Jew is to 
ask his religion. Regardless of the low rate of religious iden- 
tification among the Jews in New York City, only rarely, 
as we have pointed out, will a person born of Jewish parents 
not answer "Jewish." The simplest answer to the question 
"Who is a Jew?" (which became a problem only because 
Jews broke with their traditional religion in the nineteenth 
century) is the return question, "Who is not a Jew?" For 
the purposes of those efficient fund-raising organizations 
which make it their business to keep tabs on Jews, only 
those who have converted are not Jews. There are remark- 
ably few of them. So, linked by the strong arm of the Jewish 
communal organizations, even if resentfully, there is quite 
a range of individuals — Orthodox, Conservative, Reform, 
and secular Jews, self-conscious and proud Jews and hardly 
conscious and embarrassed Jews, Jews who know about their 
history and religion, and Jews who know less about it than 
any Christian minister. 

There is then a reality to this notion of an 
American Jewish community, though it is not a reality that 
can be summed up in a simple definition. Aware of all the 
complexities of being Jewish, of all the groupings and sub- 



groups within that category, and of all the ways in which 
Jews do not act as a group, we can still speak of it as a 



group is that in a number of ways it is sharply defined, 
special, and individual. As any casual observer knows, its 
economic characteristics are particularly striking. 

Around the world, wherever they went, the 
Jews of Eastern Europe became in large proportions busi- 
nessmen. Too, wherever they went, they showed a fierce 
passion to have their children educated and become pro- 
fessionals. In these respects, the Jews of England, the United 
States, Argentina, and South Africa are not very different. 
The opportunities were different, but in each case, arriving 
with no money and few skills, beginning as workers or tiny 
tradesmen, they have achieved remarkable economic success. 
Indeed, one of the probable reasons that the American 
Jewish Committee, the oldest of three major organizations 
interested in the civil rights of Jews (the others are the 
Anti-Defamation League of B'nai B'rith and the American 
Jewish Congress), opposed further analysis of the informa- 
tion gathered by the census in 1957 was that it feared anti- 
Semites could make use of figures on Jewish income.* 

Income figures are difficult to interpret. One 
can point out that if Jews have higher incomes than non- 
Jews, it may be because they are concentrated on the North- 
eastern Seaboard, which has higher incomes than many 
other parts of the country; that they are concentrated in big 
cities, which have higher incomes than rural areas or small 
cities; that they are among the better educated, who have 
higher incomes than the less well educated; that they are 
in business and the professions to a higher degree than other 
people, and so forth. Presumably one might show that, all 
these factors taken into account, Jews have incomes no 
higher than those of other people. But then the factors of 
Northeastern concentration, urbanism, education, and occu- 
*pation would have to be explained. Wherever studies have ^ 
i)een made, Jews have been found to be moving out of the 
working class into the middle class at a surprising rate. 



In New York, which once had a huge Jewish 
working class and in which the great Jewish labor movement 
arose, there are still large numbers of Jewish workers. Aside 
from garment workers, there are many Jewish painters, car- 
penters, bakers, glaziers, and other tradesmen, waiters, bar- 
bers, and taxicab drivers. In fact, the tone of New York as a 
"Jewish" city is communicated to visitors as much by workers 
as by businessmen and professionals. A study in 1952 showed 
that manual workers formed a third of Jewish employed 
males (but manual workers formed more than half of all New 
York City white males). A quarter of the Jewish males 
worked at white-collar occupations at the subprofessional 
level and as salesmen. But 15 per cent worked as profes- 
sionals or semiprofessionals (as against 11 per cent of all 
white males in the metropolitan area), and 24 per cent were 
proprietors of their own businesses, managers or officials, 
as against 16 per cent of the white males of the metropolitan 
area. The differences between Jews and non-Jews are about 
the same for women's occupations. There are proportion- 
ately fewer manual workers and more clerical and sales work- 
ers among Jewish women than in the female population as 
a whole. But almost a quarter of all employed Jewish 
women in 1952 worked with their hands, in factories and in 
service occupations.^ 

Thus there is still a sizable Jewish working 
class in New York City, but very few Jews are casual labor- 
ers, service workers, or semiskilled factory workers. And the 
Jewish workers are for the most part old, of the immigrant 
generation. As they retire or die, they are not replaced by 
either their children or new Jewish immigrants. The unions 
are increasingly less Jewish. One huge local of the ILGWU 
which keeps records on the ethnicity of its members — 
Dressmakers' Local 22 — reports a drop in the proportion of 
Jews from about 75 per cent in the 1940's to 44 per cent in 
1958. And this is one of the most Jewish of labor unions. 
Among the men's clothing workers, there is now only a small 
percentage of Jews; among painters and carpenters too the 
percentage has dropped. Within the garment industry, Jews 
are now concentrated in the better-paying, more-skilled 
trades, and it is only these that young Jews enter. Just as 
Jews found when they entered the garment trades at the 



turn of the century that the designers and cutters were Eng- 
lish and German, so today incoming Negroes and Puerto 
Ricans find that the designers and cutters are Jewish. 

Yet Jewish labor leaders continue to domi- 
nate, even though they deal for the most part with non- 
Jewish workers. At the lower levels of leadership, they must 
make the same adaptation to foreign-language workers that 
Jewish peddlers and storekeepers have made to Puerto Rican 
customers on the Lower East Side. Thus, in the Skirtmakers' 
Union of the ILGWU, which is half Spanish-American and 
only a quarter Jewish (the Jews are divided between an 
East European and Sephardic group), there are four Span- 
ish-speaking business agents, all of whom are Sephardic 
Jews. Their native language is basically the Spanish of 
fifteenth-century Spain! ^ 

It will take quite a long time for the union 
leadership to reflect the new composition of the membership, 
for, at least in the garment unions, educated Jewish men, 
often with a background as socialist intellectuals, continue 
to provide a source of skilled leadership. For example, a 
new vice-president of the ILGWU, Henoch Mendelsund, 
perpetuates the old tradition of Jewish union leaders. He 
is one of the intellectuals and socialists who escaped from 
Hitler's Europe, and like other wartime and postwar refu- 
gees he began work in a garment shop.^ Naturally, this kind 
of ideological background is rare among the newer workers 
in the industry, most of whom are from other ethnic groups. 

The immigration from Hitler's Europe 
which supplied a few new Jewish labor leaders also supplied 
a sizable body of workers to the declining Jewish working 
class of the city. The 150,000 Jewish immigrants who came 
out of the displaced persons camps after the war were not, 
like earlier German refugees, highly educated professionals 
and businessmen. Most of them became workers. Some 
have already, like Jewish immigrants before them, become 
small businessmen (a few are wealthy). But most will remain 
workers, and, in the immigrant tradition, have transferred 
their hopes to their children. Scenes that were played out 
on the Lower East Side fifty years ago may now be seen 
again in the low-rent areas of Brooklyn and Bronx where 
these newest immigrants have settled. Jewish boys separate 



from their playmates and devote themselves to studies, head- 
ing for the academic and specialized high schools. This 
immigrant group is much too small to do more than slow 
down slightly the rapid disappearance of the Jewish working 
class — or the Yiddish press, which it has also stimulated. 
Furthermore, this group will be assimilated at a much 
more rapid rate than the Yiddish-speaking workers of fifty 
years ago, for it does not form a huge and dense concentra- 
tion, and private organizations, families, and the govern- 
ment will help it move out of the working class. 

Thus the Jewish working class is rapidly dis- 
appearing, though its unions and other institutions remain. 
The Workmen's Circle, a great fraternal order that supplied 
insurance benefits, Yiddish schools, social life, camps, and 
cultural activities, continues in existence, but despite its 
name many of its members today are small businessmen and 
white-collar workers. 

In New York, as contrasted with cities where 
the Jewish community is smaller, there is a huge lower- 
middle class. Great numbers of Jewish women work in 
offices, and great numbers of Jewish men work in clerical 
jobs. One-seventh of the government employees in New 
York are Jewish. This is smaller than the Jewish proportion 
"in the city, but much greater than the proportion of Jewish 
government employees in other cities. But even these occu- 
pations are probably in decline among Jews. Jewish secre- 
taries are less common than they once were. And in view 
of the near-universal drive to college education among 
young Jews, this trend will probably continue. 

JThe teaching force of New Yor k is no:w » 
,3££arding to one informed guess, perhaps 50 per cen t Jewish . 
A great majority of school principals are Jewish. This is in 
part a heritage of the depression, when Jewish college grad- 
uates found few other occupations that offered comparable 
income and security. The Board of Education has been 
forced to close the schools on Yom Kippur and Rosh Ha- 
shana, for it simply cannot depend on enough teachers show- 
ing up to take care of the children. (It was never induced 
to take this step by the large decline in pupil attendance 
on these holidays.) The very large number of Jewish teach- 
ers affects the character of New York schools. It is not easy 



to figure out what the impact of a largely Jewish teaching 
force is on students, compared with, for example, the largely 
Irish and German and white Protestant teaching force of 
thirty or forty years ago. Yet the groups are so different in 
their intellectual attitudes, cultural outlooks, and orienta- 
tions toward education and college that some influence, one 
can be sure, must be felt. Whether, in their expectation of 
intellectual competence, the Jewish teachers overwhelm and 
discourage Negro and Puerto Rican migrant children, or 
encourage them to greater efforts, would be hard to say. 

New York Jews can never become as com- 
pletely a business and professional group as can Jews in 
cities where they form, say, only 5 per cent of the population. 
Yet Jews already constitute a majority of those engaged in 
many businesses and professions in the city (medicine, law, 
dentistry). Nor do they any longer meet discrimination in 
skilled trades or in white-collar and clerical employment, 
a situation that affected them very deeply in the 1920's 
and 1930's when they desperately needed such jobs. The 
wartime shortages took care of that. It is now only at the 
higher levels of the economy that discrimination arises. But 
it does arise there, and Jewish civil rights groups wonder 
what can be done about it. 

In the great banks, insurance companies, 
public utilities, railroads, and corporation head offices that 
are located in New York, and in the Wall Street law firms, 
few Jews are to be found. One of the few things that strikes 
a Jew as unfamiliar in New York, so much a Jewish city, is 
the life of the junior executive of a great corporation as 
described recently by Fortune magazine, on the assumption, 
presumably, that such a life is typical in New York.^ Jews 
find equally strange William F. Whyte's descriptions of the 
life of organization men. Not enough lead such lives to be 
familiar with their problems, for example, that of being 
"moved about" by the corporation. The Jewish businessman 
is traditionally a small businessman, in his own or a family- 
owned firm. He does not move about except to make sales 
or buy. The Jewish professional too is characteristically self- 
employed, a "free" professional — in part because the great 
private bureaucracies that employ professionals have in the 
past generally been closed to him. Rooted to his practice, 



he too does not move. This situation is changing somewhat, 
but very slowly. Where talent counts more than "appear- 
ance" or "type," Jews are employed more readily. Thus the 
Wall Street law firms that have always wanted to get the 
brightest law school graduates now have numbers of young 
Jews. And these firms are facing the prospect of having to 
take on their first, or first few, Jewish partners. The great 
banks and insurance companies, the corporations and public 
utilities, do not have a similar problem, so few are their 
Jewish executives. 

Some interesting facts support these observa- 
tions. An American Jewish Committee study of graduates 
of the Harvard Business School shows that the non-Jewish 
graduates proportionately outnumber Jewish graduates in 
executive positions in the leading American corporations by 
better than 30 to 1. John Slawson, the head of the Com- 
mittee, has asserted, "Jews constitute less than one-half of 
1 per cent of the total executive personnel in leading Amer- 
ican industrial companies." This he compared with the fact 
the Jews form about 8 per cent of the college-trained in the 
country.^ The Anti-Defamation League has studied em- 
ployees making more than $10,000 a year (there were 6,100 
of them) in seven insurance companies. While 5.4 per cent 
were Jewish, they were mostly engaged not in the home 
offices but in sales jobs — and these naturally reflect the 
population to which sales are made, as well perhaps as the 
belief that Jews make good salesmen. Even the relatively 
small numbers of Jews employed in home offices tend to be 
technicians — actuaries, physicians, attorneys, accountants. 
The ranks of general management are surprisingly free of 
Jews.i^ The Anti-Defamation League has also studied eight 
of the largest banks in the city. Of 844 vice-presidents and 
above, only 30 are Jews — less than 4 per cent. Four of the 
banks did not have a single Jewish officer.!^ 

Obviously, in addition to discrimination, 
one must also reckon with taste and tradition among Jews, 
which may have had their origin in discrimination, but 
which may now lead a good number of Jews voluntarily 
to avoid huge bureaucratic organizations in favor of greater 
freedom in small companies, as independent entrepreneurs, 
and as self-employed professionals. Qualified observers feel, 



however, that regardless of tradition many Jewish youth 
would like a whack at the big corporations. For example, 
in a study of the values of college youth, little difference 
was found between Jewish and Christian students. Jews as 
well as non-Jews emphasized security and the opportunity 
to work with people, those organization-man values. Jews 
found adventure, the opportunity to exercise leadership, 
and other such traits associated with entrepreneurship no 
more attractive than non-Jews. Nevertheless, the study 
showed a higher proportion of Jews intending to go into 
free professions such as law and medicine and preferring, 
whether as professionals or businessmen, their own firms to 
other people's firms.^^ 

Even if the absence of Jews from large cor- 
porations is partly a product of taste, we know enough of 
the linkage between these posts and social life, and of dis- 
crimination against Jews in the latter, to suspect that more 
than taste is involved. As the chairman of the board of a 
bank pointed out, "An active banker belongs to every damn 
club in town; it's part of the game." ^^ However, the clubs 
he refers to have been closed to Jews, regardless of social 
standing or eminence, since the i88o's or thereabouts. It is 
for this reason that the American Jewish Committee is in- 
terested in the discriminatory practices of social clubs. If 
one's opportunities to reach the command posts of the 
economy are affected by club membership, and the clubs are 
closed, then so may be the command posts.^* 

Thus, for Jews business and the professions 
do not mean what they do for white Protestants and Catho- 
lics. They mean small business and free professions. This 
kind of career is more hazardous than that of the corpora- 
tions, but it may also offer greater opportunities. The post- 
war period gave many opportunities to small businesses, 
and the tax structure was more favorable to the proprietor 
of a business than to the salary earner. But the organization 
man has status. An observer reports that in the bridge 
groups on the train to Larchmont, a Jew, when asked what 
he does, will say he is "in textiles" or "plastics" or is an 
"accountant," the non-Jew will say he is "with" General 
Electric or Union Carbide, and there is no question who 
outranks whom. 



Jewish businessmen in large part are not as 
acculturated as Jewish professionals. Many have not gone 
to college, they are often self-made, even today they are 
often immigrants, and they may lack social polish or be 
aggressive and crude. For these reasons "succession," the 
problem of what their sons will do, is intense for them. 
When the father is an immigrant and not a college man, 
and not the sort of person one sees in the pages of Fortune, 
and the son has gotten a good education, there is great strain 
involved in his taking up the family business. Too, being 
a Jewish business it is likely to be of low status — a small 
clothing firm, an umbrella factory, a movie-house, a costume 
jewelry manufactory serving Negro or Puerto Rican trade. 
Though such a business supplied enough to send the chil- 
dren to college and support the family, it might not seem 
quite the right thing to a son with an expensive education. 
Thus very often the son of such a businessman goes into the 
professions, and the family business is regretfully sold or 
abandoned to partners. 

For the Jewish businessman, who is cultur- 
ally and socially bound to the Jewish community, who 
perhaps speaks with an accent and would not appreciate 
an exclusive club even if admitted, a life of associating with 
largely Jewish competitors, suppliers, and retailers is com- 
fortable and cozy. To his son, who is perhaps a graduate 
of the Wharton School or Harvard Business School, such a 
life is not satisfying, even if the income is good. The son 
v/ants the business to be bigger and better, and perhaps 
he would rather be a cog in a great corporation than the 
manager of a small one. (The complex interplay between 
business and the professions, money and status, has been 
subtly analyzed by the sociologists Seymour and Judith 
Leventman.)^^ He may not enjoy the tight Jewish com- 
munity, with its limited horizons and its special satisfactions 
— he is not that much of a Jew any more. But the larger 
world portrayed in The Organization Man and From the 
Terrace is still closed to him, and perhaps for this very .- 
reason is glamorous and attractive. Wealth has been'^ 
achieved by very sizable numbers of Jewish businessmen 
and professionals, but status may be the driving force of 



the third generation, as financial success was of the second. 
This, at any rate, is the conchision of the Leventmans. 

In 1936, when anti-Semitism was becoming 
a major issue in American life, Fortune magazine examined 
Jewish wealth and financial influence. Fortune pointed out 
that financial institutions established by German Jews had 
given prominence to such families as the Lehmans, War- 
burgs, and Schiffs, but in top finance as a whole Jews were 
of minor significance, regardless of how awesome they 
looked to poor Jews or anti-Semites. In three branches of 
industry Jews were prominent in the mid-thirties: clothing 
manufacture, department stores, and entertainment. This 
was enough to support the illusion of Jewish economic sig- 
nificance. The ordinary American who bought at a Jewish- 
named department store, saw the movies of Goldwyn and 
Mayer, and had heard of Jewish bankers might presume 
Jewish financial power was extensive if he wished. 

Since the late 1930's a general diversification 
has taken place. Merchandising, garment manufacturing, 
and entertainment maintain their importance, but to them 
has been added a sizable range of light manufacturing, and 
real estate and building. In the latter, especially, Jews play 
a prominent role, and important Jewish fortunes have been 
created. In the great office-building boom that has trans- 
formed Manhattan, most of the big builders have been 
Jews: Uris Brothers, Tishman, Erwin Wolfson, Rudin, 
Webb and Knapp (Zeckendorf). Perhaps the chief architect 
of New York office space has been Emery Roth. The Uris 
Brothers-Emery Roth style of space manufacturing is de- 
pressing to those who prefer more elegant structures, but it 
would be an error to suppose that unexciting, commercial 
design represents something characteristically Jewish, in 
taste or attitudes toward money. The finest of the postwar 
office buildings, Seagram's, which is perhaps the most lavish 
and expensive in use of space and detail, was erected by a 
company headed by a Canadian Jewish communal leader, 
Samuel Bronfman, and it was said to be his daughter's 
concern for good design that led to the choice of Mies van 
Der Rohe and Philip Johnson as architects. Perhaps the 
efficient operations of the Urises and Tishmans, and the 



handsome gesture to the city of Seagram's, both owe some- 
thing to the patterns of the Jewish family. 

In other kinds of building Jews have also 
been prominent. The Levitts have given a word to the Eng- 
lish language with their Levittowns. And in the vast apart- 
ment house boom in Manhattan, Queens, Brooklyn, and 
the suburbs, Jews have again done much of the building. 
As in the case of the office builders, a variety of trends is 
apparent: on the one hand, there are the efficient commercial 
operations which have transformed Queens and are trans- 
forming the East Side, to the distress of those who would pre- 
fer to see more low-income housing and better central plan- 
ning and design. On the other hand, there are the nonprofit 
cooperatives, the only form of new building which can 
provide middle-income housing in Manhattan. The Amal- 
gamated Clothing Workers of America, the International 
Ladies' Garment Workers' Union, and various groups of 
Jewish radicals and intellectuals experimented with co-op 
buildings in the twenties. Abraham Kazan, having managed 
the Amalgamated Co-ops successfully through the depres- 
sion, played the major role in launching postwar co-ops in 
the city. The success of these led to other large cooperative 
developments, which have anchored large groups of middle- 
income citizens to the inner city and are now spreading to 
the outer city (the Jamaica race track is to be a huge co- 
operative community). 

Real estate has attracted many Jews. The 
skill at financial operations that is thought to be a Jewish 
characteristic has apparently found full play in the huge 
land boom of postwar America. The acquisition of land 
sites, the accumulation of enough private and government 
money to put something profitable on them, the managing 
of short- and long-term credit and leases and leasebacks, the 
organizing of large new developments that include a variety 
of building types — in these, as well as in more mundane 
forms of real estate enterprise, Jews play a major role. Wil- 
liam Zeckendorf of Webb and Knapp has done as much as 
any man to dramatize such operations. He assembled the 
site for the United Nations, bailed out Manhattantown and 
put up Park West Village on the Upper West Side, and built 



great new apartment developments at Kips Bay and the 
Lincoln Square area.^^ 

The Jewish role in real estate, perhaps the 
biggest business in the city, is as extensive and various as 
real estate itself. There is no discernible "Jewish pattern," 
though skill in financial and business management, derived 
from a long history in business, has unquestionably served 
many Jews well in a field that is incredibly complex and 
laden with pitfalls. Jews can be attacked for all of real 
estate's social abuses, but they must also be given credit for 
much that has been accomplished. Some individual Jews are 
responsible for bad design and good design; for tenement 
exploitation and for nonprofit cooperatives; for the corrup- 
tion of the idea of urban renewal (as in Sidney Unger's 
attempt to get special consideration from Manhattan Bor- 
ough President Hulan Jack) and for some of its best exam- 
ples (as in James H. Scheuer's development in Southwest 
Washington). The Levitts have tried to keep Negroes out 
of their towns (and even Jews, in one early Long Island 
development!), but Eichler in California was the only big 
builder in the country whose developments were from the 
beginning open to all, and Morris Milgram's Modern Com- 
munity Developers have built successful interracial housing 
in Philadelphia and Princeton. 

It would be a serious mistake to exaggerate 
the meaning of the ethnic identity of Jewish businessmen, 
but in two ways it is important. First, these men are part of 
the Jewish community. They are related to it by more than 
origins, for in fund-raising and spending for Jewish com- 
munal interests of all kinds they are prominent. At the 
least they lend their names; very often they are genuinely 
active in the Federation of Jewish Philanthropies, United 
Jewish Appeal, and other organizations that raise money for 
Jewish causes in the city and abroad. 

Second — and this is much harder to docu- 
ment, being no more than a hunch — there is something in 
Jewish experience that combines with the pattern of oppor- 
tunity offered by American society to determine in what 
areas Jews will become prominent. Jewish real-estate opera- 
tors might have been just as skillful in managing the affairs 



of big investment banks and insurance companies. But these 
great institutions do not easily give place to new men from 
new groups. Their bureaucratic ladders of advancement are 
relatively impervious to Jewish ascent. And perhaps too it is 
more than the white Protestant preemption of certain sec- 
tors of the economy that is responsible for certain Jewish 
concentrations. One notices how often Jewish enterprises 
involve fathers and sons or groups of brothers — and one 
wonders whether the fact that the Jewish family is in certain 
ways "stronger" than the typical American (that is, the 
white Protestant) family has something to do with occupa- 
tional patterns. And, as we have suggested, skills may be in 
some measure inherited. Knowledge of business is a trans- 
ferable skill, one that in parts of Europe was largely a Jewish 
monopoly. This unquestionably gave some advantage to 
tradesmen, merchants, artisans (as Jews were) as compared 
with peasants, nobles, soldiers, priests (as non-Jews were). 
The Jewish concentration in the garment trades in this 
country had nothing to do with knowledge of cloth or 
clothing. Rather, it had something to do with the sudden 
rise of a new form of business enterprise — the manufactur- 
ing of ready-made clothing for the masses. It was because 
this was a new form of business enterprise involving very 
little capital that East European Jews could flow into it. 
The expansion of ready-made clothing in the American 
economy meant new jobs for immigrants, and entrepreneur- 
ial opportunities for those who could scrape together a bit 
of capital. Similarly, movies were a new field of business 
enterprise that originally required little capital. Perhaps, ^ 
then, there is among Jews an accumulation of business acu- 
men, supported by a relatively strong family system that 
permits mobilization of capital (even if in small sums), and 
that makes it possible to move into new areas with oppor- 
tunities for great growth and high profits. 

Jewish experience in real estate fits this pat- 
tern. Real estate in America is very different from what it 
has been in Europe. Land has never been held with sen- 
timental attachment, and the first American farmers and 
tradesmen set the model of viewing land as capital, to be 
held only until a fat profit could be made on it. Real estate 
in the postwar boom years was, in a sense, an infant industry 



requiring ingenuity and small capital, like the garment 
manufacturing and the mass entertainments of early gen- 
erations. Consequently, it joined these others as an impor- 
tant area in which East European Jews and their children 
have become prominent. 

In considering the pattern of Jewish wealth, 
it is worth speaking of one more phenomenon, less impor- 
tant certainly than the Jewish role in real estate but sig- 
nificant as representing the first important breakthrough of 
Jews in heavy industry. Fortune magazine has described the 
"egghead millionaires," young scientists who have found in 
the development of electronics and highly technical forms 
of manufacturing a way in which they can put their educa- 
tion and brains to work very profitably. The Bakalar broth- 
ers' Transitron Company, Fortune estimated in 1959, could 
be valued at 1150,000,000 — a finding which seems to have 
astonished the engineer-scientist Bakalar, if not the business- 
man brother.^^ These new companies reflect less the old 
Jewish business skill than the almost equally traditional 
Jewish investment in education. In orientation, culture, and 
outlook, these new scientists in business differ greatly from 
the traditional Jewish businessman. It is the difference be- 
tween the Cadillac and the station wagon, Miami vacations 
and camping in the Sierras, the Schmoos on Seventh Avenue 
and the bull session in the Berkeley or Cambridge coffee- 
shop. They are very different worlds, yet they are as close 
as father and son. 



ning of their arrival in this country a passion for education 
that was unique in American history. City College was 
largely Jewish by the turn of the century, which was as soon 
as there were enough Jews of college age to fill it; and 
Jews overflowed into the other colleges of the Northeast.^^ 
The Jewish tide in the city colleges has receded somewhat. 
From perhaps 85 per cent Jewish they have fallen to 65 
per cent or less, but this is partly because the increasing 
prosperity of the Jewish community, its rising social status, 
and the greater availability of scholarships and other aids 
to education mean that more Jews can go to paying colleges, 



inside or outside the city. The emphasis on getting a college 
education touches almost every Jewish schoolchild. The 
pressure is so great that what to do about those who are 
not able to manage college intellectually has become a 
serious social and emotional problem for them and their 

As larger numbers of Americans go to col- 
lege, the concentration on higher education among Jews 
will become less distinctive. But for the time being the 
college-educated proportion is perhaps three times as large 
among Jews as in the rest of the population. In New York 
City, Jews constitute half of the college-educated. A study 
in 1955 showed that 62 per cent of Jews of college age were 
in college, as against only 26 per cent of the population as 
a whole.^^ 

To admissions officers of good colleges, keep- 
ing Jewish students to some reasonable proportion of the 
whole has often been a problem, and they must have won- 
dered how 3 per cent of the population could create such 
an impact. In the 1930's, medical schools set tight quotas 
limiting the entry of Jewish students. These practices were 
often kept secret, but we know a good deal of them. For 
example, the Cornell University Medical School, located 
in New York City, limited Jewish students to their propor- 
tion in the state of New York, that is, to about 1 in 7. Thus, 
of 80 places the Cornell school had in 1940, 10 were to be 
for Jews, 70 for non-Jews. But 7 of every 12 applicants were 
Jews. Thus 1 of 70 Jewish applicants and 1 of 7 non-Jewish 
applicants were admitted. So boys seeking entry to medical 
school took as a fact of life that bright Jews would be re- 
jected in favor of much less bright non-Jews — and this even 
when both were undergraduates at Cornell and knew per- 
fectly well how one another stood in class.^^ 

In the last decade a number of important 
developments have changed this situation. First, a state law 
against discrimination in higher education was passed in 
1948. Second, the number of applicants to medical schools 
has declined precipitously, from a peak of 4 for every place 
in 1948 to less than 2 for every place in i960. In addition, 
the new Yeshiva University Medical School, named after 
Albert Einstein, and the New York State Medical School 



have opened. Qualified Jewish students have no problem 
getting into a medical school.^i 

The medical school problem has always 
been a special one, affecting relatively small numbers of stu- 
dents. Besides, the passion for medicine among Jewish boys 
is declining as opportunities open up in research, teaching, 
science, and engineering. Getting into the undergraduate 
college of one's choice is now the great Jewish (and middle- 
class) problem. The rising wealth of Jews permits many of 
them to pay tuition at the best schools; their emphasis on 
education leads them to take for granted that their children 
should go to the best schools; and since, in contrast to white 
Protestants, fewer of them have traditional ties to a variety 
of American colleges, they think first and foremost of 
getting into the best schools, which are the hardest to enter. 

A study of high school graduates who had 
applied for Regents' Scholarships in New York State in 1958 
showed a remarkable preference among Jews for Ivy League 
schools. In the city one-third of the Jewish high school 
graduates applied to Ivy League schools, as against a smaller 
percentage of white Protestant students, and very few Catho- 
lic students. In the suburbs the desire of Jewish students to 
go to these schools was even more marked. Three-fifths of 
the Jewish students in Nassau and Suffolk applied to Ivy 
League schools, but only one-quarter of the Protestant stu- 
dents did. In Westchester almost three-quarters of the Jew- 
ish students applied, against one-half of the Protestant stu- 

As far as could be seen, there was no dis- 
crimination by Ivy League schools against Jewish applicants. 
In fact, in the city a slightly higher percentage of Jewish 
than Protestant applicants were successful in getting into 
an Ivy League school. In Nassau and Suffolk, however, a 
higher percentage of Protestant students gained admission, 
and in Westchester 63 per cent of the Jewish applicants 
were admitted as compared with 89 per cent of the Protes- 
tants.22 The proportion of Jewish students in the Ivy 
League schools rose from 15 per cent in 1949 to 23 per cent 
in 1955, and in the "Seven Sisters" (the female equivalents 
of the Ivy League) it rose from 10 to 16 per cent.^s It is in- 
teresting that objections to Jewish students in these schools 



were much greater twenty and thirty years ago when they 
formed only tiny percentages of the student body. It was in 
1922 that President Lowell of Harvard openly proposed a 
Jewish quota, and it was in 1945 that President Hopkins of 
Dartmouth openly defended a quota policy. The Jewish 
proportion of students in these colleges is now far greater 
than it was; yet the desirability of these schools has cer- 
tainly not declined. 

The quotas of the twenties are not to be 
ascribed to anti-Semitism and left at that. We have pointed 
out that more Jews than non-Jews once applied to the 
Cornell Medical School; probably the Jewish average grades 
were somewhat higher. A strict consideration of scholarship 
alone in admissions policy might have led to Cornell's be- 
coming almost as Jewish as City College. It was sometimes 
argued that this could not have happened — that, after all, 
Jews are not such a large proportion of the population, 
and that the only reason so many applied was that they 
were discriminated against elsewhere and had to apply in 
large numbers to the few that accepted them. There is some 
truth in this, but unfortunately not enough. For certain 
colleges and universities may be particularly attractive to 
Jews, and there will be enough applicants to quite transform 

Thus, the president of Bard College said 
a few years ago it was about 80 per cent Jewish. Close to 
New York, co-ed, and avant-garde. Bard has been very at- 
tractive to Jews. Similar colleges such as Bennington and 
Antioch have also attracted sizable Jewish enrollments, 
though nothing like the fantastic proportion at Bard, which 
a century ago was a preparatory institution for the Protes- 
tant Episcopal ministry.24 The Cornell Medical School, 
Bard, and many other colleges were built up by Protestant 
clergymen and laymen who naturally equated "American" 
with "Protestant." Even though this Protestant tradition 
has accommodated itself to the increase of Catholics and 
Jews in America, it is unreasonable to expect that leaders of 
institutions founded and financed by Protestants would be 
content to see them become mostly Jewish. 

Jews as well as non-Jews would be unhappy 
over such an outcome. Part of the attraction of such in- 



stitutions is undoubtedly the chance they give to experience 
a wider range of American life than is possible in New York, 
and to be part of an institution traditionally connected with 
the major stream in American life. But these benefits are 
denied if the college becomes mostly Jewish. We come up 
against a problem similar to one we have met before in our 
discussion of Negro housing patterns. Some American Ne- 
groes, perhaps most, prefer communities in which they [^avp 
white neighbors; most communities will accept almost no 
]\egroes, and those that do tend rapidly to become all Negro. 
It is for this reason that various people have proposed 
"benign quotas," limitations on the proportions of Negroes 
in a development, so that both Negroes and whites may get 
whatever benefit there is to be gotten from a mixed com- 

The Jewish defense organizations have as- 
sumed that if one treats every man as an individual, without 
any thought of his ethnic affiliation or religion, then such 
problems — in which the concentration of Jews in an in- 
stitution takes away some of the things that made it attrac- 
tive to begin with — will not arise. But as a matter of fact, 
being a Jew does have consequences for one's behavior, and 
we cannot expect Jews, just as we cannot expect members 
of any other group, to distribute themselves evenly over all 
possibilities. So the religion-blind acceptance policy sud- 
denly wakes up to find that something has happened that 
no one wanted. But just what to do about it, no one knows. 
The long-range answer is that with the powerful accultura- 
tive processes of American life, Jews will become like every- 
one else, and Bard with its avant-garde character will attract 
as few of them as it would of any other group. But here it is 
1963 . . . and one wonders whether the effect of social 
progress is to make Jews just like the upper-class Protestant 
denominations that they begin to approximate in wealth 
and occupation. 



social discrimination against Jews in America that, owing to 
their rapid economic rise, Jews very early sought entry into 



the higher levels of society in large numbers. They thus 
presented a problem new to American society, and it re- 
sponded by strict exclusion. After about the i88o's, Jews 
were excluded from social clubs, preparatory schools, "bet- 
ter" neighborhoods, the organized institutions of high 
society, and even the occupations associated with high status. 
This exclusion was greatest during the 1920's and 1930's, but 
the war against Hitler, the strengthening of equalitarian 
ideology, and probably the affluence of the postwar period 
led to relaxation of this system after 1945.^^ In New York 
City, only social and golf clubs and high society remain 
pretty rigorously closed to Jews. No residential areas in the 
city and only a few in the suburbs exclude Jews, although 
a number of Upper East Side luxury apartment houses are 
closed to them.26 However, the breakdown of systematic ex- 
clusion has not been followed by "integration" of the Jew- 
ish community, and Jews are becoming more and more 
aware of a new "ghettoization." 

Intermarriage, an important sign of integra- 
tion, remains low among Jews. The 1957 sample census 
showed that about 3I/2 per cent of married Jews were mar- 
ried to non-Jews, and the proportion is possibly even lower 
in New York, where the concentration of Jewish popula- 
tion, as compared with other communities, reduces the prob- 
ability of intermarriage.^^ A sizable proportion of these 
intermarried couples — possibly about a third— consider 
themselves part of the Jewish community, and raise their 
children as Jews. The only studies that have surveyed in- 
termarriage over a long period of time (those from New 
Haven) show no increase of it since 1930, although in this 
period the Jews of New Haven became much more ac- 
culturated and prosperous.^s This pattern sharply distin- 
guishes the Jews of the United States from those of other 
countries in which Jews have achieved wealth and social 
position, such as Holland, Germany, Austria, and Hungary 
in the twenties. There the intermarriage rates were phenom- 
enally high. 

Nor is there a strong tendency towardrest. 
dential in tegration oQe ws. in tne thirties the toilowinja; 
areas o¥ New York City had very high Jewish proportions: 
the Lower East Side and Washington Heights in Manhat- 



tan; the Hunts Point, West Bronx, M orrisania. Fordham . 
and Pelham Parkway areas in the Bronx; and Brownsville. 
Coney Island, Brighton Beach, Manhattan Beach, Borough 
Park, Flatlands, East New York, Bensonhurst, and Williams- 
burg in Brooklyn. All of these were at least two-fifths Jews, 
and large sections within them were four-fifths and nine- 
tenths Jewish. These concentrations included both lower- 
class and middle-class Jews. When the great exodus to 
Queens, Long Island, and other suburban areas began after 
World War II, many observers assumed that Jews would 
cease to be concentrated. While many apartment houses 
and, in particular, cooperative developments began with a 
largely Jewish group of renters and co-op owners, many of 
the suburban small-homes developments were to begin with 
mixed. However, before long the mixed developments 
showed a strong tendency to become almost entirely Jewish 
or non-Jewish. What happened depended on a multitude 
of factors: a new synagogue might be built before a church, 
symbolizing the Jewish character of the development; per- 
haps a particularly good school system might attract an in- 
flux of Jews; perhaps the proportion of Jews to begin with 
(by sheer statistical accident) was too high to keep the 
non-Jews comfortable, or too low to keep the Jews com- 

Most Jews would deny that they prefer an 
all-Jewish neighborhood, and most would agree that they 
are not comfortable in one with "too few" Jews. John 
Slawson of the American Jewish Committee reports: 

"In a suburban city, part of the New York 
metropolitan area, where only 15 per cent of the population 
is Jewish, half of the group would like to live in neighbor- 
hoods that are at least 50 per cent Jewish; one-quarter 
would like to live in neighborhoods that are 75 per cent 
Jewish. When asked whether they would like more oppor- 
tunity for contact with Christians, two out of ten said yes, 
two said no, and six said they did not care." ^^ 

Fifty per cent would strike most New York Jews as "just 
right." But 50 per cent, which is twice the proportion of 
Jews in the city, and three times their proportion in the 
metropolitan area, would strike most non-Jews as too much. 
It is probably not a stable proportion in home-owning de- 



velopments (apartment-house areas are different). In some 
good suburban areas non-Jews have fled from incoming 
Jews. But this is pretty clearly not the only, nor even the 
most important, reason for Jewish concentration. Jews pre- 
fer to live with other Jews. Owing to these tendencies 
among Jews and non-Jews, a truly mix ed neighborh ood in^ 
»the_suburbs_is hard to find, as many youn g Jewisn tamilies 

who have tried can testify. 
^ In Manhattan, the great exception to most 

statements about New York City, residential areas are much 
more mixed, and aside from a concentration in Washington 
Heights (which is more like the other boroughs), Jews live 
pretty much everywhere. These are the young unmarried 
people, the young couples without children, the intellectuals 
and bohemians who are involved in New York's cultural 
life. They do not share the desire for self-segregation that 
characterizes many Jews in the other boroughs, and they 
have a high rate of intermarriage.^^ 

The main point is that Jewish residential 
concentration is not confined to the immigrant generation 
or the poor. It is characteristic of the middle and upper- 
middle classes and of the third generation no less than the 
second. One of the areas of densest Jewish concentration 
in the city today is the Forest Hills-Rego Park area, which 
consists almost entirely of new apartment houses. It is two- 
thirds Jewish, compared with only 5 per cent in 1930. The 
Jewish concentration in some other new areas is hardly less 
striking. The Bayside-Oakland Gardens, Central Queens, 
and Douglaston-Little Neck-Bellerose areas are two-fifths 
Jewish or more, although almost no Jews lived in them in 
1940. Since the Second World War, Jews have moved from 
one concentrated Jewish area only to create new ones — and 
largely out of their own desires. 

This tendency survives even as the accultura- 
tion of Jews proceeds. In the new communities, Yiddish is 
hardly spoken, and Jewish culture is of no great interest. 
Nor is it possible to say that Jews have gathered in order to 
defend their religion. It is true that their concentration 
helps synagogues as well as nonreligious Jewish institutions. 
The social pressure of the group is felt on those who might 
resist participating; large, expensive synagogues and recrea- 



tional-educational centers are made feasible; fund-raising is 
easier. But the religious institutions are so strong because 
they serve the social desire to remain separate to begin with. 

It is true that among Orthodox Jews there is 
a religious reason for separation. The Jewish religious law 
was in the past elaborated consciously in order to make Jews 
different in dress, custom, and outlook, so that there would 
be less chance of conversion and assimilation. In part we see 
this process at work today, when, for example, Orthodox 
parents send their children to the "Yeshivas," Jewish paro- 
chial schools. These all-day schools have been growing 
rapidly in the past decade and a half, another sign of the 
segregation of the Jewish community. They enroll 8 per 
cent of the Jewish schoolchildren of the city, and the per- 
centage may go higher.^2 -phe separation of the Hasidic 
groups is even more extreme. Living in Williajiisbiirg, one 
of the oldest Jewish neighborhoods (but now largely Negro 
and Puerto Rican), and on Eastern Parkway, a much better 
and newer neighborhood (but one bordering the growing 
Negro neighborhood of Crown Heights), the Hasidim in- 
sist on a more complete separation than other Orthodox 
Jews. Not only do they have their own schools, more Ortho- 
dox than the ordinary Yeshiva, but they retain traditional 
peculiarities of dress and hair arrangement that marked off 
Jews from non-Jews in Eastern Europe centuries ago. In 
this group, one must wear Judaism on one's face in order 
to strengthen the Judaism of the heart. One of the reasons 
Hasidim live next door to Negroes in unconcern is because 
nothing in the modern world — the drive for respectability, 
fear of Negroes, or what other people think — affects them 

But the overwhelming majority of Jews do 
not maintain any of these outward distinctions, and it is 
not for fear of the loss of religious faith that they con- 
gregate, join synagogues, and send their children to Jewish 
schools. More than a third of the Jewish children in the city 
and rather more in the suburbs are enrolled in part-time 
Jewish schools.^^ The teachers and principals of these 
schools do want to teach Jewish religion and culture, as an 
end in itself, in order to perpetuate Judaism. But the par- 
ents of these children do not want them to be any more 




religious or consciously Jewish than is necessary, and that 
often means just enough to make them immune to marriage 
with non-Jews. This fear of intermarriage is also one of the 
reasons that Jewish centers are so popular; they permit the 
teen-agers to get together. 

This disapproval of intermarriage is re- 
markably strong, even among the native-born. At least 
through the third generation Jews tend to accept the notion 
that intermarriage is probably not good. Erich Rosenthal 
reports in the American Journal of Sociology on a study of 
a new middle-class Jewish concentration in Chicago (the 
situation is the same in New York): 

When I asked Rabbi Breightman [a pseu- 
donym] — as I asked all my informants — what his explana- 
tion is for the recent aggregation of the Jewish community 
on the North Side of Chicago, his reply was that the one 
thing that parents fear more than anything else and fear 
more than at any other time in history is amalgamation, 
the marriage of their children to "outsiders." While at one 
time the problem of Jewish identity was no problem for / 
the individual who lived a distinctively Jewish life in his 
home, his synagogue, and the community, today there is 
little that marks the Jew as a Jew except Jewish self- 
consciousness and association with fellow Jews. If one were 
to depend on the religio-cultural rather than on the asso- 
ciational tie, then large-scale amalgamation would be the 
order of the day. To forestall this, the parents favor resi- 
dence in a neighborhood that has such a high density of 
Jewish families that the probability of their children marry- 
ing a Jewish person approaches certainty. 

Commenting on religious schooling. Dr. Rosenthal says. 

It appears . . . that the basic function of 
Jewish education is to implant Jewish self-consciousness 
rather than Judaism, to "inoculate" the next generation 
with that minimum of religious practice and belief that is 
considered necessary to keep alive a level of Jewish self- 
consciousness that will hold the line against assimila- 

The mere fact that Jews are clustered together may help 
explain why types of behavior associated with being Jewish 
that we might have expected to disappear are instead en- 



during. These include a strong family life, a low rate of 
alcoholism, and a high degree of political liberalism. 

Studies have long shown that Jewish fami- 
lies break up less than non-Jewish ones.^^ (Once again, we 
separate the integrated fringe from the mass of middle- 
class Jews.) Rabbis rarely seem to find it necessary to warn 
their congregations against marital breakup, neglect of chil- 
dren, cocktail-partying, and the like. Although the power- 
ful maternal overprotection that was one of the chief 
characteristics of the first immigrant generation is perhaps 
somewhat abated, Jewish parents still seem to hover more 
over their children and give them shorter rein for explora- 
tion and independence than other middle-class American 
parents. The results seem to be that there is more neurosis 
among Jews, but less psychosis.^^ The fault of Jewish family 
relations is in the strength of the tie that binds; but 
the radical disorders that result from the absence of such a 
tie are less common among Jews than non-Jews. 

The study of alcoholism, one of the chief 
disorders that afflicts this country, has for a long time con- 
centrated on those special groups — including Jews, Chinese, 
Italians — that show a lower rate of disorder even though 
they drink. Those who have studied this phenomenon 
among Jews (very few of whom are teetotalers) explain it by, 
among other things, the Orthodox religion, which requires 
a certain amount of ceremonial drinking at the Sabbath 
meal, Passover Seder, and other times, and also imposes a 
system of built-in self-control in many ways.^^ But this ex- 
planation loses force in that even as Orthodoxy has rapidly 
declined, particularly in the newer areas in which Jews live, 
alcoholism among Jews does not seem to have increased. 
Once again, the great exception is the "integrated" Jew, 
most common in Manhattan. Whatever the sources of the y 
low rate of alcoholism among Jews — and certainly the sur- 
viving effects of Orthodoxy may be an important source — 
the Conservative and Reform Jews of the suburbs seem to 
have sustained the traditional pattern. At the elaborate 
Bar Mitzvah parties for thirteen-year-old boys that are held 
in middle-class Jewish areas, one finds a huge array of liquor, 
and everyone drinks before, during, and after the meal, but 
the alcoholic and semialcoholic are nowhere in sight. 



Finally, in these well-to-do areas another old 
Jewish pattern holds up — liberalism in politics. The Jews 
of suburbia may have indulged themselves with a few votes 
for Eisenhower, but the vast majority continue their al- 
legiance to the Democratic party. The surge of city dwellers 
into New York's suburbs has made them more Democratic, 
it is generally agreed. But, to be more subtle in the analysis, 
it is the surge of Jewish population that has made them 
more Democratic. Protestants and Catholics, as their income 
rises, do turn Republican. But only at stratospheric eco- 
nomic heights, perhaps, are a majority of Jews Republicans. 
Indeed, nowhere in the metropolitan area does one find such 
a phenomenon. Their aberrant political behavior is cer- 
tainly one of the things that will serve to keep Jews some- 
what separate and peculiar as their old practices disappear. 



years a kind of split political personality that can be 
matched only in such areas as the Southern cities that now 
vote Republican nationally and Democratic locally. No 
group in the city supports national Democratic candidates 
as strongly and consistently as the Jews; none except per- 
haps the white Protestants has been as uncomfortable about 
voting Democratic locally. The American Labor Party and 
the Liberal Party have developed in New York City partly 
in response to this Jewish dilemma. 

Jews are not alone in their partisan irregu- 
larity in a city where the local machines have often been 
poor representatives of national Democratic administra- 
tions. But no other group is quite so irregular. The white 
Protestant old stock generally votes for Republicans locally 
and nationally. The Irish and Italians are torn between a 
traditional attachment to local Democratic organizations 
and an attraction, as a result of their own increased social 
mobility and the Democrats' interventionism in World War 
II, to the Republicans. The Negroes and Puerto Ricans, fol- 
lowing in the path of other new immigrant groups, are 
solidly committed to the Democrats, both locally and na- 



What attracts Jews is liberalism, using the 
term to refer to the entire range of lefii^'pbsitions, from y 
the mildest to the most extreme. The Jewish vote is pri- 
marily an "ideological" rather than a party or even an 
ethnic one. There is little question that Jews are moved, as 
other groups are, by issues that affect them alone, such as 
policy toward Israel. But it is impossible to test the effect 
of pro-Israel feeling on voting, for political candidates in 
New York City all profess an enthusiasm for Israel. Nor is 
it easy to test the pull of a Jewish versus a non-Jewish name 
in the city. In cases where the non-Jew is clearly identified 
with the "more liberal" position — as in the i960 primary 
between Ludwig Teller, regular organization Democrat, and 
William Fitts Ryan, Reform Democrat, in the 20th Con- 
gressional District on the West Side — there has been little 
question that the Jewish name helped hardly at all with 
Jewish voters. The races between Franklin D. Roosevelt, Jr., 
and Jacob Javits for Attorney General in 1954, and between 
Robert F. Wagner and Javits for U.S. Senator in 1956, are 
not as simple to analyze, for in both cases there was some 
question as to who was more liberal. It was hard in either 
case to demonstrate a "Jewish" vote for Javits.^^ In 1932, 
when three liberal heroes, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Herbert 
Lehman, and Robert Wagner, Sr., were running for Presi- 
dent, Governor, and Senator, Wagner pulled a higher vote 
in some Jewish districts than Roosevelt or Lehman even 
though he ran against a Jewish Republican candidate, 
George Z. Medalie.^^ 

The Jewish liberal voting pattern has been 
of great persistence. The transformation of Jews from a 
working-class group (as they were in the time of Al Smith) 
to a middle-class group (as they are in the time of John F. 
Kennedy) has affected hardly at all their tendency to vote 
for liberal Democratic candidates. The Jewish vote for a 
national Democratic candidate has dropped only once in 
thirty years — in 1948, when Truman ran against Dewey. But 
then Jews defected not to Dewey, as one might expect of a 
business and professional community, but to Henry Wal- 
lace. The Jewish vote for Truman and Wallace was almost 
everywhere equal to the Jewish vote for Roosevelt in 1944. 



At the same time, the candidates of the local 
Democratic organization have generally been unappealing. 
The same Jewish voters who turned out enthusiastically for 
Roosevelt in 1940 and 1944 were cold to O'Dwyer, running 
against La Guardia, in 1941, and they hardly warmed up by 
1945, even though O'Dwyer, campaigning in uniform, no 
longer appeared to Jews to be clearly the favored choice 
of isolationists and Christian Frontiers.*^ 

Upper-income Jews do not seem to be im- 
portantly differentiated from lower-income ones in voting 
habits. All economic levels were enthusiastically for Roose- 
velt, Lehman, and La Guardia in the 1930's and 1940's. If 
enthusiasm for Truman was considerably less, it was hardly 
a class matter — both upper- and lower-income Jews voted 
heavily for Wallace. Again, both upper- and lower-income 
Jews were fervently for Stevenson, and both, emerging from 
their Stevenson mania, decided that Kennedy was perhaps 
the heir of Roosevelt, and they voted for him more heavily 
than did the Irish Catholics! 

The voting of ethnic groups, as Samuel 
Lubell pointed out long ago, is not simply a function of 
ethnic issues or candidates, though it is true that a group 
wants representatives, and almost any Jewish candidate gets 
some Jewish votes running against a non-Jew. Rather, ethnic 
tendencies in voting express the entire culture and tradi- 
tions of the group. As Lubell said: 

Ethnic groups do not now — if they ever did— act simply as 
cohesive voting blocs. Rather, their influence is exerted 
through common group consciousness, through the effect of 
common antecedents and cultural traditions which enable 
them to view developing issues from a common point of 

The Jewish commitment to the Democratic party is vir- 
tually complete today because the Democrats, since 1928, 
have nominated liberal candidates for the Presidency. East 
European Jews found the Democratic party much less attrac- 
tive in the period from the Civil War to Alfred E. Smith, 
when its candidates were as likely to be conservatives like 
Alton Parker and John Davis as to be crusaders like William 
Jennings Bryan and Woodrow Wilson. Indeed, German 
Jews, coming to political maturity and consciousness in the 



period of the Civil War, were perhaps predominantly Re- 
publican. Their preference for the Republicans on the na- 
tional level coincided with their local interests, since the 
Democratic party, in the hands of the Irish, had no room 
for them. Instead, Jews held office in the Republican party 
organization. In the 1870's and i88o's Greenpoint had 
Jewish Republican leaders, and there were Jewish Republi- 
can county leaders in Brooklyn before the end of the cen- 
tury. In the 1920's Meier Steinbrink and Samuel Koenig 
were Republican county leaders in Brooklyn and Manhat- 

Some East European Jews followed the Ger- 
man Jews into the Republican party, and some, like other 
immigrants, went into the Democratic party. But at least as 
many became strong Socialists. It was for this reason, as well 
as because the Irish held tenaciously to their posts, that 
Jewish progress in the Democratic party was slow. 

Woodrow Wilson aroused some enthusiasm 
among Jews in 1912 and 1916. Henry Morgenthau, Sr., was 
chairman of the Democratic Financial Committee in 1912, 
Bernard Baruch was one of the President's advisers, Louis 
D. Brandeis became the first Jew to serve on the Supreme 
Court. But it was Al Smith who challenged the power of 
the Socialists on the East Side and taught Jews to vote for 
Democratic state and national candidates. In 1922, with 
Smith heading the Democratic ticket for Governor, four 
Jews — three Democrats and a Republican — went to Con- 
gress from New York City. Two years before, six Jews were 
elected to Congress from the city, but all except one were 
Republicans, and the sixth was a Socialist. It was in 1922 
that Sol Bloom, Nathaniel Dickstein, and Emanuel Celler 
began their long service in Congress, in seats that became as 
safe as any in the South.^^ 

If many Jews had entered the Democratic 
party, it is very likely that they could have dominated it. 
They formed, after all, one-quarter of the population from 
the early twenties on. In addition, Jews became citizens 
rapidly — much more rapidly, for example, than Italians — 
they were politically conscious, and they had a high rate 
of voting participation. But so much of their energy was 
devoted to the Socialist party that it was not difficult for the 



Irish to maintain control of the Democratic party. Between 
1933 and 1945, when Jews were drawn away from sociaHsm 
by the New Deal, they still did not enter the local Demo- 
cratic party on a massive scale, for this was the age of 
La Guardia, and Jews preferred the American Labor Party 
and Liberal Party and good government groups to the 
Democratic party clubs. But since the middle forties there 
has been less and less to keep Jews from becoming Demo- 
crats locally as well as nationally. Many have become active 
as Reform Democrats in the struggle against the regular 
party organization. In this conflict. Democrats who are 
identified closely with the liberal Northern wing of the party 
have sought to take over and reform the party organization 
in the city, so as to end the power of the old regular party 
leaders. Control is being shifted from the Irish and their 
junior partners, the Italians, who organized masses of regu- 
lar voters from immigrant groups, to professionals and in- 
tellectuals who appeal to independent voters. The elections 
of the past ten years in New York have shown the greater 
effectiveness of their approach as compared to that of the 
traditional machine. The college man is taking over in 
politics as in business; inevitably many Jews are included. 
With white Protestants, they dominate the reform move- 

This newer generation of Jews in politics 
has of course very little in common with the Jews who 
were in the old Democratic machine. These did very well 
indeed with the old politics. They have received a high 
proportion of the judicial posts and nominations for the 
past thirty years. One-third of the Congressmen from the 
city, and rather more of the judges. State Senators, and 
Assemblymen are Jewish. Jews have in fact held more 
judicial and elective offices than their numerical strength in 
the organization would seem to warrant. Their prominence 
in this respect reflects their financial contributions to elec- 
toral campaigns, the large number of lawyers among them, 
and their high rate of voting participation, rather than 
strength on the clubhouse floor. Still, Jews do have an im- 
portant place in the organization, and in the struggle be- 
tween the organization and the Reform Democrats we see 
manifested the same social change that separates the Jewish 



businessman father from his college-trained son. The fathers 
are slow to realize that in the rich America of today the 
material reward of the job (in business or politics) is not 
as important as personal fulfillment. And in defending itself 
the organization has failed to see that its attackers are not 
merely a new wave of seekers after jobs but rather a group 
that hopes to change the nature of local politics. 

How successful this new group will be in 
transforming the politics of the city, which has resisted 
many such movements in the past, we shall discover in the 
next few years. 

But the reform movement in politics has al- 
ready become one of those areas in city life in which people 
of different backgrounds, from different groups, come to- 
gether not as representatives of groups, not to bargain for 
group rights and positions, but to work in a common task, 
as individuals. This happens often enough in New York 
business, but there the common end is gain. The fact that 
it happens in politics, where the common end is a general 
good, is a cause for satisfaction. This is after all the only 
real basis of "integration" — common work in which one's 
group characteristics are not primary and therefore of no 
great account. 

Another great area of New York life in 
which this kind of integration proceeds is in the fields of 
cultural activity. 



powerful nation of the world must be a world cultural capi- 
tal in which some things are done better than anywhere else 
in the world (for example, musical plays, postclassical ballet, 
abstract expressionist painting), in which almost everything 
in the sphere of culture can be found, in which new things 
are tried in every field, old things brought to a high degree 
of finish, and all kinds of cultural products are marketed 
to a vast audience — the people of the metropolitan area, 
the country, and the world. This must be so in great cities 
in great countries at the peak of their power; and if New 
York is culturally as exciting as any city in the world, this 
must be ascribed to America, and not to the composition 



(\^ of the population of New York. Even if all the Jews had 
gone to Argentina or Canada, New York would still be New 
York, and Buenos Aires and Montreal would only be pretty 
' much what they are. 

This we think is a fair statement of the larger 
truth against which we must view the participation of the 
various groups in New York's cultural life. And yet, the fact 
that the city is one-quarter Jewish; that Jews broke with the 
most orthodox and traditional of religions to become open 
to everything new; that they seized upon everything new be- 
cause the old things were so often tied up with social 
snobbery, anti-Semitism, obscurantist conservatism — these 
facts must also be fitted into an understanding of the cul- 
tural life of New York. 

New York was America's cultural center 
even when the German Jews arrived, but for the most part 
they were preoccupied with business, finance, and solid 
middle-class life. And when, before the First World War, 
New York's Greenwich Village became a center of revolt 
against genteel culture, drawing young rebels from all over 
the country, the bright young men of the first East Euro- 
pean Jewish generation were too busy getting into City 
College and respectable professions to worry much about the 
avant-garde. The first link between the group in Greenwich 
Village and the East European Jews on the other side of the 
island came through interest not in avant-garde culture but 
in radical politics. The disgust with the older middle-class 
America that seized so many young people around the turn 
of the century and drove them to Chicago and New York 
met something in the young Jews. They too were against 
"capitalism." Both groups came together in the Socialist 
party and in Max Eastman's prewar magazine. The Masses; 
compared, however, with similar enterprises of later years 
— for example. The New Masses of the twenties and Partisan 
Review in the thirties — The Masses attracted only a small 
number of East European Jews. 

This world of left-wing politics and avant- 
garde culture, which survives to the present day in New 
York, was the first important meeting ground for Jewish 
and non-Jewish cultural figures and bohemians. It has 



helped define Greenwich Village and has represented a 
phase in the career of American creators in many fields. The 
experience of this milieu has been very different for the 
Jewish and non-Jewish participants. For the young Ameri- 
can from, say, the Midwest, Greenwich Village, whether as 
art, politics, or just off-beat living, meant a radical break 
with the past — with a Republican father, a conservative 
religious mother, and other relatives who could not con- 
ceivably understand what was going on. For the young 
Jewish radical or bohemian, the break was much less sharp. 
He had come from the Bronx or Brooklyn, or a Chicago or 
Detroit whose Jewish section was not very different; he went 
home now and then for the holidays or some family gather- 
ing. If he was a Communist, his father had been a Socialist 
(or vice versa), and regardless of his wild goings-on he could 
usually depend on a little financial help from anxious 
parents. The non-Jews in these circles were a million miles 
from home, the Jews but a subway ride away. 

Thus, paradoxically, the non-Jews in New 
York's bohemia felt uprooted, alienated, alone, and the Jews 
(who were often envied for it) were by contrast rooted and 
at home. It is perhaps because for Jews the step to bohemia 
is not great or decisive that up to now the really creative 
figures in American culture have not been Jews as often as 
we might expect. It is difficult to count heads (the question 
is always, which heads), but in the avant-garde circles of the 
twenties, thirties, and forties Jews were very often the 
critics (and entrepreneurs), non-Jews the creators. This was 
so in literature, painting, music, and the theater. 

But if Jews bulked larger among the critics 
than the creators, they bulked largest of all among the 
audience. Here, they made perhaps their most important 
contribution to New York's cultural life. Once again sta- 
tistics are not available; but it is clear that neither tourists, 
the working-class masses, nor the small Protestant elite 
could have filled or could fill today the audiences for cham- 
ber and contemporary music, modem dancing, and poetry 
reading, or the subscription lists for avant-garde magazines. 
As they have become wealthier, Jews have also become 
patrons and collectors. Many descendants of the older Ger- 



man-Jewish immigration have played important roles in 
New York's cultural life as patrons, collectors, and or- 

Their independence of the American tradi- 
tion makes Jews a market for the new. They do not as often 
fill their homes with early American, but they are receptive 
to new painting, new household design, and new houses. In 
New York there are relatively few contemporary houses, but 
outside New York Jews have been among the most im- 
portant patrons of advanced architecture. It is not unchar- 
acteristic that two of the most striking and widely repro- 
duced symbols of American architecture were commissioned 
by Jews — Frank Lloyd Wright's Bear Run house and his 
Guggenheim Museum. 

Culture, whether high, middlebrow, or mass, 
is big business, one of the few big businesses in which Jews 
have been active and prominent for many years. They are 
producers of movies and television shows and agents for 
actors and performers. They have also been the creators of 
the single most valuable commodity the entertainment 
industry in New York handles, the Broadway musical. 
Whether Jews have influenced the character of musicals is 
another question; Kurt List, the music critic, made the 
intriguing point some years ago that it was no accident that 
a string of the most popular musicals by Jewish composers 
and lyricists (Show Boat, South Pacific^ The King and I) 
had an interracial and intergroup theme.^^ West Side Story 
continues the tradition. 

In the marketing of culture and entertain- 
ment, there is only one business, book publishing, in which 
Jews were not especially prominent. This is the most con- 
servative of such fields, and for a long time. New York, the 
center of book publishing, had very few Jewish publishers 
and editors. Starting with the period of the First World 
War, some important publishing houses were founded by 
Jews, in particular, Alfred A. Knopf and Random House. 
Since the Second World War the Jewish role in publishing 
has increased in the city, as a result both of creation of new 
firms and changes in old ones. The rapid development of 
paperback book publishing in particular has given many 
opportunities to Jewish publishers and editors. 



The involvement of Jews with the new has 
meant a special role for them too in another area which cer- 
tainly affects New York's cultural life, that is, psychoanaly- 
sis. Psychoanalysis in America is a peculiarly Jewish prod- 
uct. This is not only because Freud and many of his early 
followers were Jews. At most, this reflected only some special 
aspects of the position of Jews in Central Europe. For the 
East Europeans who made up the greatest part of New York 
Jewry, and for the bourgeois German Jews of the nineteenth 
century and their descendants who made up a smaller part 
of the community, nothing could have been on the face of 
it more foreign than psychoanalysis. The East European 
Jew was blind to any kind of psychological abnormality: 
for him there was only one kind of abnormality, the social 
one, and all his intelligence was applied to changing the 
abnormal social position of the Jew. Why then do large 
numbers of psychoanalysts and patients come from this 
group in the United States? 

The explanation probably lies in the effects / 
of secularism on Jews, who have been so rapidly divorced 
from traditional religion and who have accepted the pos- 
sibilities of science and intellect so completely that a move- 
ment like psychoanalysis — even had its founder been a Ger- 
man anti-Semite — would have been irresistibly attractive. 
For here was a scientific form of soul-rebuilding to make 
them whole and hardy, and it was divorced, at least on the 
surface, from mysticism, will, religion, and all those other 
romantic and obscure trends that their rational minds re- 
jected. And then too, it was also a new field with room for 
new people, which fact may explain why so many Jews 
became analysts. But it is primarily the complete seculariza- 
tion of the second-generation East European Jew in America 
that explains why so many became patients.** 

We have spoken about education, politics, 
and culture as forming the stage on which work and pro- 
ductivity may overcome the significance of group affiliation; 
but at the same time we have pointed to tendencies among 
Jews that hold the group together and reestablish a tight, 
closed community in new middle-class settings. Obviously, 
a group stays together and maintains common institutions 



to further certain ends. And groups stay together too for 
no end but simply the simple human pleasure in forming 
smaller worlds in a big world. Jewish togetherness has a 
good deal of both aspects. Who else is to raise money for 
Israel if not the United Jewish Appeal, who else is to raise 
money for Jewish Old Age Homes if not the Federation of 
Jewish Philanthropies, who is to maintain the Jewish re- 
ligion if not the synagogues and the temples? Around these 
tasks social circles are formed. And yet at the same time a 
good deal of this Jewish togetherness is simply frightened 
and unimaginative, and its only purpose is to maintain 

Despite economic prosperity and liberalism, 
all is not well in the Jewish world — or perhaps because of 
them. When Jews were poor, it seemed reasonable that they 
should try to become rich; as they emerged from poverty, it 
seemed desirable that they should remain liberal and sym- 
pathetic to the needs of those who were still poor and de- 
prived and those who came after them. But a hard look at 
the Jewish situation today reveals a number of disturbing 
elements. Jewish liberalism, it is true, supports the NAACP, 
CORE, the reform Democrats, freedom riders in the South, 
and a variety of liberal Democratic candidates who come to 
New York to refresh their campaigns with Jewish money. 
But what now supports Jewish liberalism? Many decent 
impulses, of course, and ties to old friends and early al- 
legiances, but also, simply, an excessive timidity or fright. 
Reaction and conservatism are so staunchly opposed in part 
because there is always the fear that it hides anti-Semitism, 
even though there may scarcely be a hint of it. Perhaps it 
is unjust to regard as unwarranted any Jewish concern for 
anti-Semitism, even in a time when it is scarcely to be de- 
tected as a significant force anywhere in the United States. 
After all. Hitler did kill six million Jews, and anti-Semites in 
Argentina have carved swastikas on the breasts of young 
Jewish women. And yet, where are the dangers to Jews in 
New York City, or in the United States? Nevertheless, large 
sums of money (compared at any rate to the sums raised 
for other causes) may be collected to fight anti-Semitism. 

When the American anti-Semite George 
Rockwell wanted to speak in New York City, Jewish groups 


and individuals (not all) put great pressure on the govern- 
ment to prevent him from opening his mouth legally. When 
young boys painted swastikas on Jewish synagogues, it be- 
came a matter for almost hysterical outbursts and elaborate 
studies — as if no one had written dirty words on appropriate 
walls before. A few years ago, the Police Commissioner of 
New York spoke out in irritation against Jewish policemen 
who were taking off Yom Kippur as a holiday when he 
needed every man to guard Khrushchev and Castro, who 
were attending a meeting of the U.N. General Assembly. 
Married to a Jewish woman, knowledgeable about New York 
and New York Jews, he said that he knew many of them were 
not planning to spend the day in the synagogue. The out- 
burst against him by Jewish organizations was violent, and 
when he refused to apologize, he only scarcely retained his 
job. Such incidents, and they are common in the life of the/ 
city, lead one to reflect on the future of the Jewish com- 
munity. What is it afraid of? What is it defending? Are 
these minor slights matters that should so deeply concern it? 

The Jewish community is affected not only 
by the context of America in the sixties but by the context 
of Jewish history. But never in the Diaspora have Jews 
wielded such weight and power in a great city, and in such 
circumstances it is necessary to consider how the traditional 
parameters of Jewish history may, if only for some genera- 
tions, have been altered. The defense of a minority group 
and its interests may legitimately be shrill and insistent 
when it is powerless and weak and there is no one to listen; 
thus much may be excused the Negroes. But the mainte- 
nance of this habit when conditions change may seem to ^i ) 
those outside the group arrogance and hypocrisy. y\ 

Consequently, Jewish liberalism, which is 
sound enough perhaps from the perspective of an American 
nation that is still in many ways remarkably conservative 
and bound to old slogans, is, in the context of New York, 
not quite as sound as it should be. There is much self-con- 
gratulation on the struggles and successes of the past. Jewish 
socialists and intellectuals played a great and important 
role in the building up of the labor movement in the 1930's, 
but they seem to have been struck dumb by the problems 
raised for the city by the rise of a new proletariat of Negroes 



and Puerto Ricans. There is no question that these raise far 
more difficult problems of organization than Jews or other 
European immigrant groups. Nor is there any question that 
traditional labor organization itself is an insufficient answer 
at a time when poverty is so solidly based on lack of skills, 
training, and education and a heavy incidence of social prob- 
lems. Yet one must acknowledge that the great tradition of 
social reform and social engineering that was identified with 
the Jewish labor unions and the Jewish labor movement in 
the city seems to have been unable to make any serious 
impact on this problem. The major social achievement of 
the Jewish labor movement since the end of the war has 
been the creation of the great middle-income cooperatives, 
and this is a real achievement, but it is one that benefits a 
largely Jewish middle class, and scarcely affects the condi- 
tions of the new proletariat. 

In 1962 and 1963 a conflict between the 
NAACP and the International Ladies' Garment Workers 
broke into the open. Herbert Hill, the (Jewish) labor union 
expert of the NAACP attacked the ILGWU for discrimina- 
tion against Negroes. The one attested case was of a Negro 
cutter who was denied entrance into the union. Just a few 
years before, a refugee Jewish DP who had arrived in the 
city, and who had great skill as a cutter, was denied entrance 
into the union as a full cutter, even though his family in 
this country included a number of employees of New York 
labor unions and made every effort to help him. Clearly the 
problem in the cutters' union was not racial discrimination. 
It was the job monopoly that is found in extreme form in 
many skilled unions. One could thus perhaps dispute every 
point in Herbert Hill's case, but one could not easily dis- 
pute the fact that the Negroes and the Puerto Ricans had 
not been brought into the trade union establishment in 
New York. And it was understandable that it was the Jew- 
ish, not the Irish and Italian, unions that were attacked 
first. More was expected from them. The attack was sup- 
ported by Jewish writers, sympathetic indeed to the Jewish 
unions, who nevertheless could look back on their own 
radical youth and see that something had gone out of the 
Jewish labor movement in New York.*^ 



Consider another area that reveals some- 
thing of the hfe of the Jewish group in the city. On the 
West Side of Manhattan there has existed since the 1920's 
a large and prosperous Jewish community. Much of the life 
of the area was and is concentrated in the great synagogues. 
Jewish religious and political ideals were merged in such 
liberal rabbis as Stephen S. Wise and Mordecai Kaplan. 
Since the Second World War, the area has changed. Many 
Jews moved out, many Negroes and Puerto Ricans moved 
in. There have been difficult problems, but not different 
from those in other great American cities. The major 
attempt to deal with these problems has been through ur- 
ban renewal — the rebuilding of the area so as to reduce the 
low-income and increase the middle- and high-income popu- 
lation. This movement has been supported by all the mid- 
dle-class groups and institutions of the area, who of course 
would like to see less crime and disorder and crowding 
and dirt around them. The West Side's solution has been 
no worse than that of other cities, and perhaps even better, 
for the largest of these projects will incorporate a con- 
siderable number of low-income families. And yet one can- 
not help but feel that somewhat more enlightened and 
imaginative solutions could have emerged from the Jewish 
group of the West Side and from the synagogues. Two of 
these have already followed their flocks across Central Park 
to the more expensive and exclusive East Side. As for the 
rest, if there have been prophetic voices, they have not made 
themselves heard.^^ 

The real achievement of the Jews in Amer- 
ica has been the generations of energetic and gifted young 
people they have supplied to the arts, to radical politics, to 
the labor movement. Many of these young people were 
able in the twenties and thirties and forties to find challeng- 
ing and satisfying environments that were formally or de 
facto Jewish. Even while considering themselves free from 
all Jewish ties, they worked among Jews in the theater, in 
political activity, in the unions. One wonders about the 
supply of such young people in the future — will they emerge 
from this comfortable middle-class group? One also wonders 
where they will go. They certainly find little in the formal 



Jewish community of the day that attracts them. Neither 
the synagogues and temples, nor the charitable and philan- 
thropic work, nor the fund-raising for Israel and defense 
seems sufficiently vital and relevant for the most gifted 
yoimg people who are emerging from the community. This 
is at any rate one conclusion that might be drawn from a 
remarkable symposium conducted by the magazine Com- 
mentary in 1961. Nor does that other community that was 
scarcely less Jewish, that of the radical movements and the 
unions, engage them much.^^ 

But these are the best of the young people, 
one assumes, those that are repelled by what is increasingly 
called "the gilded ghetto." What of the rest? Are they likely 
to find this new ghetto even as stimulating as the 
ghettoes of the past? When the Jews lived on the Lower 
East Side and in other working-class areas, they led a sepa- 
rate life. But they were intensely curious about everything 
going on in the outer world, eager to participate in it and 
to master whatever had to be mastered for this participa- 
tion. When the Jews were thus most Jewish, when they 
took their Jewishness for granted, they looked forward to 
a time when all barriers would be down and they couid 
participate freely in the labor movement, business, politics, 
culture, and social life. The ideology of the working-class 
Jews was not separation but the fullest involvement in 
society; Jewish culture and religion, they felt, could take 
care of itself. 

Now that so many of these barriers are 
down, and Jews have become less Jewish and more pros- 
perous, there are tendencies to caution and withdrawal. A 
satisfying pattern of Jewish middle-class life has not yet 
emerged. This failure in Jewish life reflects the general un- 
ease of American middle-class life, as well as the specific 
Jewish dilemma of finding, in this amorphous society, a 
balance between separation and the loss of identity. 


the Italians 


HEN the Chinese, confident 
that they were the only civilized people, were confronted 
by Italian Jesuits in the seventeenth century, and discovered 
that another people could write, and were even more com- 
petent than themselves at clock-building and calendar-mak- 
ing, they decided they would have to add to the number of 
known civilized nations. They consequently added the 
Italians, the first Western civilized people with whom they 
had contact, and the Jews, who had written the book that 
the Jesuits were trying to propagate. 

Thus, to Chinese writers of the early modern 
period, the Chinese, Jews, and Italians were linked by a 
peculiar accident as the three civilized nations. Historical 
accident has again linked them more recently, for in the late 
nineteenth and early twentieth centuries these three peoples 
— so different in size, character, and history — became the 
great migrating nations. In each case, the migrants were im- 



poverished, had commercial skill that marked them off in 
many places where they settled, and showed a surprising 
strength of family, which served both to advance and to 
limit them. 

Italian immigrants, from Genoa, Venice, 
and other cities, had settled in a number of countries in 
the early nineteenth century. In New York there were 
musicians, opera singers, and impresarios (including Mo- 
zart's librettist, Lorenzo da Ponte), political emigres (in- 
cluding, for a while. Garibaldi), humbler sellers of cheap 
statuary, street musicians with monkeys, and some workers.^ 
However, mass migration from Italy did not begin until 
the 1870's. Then it became modern history's greatest and 
most sustained movement of population from a single 

This migration was a proletarian one, made 
up of peasants and landless laborers, large numbers of 
craftsmen and building workers, and much smaller numbers 
of professional people. It began as Italian workmen from 
the North made a seasonal migration to France, Switzer- 
land, and Germany to get jobs. Italian workers preceded 
and followed the French and British flags into North Africa, 
making Tunis, for example, more Italian than French. Just 
as they labored on the railroads and tunnels of Central 
Europe, so they worked on the (first) Assuan Dam, the Suez 
Canal, Tunisian and Algerian railways, and the ports of 
Algiers and Tunis. They came as stonecutters, masons, and 
unskilled laborers, but they remained to become merchants, 
professional people, and — where opportunity offered, as in 
Tunis — farmers. 

These migrations throughout Europe and 
the Mediterranean basin were soon eclipsed by migrations 
overseas. By 1885 more Italians were going across the 
Atlantic than to the nearer countries. Between i860 and 
1900 Italian immigration transformed the economy of Ar- 
gentina, where many settlers of Spanish descent had dis- 
dained manual labor. A great stream of Italian laborers 
and farmers put the broad plains under plow, laid a railroad 
network, and built the city of Buenos Aires, largely along 
Italian lines. Almost half the immigrants to Argentina 
between 1857 ^^^ 1926 were Italians. The role of Italians 



in Brazil was also great, though in that enormous country 
they formed a much smaller proportion of the population. 
More than a third of all the immigrants to Brazil between 
1884 and 1941 were Italians, and they were the single most 
numerous immigrant group.^ 

In the nineteenth century, Argentina, Brazil, 
and Uruguay underwent serious crises attendant on rapid 
development, and flow of Italian immigrants was deflected, 
ever more heavily, to the United States. There, the pioneers' 
task was already done. Only in one state, California, did 
Italian immigration coincide with early growth, and there 
Italians played an important role in the creation of vine- 
yards and production of wine (just as they did in Argen- 
tina), in fishing, and in growing and marketing produce. 

In New York and the other industrial and 
commercial cities of the Northeast, where the great mass of 
the Italian immigrants settled, the story was different. The 
energy and hard work that achieved wealth and social posi- 
tion for Italians in Argentina could in the United States 
achieve only a moderately comfortable workingman's ex- 
istence. The challenge of an underdeveloped country, which 
made traders and merchants of Italian emigrants in North 
Africa and South America and attracted professional people 
from Italy, was not to be found. The Italians arrived in New 
York with only a small complement of trained and even 
literate people. 

Another significant change accompanied the 
shift of Italian migration from Argentina and Brazil to the 
United States. After 1900 emigration from Southern Italy 
and Sicily increased, and became almost as numerous as that 
from the Northern and Central parts of the country. And 
whereas emigrants from Northern and Central Italy con- 
tinued for the most part to go to countries where their rela- 
tives had become established, to Latin America, the new 
streams of immigrants from the South headed for the 
United States. 1 

Thus, the great mass of the Italians of New ^ 
York are of South Italian origin, different in culture and 
outlook from the first Italians who came to the city. The 
distinction between North and South Italian that is em- 
bedded in the early official immigration statistics of the 



United States is not an expression of American prejudices 
and stereotypes alone. Indeed, Italian government statistics 
had long made the same distinction. "Wherever Italians 
might go," wrote Dr. Leonard Covello, the most subtle 
and perceptive writer on the Italo-Americans, "they were 
already divided into two groups." ^ The statistics reflected 
the disdain of the Northern and Central Italians and the 
Southern gentry for the South Italian and Sicilian peasant. 
South Italians were considered inferior, hardly civilized. 

They were in fact illiterate, having been 
totally neglected by incredibly reactionary monarchical re- 
gimes. Their horizon was limited to their own village; all 
outside of it were seen as foreigners. Indeed, the South 
Italian even called all those outside of his own family 
"forestieri" — "strangers." ^ The South Italian had survived 
regimes that were as destructive as natural disasters; and 
he accepted natural disasters — earthquakes, floods, droughts 
— as part of the common course of events. Perhaps this helps 
explain his extraordinary suspiciousness of everyone and 
everything outside his family of blood relatives. 

In any case, the South has been seen as the 
problem area of Italy for a hundred years, and like some 
such areas in other places, it has produced a great and 
fascinating literature that has made its problems familiar 
to intellectual Americans. 

Of 2,300,000 Italian immigrants to the 
United States between 1899 and 1910, 1,900,000 were South 
Italians.^ Of these, less than half of 1 per cent were in the 
professions, only 15 per cent were in skilled occupations, 
and 77 per cent were farm workers or laborers — that is, 
without any skill of value in an urban, industrial setting. 
By contrast, three times as many North Italians were pro- 
fessionals, and 66 per cent were laborers. North Italians had 
on the average twice as much money as South Italians when 
they came in, and slightly more than the average immigrant. 
More than half of the South Italian immigrants over four- 
teen were illiterate, but only 12 per cent of the North Ital- 
ians.^ This difference was reduced when, after the First 
World War, adult immigrants were required to show liter- 



Coming from the land, unskilled and illit- 
erate, the South Italians at first worked as common laborers 
on railroad and other construction projects throughout the 
Northeast. They replaced the Irish, who also had arrived 
unskilled and illiterate, but in contrast to the Irish, the 
Italian men generally came alone, and in many cases with 
no intention of staying. The Italian migration had one of 
the smallest proportions of women and children, one of the 
highest proportions of returning immigrants."^ 

In 1880, according to the census, there were 
only 44,000 Italians in the country, 12,000 of them in New 
York. New York was the largest settlement from the begin- 
ning, and as the number of Italians in the country grew, 
New York continued to hold about one-quarter of them. 
In the first great decade of migration, the i88o's, 268,000 
Italians came, but so many returned that only 183,000 were 
numbered in 1890. This pattern was repeated for the next 
two decades. In the., nineties, 604,000 Italians entered the 
country, but only 484,000 were enumerated in 1900. In the 
first decade of the nineteenth century, 2,104,000 came, but 
only 1,343,000 persons of Italian birth were enumerated in 
1910. The pattern then began to change. Between 1910 and 
1920, 1,110,000 immigrants arrived, and in 1920 there were 
1,610,000 persons of Italian birth in the country. By the 
1920's the immigration was a permanent one. Men came 
with their families, or hoped to bring them soon, and re- 
turned to Italy only for visits or in their old age. The 
immigration continued at flood tide until cut off by the 
quota act of 1924, and 455,000 entered during the twenties. 
In 1930 there were 1,790,000 persons of Italian birth in this 
country, the largest number ever shown in a census. As 
many Italian immigrants as the stringent laws allow still en- 
ter this country. During the 1950's between 15,000 and 
20,000 Italians entered each year,^ of whom probably a 
third settled in the New York metropolitan region. 

In New York in 1890 there were 75,000 
Italian-born persons and 40,000 of Italian parentage, to- 
gether less than 5 per cent of the city's population. By 
1900 the total had increased to 220,000, still only 6 per cent 
of the population. In the next decade it increased to 11 



per cent of the population, and in 1920 to 14 per cent. In 
1917, 30 per cent o£ the children in the public schools of 
the city were of Italian parentage. Considering the high 
birth rate of the Italian population in the 1910's and 1920's, 
the Italian population of the city — that is, those born in 
Italy, their children and grandchildren — must by 1930 have 
been at least a sixth of the city.^ They make up perhaps the 
same proportion today, and thus rank second in size only 
to the Jews among ethnic groups in the city.^^ 



tion of Boston just a few years ago, he titled his study The 
Urban Villagers^ The two keys to understanding the role 
of Italians in America are the Italian neighborhood and the 
Italian family. Italians adapted to American society, took 
on new occupations, became politically significant, but still 
today, three generations after the founding of the first big 
Italian settlements in New York, the traditional bounds of 
neighborhood and family determine in large measure the 
accomplishments of American Italians. 

From the beginning, the village-mindedness 
of the Southern Italians was striking to American observers. 
When the immigrants settled in the blocks of New York or 
in the small industrial communities around the city, they 
tended to congregate with others from the same province or 
even village. ^^ illiteracy seriously hampered the develop- 
ment of these diverse settlements into a single ethnic group, 
for differences in dialect, which in turn engendered mutual 
suspicion, tended to endure in the absence of widespread 
written communication. The Italian press was hampered 
not only by the illiteracy of its clientele but also by the 
existence of a great gap between the ordinary spoken lan- 
guage and the official language of the press. This contrasted, 
for example, with the Jewish situation. After Ab Cahan 
created the Daily Forward, literary and difficult Yiddish all 
but disappeared from the daily Yiddish press. In any case 
the dialectical differences within Yiddish were minor com- 
pared with those in Italian, and the Jews attached less im- 
portance to them than did the Italians, for whom they had 
great symbolic and emotional meaning. 



The first Italian neighborhoods proved re- 
markably stable. Areas that were Italian in 1920 remain so, 
somewhat attenuated, today. East Harlem, which sent La 
Guardia to Congress in the twenties and Marcantonio in 
the 1940's, sent Santangelo in the late fifties and early sixties. 
However, this East Harlem community is now closely ringed 
by mostly Negro and Puerto Rican housing projects, and 
the district that elected Santangelo did not exist in 1962. 
The North Bronx Italian sections developed (as did similar 
areas in Queens) when Italians went to the end of the sub- 
way lines and beyond, seeking cheap land on which to build 
houses and raise vegetables and goats. These sections are 
still heavily Italian, and help elect Representative Paul Fino 
from the Bronx. Staten Island, which also was attractive to 
Italians forty years ago because it offered a semirural life, 
remains heavily Italian. It was the first borough to have an 
Italian borough president. Even the Italian section of Green- 
wich Village remains solidly established despite a dozen 
waves of artists and Bohemians. Indeed, there is no more 
striking evidence of the strength of Italian communities 
than the tenements of the South Village, which, regardless 
of the bizarre Bohemian activities in the basements and 
storefronts, are still largely Italian. While the Jewish map . 
of New York City in 1920 bears almost no relation to that ^ 
in 1961, the Italian districts, though weakened in some 
cases and strengthened in others, are still in large measure 
where they were.^^ 

Nor are these old Italian neighborhoods 
only shells of their former selves, inhabited exclusively by 
the older people. Many of the married sons and daughters 
have stayed close to their parents. Even the trek to the 
suburbs, when it does occur among Italians, is very often 
a trek of families of two generations, rather than simply of 
the young. And it is striking how the old neighborhoods 
have been artfully adapted to a higher standard of living 
rather than simply deserted, as they would have been by 
other groups, in more American style.^* Tenements that 
once housed eight families now house half as many. The old 
houses are rebuilt on the inside (there is always a great 
amount of skilled building and crafts labor in an Italian 
community), new furniture is brought into the old apart- 



ments, new cars line the streets, and even the restaurants 
reflect quality and affluence, for they serve not only friends 
and relatives who come back to the neighborhood but also 
those who never moved away, and who now have an income 
far greater than the cost and quality of their housing would 

Pleasant Avenue (now Paladino Avenue) in 
old Italian East Harlem and Prince and Thompson Streets 
in downtown Manhattan are very different from what they 
once were. They are less crowded and more comfortable, 
but they still reflect the surprising endurance of the Italian 
neighborhood in the city. The conservative village is in 
part recreated in an urban environment. When Salvatore 
Cotillo, the first Italian elected to the State Assembly from 
East Harlem, left to take his seat in Albany, he had never 
before, since arriving in New York as a boy, ventured 
beyond the borders of the city I ^^ 

Because the desire for the new and the fash- 
ionable in housing is so restrained among Italians by attach- 
ment to the old neighborhood, even old neighborhoods that 
are quite unfashionable (because they are adjacent to docks, 
railroad yards, and factories) remain fully occupied, resisting 
the social consequences if not the outer appearance of blight. 
For example, there is such a community just across the East 
River from the United Nations, north of the Long Island 
Railroad yards. The industrial side of the Hudson River 
is also heavily Italian. Thus Italians occupy inlying areas 
that have been by-passed in the push to develop distant 
suburbs; in the shadows of the skyscrapers they enjoy quiet 
and convenient neighborhoods. 

Powerful as the Italian village culture was, 
however, it could not, when transferred to the United States, 
sustain the absolute power of the father and the unques- 
tioning humility of the children. Instead, the children, find- 
ing a serious gap between themselves and their parents, 
tended to create groups of their own, with something of 
their own values, code, and morality. Thus, to the structure 
of the Italian-American neighborhood was added a group 
known variously as the "boys," the "fellows," the "club," the 
"gang." In it boys gathered around the corner store, outside 
of the crowded tenements, and horsed around, talked, and 



whistled at girls. This phenomenon was not confined among 
immigrant groups to Italians, but it seems to have been 
especially characteristic of them. W. .£._\\ [hyte's vivid de- 
scription in Street Corner^ ociety of the life^jh£g£^orner 
boysjs drawn ffom an Italian s lum .jg^ possible explana- 
tion is that in Italian culture there is a strong emphasis on 
male exhibitionism, strength, and sexual potency. The ex- 
hibition needs a proper audience, which might be found 
among the circle of family and relatives who gather daily 
or at least on Sunday, and among the street corner boys 
who gather nightly. The boys would withdraw from this 
society at marriage, almost embarrassed to be deserting the 
gang even for so compelling a reason. (A very few deserted 
the boys to train for careers.) But a little while after mar- 
riage they would be back among their old friends. Then 
the nightly gatherings might be moved to an apartment, 
where the women could talk separately in another room.^^ 
In older age, the group might organize a club. Every Italian 
neighborhood is marked by storefronts behind which men 
chat, play cards, and drink coffee, free from intrusion by 

'Tree from strangers" is again the motif. 
Even today in Italian neighborhoods strangers are conspic- 
uous. A non-Italian newcomer encounters a tight net of 
friendship and blood relation that binds the community and 
excludes outsiders until they are found to be "all right." 
And yet Italian neighborhoods supplied the best settings 
for bohemia. Oddities that did not affect the group could 
easily be ignored. Italians of the immigrant and second 
generations, who still dominate most of the old neighbor- 
hoods, do not subscribe to an abstract morality. Concern for 
odd or immoral behavior is limited to one's own family; 
the rest of the world, as long as it poses no threat, may be 
ignored. Emphasis on outer appearances — the "middle-class 
look" — develops relatively slowly among Italian Americans, 
probably not until the third generation. What is important 
is not the appearance of streets and houses, but the inner 
quality, where relatives and friends are welcome, and a good 
table is set. Thus it has been possible for Italians to look 
tolerantly on the oddballs, and to go about their business 
without being bothered. But perhaps this characteristic of 



the Italian neighborhood accounts less for its attractiveness 
to bohemians than the supply of cheap housing and small, 
low-priced restaurants that serve wine! 

The tight little Italian neighborhood can 
accommodate a special group that really doesn't participate 
in its life, just as an Italian village can live comfortably 
with tourists; but it rigidly resists invasions of new immi- 
grant groups, who have their own form of community exist- 
ence. In New York, of course, these new groups are Puerto 
Rican and Negro. When they move into Italian neighbor- 
hoods there is, at the least, a good deal of resentful talk. 
The boys' gangs respond in tough fashion. And the Italian 
community — whether of renters or homeowners — moves 
away slowly, if at all. This has been the case in East Harlem, 
in Bushwick in Brooklyn, and elsewhere.^^ 

The little circles of kinfolk and townfolk, 
gathered in a neighborhood, were the base of the American 
Italian community. In the eaiiy days, when Italians were 
the laborers and building workers of New York, they worked 
in groups under a leader from t^e same village, or someone 
known to one of the group. These were padroni^ who sup- 
plied squads of laborers, took the pay, and divided it among 
the workers — a necessary function when employers and 
workers could not speak each other's language. In 1897 it 
was estimated that two-thirds of the Italian labor in New 
York was controlled by the padroni.^^ At that time Italians 
formed roughly three-quarters of building labor in the city 
(the Irish had made up the same proportion only ten years 
before). By 1900 they formed almost the entire force build- 
ing the New York subways. 

The padroni often exploited the workers. 
Their contracts with employers gave them far too much 
of the workers' return, they lied in describing jobs, and the 
workers had no redress. In any case, the workers — illiterate, 
fearful of government, and docile before men of prominence 
— did not dream of bringing the padroni to justice. Aware 
of the evil, the Italian government tried to set up inde- 
pendent agencies that would arrange jobs for Italian work- 
men; it got little support from the prominenti (leaders) in 
New York's Italian community, who themselves very often 
had been padroni. Thus, among the immigrants, money 



that might have improved the miserable standard of living 
or financed workers' institutions as in other ethnic groups 
instead went to a small number of wealthy dignitaries, 
either padroni or "bankers" — the shopkeepers and travel 
agents who kept and transmitted money for the immigrants. 
The illiterate workers preferred to use these kinfolk for 
saving money or sending it to Italy. Once more they were 
exploited, until state laws were passed to control these 
immigrant banks and bankers. 

Italian government representatives and so- 
cialist and anarchist groups tried in various ways to amelio- 
rate the lot of the Italian workers but were helpless against 
the padroni and the bankers. In the village community 
there was neither a tradition of self-help nor an expectation 
of improvement. The Italian immigrants did not assume 
that their children were as good as anybody else's. Thus, the 
most proletarian of immigrant groups played little role in 
the labor movement.2<> Furthermore, the Italian building- 
trades workers were sometimes excluded from unions, which 
the Irish dominated.^i Many Italian common laborers were 
organized in the Hod Carriers, the first union to have an 
Italian president, but this union became padronismo on a 
larger scale and was a scandal to the labor movement. Dom- 
inic D'Allessandro, who had worked in a bank before be- 
coming a labor organizer, skillfully maneuvered himself into 
the presidency of the Hod Carriers in 1909 and thereafter 
ran the union as a private fief. There was no convention 
from 1911 to 1941.22 Whatever material advantages this 
union brought to Italian workers, it did little to develop 
in them any sense of independence and competence. 

The Italian workers hesitated to strike 
against kinfolk who were padroni or employers, or to 
organize against Italians who became union leaders. The 
difference in station intimidated them, and in any case, 
many at first looked forward to returning to Italy and did 
not want to lose wages in a strike or risk trouble in a union 
fight in order to improve a long-run position. Furthermore, 
having come from the land, they had no knowledge of trade- 
unionism or radical movements. Italian girls scabbed in the 
great strike of the waistmakers in 1909-1910. It took careful 
work by the International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union, 



with the aid of such men as Salvatore Ninfo and Fiorello 
La Guardia, to develop powerful Italian locals within that 
union after igio.^^ 

To the business union-minded Irish leaders 
of the building trades, the Italians were cheap labor under- 
cutting the market; to the socialist-minded Jewish leaders 
of the garment trades, they were deficient in class conscious- 
ness. Their own leaders were often the spiritual brethren 
of the narrow-minded and selfish galantuomi of the South 
Italian small town, and they lorded it over the workingman 
in New York as the gentry lorded it over the peasant in 
Southern Italy. There were many outstanding leaders of 
Italian labor and many outstanding Italian radicals — for 
example, Ettor and Giovanitti, who led the Lawrence strike 
for the IWW in 1912, and Carlo Tresca, who was for many 
years a leading radical editor. Salvatore Ninfo, August Bel- 
lanca, Luigi Antonini, and others organized and led power- 
ful locals in the Jewish-dominated garment-trades unions. 
But the influence of radical and labor leaders in the Italian 
community was small. It was impossible to establish a social- 
ist Italian daily. The leading newspaper of the Italian com- 
munity was (and remains) II Progresso Italo-Americano, 
which was founded by Carlo Borsatti, a former padrone. 
He was succeeded as editor by a wealthy businessman, 
Generoso Pope. This newspaper and the Italian press in 
general were opposed to unions in the years when Italian 
workers might have been creating powerful ones.^* This was 
in marked contrast to the Yiddish press, of which the most 
important paper was the Socialist Forward. 

The family- and community-based Italian 
settlements were incapable of creating group-wide institu- 
tions such as the Jewish community built. Indeed, while 
the Jews were founding the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, 
the Educational Alliance, and other institutions to help im- 
migrants off to a good start, the leaders of the Italian com- 
munity were sabotaging efforts of the Italian government 
and a few farsighted Italian individuals to set up similar 
institutions. At a time when money was desperately needed 
for the Italian Home, a social agency launched by the consul 
to aid the immigrants, Borsatti's // Progresso was raising 
large sums from the immigrants and their mutual aid socie- 



ties for a monument to Columbus.^^ This was the kind of 
communal enterprise the Italian prominenti favored; stat- 
ues to Columbus, Mazzini, Verrazzano, Garibaldi, and 
Verdi went up in rapid succession, all gifts of American 
Italians to the city of New York. (Again by contrast, the 
larger, more prosperous, and better organized Jewish com- 
munity has still not built a statue to any of its famous men 
in the city.) 

This pattern has characterized the Italian 
community of New York to the present day. It can make 
great efforts for a noble gesture, but it has been incapable 
of creating institutions that work steadily for common ends. 
Thus, in the twenties, the Italians of New York raised the 
grand Casa Italiana at 117th Street and Broadway. Wealthy 
Italians of the city, and particularly those who had made 
fortunes in erecting fine buildings — the Paterno brothers and 
Anthony Campagna — gave generously. But it has not be- 
come a significant cultural center for the New York Italian 
community. And while this campaign was going on, the 
Italian lawyer and sociologist John H. Mariano could write, 
after pointing to the enormous neglected educational, 
health, and social needs of Italian youths: "Altogether in 
New York City there are thirty-seven welfare agencies cater- 
ing exclusively to Jewish-speaking children, eleven catering 
exclusively to Irish children, four to German children, three 
to Greek, one to Spanish. There is in existence an Italian 
Child Welfare Committee, an organization affiliated with 
the Catholic Big Brothers." ^e Robert F. Foerster, the great 
scholar who chronicled the Italians' emigration, also mused 
about their individualism: "Musical as few people have 
been, the Italians have never developed much interest in 
choir singing." And the love of grandeur: 

. . . the municipal expenditures in Italy are, to an unusual 
extent, munificent rather than provident and every town 
wants a statue to some valoroso concittadino. . . . Much 
of the life of Italians in their foreign settlements is organ- 
ized about this trait. Many a mutual aid society has come 
into existence largely because of the chance offered for 
pomp and paraphernalia, and has been held together by 
its picnics, excursions, and parades. Through the narrow 
streets of such a colony a funeral procession may take its 
way, an endless succession of carriages smothered in flowers, 



followed by an endless line of men marching single file, 
plumed, decorated in uniform, carrying gorgeous banners 
— is it for the deceased or the living? ^7 

Mutual aid societies did flourish, as in other 
immigrant communities. Workingmen and small shopkeep- 
ers showed a capacity to cooperate in the days before relief 
and social insurance, in confronting the accidents of an in- 
dustrial society. But once again, the social strength of the 
neighborhood could not be developed on a larger scale. 
There were no less than 2,000 Italian mutual benefit socie- 
ties in New York City in 1910.28 While large numbers of 
these were banded together in the National Order of the 
Sons of Italy, it never developed beyond the city and state 
level to become a strong national organization. It had noth- 
ing like the strength of B'nai B'rith or the great Croatian 
and Slovenian benefit societies. Indeed, in 1961 when Ital- 
ians everywhere were agitated by the representation of 
Italian criminals in the television program "The Untouch- 
ables," they had in effect to create a protest organization. 
They had none of the size and resources of the American 
Jewish Committee, the American Jewish Congress, the Anti- 
Defamation League, or the National Association for the 
Advancement of Colored People. 



and peer-group from the family in their impact on immi- 
grant and second-generation Italian Americans. The set of 
qualities that seems to distinguish Italian Americans in- 
cludes individuality, temperament, and ambition, all of 
which, however, are restricted by the culture and outlook of 
the family and neighborhood. This produces a tension, the 
most satisfying resolution of which is some form of worldly 
success that is admired by one's family and the friends of 
one's childhood. Perhaps the ideal is the entertainer — to 
give him a name, Frank Sinatra — who is an international 
celebrity, but still the big-hearted, generous, unchanged boy 
from the block. That form of individuality and ambition 
which is identified with Protestant and Anglo-Saxon culture, 
and for which the criteria of success are abstract and im- 



personal, is rare among American Italians. A good deal of 
this Italian-American orientation can be explained by look- 
ing at the family. 

Edward C. Banfield has named the charac- 
teristic outlook of a small southern Italian village "amoral 
familism." ^9 According to this outlook, one owes nothing 
to anyone outside one's family, and effort should advance 
only the family. The picture of such a life has been shown 
also in Verga's The House by the Medlar Tree, in Carlo 
Levi's Christ Stopped at Eholi, and in many novels of 
Italian-American life, such as Michael DeCapite's moving 
Maria. But the fullest and most vivid description of how 
this outlook has been carried to America is in Leonard 
Covello's The Social Background of the I talo- American 
School Child. "It is impossible," Covello writes, "to imagine 
the contadino [peasant] in South Italy contributing to the 
Red Cross." ^^ He gives vivid examples of the universal 
acceptance of the notion that morality is limited to family 
members. Perhaps the most striking is the case of the old 
woman who saw a village boy stealing fruit from a tree. She 
ignored this. But after she saw him do it a second time she 
severely reprimanded the boy. Why? Because the first time 
he was stealing from someone who was not part of his fam- 
ily, a "stranger," and this was all right.^^ 

The content of this moral code remained 
basically the same among Italian immigrants to America. 
One should not trust strangers, and may advance one's inter- 
est at the cost of strangers. Also, one does not interfere with 
strangers' business. One therefore tolerates the breaking of 
law by others (leaving aside the fact that it might be dan- 
gerous to do otherwise). "You be a gentleman, I'll be a 
gentleman," is the way this outlook is expressed in America 
today.32 Obviously it has a good deal in common with con- 
temporary American morality. But whereas for America in 
general this self-serving and anticommunal ethic breaks with 
something in the American past, for the Italian American 
it is continuous with the past. For him it is rather the old 
American universalistic and abstract morality that is alien. 
The Italian peasant village and the contemporary American 
metropolis thus converge to some extent in a common eth- 
ical outlook. 



But there remains the difference that the 
contemporary American ethic values 5^ //-advancement, , 
whereas the Itahan variant still valuessfamily a dvancemeitty 
Thus, even in the case of Italian gangsteH^or racketeers, 
there is a surprising degree of family stability and concern 
with children, brothers, sisters, and other relatives. For ex- 
ample, the important group of Italians with illegal business 
connections who were discovered accidentally in a conclave 
at Apalachin, New York, were on the whole good family 
men; in fact, the Apalachin conference itself resembled 
nothing so much as a great family picnic. Indeed, it is im- 
possible to understand Italians in crime without the setting 
of the family and neighborhood. Perhaps this accounts in 
part for the Italian-American superiority in organized crime. 
The "natural" succession in the management of criminal 
enterprise from the Italians to the newest slum-dwellers, the 
Negroes and Puerto Ricans, has not taken place in the city, 
and one reason may be that the Italian family and neigh- 
borhood provide connections of a closeness and depend- 
ability that the other groups cannot match.* 

Of course, Italians have the advantage of 
better political connections, but that is not a satisfactory 
explanation by itself. In early i960 a New York Post re- 
porter, Ted Poston, investigated Adam Clayton Powell's 
charge that the New York police favored Italian and Jewish 
policy bankers in Harlem over Negro ones. He found indeed 
that Italians were driving Negroes out of business, but one 
reason was the Negroes' own style. As one player told him, 
the Negro policy banker gets a flashy car and flashy woman, 
and this annoys the customers, particularly when he has to 
scratch around in his pockets to pay off on a hit. The Italian 
banker has a conservative car and family life, a situation 
reassuring to the customers.^^ 

* We should point out something that perhaps hardly needs to be 
pointed out: that when we talk of the relationship between Italians 
and crime we speak of only a minute fraction of American Italians. It 
seems quite true that many or most of the people engaged in organized 
crime (that is, crime organized as a business) are first- and second- 
generation Italians; but even if their numbers run into the thousands, 
this is still an insignificant part of some 6,000,000 Americans of Italian 



Obviously the relationship between Italians 
and crime cannot be explained simply on the ground that 
Italo-Americans have maintained the strong family of the 
Italian village. Other explanations include the characteristic 
Southern Italian peasant's attitude to government officials 
(they are "thieves," and in Southern Italy they were); the 
complementary attitude to laws (which help the "thieves" 
in their work); and the fact that while social mobility 
among Italians was slow, the desire for material goods and 
sensual satisfactions was strongly felt and uninhibited by 
a Puritanical religion. There is too the fact that one com- 
mon American channel to success — education — was nar- 
rowed for American Italians by the peculiar constitution 
and outlook of the family and neighborhood. 

It is hard to determine how much the struc- 
ture of the family helps us understand crime, education, 
and social mobility among American Italians. That the 
family is "strong" is clear. Divorce, separation, and deser- 
tion are relatively rare. Family life is considered the norm 
for everyone; bachelors and spinsters are few, much fewer 
than among the Irish. The Italian family resembles in some 
ways the Jewish one, in its strength, its heightened and 
uninhibited emotional quality, and even in some of its 
inner alliances. Thus, there is a strong tie between mother 
and son. But while the Jewish father is often ignored by 
this mother-son alliance, the Italian father is feared, for 
great emphasis is placed on male strength, and violent 
behavior is not unusual. 

Both the Jewish and the Italian mother over- 
feed and overprotect the children. This is perhaps one rea- 
son why the rate of alcoholism is low among both groups, 
but probably more important is the fact that in both cul- 
tures wine is drunk early in family settings. Both mothers 
want to keep their children close. But the Jewish son, de- 
spite his dependence and neurosis, finds it easier to leave 
home than the Italian son. This is perhaps because accom- 
plishment for the Italian son is felt by the parents to be 
meaningless unless it directly gratifies the family — for ex- 
ample, by maintaining the closeness of the family or advanc- 
ing the family's interests through jobs and marriage. The 



Jewish parents can be gratified symbolically by the accom- 
plishment of a son who may be removed from or even indif- 
ferent to them. To draw a distinction from cultural anthro- > 
pology, the Italian family seems to be more interested in a 
child's being than his becoming, and the latter is sacrificed 
to the former.34 

But the social explanations for the differ- 
ences are as convincing as the psychological. The Jewish 
child never has to face the conflict between departure from 
the family and individual achievement as clearly as the 
Italian child does, for the Jewish child is part of a whole 
group that is changing simultaneously its occupations, way 
of life, and dwelling places. Mobility for Italians has to be 
individual mobility, because the group moves slowly and 
is conservative in its outlook and habits; Jewish mobility is 
a mass phenomenon. Conceivably the Italian family nur- 
tures a confident and self-reliant personality by its warmth 
and dependability and by early gratification of the child's 
desires (but studies show that there is a good deal of incon- 
sistency in this gratification, which may not be so comfort- 
ing to the child). But the society of his childhood is ready 
to punish him if he does seek to leave upon growing up and 
it is painful to leave in any case because so few do. An 
Italian- American novel published in 1961 (A Cup of the 
Sun, by Octavia Waldo) describes the problem of a young 
Italian American of great sensitivity who wants to become 
an artist or writer. She is as isolated in her community as 
she would be in a small Midwest town. She must go away 
to school, and she knows she will never have anything to 
come back to. Her development separates her decisively 
from the friends with whom she grew up. 

There are distinctive solutions to this prob- 
lem of expressing individualism while staying with the 
group. One can become a local lawyer, staying in the neigh- 
borhood and active in politics, or a local doctor, or a local 
businessman. Or one may become that special variant of a 
local businessman, a racketeer, who is a celebrity yet a resi- 
dent of the old neighborhood block, where connections to 
the police, the local political powers, and the customers are 
available. But to enter a larger society — ^Wall Street, Madi- 
son Avenue, Washington — ^has been a challenging and diffi- 



cult task, and it is only in the past ten or fifteen years that 
any sizable numbers of Italians have deserted the hearth and 
neighborhood to try. Even now, the proportion is not large. 
But perhaps the chief factor in restricting 
the movement of second-generation Italian Americans has 
been their attitude to schooling. The South Italian immi- 
grants came from villages in which schools were only for 
the children of the galantuomi, and the peasant's child 
(should his parents have the strange idea of sending him) 
was unwelcome. Education was for a cultural style of life 
and professions the peasant could never aspire to. Nor was 
there an ideology of change; intellectual curiosity and orig- 
inality were ridiculed or suppressed. "2p not make^your 
child better than you are," runs a South Italian proverb. • a 

''~^"'""""'"'"' Nor, despite a strong desire for material i^^>yjJjjV,Aj^ 
provement, did the Italian family see a role for education^ 
in America.35 One improved one's circumstances by hardju^^'.. L 
work, perhaps by a lucky strike, but not by spending time . i , 

in a school, taught by women, who didn't even beat the CXMaCAAK 
children. Parents felt that the children should contribute 
to the family budget as soon as possible, and that was years 
before the time fixed by the state for the end of their educa- 
tion. Truancy and drop-outs were a constant problem, and 
were often abetted by the parents, who wanted the children 
to help out in the shop or store. And aside from these paren- 
tal attitudes, the general isolation of the Italians as a result of 
their slow assimilation meant that the children, when forced 
out of the close, familiar family and into school, were ill 
at ease. They had not been raised for new adventures. Under 
this (from an American viewpoint) topsy-turvy system of 
values, it was the "bad" son who wanted to go to school 
instead of to work, the "bad" daughter who wanted to re- 
main in school instead of helping her mother. Such behavior 
made the "bad" ones strangers to their families. For the 
children of the South Italian peasants in New York to get 
college educations in the 1920's and 1930's was a heroic 
struggle. (The situation was different among North Italians 
and South Italians not of peasant background. From these 
groups, most college-trained professionals were drawn until 



To New York's public school administrators 
of twenty and thirty years ago the great burden was the 
"Italian problem," just as today it is the Negro and Puerto 
Rican problem. The two periods have some things in com- 
mon, such as the language difficulty of Italian and Puerto 
Rican children, and the disdain, even contempt, of many 
teachers and administrators for the children. But there are 
also striking differences. The problems of present-day Negro 
and Puerto Rican children often stem from the weakness 
of the family, in which a single overburdened and resentful 
parent is unable to maintain an ordered home life for the 
child. By contrast, the problems of the Italian children 
stemmed from a too strong, too rigorously ordered family, 
which did not value education. 

Leonard Covello, one of the great educators 
of New York City, has described the whole educational 
history of the New York Italian in his autobiography. The 
Heart is the Teacher. He came to an overcrowded tenement 
in East Harlem from a Southern Italian town. He attended 
elementary school and left high school when all his friends 
did. The influence of a neighbor's daughter, and later of 
settlement house workers and Protestant missionaries, sus- 
tained him in returning to high school and going through 
Columbia University on scholarships. When his father heard 
that he was involved in sports in school, he told him to go 
to work — why should he go to school to be a strong man? 
(Many Negro parents today are also suspicious of anything 
other than the three R's, but Covello's parents weren't en- 
thusiastic about those, either.) 

Covello became a foreign-language teacher 
in DeWitt Clinton High School. Italian was not then one 
of the foreign languages taught, and Covello felt (aside from 
the significance of Italian as a major language) that teach- 
ing it might do much to enhance the self-image of the 
Italian boys (the problem was largely with the boys, interest- 
ingly enough, just as it is today with Negro boys). Covello, 
one of the first teachers of Italian background in the city 
high schools, and Salvatore Cotillo, the first elected Assem- 
blyman — who were both from East Harlem — fought for this 
change and got the Board of Education to admit Italian to 
the high school curriculum in 1922. 



Covello later became principal of the new 
Benjamin Franklin High School in East Harlem. He con- 
tinually studied the educational problems of Italian chil- 
dren, gave a course to teachers at the School of Education 
of New York University on the background of Italo-Ameri- 
can children, and worked on his own major study of this 
problem. In the later forties, Covello saw the Italian prob- 
lem in the schools give way to the Negro and Puerto Rican 
problems, just as Italian laborers and other workers in the 
least skilled jobs were being replaced by these new groups. 
He then became the adviser on education problems to the 
New York office of the Migration Division of the Common- 
wealth of Puerto Rico, and has since energetically devoted 
his enormous talents and experience to that problem. 

For two long generations, for immigrants 
and second generation alike, the burden of Southern Italian 
culture prevented Italo-Americans from making effective 
use of the public school system in New York. The effects of 
this heritage, while they are no longer particularly visible 
in the elementary and high schools, may be seen in the city 
colleges. Eleven per cent of the graduates of Hunter College 
in i960 were of Italian name, and 6 per cent of the grad- 
uates of City College. These proportions are less than one 
would expect on the basis of the city population of Italian 
origin. The difference in Italian enrollment between Hun- 
ter and City College reflects the role of Catholicism in the 
process of Italian adaptation to American norms of high 
education. There are more Italian girls in Hunter because 
of the sequence of Catholic presidents there and because, 
in accordance with the Catholic preferred practice. Hunter 
is not coeducational. Priests and other religious advisers 
therefore suggest Hunter for girls. City College and Brook- 
lyn College, with their radical traditions, are less favored. 
Around Queens College there has for many years centered 
a struggle in which Catholic elements have attempted to 
increase their influence on the administration, for Catholics 
feel that Queens, which began as a very liberal institution 
in a borough of homeowners — many of them Italian, Ger- 
man, and Irish Catholic — should reflect the attitudes of its 
community somewhat more strongly. 



With respect to the Italian graduates of City 
College, another interesting point is that the majority of 
boys take degrees as engineers. The background of South 
Italians does not incline them toward the more intellectual 
and speculative college curricula; education is seen, when 
its importance is finally understood, almost exclusively as 
a means of preparing for a profession — teaching for the 
girls, engineering or the free professions for the boys. Amer- 
ican Catholicism too encourages such practical pursuits, and 
in the third generation, the influence of Catholicism among 
Italian Americans has become formidable. From a collection 
of village cults with a distinct and marked character that 
made Italian immigrants very different from Irish or Ger- 
man Catholics, the religion of Italian Americans has slowly 
become incorporated into the large and efficient structure 
of American Catholicism. Thus, the proportion of Italian 
Americans enrolled in parochial schools steadily increases; 
the student body of Fordham University, for example, has 
become half Italian. This new appeal of the Catholic uni- 
versities is another factor reducing the Italian proportion 
in the free city colleges. 



first decades of heavy Italian migration, offered strong bar- 
riers to the organizational and intellectual influence of 
Catholicism. There was much discussion, from the i88o's 
on, of the "Italian problem" in the Church: the fact that 
there were few priests, that many of these were of poor 
quality, that few Italians observed the sacraments, and 
that many departed from the Church.^^ In the first two 
decades of this century Protestant groups conducted mission 
churches in an energetic effort to convert Italians. Norman 
Thomas, the Socialist leader, was the pastor of one such 
church in East Harlem before World War I, and at that 
time there were almost 300 Italian Protestant missionaries 
engaged in full-time work among the American Italians.-^^ 
Fiorello H. La Guardia was himself Protestant, as were such 
other important Italian political figures as Ferdinand Pecora 
and Charles Poletti. All this reflected the weakness of Ca- 



tholicism among Italian Americans up until about the 

This situation is now changing. As Italians 
emerged from the grip of neighborhood and family which 
had maintained the peculiar cast of South Italian culture, 
they did not enter directly into an unmodulated and ab- 
stract Americanism. By the 1950's the American temper, as 
reflected in the age of suburbia and Eisenhower, emphasized 
the fact that every man must have a religion, and Cathol- 
icism was indeed one of the best and most American. Thus, 
the Italian migrant to the suburbs, who had perhaps never 
taken the village-type church of the dense ethnic neighbor- 
hood seriously (though his wife and perhaps his children 
had), found in the new, ethnically mixed Roman Catholic 
church of the suburbs an important expression of his new 
status as a middle-class American, just as his Jewish neigh- 
bor who had ignored the Orthodox church in the old neigh- 
borhood could not ignore the Conservative synagogue or 
Reform temple of the suburbs. 

In particular, the rising Italian middle class, 
which adopts American Roman Catholicism as a symbol 
of its new status, also adopts the parochial school. The 
public schools, headed by Dr. Covello's Benjamin Franklin 
High School, dominated the educational life of East Har- 
lem; this is not the case in the heavily Italian areas of New 
Jersey and Long Island. There the parochial school, what- 
ever the heavy sacrifices necessary to maintain it, is strongly 
favored, while the American Italian population, as part 
now of a general American Catholic group, maintains pres- 
sure on the public schools to reflect the cultural orientations 
of American Catholicism. (Thus, for example, when an issue 
developed in 1961 in a Long Island suburb over corporal 
punishment in the public schools, it was, one might see in 
the papers, those with the Jewish names who opposed such 
punishment, and those with Italian names who favored it.) 

This new suburban Catholicism is stronger 
than the Catholicism of the old neighborhood. It also oper- 
ates as a special variant of the melting pot for the American- 
Italian group. In the old neighborhoods there was antago- 
nism between Irish and Italian Catholics. It began over jobs 



in construction and influence in the Irish-run unions. It 
was maintained by cultural differences between the celibate, 
hard-drinking Irish, and the more sensual, wine-drinking 
Italians. It was expressed in Italian resentment over the 
Irish monopoly of municipal politics and jobs and also in 
Italian antagonism to an Irish-run church. The care of 
Italian souls was largely — almost always on the upper levels, 
but also often in the parishes — in Irish hands. Italians re- 
sponded with indifference to religious observances in the 
case of most of the men, or, in the case of the most up- 
wardly mobile, with a change of allegiance to Protestantism. 

However, as mobility of Italians has become 
a large-scale phenomenon since World War II, the Catholic 
Church has assimilated this rising group into the new Amer- 
ican Catholicism. The Irish and Italians, who often con- 
tended with each other in the city, may work together and 
with other groups in the Church in the suburbs, and their 
separate ethnic identities are gradually being muted in 
the common identity of American Catholicism. Protestant- 
ism was a symbol of rising social status among Italians thirty 
and forty years ago. Today, a more significant symbol of 
rising social status is marriage with a girl of Irish descent, 
who has gone to a good Catholic school, and who seems to 
young Italians to represent the older American society as 
much as Protestantism did a generation ago. The social 
pages of the New York Times often report such marriages. 

Not that all is as yet peace between Italians 
and Irish in the Catholic Church. The hierarchy of the 
Church remains overwhelmingly Irish. In the New York 
Archdiocese of thirteen auxiliary bishops, only one, Joseph 
M. Pernicone, is of Italian origin. Even he, the lone Italian 
bishop in the American Church, was not appointed until 
1954. In Brooklyn, where there are very likely more Catho- 
lics of Italian than Irish origin, there are no Italian bishops. 

The number of Italian priests, too, remains 
small. Today, as Italians are finally becoming integrated 
into American Catholicism, with respect to their degree 
of observance, their support of parochial schooling, and 
their replacement of the cultural outlook of neighborhood 
and family by that of the Irish-American church, their 
integration lags in one respect — they do not provide large 



numbers of priests. Perhaps this will change, but it seems 
likely that one reason for the small weight of Italians in the 
Catholic Church — aside from the influence of the superla- 
tive organizational and bureaucratic skills of the Irish — 
is the fact that so few of them enter the Church and are 
available for further advancement. Here the old weight of 
South Italian culture makes itself felt. A man is supposed 
to be a man, and celibacy has always been something of a 
problem for the South Italian culture, which tends to see 
sexual needs as imperative and almost incapable of suppres- 
sion or moderation. Celibacy is apparently no great problem 
for the American Irish. Very many of them — as do the Irish 
in Ireland — marry late, or not at all. (Of second-generation 
Irish men in the New York metropolitan area, aged 14 to 24, 
8 per cent are married; of second-generation Italian men 
in the same age group, 14 per cent are married. Of those 
aged 25 to 44, 72 per cent of the Irish men and 80 per cent 
of the Italian men are married. Of those over 45, 17 per 
cent of the second-generation Irish men are still unmar- 
ried, against 10 per cent of the Italian men.) If one is to 
be celibate anyway, then an important consideration in 
contemplating a career in the Church need not affect one's 
decision. Among Italian Americans the South Italian as- 
sumption that sex is important and hardly controllable has 
under the circumstances of American life become trans- 
formed into the very similar point of view of American mass 
culture, and this too leaves little room for celibacy. 

Despite the relative paucity of priests of 
Italian origin, Catholicism is now firmly rooted among the 
Italian Americans, and its impact will be reflected more 
effectively, we believe, in their moral and social attitudes in 
the future. In time, the American hierarchy may take on 
more of an Italian cast than it has today. 



cans in the location of their neighborhood and the character 
of the family-based culture may also be seen when we con- 
sider their occupational history. The first-generation men 
were principally workers. Three-quarters of them were to 
be found, in 1950, in the categories of skilled, semiskilled, 



and unskilled workers. Two-thirds of the second-generation 
men were still workers. Among the women, the first genera- 
tion was highly concentrated among factory operatives. In 
the second generation, two-fifths were employed as clerical 
and salesworkers, but the largest single category among the 
native-born Italian-American women was still factory work- 
ers, principally in the garment industry. The gap between 
first and second generation among Italians, in the two occu- 
pations pursued, and in the income earned, was smaller than 
that for the other major European immigrant groups. (See 
Tables 6, 7, and 8, comparing the occupational distributions 
of first- and second-generation immigrants in the New York 
metropolitan area from Italy, the U. S. S. R., and Ireland.) 

Indeed, in the sphere of economy, as in that 
of residence and family, differences between first and second 
generation among Italians are likely to be less important 
than the differences between second and third generation. 
In all these fields these differences are only beginning to 
emerge now, in the period since the Second World War. As 
late as the thirties and the forties most Italian professionals 
came from either the small North Italian group or the small 
part of the South Italian immigrant group that was of non- 
peasant background. Today, the grandchildren of the immi- 
grants are moving into the professions and the higher white- 
collar fields. The mass media and advertising in particular 
have a good deal of glamour, and names of Italian origin 
are evident in these fields. 

The pattern whereby, among Jews, the chil- 
dren of storekeepers and small businessmen went to college 
and became professionals, is being repeated, on a smaller 
scale and a generation later, among Italian Americans. 
Despite their peasant background, their lack of commercial 
experience, their educational limitations, the first genera- 
tion of Italian immigrants showed a strong inclination for 
business enterprise, and established many thousands of 
stores, restaurants, wholesale food concerns, produce-han- 
dling firms, small contracting businesses, trucking and mov- 
ing concerns (moving in New York is almost an Italian- 
American monopoly), clothes manufacturing factories, and 
the like. The business spirit was much stronger among 
Italian immigrants than, for example, among Irish immi- 



grants. This network of small businesses has been expanded 
and maintained by the second generation, but since it is 
small business, often founded by parents with little educa- 
tion and social status, it does not very often attract the 
better-educated sons, just as in the case of Jewish small 
business. But Jewish small business was on a much greater 
scale than Italian small business, and many more Jewish en- 
terprises have grown so that the father's socially lowering 
enterprise (such as dealing in junk) has become socially 
more respectable (such as dealing in scrap), as well as finan- 
cially more rewarding. 

The great bureaucracies of government and 
business have also been attractive to the second and third 
generation of Italian Americans. But whereas the great cor- 
porations have had to deal with a problem of large numbers 
of college-trained Jews who have up to now found entrance 
into the executive hierarchy difficult (this has become a 
great matter of concern to Jewish defense agencies), as yet 
relatively few Italian Americans seek these jobs. It is hard 
to know whether there is discrimination against Italian 
Americans in the corporations, and in the country clubs 
and city clubs that are linked with their higher echelons. 
There are no Italian defense agencies and other community 
organizations to draw attention to such matters, even to the 
extent of formulating some general community opinion as 
to what the facts are. Perhaps Italian Americans, since there 
are relatively few of them, are treated more as individuals 
when they seek these higher jobs. There is evidence in 
studies of prejudice that in the thirties and forties Italian 
Americans came near the bottom of the list of American 
preferences. But today one-quarter of the population of New 
York City is Puerto Rican and Negro, and these raise on 
their shoulders, as they take over the dirty work, those who 
had the dirty work before them. 

This great change in the bottom economic 
group of the city in the last twenty years has unquestionably 
raised the status of Italians and reduced the prejudice they 
may expect. The image of Italian Americans has also un- 
doubtedly been affected by the more favorable image of 
Italy and things Italian since the end of the war. (In the 
past, Italians attempting to improve their social position 



would indicate they were linked to some noble or old family 
in Italy, rather than identify themselves with the generally 
low-status Italian-American group. Today, the entire group 
must benefit from the admiration and warm feeling felt by 
Americans for the culture and style of living of present-day 

But just what will happen when Italians 
join Jews in large numbers in attempting to enter the desir- 
able places in American business life and society is hard to 
predict. Perhaps by that time the American corporation will 
see itself, as its propaganda so often pictures it, as a truly 
public institution, bound to the same criteria of selection 
that today affect the government service — freedom from bias, 
and the requirement at the same time to represent and re- 
flect all parts of the American population. 



Mayor William O'Dwyer, Democrat, resigned shortly after 
being elected to his second term as mayor of New York, 
and sought refuge in Mexico as our Ambassador. A remark- 
able race for the mayoralty then developed. Vincent Impel- 
litteri, president of the City Council, wished to succeed 
O'Dwyer, but Democratic leaders decided to give the party's 
nomination to Judge Ferdinand Pecora, who had had a far 
more distinguished record. Impellitteri, who had the sup- 
port of a large part of the machine, then decided to run as 
an independent. Both men had been born in Sicily, but 
while Impellitteri was a good son of the Church, Pecora 
had in his youth become active in a Protestant Episcopal 
church in his neighborhood. The third major candidate, 
Edward Corsi, had also been born in Italy, but he repre- 
sented an earlier stage of New York Italian life. He came 
from Central Italy, not the South. His father had been a 
member of the Italian Chamber of Deputies. He had be- 
come part of that able group of Italian Americans in East 
Harlem who had made up a sort of Italian-American intel- 
ligentsia. He had in the twenties edited The New American, 
one of the few efforts to create a serious Italian-American 
publication in English. He had been a settlement house 
director in East Harlem and an active Republican, and had 



risen to the post of Commissioner of Immigration under 

Yet a fourth major Itahan-born figure 
played an important role in this campaign — Frank Costello, 
long reputed to be one of the country's major entrepreneurs 
and organizers of gambling and other illegal activities. Cos- 
tello was not running for office. But were it not for the fact 
that Mayor O'Dwyer could never explain satisfactorily why 
he had attended a meeting with some Tammany leaders in 
Costello's apartment before he ran for mayor in 1945, he 
might not have had to depart for Mexico, and this remark- 
able election, which gave opportunities to three other Ital- 
ian Americans, might never have taken place. The principal 
problem of the campaign, for both Pecora and Impellitteri, 
was to convince the electorate that the other was more 
deeply implicated in relations with underworld figures, and 
for Corsi, to convince the electorate that both were equally 

The campaign illustrates three major themes 
that have characterized the Italian-American role in New 
York City politics. 

First, despite the evidence of this campaign, 
the Italian Americans were slow and late in gaining an im- 
portant place in the considerations of party leaders. Impel- 
litteri had been, only five years before, the first Italian 
American to be placed on a citywide Democratic ticket. 
The formula for ticket balancing now requires that an 
Italian American fill one of the three major posts for which 
the entire city votes, but until 1945 this was not so. In 1941 
O'Dwyer ran against La Guardia, McGoldrick, and New- 
bold Morris. La Guardia's appeal was varied and rich, and 
his Italian-American background was no particular source 
of strength in the three mayoralty elections that he won. 
If it had been, it would not have taken the Democratic 
party leaders three unsuccessful campaigns to come up with 
an Italian-American candidate for controller or president 
of the City Council. 

The Italians were late in arriving at the 
forefront of the New York political scene because, despite 
their numbers, they had relatively few men of wealth and 
education. Through the twenties La Guardia was the only 



Congressman of Italian background from the city — and, as 
we have already suggested, he was in no sense chosen by 
party leaders as a "representative" of his ethnic group (this 
was the nature of Impellitteri's political rise).^^ La Guardia's 
personal gifts made it possible for him to win elections ten 
years before the Italian Americans, in the course of their 
slow ascent, achieved recognition. But in the forties this 
began to change. Generoso Pope and Frank Costello became 
powers in the affairs of New York City's Democrats. The 
number of Italian-American Assemblymen and judges rose. 
In 1949 Carmine DeSapio became the first Tammany leader 
of Italian background. 

A second major theme in the Italian-Amer- 
ican role in New York politics is involvement with crime. 
Daniel Bell has brilliantly analyzed the relationship be- 
tween crime, American life, and politics.*^ He points out 
that each ethnic group trying to achieve wealth and recog- 
nition, to find a place on the American scene, has, in se- 
quence, produced underworld figures. The early Irish gang- 
sters were succeeded by the Jews, and Arnold Rothstein, 
"Czar" of the New York underworld in the 1920's, was as 
closely linked to Democratic judges in Jimmy Walker's day 
as Frank Costello was fifteen years later. After the middle 
thirties, the most prominent gangsters in New York were of 
Italian origin, though their careers had begun in the 1920's. 

But the matter, as Bell points out, is not so 
simple, because the role of crime in each community has 
varied with the other sources of wealth and prominence 
that were available to it. The Irish controlled the political 
machines and city administrations, and Irish wealth de- 
veloped in construction, contracting, trucking, and public 
utilities, on the basis in part of this political link. There 
was no major role for strong-arm men and underworld ele- 
ments, though Irish thugs helped control the polls. Jewish 
wealth developed somewhat more independently of political 
power in the garment industry, merchandising, and build- 
ing, and offered opportunities to the large numbers of Jew- 
ish lawyers, of whom a relatively small proportion went 
into politics. Jewish gangsters became involved with Jewish 
wealth as industrial racketeers in the garment industry, but 



they played no important function, and were finally driven 

Opportunities for wealth and prominence 
came slow and late to Italian Americans. Meanwhile, gam- 
bling, drugs, and the waterfront succeeded industrial racket- 
eering and bootlegging as the major sources of illegal wealth. 
Into this field, as the older groups withdrew, the new group 
moved. By the time of the Kefauver investigations in the 
early 1950's, a large part of the gambling and other illegal 
industries had fallen almost completely into the hands of 
Italian Americans. And in their hands they apparently re- 
main, because the Negroes and Puerto Ricans have not 
shown the ability to capture them. 

The link between the illegal businessmen 
and the politicians was complex. The politicians of course 
needed money; and political protection was on the whole 
more important to illegitimate than to legitimate business- 
men. Other elements were mixed in. There was ethnic pride, 
which motivated a Frank Costello as much as it did a busi- 
nessman who had not become rich as a bootlegger. There 
was a desire to help out relatives and friends. There was the 
fact that bootleggers, politicians, lawyers, judges, and police- 
men had all grown up on the block together, and had never 
lost touch. How was one to sort out the influences, and 
decide the significance of the fact that judges and ex-boot- 
leggers and gamblers all sat around the same table to raise 
money for an orphan's home? 

In 1952, the New York State Crime Commis- 
sion held hearings in New York City on the links between 
politicians and criminals. Here is a bit of testimony on 
which anyone trying to unravel the relationship among 
crime, politics, and the Italian community may muse. Francis 
X. Mancuso, who had been a judge of the Court of General 
Sessions and a Tammany district leader, is testifying: 

"Do you know Frank Costello?" 

"I do, sir." 

"How long have you known him?" 

"About thirty-five years or so. His people 
come from the same town my people come from. They 
know each other. I may say there is intermarriage in the 
family; my first cousin married his first cousin." 



"There has been some notoriety about a 
meeting supposedly attended by you with Costello and Mr. 
Pope [Generoso Pope, pubHsher of II Progresso Italo Amer- 
icano, in the sand and gravel business], and the present 
county leader [Carmine DeSapio] at the Hotel Biltmore." 

"That's right." 

"You were at that meeting?" 

"Yes, sir," 

"All four of you?" 

"Four: Mr. Pope, Sr., Costello, Judge Va- 
lente — Louis Valente, DeSapio, and myself — five. I have no 
present recollection of the precise date; either the year '46 
or '47." 

"Can you relate it to nominations or elec- 
tions of any particular official?" 

"No. Just shortly after the first World War 
Gene Pope was interested in raising funds for orphan chil- 
dren of Italy — or the destitute children. He wanted to form 
a committee for the purpose of raising funds, and that was 
the prime object of the meeting." ^^ 

Obviously, the investigators thought the fine 
hand of Mr. Costello, who had received the gratitude of 
Thomas A. Aurelio in 1943 for helping with his nomination 
to the Supreme Court of New York, might again be involved 
in judicial nominations. Yet the people at the meeting would 
have been pretty much the same whether the purpose was to 
discuss judicial nominations or raise money for the poor 
children of Italy, The vulnerability of Italian-American 
political figures to charges of links with criminals will re- 
main great as long as substantial wealth in the Italian-Amer- 
ican community is derived from illegitimate enterprises. 

Mr. Impellitteri won the election. This illus- 
trates the third theme of Italian-American politics in New 
York — the emergence of the smooth, affable, middle-class, 
good Catholic as a representative of the group. It would be 
hard to prove it was this image that won the election for 
Impellitteri. Yet it is interesting to contrast New York's 
second Italian-American mayor with its first. La Guardia 
was a Protestant, his mother was from Trieste and of an 
Italian Jewish family, his father was from Foggia in Apulia, 
and he had been raised and educated in the Far West. This 
background made him as untypical a representative of New 



York's Italians as one can imagine. La Guardia was in fact 
the last white Protestant mayor of New York — and we do 
not use this designation in a simple demographic or classi- 
ficatory sense. He made more appointments from the old- 
stock, Anglo-Saxon population of the city than any other 
mayor since John Purroy Mitchel.^^ Like Mitchel, he rep- 
resented Reform, and in his day Reform meant the white 
Anglo-Saxon Protestant elements in New York's population, 
allied with Jews. 

After representing the East Harlem district 
in Congress through most of the twenties, La Guardia lost 
to a Tammany candidate, James J. Lanzetta, in 1932, when 
he was at the height of his national prominence. This sur- 
prise has been analyzed by La Guardia's biographer, Arthur 

Jimmy Lanzetta, born and raised in East 
Harlem and educated as an engineer and a lawyer at 
Columbia University, was thirty-eight, a Catholic, and the 
uptown hope of Tammany Hall. Witty and affable, good 
looking and hard-working, he had no public philosophy and 
entered politics by making himself known to the district 
family by family and by pleasing the local leaders. 

. . . Lanzetta challenged La Guardia's pop- 
ularity among the Italo-Americans. Their fathers held the 
Mayor in awe, named their children after him, and tipped 
their hats in deference to him. He was still their village 
Signore. But in a decade the sons and daughters of the 
immigrants came of voting age and "these youthful icono- 
clasts do not hold the great La Guardia in the same venera- 
tion as do their elders." 

The Italo-Americans were only part of La Guardia's district; 
he also lost votes among the Puerto Ricans. He held only 
the Jewish vote.^^ 

La Guardia's loss to Lanzetta in 1932 pre- 
saged the development of Italian political opinion. When 
La Guardia defeated O'Dwyer in 1941, he did worse in the 
Italian districts than in the city as a whole. O'Dwyer got 57 
per cent of the vote in the Italian districts and 50 per cent 
of the votes in the city. In 1945, when Newbold Morris ran 
against O'Dwyer and Jonah Goldstein with La Guardia's 



support, he did worse in the Italian areas than anywhere 
in the city. He got 1 1 per cent of the vote there as against 
18 per cent in the city as a whole.** 

The rejection of La Guardia symbolized the 
fact that there had never developed among the Italian- 
American proletarian group a generalized ideology in sup- 
port of liberalism and progressivism. Roosevelt got the Ital- 
ian votes in his early elections, as he got votes from all low- 
income groups. However, when he spoke out against Mus- 
solini's attack on France in 1940 — "the hand that held the 
dagger has plunged it into the back of its neighbor" — the 
Italian Americans became probably the most anti-Roosevelt 
of all low-income groups. In 1944 he got only 41 per cent 
of the vote in Italian districts of the city, while getting 61 
per cent in the city as a whole.*^ Because there had never 
developed a strong socialist, liberal, or labor tradition and 
ideology, because the leaders of the community were 
generally conservative businessmen, because the community 
press expressed their opinion, it was relatively easy for the 
pro-Roosevelt feeling in the community to be overcome. 
The vacuum of ideology of the socialist and liberal type 
was filled in part with a vague sort of national feeling. 
Except for a handful of radicals and socialists, almost every- 
one in the Italian community supported Mussolini, or at 
least did not oppose him.*^ The vacuum was also in part 
filled by the ideological outlook of small homeowners, which 
many Italian Americans were or aspired to be; this in- 
volved opposition to high taxes, welfare programs, and 
the like. The comptroller of the city in Wagner's first two 
administrations, Laurence Gerosa, exemplified this point 
of view perfectly. He was against "frills" in the building of 
schools (art, murals), in favor of a conservative financial 
policy, and without any views on the general problems of 
the city. Such views are hardly necessary when one's major 
concern is the neighborhood and its homeowners. 

One aspect of this conservatism can un- 
questionably be traced to insecurity. The Italian American 
is still uncertain about his acceptance, concerned about his 
image, and consequently many — in a style similar to that of 
other second generations — become more American than the 



Americans, more nationalist than the Mayflower descend- 
ants. This, combined with the need, in the war and early 
postwar years, to dissociate oneself from any suspicion of 
support of an enemy nation, makes it all the easier for the 
Italian American to adopt the political outlook of the 
conservative nationalist, the present-day descendant of the 
old-time isolationist. 

Holding this point of view (which is not 
very different from that held by the small-town dwellers of 
the Midwest), it is understandable that Italian Americans 
should find the Republican party, and the conservative wing 
of the Democratic party, ever more congenial.^^ This is oc- 
curring at a time when New York Italians are producing a 
number of singularly able political leaders. Both responding 
to and reflecting their political base, these leaders have not 
been notably articulate or adventurous in their views of the 
great issues of state, and this has generally cost them the good 
opinion of the liberals, but as with conservatives elsewhere, 
they have shown a keen understanding of the ways and uses 
of power. Carmine DeSapio was far and away the most com- 
petent politician the New York Democrats produced in the 
postwar era. Significantly, the middle-class reformers, while 
able to destroy him, were quite incapable of replacing him. 
The immediate result was not a transfer of power but a 

Mayor Wagner's running mate in the 1961 
primary and election campaigns was Paul R. Screvane, who 
thereafter emerged as a distinct political power in the city. 
Reared in the Bronx, Screvane began life as a truck driver 
in the City Sanitation Department, rose from private to 
lieutenant colonel during World War II, became Sanitation 
Commissioner at the age of 42, was appointed Deputy Mayor 
at 46, and the same year was elected president of the City 
Council. As with many Italian leaders, Screvane combines a 
high level of vitality and administrative ability with a plain 
manner and a sure sense of public opinion. One may see 
develop in New York City, and in the state, the situation we 
see in Massachusetts and Rhode Island, where competent 
Italian political leaders have come near to establishing a 
political hegemony. 



In moving from the age of La Guardia and 
Poletti to the age of Impellitteri and Gerosa, the Italian 
Americans have moved from the working class to (in increas- 
ing measure) the middle class, from the city to the suburbs, 
and from secularism to Catholicism. Young Italian intellec- 
tuals do not find this a very congenial atmosphere. But 
there are as yet not enough of them to develop any steady 
criticism of the style of Italian-American life; and the few 
who might do this have neither the organs nor the audience 
that would make such an enterprise worthwhile. If they are 
novelists, they celebrate the rich content of the old prole- 
tarian, city life. They know this is disappearing, and is 
being replaced by a new middle-class style, which is Ameri- 
can Catholic more than it is anything that may be called 
American Italian. But it is still too new to have found any- 
one to record it, to criticize it, and perhaps transcend it. 


the Irish 


EW YORK used to be an Irish 
city. Or so it seemed. There were sixty or seventy years 
when the Irish were everywhere. They felt it was their town. 
It is no longer, and they know it. That is one of the things 
bothering them. 

The Irish era began in the early 1870's, 
about the time Charles O'Conor, "the ablest member of 
the New York bar," ^ began the prosecution of Honorable 
William March Tweed. It ended in the 1930's. A symbolic 
point might be the day ex-Mayor James J. Walker sailed for 
Europe and exile with his beloved, but unwed, Betty. 

Boss Tweed was the last vulgar white Prot- 
estant to win a prominent place in the city's life. The Prot- 
estants who have since entered public life have represented 
the "better element." Tweed was a roughneck, a ward 
heeler, a man of the people at a time when the people still 
contained a large body of native-born Protestant workers 
of Scotch and English antecedents. By the time of his death 



in the Ludlow Street jail this had all but completely 
changed. The New York working class had become pre- 
dominantly Catholic, as it has since remained. The Irish 
promptly assumed the leadership of this working class. 
"Honest John" Kelly succeeded Tweed as leader of Tam- 
many Hall, formalizing a process that had been steadily 
advancing. In 1868 the New York diarist George Templeton 
Strong had recorded, "Our rulers are partly American 
scoundrels and partly Celtic scoundrels. The Celts are pre- 
dominant, however, and we submit to the rod and the 
sceptre of Maguires and O'Tooles and O'Shanes. . . ." 2 
But the American scoundrels disappeared, and soon Strong 
was writing only of the city's "blackguard Celtic tyrants." ^ 
A note of helplessness appears: "we are to Papistical Paddy 
as Cedric the Saxon to Front de Boeuf." * 

In 1880 Tammany Hall elected the city's 
first Irish Catholic mayor, William R. Grace of the shipping 
line. This ascendancy persisted for another half century, 
reaching an apogee toward the end of the twenties when 
Al Smith ran for President and Jimmy Walker "wore New 
York in his buttonhole." 

The crash came suddenly. In June 1932 
Smith was denied the Democratic renomination. The Tam- 
many delegates left Chicago bitter and unreconciled. Two 
months later Mayor Walker resigned in the face of mount- 
ing scandal, and decided to leave the country with his 
English mistress. A few days before his departure, Franklin 
Roosevelt had been elected President. The next man to be 
elected Mayor of New York City would be Fiorello H. La 
Guardia. Next, a Jewish world heavyweight champion. 
DiMaggio became the new name in baseball; Sinatra the 
new crooner. So it went. The almost formal end came 
within a decade. In 1943 Tammany Hall itself, built while 
Walker was Mayor at the cost of just under one million 
dollars, was sold to Local 91 of the International Ladies' 
Garment Workers' Union. Tammany and the New York 
County Democratic Committee went their separate ways. 
The oldest political organization on earth was finished. So 
was the Irish era. 

This is not to say the Irish have disap- 
peared. They are still a powerful group. St. Patrick's Day 



is still the largest public observance of the city's year. On 
March 17 a green line is painted up Fifth Avenue and a 
half-million people turn out to watch the parade. (In 
Albany the Legislative Calendar is printed in green ink.) 
The Irish have a position in the city now as they had before 
the 1870's, but now, as then, it is a lopsided position. "Slip- 
pery Dick" Connoly and "Brains" Sweeney shared power 
and office with Tweed, as did any number of their followers. 
But, with few exceptions, they represented the canaille. 
With the coming of the Gilded Age, middle-class and even 
upper-class Irish appeared. For a period they ranged across 
the social spectrum, and in this way seemed to dominate 
much of the city's life. The Tweed ring was heavily Irish, 
but so was the group that brought on its downfall. This 
pattern persisted. The Irish came to run the police force 
and the underworld; they were the reformers and the hood- 
lums; employers and employed. The city entered the era of 
Boss Croker of Tammany Hall and Judge Goff of the 
Lexow Committee which investigated him; of business 
leader Thomas Fortune Ryan and labor leader Peter J. 
McGuire; of Reform Mayor John Purroy Mitchel and 
Tammany Mayor John F. "Red Mike" Hylan. It was a 
stimulating miscellany. 

All this is past. The mass of the Irish have 
left the working class, and in considerable measure the 
Democratic party as well. But the pattern of egalitarian poli- 
tics which they established on the whole persists, so that 
increasingly the Irish are left out. Their reaction to this is 
one of the principal elements of the Irish impact on the 
city today. 



by the famine emigration of 1846-1850. By mid-century 
there were 133,730 Irish-born inhabitants of the city, 26 
per cent of the total population. By 1855, 34 per cent of the 
city voters were Irish.^ By 1890, when 80 per cent of the 
population of New York City was of foreign parentage, a 
third of these (409,924 persons of 1,215,463) were Irish, 
making more than a quarter of the total population.^ With 
older stock included, over one-third of the population of 



New York and Brooklyn at the outset o£ the Gay Nineties 
was Irish-American. 

The older stock went far back in the city's 
history. Ireland provided a continuing portion of the emi- 
gration to North America during the seventeenth and 
eighteenth centuries. Much of it was made up of Protestants 
with English or Scottish antecedents, but there were always 
some Celtic Irish of Protestant or Catholic persuasion. The 
city received its first charter from Governor Thomas Don- 
gan, afterwards Earl of Limerick. In 1683 Dongan sum- 
moned the first representative assembly in the history of 
the colony, at which he sponsored the Charter of Liberties 
and Privileges granting broad religious freedom, guarantee- 
ing trial by jury, and establishing representative govern- 
ment. He was nonetheless suspected of plotting a Catholic 
establishment, and with the Glorious Revolution of 1688 
the Catholics of New York were disfranchised. 

This was a basic event. The Catholic Irish 
were kept out of the political life of the city for almost a 
century. It began a long tradition of denying rights to Irish 
Catholics on grounds that they wished to do the same to 
English Protestants. To this day the most fair-minded New 
York Protestants will caution that Irish Catholics have 
never experienced the great Anglo-Saxon tradition of the 
separation of church and state, although indeed they have 
known nothing but. 

At the first New York Constitutional Con- 
vention in 1777, John Jay even proposed that Roman Cath- 
olics be deprived of their civil rights and the right to hold 
land until taking an oath that no Pope or priest could ab- 
solve them from sin or from allegiance to the state.''' This 
proposal was rejected, but Jay did succeed in including a 
religious test for naturalization in the constitution which 
remained in force until superseded by a federal naturaliza- 
tion statute in 1790.^ It was not until 1806 that a similar 
oath required for officeholders was repealed, permitting the 
first Irish Catholic to take his seat in the Assembly. 

After the Revolution Irish emigration be- 
gan in earnest. Writing in 1835, de Tocqueville reported: 
"About fifty years ago Ireland began to pour a Catholic 
population into the United States. . . ." He estimated that 



with conversions the number of Catholics had reached a 
million (which was three times the actual amount.)^ 

In 1798 another of the native Irish revolts 
took place, and failed. In its aftermath came the first of a 
long trail of Irish revolutionaries, Catholic and Protestant, 
who disturbed the peace of the city for a century and a 
quarter. These were educated professional men who had 
risked their lives for much the same cause that had inspired 
the Sons of Liberty in New York a generation earlier. In 
general they were received as such. A few such as Dr. 
William J. MacNeven and Thomas Addis Emmet, became 
prominent New Yorkers. Emmet served in 1812 as the 
state's Attorney-General. Mr. Justice Story described him as 
"the favorite counsellor of New York." ^^ 

In the early nineteenth century a sizable 
Irish-Catholic community gathered in New York. By the 
time of the great migration it was well enough established. 
Charles O' Conor, John Kelly, and W. R. Grace were all 
native New Yorkers. For some time prior to the potato 
famine the basic patterns of Irish life in New York had been 
set. The hordes that arrived at mid-century strengthened 
some of these patterns more than others, but they did not 
change them nearly so much as they were changed by them. 
They got off the boat to find their identity waiting for 
them: they were to be Irish-Catholic Democrats. 

There were times when this identity took on 
the mysteries of the Trinity itself; the three were one and 
the one three. Identity with the Democratic party came last 
in point of time, but it could have been received from the 
hands of Finn MacCool for the way the Irish clung to it. 



Washington was inaugurated at Federal Hall on April 30, 
1789. The principal founder was one William Mooney, an 
upholsterer and apparently by birth an Irish Catholic. 
Originally a national organization, from the first its motif 
was egalitarian and nationalist: the Sons of St. Tammany, 
the American Indian chief, as against the foreign ties of 
the societies of St. George and St. David (as well, apparently, 
of the Sons of St. Patrick), or the aristocratic airs of the 



Sons of the Cincinnati. Its members promptly involved 
themselves in politics, establishing the New York Demo- 
cratic party. (Until recently Tammany officially retained the 
Jeffersonian designation "Democratic-Republican" party. 
Far into the twentieth century the Phrygian cap of the 
French Revolution was an important prop in Tammany 
ceremonies; it will be seen atop the staff of Liberty in the 
New York State seal, contrasting with the crown at her feet.) 

The original issues on which the New York 
political parties organized concerned the events of the 
French Revolution. Jefferson and his Democratic followers 
were instinctively sympathetic to France. Hamilton, Jay, 
and the Federalists looked just as fervently to England. This 
automatically aligned the Irish with the Democrats: the 
French Revolution had inspired the Irish revolt of 1798, 
and the French had sent three expeditions to aid it. The 
Federalists reacted with the Alien and Sedition Acts of 1798, 
designed in part to prevent the absorption of immigrants 
into the Jeffersonian party, but which only strengthened 
their attachment to it. In 1812 the Federalists bitterly, but 
unsuccessfully, opposed the establishment of more-or-less 
universal white suffrage, certain it would swell the immi- 
grant Irish vote of New York City.^i 

So it did, and in no time the Irish developed 
a powerful voting bloc. In the 1827 city elections, a prelude 
to the contest between John Quincy Adams and Andrew 
Jackson, the Irish sided mightily with Jackson, himself the 
son of poor Irish immigrants, and thereupon entered whole- 
heartedly into the politics of the Jacksonian era. By 1832 
the Whig candidate for President found himself assuring 
a St. Patrick's Day dinner that "Some of my nearest and 
dearest friends (are) Irishmen." 12 

The contest for the "Irish vote" became an 
aspect of almost every New York election that followed. A 
week before the election of 1884 a delegation of Protestant 
clergymen waited on the Republican candidate James G. 
Blaine, at the Fifth Avenue Hotel, to assure him, in the 
words of Reverend Samuel D. Burchard, "... We are Re- 
publicans and don't propose to leave our party, and identify 
ourselves with the party whose antecedents have been rum, 
Romanism, and rebellion." ^^ Blaine, who had been making 



headway with the Irish, lost New York by 1,077 votes, and 
thereby the election, which ended the Republican rule of 
post-Civil War America. 

By this time the New York City Irish were 
not only voting for the Democratic party but thoroughly . 
controlled its organization. Apart from building their 
church, this was the one singular achievement of the nine- 
teenth-century Irish. "The Irish role in politics was creative, 
not imitative." ^^ 

New York became the first great city in his- 
tory to be ruled by men of the people, not as an isolated 
phenomenon of the Gracchi or the Commune, but as a 
persisting, established pattern. Almost to this day the men 
who have run New York City have talked out of the side of 
their mouths. The intermittent discovery that New York 
did have representative government led to periodic reform 
movements. But the reformers came and went; the party 
remained. The secret lay in the structure of the party bu- 
reaucracy which ever replenished and perpetuated itself. It 
is only in the past decade, when the middle class at length 
discovered the secret and began themselves to move into 
the party bureaucracy that the character of the New York 
City government has begun to change. Even here, the party 
complexion persists: of the twenty-six members of the City 
Council, twenty-four were Democrats in 1963. 

In politics, as in religion, the Irish brought 
many traits from the Old Country. The machine govern- 
ments that they established in New York (as in many North- 
ern cities) show a number of features characteristic of 
nineteenth-century Ireland. The exact nature of the rela- 
tionship is not clear: much that follows is speculative. But 
the coincidence is clear enough to warrant the proposition 
that the machine governments resulted from a merger of 
rural Irish custom with urban American politics. "Politics," 
in Charles Frankel's words, "is a substitute for custom; it 
becomes conspicuous wherever custom recedes or breaks 
down." 1^ But in nineteenth-century New York events did 
not permit one system gradually to recede as the other 
slowly emerged. The ancient world of folkways and the 
modern world of contracts came suddenly together. The 
collision is nicely evoked by the story of Congressman 



Timothy J. Campbell of New York, a native of Cavan, call- 
ing on President Grover Cleveland with a request the 
President refused on the ground that it was unconstitu- 
tional. "Ah, Mr. President," replied Tim, "what is the Con- 
stitution between friends?" ^^ 

There were four features of the machine 
government which are particularly noticeable in this con- 

First, there was an indifference to Yankee 
proprieties. To the Irish, stealing an election was rascally, 
not to be approved, but neither quite to be abhorred. It 
may be they picked up some of this from the English. Eight- 
eenth-century politics in Ireland were — in Yankee terms — 
thoroughly corrupt. George Potter has written. 

The great and the wealthy ran Ireland politically like 
Tammany Hall in its worst days. Had they not sold their 
own country for money and titles in the Act of Union with 
England and, as one rogue said, thanked God they had a 
country to sell? ... A gentleman was thought no less a 
gentleman because he dealt, like merchandise, with the votes 
of his tenants or purchased his parliamentary seat as he 
would a horse or a new wing for his big house.^^ 

But the Irish added to the practice, from 
their own social structure, a personal concept of govern- 
ment action. Describing the early period of Irish self-govern- 
ment, Conrad M. Arensberg relates that 

... At first, geese and country produce besieged the new 
officers and magistrates; a favourable decision or a necessary 
public work performed was interpreted as a favour given. 
It demanded a direct and personal return. "Influence" to 
the countryman was and is a direct personal relationship, 
like the friendship of the countryside along which his own 
life moves. ^^ 

Second, the Irish brought to America a 
settled tradition of regarding the formal government as 
illegitimate, and the informal one as bearing the true im- 
press of popular sovereignty. The Penal Laws of eighteenth- 
century Ireland totally proscribed the Catholic religion, and 
reduced the Catholic Irish to a condition of de facto slavery. 



Cecil Woodham-Smith holds with Burke that the lawless- 
ness, dissimulation and revenge which followed left the 
Irish character, above all the character of the peasantry, 
"degraded and debased." 

His religion made him an outlaw; in the Irish House of 
Commons he was described as "the common enemy," and 
whatever was inflicted on him he must bear, for where could 
he look for redress? To his landlord? Almost invariably an 
alien conqueror. To the law? Not when every person con- 
nected with the law, from the jailer to the judge, was a 
Protestant. . . . 

In these conditions suspicion of the law, of 
the ministers of the law and of all established authority 
"worked into the very nerves and blood of the Irish peas- 
ant," and since the law did not give him justice he set up 
his own law. The secret societies which have been the curse 
of Ireland became widespread during the Penal period . . . 
dissimulation became a moral necessity and evasion of the 
law the duty of every God-fearing Catholic.^^ 

This habit of mind pervaded Tammany at its height. City 
Hall as such was no more to be trusted than Dublin Castle. 
Alone one could fight neither. If in trouble it was best to see 
The McManus. If the McMani were in power in City Hall 
as well as in the Tuscarora Regular Democratic Organiza- 
tion of the Second Assembly District Middle — so much the 

Third, most of the Irish arrived in America 
fresh from the momentous experience of the Catholic 
Emancipation movement. The Catholic Association that the 
Irish leader Daniel O'Connell established in 1823 ^^^ ^^^ 
purpose of achieving emancipation is the "first fully-Hedged 
democratic political party known to the world." Daniel 
O'Connell, Potter writes, "was the first modern man to use 
the mass of a people as a democratic instrument for revolu- 
tionary changes by peaceful constitutional methods. He 
anticipated the coming into power of the people as the de- 
cisive political element in modern democratic society." ^o 
The Irish peasants, who had taken little part in Gaelic Ire- 
land's resistance to the English (that had been a matter for 
the warrior class of an aristocratic society) arrived in Amer- 
ica with some feeling at least for the possibilities of politics, 




and they brought with them, as a fourth quality, a phenom- 
enally effective capacity for political bureaucracy. 

Politics is a risky business. Hence it has ever 
been the affair of speculators with the nerve to gamble and 
an impulse to boldness. These are anything but peasant 
qualities. Certainly they are not qualities of Irish peasants 
who, collectively, yielded to none in the rigidity of their 
social structure and their disinclination to adventure. In- 
stead of letting politics transform them, the Irish trans- 
formed politics, establishing a political system in New York 
City that, from a distance, seems like the social system of 
an Irish village writ large. 

The Irish village was a place of stable, pre- 
dictable social relations in which almost everyone had a role 
to play, under the surveillance of a stern oligarchy of 
elders, and in which, on the whole, a person's position was 
likely to improve with time. Transferred to Manhattan, 
these were the essentials of Tammany Hall. 

By 1817 the Irish were playing a significant 
role in Tammany.21 Working from the original ward com- 
mittees, they slowly established a vast hierarchy of party 
positions descending from the county leader at the top 
down to the block captain and beyond, even to building 
captains. Each position had rights and responsibilities that 
had to be observed. The result was a massive party bu- 
reaucracy. The county committees of the five boroughs came 
to number more than 32,000 persons. It became necessary 
to hire Madison Square Garden for their meetings, and to 
hope that not more than half would come. The system in 
its prime was remarkably stable. Kelly, Richard Croker, and 
Frank Murphy in succession ran Tammany for half a cen- 
tury. Across the river Hugh McLaughlin ran the Brooklyn 
Democratic party and fought off Tammany for better than 
forty years, from 1862 to 1903. He was followed shortly by 
John H. McCooey, who ruled from 1909 until his death a 
quarter century later in 1934. Ed Flynn ran the Bronx from 
1922 until his death in 1953. 

The stereotype of the Irish politician as a 
beer-guzzling back-slapper is nonsense. Croker, McLaughlin, 
and Mister Murphy were the least affable of men. Their task 
was not to charm but to administer with firmness and pre- 



dictability a political bureaucracy in which the prerogatives 
of rank were carefully observed. The hierarchy had to be 
maintained. For the group as a whole this served to take the 
risks out of politics. Each would get his deserts — in time. 

In the intraparty struggles of the 1950's and 
1960's no one characteristic divides the "regular" Demo- 
cratic party men in New York City from the "reform" group 
more than the matter of taking pride in following the chain 
of command. The "reform" group was composed over- 
whelmingly of educated, middle-class career people hard- 
ened to the struggle for advancement in their professions. 
Waiting in line to see one's leader seemed to such persons 
slavish and undignified, the kind of conduct that could be 
imposed only by a Boss. By contrast, the "organization" 
regulars regarded such conduct as proper and well-behaved. 
The reformers, who tend to feel superior, would have been 
surprised, perhaps, to learn that among the regulars they 
were widely regarded as rude, unethical people. As Arens- 
berg said of the Irish village, so of the political machine, 
"Public honour and self-satisfaction reward conformity." 22 

It would also seem that the term "Boss" and 
the persistent attacks on "Boss rule" have misrepresented 
the nature of power in the old machine system. Power was 
hierarchical in the party, diffused in the way it is diffused 
in an army. Because the commanding general was powerful, 
it did not follow that the division generals were powerless. 
Tammany district leaders were important men, and, right 
down to the block captain, all had rights. 

The principle of Boss rule was not tyranny, 
but order. When Lincoln Steffens asked Croker, "Why must 
there be a boss, when we've got a mayor and — a council and 
— " "That's why," Croker broke in. "It's because there's a 
mayor and a council and judges — and a hundred other men 
to deal with." 23 

At the risk of exaggerating, it is possible to 
point to any number of further parallels between the politi- 
cal machine and rural Irish society. The incredible capacity 
of the rural Irish to remain celibate, awaiting their turn to 
inherit the farm, was matched by generations of assistant 
corporation counsels awaiting that opening on the City 
Court bench. Arensberg has described the great respect for 



rank in the Irish peasantry. Even after an Irish son had 
taken over direction of the farm, he would go each morning 
to his father to ask what to do that day. So was respect 
shown to the "Boss," whose essential demand often seemed 
only that he be consulted. The story goes that one day a 
fellow leader of Thomas J. Dunn, a Tammany Sachem, 
confided that he was about to be married. "Have you seen 
Croker?" Dunn asked. In 1913, when Governor William 
Sulzer refused to consult the organization on appointments, 
Murphy forthwith impeached and removed him. Rival 
leaders fought bitterly in the courts for the privilege of 
describing their club as the ''Regular" Democratic Organi- 

The narrow boundaries of the peasant world 
were ideally adaptable to precinct politics. "Irish familism 
is of the soil," wrote Arensberg. "It operates most strongly 
within allegiances to a definite small area." 24 Only men 
from such a background could make an Assembly district 
their life's work. 

The parallel role of the saloonkeeper is strik- 
ing. Arensberg writes of the saloonkeeper in Ireland: 

. . . the shopkeeper-publican-politician was a very effective 
instrument, both for the countryside which used him and 
for himself. He might perhaps exact buying at his shop in 
return for the performance of his elective duties, as his 
enemies charge: but he also saw to it that those duties were 
performed for the very people who wished to see them done. 
Through him, as through no other possible channel, Ireland 
reached political maturity and effective national strength.^s 

Among the New York Irish, "the saloons were the nodal 
points of district organization. . . ." ^6 it used to be said 
the only way to break up a meeting of the Tammany Execu- 
tive Committee was to open the door and yell "Your saloon's 
on fire!" At the same time a mark of the successful leaders 
was sobriety. George Washington Plunkitt, a Tammany 
district leader, related with glee the events of election night 
1897 when Tammany had just elected — against considerable 
odds — the first mayor of the consolidated City of New York. 

Up to 10 P.M. Croker, John F. Carroll, Tim Sullivan, Char- 
lie Murphy, and myself sat in the committee-room receivin' 



returns. When nearly all the city was heard from and we 
saw that Van Wyck was elected by a big majority, I in- 
vited the crowd to go across the street for a little celebration. 
A lot of small politicians followed us, expectin' to see 
magnums of champagne opened. The waiters in the restau- 
rant expected it, too, and you never saw a more disgusted 
lot of waiters when they got our orders. Here's the orders: 
Croker, vichy and bicarbonate of soda; Carroll, seltzer 
lemonade; Sullivan, apollinaris; Murphy, vichy; Plunkitt, 
ditto. Before midnight we were all in bed, and next mornin' 
we Vv^ere up bright and early attendin' to business while 
other men were nursin' swelled heads. Is there anything the 
matter with temperance as a pure business proposition?^^ 

As a business proposition it all worked very 
well. But that is about as far as it went. The Irish were im- 
mensely successful in politics. They ran the city. But the 
very parochialism and bureaucracy that enabled them to 
succeed in politics prevented them from doing much with 
government. In all those sixty or seventy years in which they 
could have done almost anything they wanted in politics, 
they did very little. Of all those candidates and all those 
campaigns, what remains? The names of two or three men: 
Al Smith principally (who was a quarter English, apparently 
a quarter German and possibly a quarter Italian), and his 
career went sour before it ever quite came to glory. 

In a sense, the Irish did not know what to 
do with power once they got it. Steffens was surely exag- 
gerating when he suggested the political bosses kept power 
only on the sufferance of the business community. The two 
groups worked in harmony, but it was a symbiotic, not an 
agency relationship. The Irish leaders did for the Protestant 
establishment what it could not do for itself, and could not 
do without. Croker "understood completely the worthless- 
ness of the superior American in politics." ^^ But the Irish 
just didn't know what to do with their opportunity. They 
never thought of politics as an instrument of social change 
— their kind of politics involved the processes of a society 
that was not changing. Croker alone solved the problem. 
Having become rich he did the thing rich people in Ireland 
did: he bought himself a manor house in England, bred 
horses, and won the Derby. The King did not ask him to 
the Derby Day dinner. 





paigns Al Smith was on a speaking tour of the northern 
counties of the state. Sunday morning he and all but one of 
his aides got up and trekked off to Mass, returning to find 
the remaining member of the party, Herbert Bayard Swope, 
resplendent in his de Pinna bathrobe and slippers, having 
a second cup of coffee, reading the Sunday papers. As the 
Catholics stamped the snow off their feet and climbed out 
of their overcoats, Smith looked at Swope and said, "You 
know, boys, it would be a hell of a thing if it turned out 
Swope was right and we were wrong." 

That sums it up. The Irish of New York, 
as elsewhere, have made a tremendous sacrifice for their 
church. They have built it from a despised and proscripted 
sect of the eighteenth century to the largest religious or- 
ganization of the nation, numbering some 43,851,000 mem- 
bers in 1963. This is incomparably the most important thing 
they have done in America. But they have done it at a price. 

In secular terms, it has cost them dearly in 
men and money. A good part of the surplus that might have 
gone into family property has gone to building the church. 
This has almost certainly inhibited the development of the 
solid middle-class dynasties that produce so many of the 
important people in America. (Thomas F. O'Dea speculates 
that the relative absence of a Catholic rentier class has much 
inhibited the development of Catholic intellectuals.)^^ The 
celibacy of the Catholic clergy has also deprived the Irish of 
the class of ministers' sons which has contributed notably to 
the prosperity and distinction of the Protestant world. 
These disadvantages have been combined with a pervasive 
prejudice against Catholics on the part of Protestants that 
has not entirely disappeared. 

The Catholic Church does not measure its 
success by the standards of secular society. Many of its finest 
men and women disappear from the great world altogether. 
This is well understood and accepted by Catholics. What 
troubles a growing number of persons within the Church is 
the performance of the great bulk of Catholics who remain 
very much a part of the world in which they live. For a 



Church notably committed to the processes of intellect, the 
performance of Catholic scholars and writers is particularly 
galling. In the words of Professor O'Dea, formerly of Ford- 

The American Catholic group has failed to produce . . . 
both qualitatively and quantitatively an appropriate in- 
tellectual life. It has failed to evolve in this country a vital 
intellectual tradition displaying vigor and creativity in pro- 
portion to the numerical strength of American Catholics. 
It has also failed to produce intellectual and other national 
leaders in numbers appropriate to its size and resources.^^ 

It is notorious that Catholics have produced 
hardly a handful of important scientists. But this seems to 
be true of Catholics everywhere. The failure of the Amer- 
ican Catholics seems deeper than that. Neither have they 
produced a great poet, a great painter, a great diplomatist. 
None of the arts, none of the achievements that most char- 
acterize the older Catholic societies seem to prosper here. 
"Is the honorable adjective 'Roman Catholic' truly merited 
by America's middle-class-Jansenist Catholicism, puritan- 
ized, Calvinized, and dehydrated . . . ?" ^^ asked the Protes- 
tant Peter Viereck. What he perhaps really wanted to know 
is whether Irish Catholics are Roman Catholics. 

It is impossible to pull the terms apart in 
the reality of American life. Thus Time magazine was 
apparently not conscious of having said anything odd when 
it referred, in i960, to "The City's Irish-Catholic popula- 
tion, 1,000,000 strong and predominantly Roman Catho- 
lic. . . ." Since the early nineteenth century the American 
Catholic Church has been dominated by the Irish. This is 
nowhere more true than in New York, the preeminent Cath- 
olic city of the nation. 

Obviously, the Irish Church in America was 
established in the nineteenth century in the sense that par- 
ishes were organized and the churches built at that time. 
But it is also apparent that certain essential qualities of the 
religion itself derive from the world that followed the 
French Revolution. The English in the seventeenth and 
eighteenth centuries practically destroyed the Irish Church. 
The faith remained, but the institution practically disap- 
peared; Catholics had almost no churches, few clergy, hardly 



any organization. Mass was said in the mountains by priests 
who were practically fugitives. The Irish Church did not 
even have a seminary in Ireland until Pitt established May- 
nooth in 1794 — to obviate the training of Irish priests in 
revolutionary France. 

The Church that grew from this beginning 
was something different from the historical Roman Catholic 
Church, not in theology, although there was a distinct Jan- 
senist flavor, but in culture. It was a church with a decided 
aversion to the modern liberal state. This aversion began 
with the French Revolution (the Irish hierarchy had been 
trained in France and gave refuge to any number of emigre 
French clerics) and was confirmed by the events of Italian 
unification. It was a church that was decidedly separatist in 
its attitude toward the non-Catholic community, which for 
long, in America as in Ireland, was the ascendant commu- 
nity. It was a church with almost no intellectual tradition. 
Ireland was almost the only Christian nation of the middle 
ages that never founded a university. With all this, as Kevin 
Sullivan writes, "Irish Catholicism, in order to hold its own 
in a land dominated by an English Protestant culture, had 
developed many of the characteristics of English sectarian- 
ism: defensive, insular, parochial, puritanical. . . ." ^2 

It emphatically did not, however, acquire 
the English fondness for royalty. In a passage which Father 
C. J. McNaspy has said "speaks volumes," de Tocqueville 
noted that Father Power, the pastor at the time of St. Peter's, 
the first Catholic Church in New York, "appears to have 
no prejudice against republican institutions." ^s This was 
surely because the Irish had no great fear of republican 
institutions, which far from disestablishing their church had 
had the effect of raising it to equality with Protestant 
churches. Moreover, republicanism had raised Irishmen to 
a kind of equality with Protestants: one man, one vote. 

Beginning with Bishop John Hughes, who 
came to the city in 1838, the New York Catholic Church 
became anything but passive in asserting this equality. In 
1844, when the good folk of Philadelphia took to burning 
Catholic Churches, Hughes issued a statement that "if a 
single Catholic church were burned in New York, the city 
would become a second Moscow." ^4 None was burned. 



Accepting republicanism did not entail ac- 
cepting liberalism. From the first the Irish Catholic clergy 
of New York have been conservative. The Revolutions of 
1848, which involved European liberals in a direct physical 
attack on the Papacy, produced a powerful effect on the 
American hierarchy. Bishop John Hughes of New York put 
his flock on guard against the " 'Red Republicans' of Eur- 
ope," as he called them. At this point the Church began to 
find itself in conflict not only with primitive, no-Popery 
Protestants who burned convents, but also with liberal, 
educated, post-Calvinist Protestant leadership. An early epi- 
sode involved the Hungarian revolutionary Kossuth. As 
Hughes reported to Rome in 1858, "The enthusiasm and 
admiration in which Kossuth was held by the American 
people were almost boundless." Dreading the influence such 
liberalism might have on Catholics, Hughes denounced 
Kossuth prior to his appearance in New York City, with the 
result, the Bishop felt, that the visit was a failure.^^ 

The divergence between liberal Protestant 
and Catholic views in New York grew when Catholics gen- 
erally declined to support the movement for the abolition 
of Negro slavery. In July, 1863, the New York Irish rioted 
against the newly enacted draft. For four bloody, smoke- 
filled days the mobs ranged the city. They attacked Negroes 
everywhere, lynched some, and burned a Negro orphanage. 
Strong's diary records absolute revulsion: 

The fury of the low Irish woman . . . was noteworthy. Stal- 
wart young vixens and withered old hags were swarming 
everywhere, all cursing the "bloody draft" and egging on 
their men. . . . How is one to deal with women who as- 
semble around the lamp post to which a Negro had been 
hanged and cut off certain parts of his body to keep as 
souvenirs? . . . For myself, personally, I would like to see 
war made on Irish scum as in 1688.^^ 

In the post-Civil War period, when much 
Protestant energy turned to the issues of social reform, the 
Catholic Church continued to remain apart and, in the view 
of many, opposed. The New York diocese was notably alert 
to the perils of socialism. One widely popular priest. Father 
Edward McGlynn, was temporarily excommunicated in a 
controversy that followed his support of Henry George who 



ran for mayor in 1897. (George had made headway by link- 
ing his single tax proposal to the problems of Irish land 
reform.) Bishop Corrigan even tried to get Progress and 
Poverty placed on the Index of Prohibited Books, although 
without success other than to have George's theories de- 
clared "false." 3^ 

These developments strengthened the sep- 
aratist tendencies in the Church, although again, the basic 
decisions had been made prior to the great migration. Fore- 
most of these was the decision to establish a separate school 

In New York City, as elsewhere, education 
was largely a church function in the early days of the repub- 
lic. In 1805 a Free School Society was formed, "for the edu- 
cation of such poor children as do not belong to, or are not 
provided for, by any religious society." ^^ Its first address to 
the public proclaimed that ". . . it will be a primary object, 
without observing the peculiar forms of any religious society, 
to inculcate the sublime truths of religion and morality 
contained in the Holy Scriptures." ^^ That year the state 
legislature established a fund for the support of common 
schools which was distributed in New York City to the 
trustees of the Free School Society and "of such incorporated 
religious societies in said city as now support, or hereafter 
shall establish charity schools. . . ." ^^ Under this system 
Catholic schools, along with Baptist, Methodist, Episcopal, 
Reformed Dutch, German Lutheran, and Scotch Presbyte- 
rian ones, among others, received state aid. 

In 1823 it developed that the Baptist schools 
were padding their enrollment books and requiring teach- 
ers to turn over part of their salaries. In the upshot, the 
distribution of state aid was turned over to the City Com- 
mon Council, which thereafter channeled most of the public 
funds to the Free School Society, renamed the Public School 
Society. By 1839 the Society operated eighty-six schools, with 
an average total attendance of 11,789.^1 

As the Society was strongly Protestant, most 
Protestants could accept this development, but Catholics did 
not. They persisted with their own schools. By 1839 there 
were seven Roman Catholic Free Schools in the city "open 
to all children, without discrimination," with more than 



5,000 pupils attending.^- (Thus parochial school attendance 
equaled almost half the average attendance of the "public" 
schools, a proportion not far different from that of today.) 
Nonetheless, almost half the children of the city attended 
no school of any kind, at a time when some 94 per cent of 
children of school age in the rest of the state attended com- 
mon schools established by school districts under direction 
of elected officers. 

This situation prompted the Whig Gover- 
nor William H. Seward to make this proposal to the legisla- 
ture in his message for 1840: 

The children of foreigners, found in great numbers in our 
populous cities and towns, and in the vicinity of our public 
works, are too often deprived of the advantages of our sys- 
tem of public education, in consequence of prejudices aris- 
ing from difference of language or religion. It ought never 
to be forgotten that the public welfare is as deeply con- 
cerned in their education as in that of our own children. I 
do not hesitate, therefore, to recommend the establishment 
of schools in which they may be instructed by teachers speak- 
ing the same language with themselves and professing the 
same faith.^^ 

Instead of waiting for the rural, upstate 
legislature to ponder and act upon this proposal of an up- 
state Whig governor, the Catholics in the city immediately 
began clamoring for a share of public education funds.** 
The Common Council declined on grounds that this would 
be unconstitutional. In October, 1840, the Bishop himself 
appeared before the Council, even offering to place the 
parochial schools under the supervision of the Public School 
Society in return for public aid. When he was turned down, 
tempers began to rise. 

In April, 1841, Seward's Secretary of State 
John C. Spencer, ex officio superintendent of public schools, 
submitted a report on the issue to the State Senate. This 
was a state paper of the first quality, drafted by an authority 
on the laws of New York State (who was also de Tocque- 
ville's American editor). Spencer began by assuming the 
essential justice of the Catholic request for aid to their 



It can scarcely be necessary to say that the founders of these 
schools, and those who wish to establish others, have abso- 
lute rights to the benefits of a common burthen; and that 
any system which deprives them of their just share in the 
application of a common and public fund, must be justified, 
if at all, by a necessity which demands the sacrifice of in- 
dividual rights, for the accomplishment of a social benefit of 
paramount importance. It is presumed no such necessity can 
be urged in the present instance.^^ 

To those who feared use of public funds for sectarian pur- 
poses, Spencer replied that all instruction is in some ways 
sectarian: "No books can be found, no reading lessons can 
be selected, which do not contain more or less of some prin- 
ciples of religious faith, either directly avowed, or indirectly 
assumed." The activities of the Public School Society were 
no exception to this rule: "Even the moderate degree of 
religious instruction which the Public School Society im- 
parts, must therefore be sectarian; that is, it must favor one 
set of opinions in opposition to another, or others; and it is 
believed that this always will be the result, in any course of 
education that the wit of man can devise." As for avoiding 
sectarianism by abolishing religious instruction altogether, 
"On the contrary, it would be in itself sectarian; because it 
would be consonant to the views of a peculiar class, and 
opposed to the opinions of other classes." 

Spencer proposed to take advantage of the 
diversity of opinion by a form of local option. He suggested 
that the direction of the New York City school system be 
turned over to a board of elected school commissioners 
which would establish and maintain general standards, 
while leaving religious matters to the trustees of the individ- 
ual schools, the assumption being that those sectarians who 
so wished would proceed to establish their own schools. 

A rivalry may, and probably will, be produced between them, 
to increase the number of pupils. As an essential means to 
such an object, there will be a constant effort to improve the 
schools, in the mode and degree of instruction, and in the 
qualification of the teachers. Thus, not only will the num- 
ber of children brought into the schools be incalculably 
augmented, but the competition anticipated will produce 
its usual effect of providing the very best material to satisfy 



the public demand. These advantages will more than com- 
pensate for any possible evils that may be apprehended from 
having schools adapted to the feelings and views of the dif- 
ferent denominations.^^ 

The legislature put off immediate action 
on Spencer's report. But Catholics grew impatient. When 
neither party endorsed the proposal in the political cam- 
paign that fall. Bishop Hughes made the calamitous mistake 
— four days before the election — of entering a slate of his 
own candidates for the legislature. Protestants were hor- 
rified. James G. Bennett in the New York Herald declared 
the Bishop was trying "to organize the Irish Catholics of 
New York as a district party, that could be given to the 
Whigs or Locofocos at the wave of his crozier." The Carroll 
Hall candidates, as they were known, polled just enough 
votes to put an end to further discussion of using public 
funds to help Catholics become more active citizens. 

At the next session of the legislature the 
Public School Society was, in effect, disestablished. Spencer's 
proposal for an elected Board of Education in New York 
City was adopted. Each city ward was to have elected com- 
missioners, inspectors, and trustees to run the common 
schools in its area. But the Protestants, foreseeing the nu- 
merical supremacy of the Catholics, blocked Spencer's pro- 
posal for local option on religious instruction. "In a word, 
the Protestants disliked secularism, but they disliked the 
Pope more. . . ." ^"^ The 1842 law provided that "No school 
... in which any religious sectarian doctrine or tenet shall 
be taught, inculcated, or practised \sic\, shall receive any 
portion of the school moneys to be distributed by this act. 
..." Thus the sectarian position that the Spencerian analy- 
sis would describe as "non-sectarian" won out. New York 
became the first of the original thirteen states to prohibit 
the teaching of religion in public schools. The New York 
Catholic Church thereupon set about establishing its own 
school system. In 1850 Hughes declared, "the time has al- 
most come when it will be necessary to build the school- 
house first, and the church afterward." ^^ 

Along with the great effort of building and 
operating parish facilities and charitable institutions, the 
Church proceeded to establish a vast private school system. 



But it seems clear that the high intellectual tradition was 
slighted. In the New York dioceses today, for every fifteen 
students in Catholic schools, there is but one in a Catholic 

Monsignor John Tracy Ellis has suggested 
that development of the parochial schools swamped an 
incipient Catholic intellectual movement which stemmed 
from the educated offspring of the Maryland gentry and was 
powerfully reinforced in the 1840's by the conversion of 
prominent Protestants, corresponding to the Oxford move- 
ment in England. A century later Richard Cardinal Cushing 
of Boston was to tell a CIO convention ". . . in all the 
American hierarchy, resident in the United States, there 
is not known to me one Bishop, Archbishop or Cardinal 
whose father or mother was a college graduate. Every one 
of our Bishops and Archbishops is the son of a working 
man and a working man's wife." ^^ 

It seems clear that the prestige of the Church 
declined as it became more Irish. In 1785 the dedication of 
St. Peter's, with hardly 200 parishioners, could command 
the presence of the Governor of New York and the President 
of the Continental Congress. In 1829 the Liberty Bell was 
cracked proclaiming Catholic Emancipation in England. 
But as the Irish question got in the way, some of this sym- 
pathy and esteem disappeared. The Irish were the one 
oppressed people on earth the American Protestants could 
never quite bring themselves wholeheartedly to sympathize 
with. They would consider including insurgent Greece 
within the protection of the Monroe Doctrine, they would 
send a warship to bring the rebel Kossuth safe to the shores 
of liberty, they would fight a war and kill half a million 
men to free the Negro slaves. But the Irish were different. 



by qualities which tend to make men interesting rather than 
prosperous. They were an ardent and impetuous race, easily 
moved to tears or laughter, to fury or to love." ^^ His words 
evoke the stage Irishman, battered hat in hand, loquacious 
and sly, proclaiming 'Taith, yer Honor, if I'd of known it 
was Hogan's goat . . ." 



There was little in Gaelic culture, "exclu- 
sive, despotic, aristocratic," as Sean O'Faolain described 
it,^^ to evoke the stage Irishman, but by the nineteenth cen- 
tury Gaelic culture had all but disappeared. The peasant 
Irish character that remained did have within it contrasting 
impulses to conformity and to fantasy, to the most plodding 
routine and the wildest adventure. This was overlaid with 
a kind of fecklessness with which the Celts survived the 
savagery of the English in eighteenth-century Ireland. Thus 
there was some truth in the caricature. The peasants who 
poured into America brought with them little by way of an 
Irish culture but a definite enough Irish character. It is not 
surprising then that in America they learned to act as they 
were expected to act. Within weeks of landing they were 
marching in the Mulligan Guards. Within a generation the 
half-starved people who had produced Blind Raftery were 
eating meat twice a day and singing about the "Overhauls 
in Mrs. Murphy's Chowder." 

Prior to the great immigration, the Irish 
community in New York was reasonably symmetrical. There 
was a base of laborers and artisans surmounted by levels of 
tradesmen, professional men, entrepreneurs, and even aris- 
tocrats. The top layers were a mixture of Celt and Saxon, 
Catholic and Protestant. The first president of the Friendly 
Sons of St. Patrick, organized in New York in 1784, was a 
Presbyterian. Speakers at today's session of the Friendly Sons 
can recount the mercantile triumphs of their first members. 
"As you undoubtedly know," a Fordham professor told a 
recent meeting, "most of the founders of your society were 
merchants, who formed the aristocracy of New York in 
olden days." 

With each successive shipload of famine 
stricken peasants, the Irish community became more un- 
balanced. The "wild Irish," as Henry II had called them, 
in just the sense Americans would describe the wild Indians, 
poured into the city to drink and dance and fight in the 
streets. These were not merchant adventurers. They were 
Paddies for whom the city had shortly to provide paddy 
wagons. They felt neither relation to nor respect for the 
business leaders of their colony. Rather than waiting until 
they might be asked to join the Friendly Sons of St. Patrick, 



in perhaps two or three generations, they founded the An- 
cient Order of Hibernians. St. Patrick was a Briton, a peer 
o£ St. David, St. Andrew, and St. George. Hibernians were 
plain Irish CathoHcs. 

The result was the Protestants ceased being 
Irish. For a while they became "Ulster Irish" and took to 
celebrating the Battle of the Boyne. (Orange Day riots in 
New York began in the 1830's. That of 1871 killed fifty-two 
persons and wounded hundreds.) But before long the Prot- 
estant Irish blended into the composite native American 
stock that had already claimed the Scots. 

These developments robbed the New York 
Irish of middle-class leadership at the very moment they 
most needed it. Just when it was important for the enter- 
prising among them to start going into the counting houses, 
the signs went up that "No Irish need apply." 

The detachment of the Protestants from the 
Irish community was unquestionably hastened by the rise 
of nativism. In 1834 Samuel F. B. Morse published in the 
New York Observer a dozen letters which subsequently ap- 
peared as a book entitled Foreign Conspiracy Against the 
Liberties of the United States. He propounded the existence 
of a conspiracy between the Holy Alliance and the Papacy 
to gain control of the nation. 

Morse ran for mayor of New York in 1841 
on the Native American ticket, in the same election with 
Bishop Hughes' Catholic candidates. The Know-Nothing 
party, which emerged from this, almost won the 1854 state 
elections. It disappeared after 1856; most of its members 
went into the new Republican party — and helped confirm 
the allegiance of Irish Catholics to the Democrats. 

Toward the end of the nineteenth century 
the cultural and religious separation of the Irish Catholics 
from Protestant New York was intensified when the groups 
split on just that issue that had originally established a 
bond of sympathy between them: British rule in Ireland. 

In the days of the American Revolution, the 
Irish and the American causes seemed very much the same. 
At Valley Forge Washington ordered grog for the entire 
army on St. Patrick's Day. As much as 40 per cent of his 
men appear to have been of Irish or Scotch-Irish stock. In 



the century and a quarter that followed, America came 
repeatedly to the brink of war with England. While Anglo- 
American hostility prevailed, Irish nationalism and Amer- 
ican patriotism were easily reconcilable. But as the nine- 
teenth century passed, each successive crisis with England 
was somehow resolved, and, as new empires emerged in 
Europe and Asia, England and America drew closer to- 
gether. Irish nationalists in America, who in 1776 had been 
looked upon by George Washington as stalwart patriots, 
were looked upon by Woodrow Wilson in 1916, when the 
last Irish revolution began, as traitors. Wilson, to be sure, 
was Ulster Presbyterian. 

The cruel part of this history is that by 1916 
Irish nationalism in America had little to do with Ireland. 
It was a hodgepodge of fine feeling and bad history with 
which the immigrants filled a cultural void. Organized cam- 
paigns for Irish freedom, centered in New York, began early 
in the nineteenth century and grew more rather than less 
intense. "Indeed," Thomas N. Brown writes, "it was the 
ruling passion for many of the second and third generation 
who knew only of America." ^^ 

. . . Irish nationalism was the cement, not the purpose of 
Irish American organization. Essentially they were pressure 
groups designed to defend and advance the American in- 
terests of the immigrant. Nationalism gave dignity to this 
effort, it offered a system of apologetics that explained their 
lowly state, and its emotional appeal was powerful enough 
to hold together the divergent sectional and class interests 
of the American Irish. This nationalism was not an alterna- 
tive to American nationalism, but a variety of it. Its function 
was not to alienate the Irish immigrant but to accommodate 
him to an often hostile environment.^^ 

For the Irish, nationalism gave a structure 
to working-class resentments that in other groups produced 
political radicalism. A group of Irish managed to combine 
both. Elizabeth Gurley Flynn, whom Theodore Dreiser de- 
scribed as "An East Side Joan of Arc," was part of an Irish 
socialist movement that was active in New York at the turn 
of the century. Her autobiography begins with a chapter 
"Paddy the Rebel," which captures some of the atmosphere 
of the Irish-American home in the 1890's. 



The awareness of being Irish came to us as small children 
through plaintive song and heroic story. . . . We drew in 
a burning hatred of British rule with our mother's milk. 
Until my father died at over eighty, he never said England 
without adding, "God damn her!" Before I was ten I knew 
of the great heroes — Robert Emmet, Wolfe Tone, Michael 
Davitt, Parnell and O'Donovan Rossa, who was chained 
hand and foot, like a dog, and had to eat from a tin plate 
on the floor of a British prison.^^ 

Flynn notes that her second-generation father felt much 
more strongly about Ireland than her mother, who was born 

The nineteenth-century Irish discovered 
they were Celts, locked in ageless struggle with Saxons. The 
most bizarre notions evolved from this discovery: hardly 
credible, were it not a time when American cotton farmers 
were organizing tournaments and civilized Scotsmen were 
appearing in kilts. But somehow the contrast between Irish 
reality and pretense was more pitiful than ludicrous. The 
proceedings were, as George Templeton Strong declared, 
"full of gas and brag and bosh." ^^ Referring to an exiled 
leader of the 1848 revolt, Thomas F. Meagher, Strong noted: 
" 'Meagher of the Sword' they call that commonplace decent 
attorney-at-law. 'Tis he will sheathe that battle axe in Saxon 
gore.' " ^^ 

The speeches were grand; the rallies 
grander. One hundred thousand persons attended a Fenian 
gathering in Jones' Wood in New York in 1866 — against the 
wishes of the Archbishop! The Fenians hoped to free Ire- 
land by capturing Canada. From their New York headquar- 
ters they raised an army, and prepared for the invasion, 
with the full regalia of a modern government-in-exile. 

They pledged their lives and honor and be- 
seeched the intercession of the Saints: 

By the old rebel Pike 

By the waving sunburst 

By the immortal shamrock 

By the sprig of fern We beseech thee to hear us. 

By the bayonet charge O'Toole^^ 

By the Irish hurrah 



Nothing came of it. A thousand men or so 
marched into Canada. And marched right out again. In the 
one battle of the whole fiasco, eight Irishmen were killed. 
With what contempt did Strong record: "Their raid into 
Canada is a most ridiculous failure. . . . Had there been 
an Old John Brown among them they would have failed 
less ignominiously, at least. But there are no Celtic John 
Browns, and there never will be, I think." ^^ 

Strong was mistaken. The Celtic John 
Browns did appear. The foremost of them, Eamon de 
Valera, like Old John Brown himself, was born in New 

The Irish issue all but dominated English 
politics in the last third of the nineteenth century. Then, 
as earlier, many of the Irish leaders were Protestants. The 
principal Irish objectives were land reform and home rule. 
By 1914 it appeared these had all but been obtained, despite 
the obstinate stupidity of the Conservative party. But in the 
meantime a far more intransigent group had grown up, the 
Sinn Fein party, dedicated to the establishment of a Gaelic, 
Catholic republic. It received much of its inspiration and 
money from Irish-Americans. 

In 1869 the New York Irish established a 
secret society, Clan-na-Gael, dedicated to a radical, violent 
course in Ireland. This remained a vigorous, nationwide 
organization for half a century, led in the New York area 
by a Fenian exile, John Devoy, and a Tammany judge, 
Daniel Cohalan. During much of this time the Irish issue 
seemed to dominate New York as well. During the middle 
years of the century the arrival of Irish patriots in the port 
were occasions for great public celebrations. The exiles en- 
hanced a tendency, apparent from the time of O'Connell, 
for Irish- Americans to be more extreme in their attitudes 
toward England than were the native Irish. 

At the turn of the century, when an Anglo- 
American entente was becoming evident, a number of Ger- 
man- and Irish-Americans began to work together against it. 
When World War I came, this collaboration became an 
earnest, perilous affair. "A comparison of such Irish papers 
as The Gaelic-American and the Irish World with the 



German-language press indicates how closely they followed 
a common propaganda line," writes Carl Wittke.^^ The 
fateful move was that of Clan-na-Gael, which actively par- 
ticipated with the Germans and Sir Roger Casement in plot- 
ting and financing the uprising in Dublin in Easter Week, 
1916. It was at best a minority act, despite all the provoca- 
tions to revolt. In the curious words of a recent Irish-Amer- 
ican historian: 

The age-old hope of securing Irish Independence through 
physical force had been abandoned by most Irishmen and 
was cherished chiefly by some stout-hearted men of the 
I.R.B. [Irish Republican Brotherhood] who would stage the 
rising of 1916. The uncertain solution in the Irish national 
test tube could be precipitated only by the blood of heroes 
who were not afraid to die in order that a nation might 

The Easter Rebellion established the lead- 
ers of Irish-American nationalism as among those who 
wished to see Germany defeat England. This position was 
barely tolerated in America in 1916. In the election cam- 
paign that year such Irish were scorned by both sides as 
"hyphenated Americans." President Wilson came to regard 
Cohalan as little better than a traitor, refusing even to enter 
the same room with him.^^ The efforts of Irish-Americans, 
in which the Catholic hierarchy took part, to obtain Wil- 
sonian self-determination for Ireland at the peace confer- 
ence, received little sympathy and no real help from the 
Wilson administration. 

After the war, in a sequence that was to 
become familiar, Irish affairs went from insurrection, to 
independence, to civil war, to neutrality. When Irish bases 
were refused even American forces during the Second World 
War, Ireland was off America's conscience for good, if 
indeed she had ever been on it. 

The shame of it from the point of view of 
the New York Irish was that Irish nationalism went sour 
just when they themselves were becoming almost a symbol 
of American nationalism. Just when issues of Irish-American 
newspapers were being banned from the mails as seditious, 
"Wild Bill" Donovan was leading the Fighting Sixty-Ninth 
into the Argonne and George M. Cohan was proclaiming 



to all the world: "I'm a Yankee Doodle Dandy . . . Born 
on the Fourth of July." 

Red, White and Blue, 

I am for you. 

Honest you're a grand old flag.^^ 

The Irish-American character had formed, 
and no longer needed Irish nationalism to sustain itself. 
This is not to say that most Irish-Americans had such a 
character, but the image had jelled and in the manner of 
such things began to verify itself. 

The Irish-American character was not very 
different from that which Macaulay described, save in two 
respects: it was urban and it was egalitarian. Where the 
Irish had been wild, they now became tough. Where they 
had been rebellious, it now became more a matter of being 
defiantly democratic. In the words of Thomas Beer, "an 
infinitely pugnacious, utterly common and merry animal." ^^ 

Picture John Morrissey: heavyweight cham- 
pion of the world. Member of Congress, principal owner 
of the Saratoga race course, proprietor of gambling houses, 
husband of a famous beauty, and a leader of the "Young 
Democracy" that helped overthrow Tweed. In 1875 a re- 
spectable enough Mayor named Wickham, who had been 
elected by the new Tammany group, posted a man in his 
anteroom at City Hall to receive the calling cards of visitors. 
Shortly thereafter, Morrissey, having no card, was refused 
admittance to the Mayor's office. As recounted by Morris R. 

A few days later, a friend met John Morrissey in City Hall 
Park. He was dressed in a swallowtail coat, patent leather 
boots, white kid gloves, and he carried a light coat over his 
arm. In his other hand was a thick book. His friend, John 
B. Haskin, said: "Hello, John, what's up now? Going to a 
wedding?" "No," answered Morrissey, "not so bad as that. 
I've just bought a French dictionary to help me talk to our 
dandy Mayor. I'm going in full dress to make a call, for that 
is now the style at the Hotel Wickham," pointing to the 
City Hall. "No Irish need apply now," Morrissey added.^* 

Fifteen thousand people followed him to his grave. 



Let it be said that the Irish gave style to life 
in the slums: 

Boys and girls together, me and Mamie Rorke, 

Tripped the light fantastic on the sidewalks of New York. 

They became the playboys of this new Western World. 
"None can Love Like an Irishman" was a favorite song of 
Lincoln's day. By the turn of the century it had become 
equally clear that none could run like them, nor fight like 
them, nor drink as much, nor sing as well. When it came 
to diving off the Brooklyn Bridge or winning pennants for 
the Giants, it took an Irishman. And who could write such 
bittersweet songs as Victor Herbert? Or enjoy life like 
"Diamond Jim" Brady? All was "bliss and blarney." 

Much was forgiven them. Their failures, as 
they themselves said of their principal one, were "A good 
man's weakness." A certain compassion pervaded even their 
wrongdoing. Jimmy Walker was nothing so much as P. T. 
Barnum in a speakeasy: predatory, not evil. At their best 
such Irish had a genius for getting through to the people: 
no one in the history of New York has ever been able to 
explain state government to the voters in the way Al Smith 
did. Nor have they ever quite forgotten the compliment he 
paid their intelligence. 

By degrees the Irish style of the gaslight era 
became less and less Irish, more and more the style of the 
American city. Al Smith came close to being for the people 
of the Lower East Side of America what Lincoln had been 
for the Frontier. Better still, what Jackson had been — two 
Irishmen, a century apart. When the comic strips began, the 
principal urban characters — Maggie and Jiggs, Moon Mul- 
lins, Dick Tracy — were Irish. When the movies began to 
fashion a composite picture of the American people, the 
New York Irishman was projected to the very center of the 
national image. 

For whatever reason, perhaps because of the 
influence of New York Jews in the film industry, when 
Hollywood undertook to synthesize the Christian religion, 
they found it most easy to do in the person of an Irish 
priest: Pat O'Brien as Father Duffy in the trenches. When 
it came to portraying the tough American, up from the 



Streets, the image was repeatedly that of an Irishman, James 
Cagney (a New Yorker) was the quintessential figure: fists 
cocked, chin out, back straight, bouncing along on his heels. 
But also doomed: at the end of the movie he was usually 
dead. The contrast with Chaplin tells worlds. 

By the time the New York journalist, John 
O'Sullivan, coined the phrase "Manifest Destiny" as a com- 
pact apologetic for American expansionism, the Irish were 
seasoned nationalists. Their exploits, or their accounts there- 
of, in the Mexican and Civil Wars established the American 
institution of the 'Tighting Irish." Thomas Beer recalled. 

This dummy figure of the Irishman had become deeply 
sacred with Americans; in 1898 a group of young journalists 
went hunting the first trooper to reach the blockhouse on 
San Juan Hill, assuring each other . . . that he would be 
a red-haired Irishman and warmly disappointed when he 
proved an ordinary American of German ancestry. . . . 
Nineteen years later, another group of journalists went 
hunting a red-haired Irishman who fired the first shot of 
the American Expeditionary Force in France.^^ 

Success went to their heads; it also un- 
dermined the character of many. It is to be noted, as Beer 
does, that "The Irish were at once established as a tre- 
mendously funny, gay, charming people and concurrently 
were snubbed." ^^ There was a touch of Sambo in the pro- 
fessional Irishman: he was willing to be welcomed on terms 
that he not forget his place. There was also more than a bit 
of mucker in the man-of-the-people pose. Derision of the 
hifalutin all too easily shaded into contempt for intelligence 
and learning, particularly on the lace-curtain fringe. The 
Irish were flirting with the peril Whitehead pointed to in 
his remark that in the conditions of the modern world the 
nation that does not value trained intelligence is doomed. 

This was painfully manifest in the Irish- 
American response to the extraordinary flowering of Irish 
literature in the late nineteenth century. The emigrant 
Irish may have brought with them a certain peasant respect 
for learning — "Isle of Saints and Scholars" — but two gen- 
erations in the slums of New York killed it, if it ever existed. 
Instead of embracing and glorying in the new literature, 
the New York Irish either ignored it, or if they were re- 



spectable enough, turned on the Irish authors, accusing 
them of using bad language! 

The Ancient Order of Hibernians raged and 
rioted when the Abbey Theatre brought the new play- 
wrights to America. John Quinn, a New York lawyer, and 
an important patron of the Irish writers, showed an early 
copy of the Playboy to John Devoy, the Fenian journalist 
so dedicated to a dynamite-and-blood solution of the land 
question. Quinn later wrote Cohalan that for weeks and 
weeks in his paper "Devoy railed at the language of the 
Playboy as foul, un-Irish, indecent, blasphemous, and so on. 
. . ." ^^ The Irish- Americans' reaction to the new literature 
was, of course, not very different from that of many or most 
of the native Irish. 

Reilly and the 400 was fun, but it was not 
Riders to the Sea. When it emerged that the American Irish 
did not see this, their opportunity to attain a degree of cul- 
tural ascendancy quite vanished. After that began a steady 
emigration from the Irish "community" of many of the 
strongest and best of the young. This migration was as 
devitalizing in America as it was to the Irish nation overseas. 

The image changed. At the turn of the cen- 
tury Ireland stood for brave things. The painter John Sloan 
was Scot by descent, but preferred to think otherwise: "I'm 
an Irishman," he would say. "Therefore I'm agin the gov- 
ernment. . . ." But as time passed, the rebel receded, the 
policeman loomed larger. "We wur once the world's dramers 
af freedom," says the drunk old woman in Anthony West's 
The Native Moment, " — what are we now?" 

There are, of course, no statistics or meas- 
ures of this kind of movement, but the impression is over- 
whelming. Excepting those with a strong religious vocation, 
the sensitive, perceptive children of the American Irish born 
early in the twentieth century found little to commend itself 
in the culture to which they were born. 

Of all the New York Irish to live with this 
and write about it, foremost was Eugene O'Neill. Only 
toward the end of his life was he able to do so. Long Day's 
Journey Into Night recounts the agony of his family, "the 
four haunted Tyrones," headed by the actor father. (The 
O'Neills were the Earls of Tyrone.) Throughout one feels 



the rending insufficiency for the sons of the "gas and brag 
and bosh" of their father's Irishness. 


Sits down opposite his Father — contemptu- 

Yes, facts don't mean a thing, do they? What you want to 

beheve, that's the only truth! 

Shakespeare was an Irish Catholic, for example. 


So he was. The proof is in his plays. 


Well he wasn't, and there's no proof of it in his plays, except 
to you! 

The Duke of Wellington, there was another good Irish 


I never said he was a good one. He was a renegade but a 
Catholic just the same. 


Well, he wasn't. You just want to believe no one but an 
Irish Catholic general could beat Napoleon.^^ 

One of O'Neill's last plays, A Touch of the 
Poet, recounts the final defeat of Major Cornelius Melody, 
an Irish officer, late of Wellington's army. Descended to 
running a tavern near Boston, he is scorned by the Yankees 
and mocked by the Irish, neither of whom accept him as 
a gentleman. Melody returns from his crisis broken, a bog- 
trotter once more. He has killed his horse and dropped his 
English accent. 

. . . Me brins, if I have any, is clear as a bell. And I'm not 
puttin' on brogue to tormint you, me darlint. Nor play- 
actin', Sara. That was the Major's game. It's quare, surely, 
for the two av ye to object when I talk in me natural tongue, 
and yours, and don't put on airs loike the late lamented 
auld liar and lunatic, Major Cornelius Melody, av His 
Majesty's Seventh Dragoons, used to do. So let you be aisy, 
darlint. He'll nivir again hurt you with his sneers, and 
his pretendin' he's a gintleman, blatherin' about pride and 
honor, and his showin' off before the Yankees, and thim 



laughin' at him, prancing around drunk on his beautiful 
thoroughbred mare — For she's dead, too, poor baste.^^ 

Melody rises and makes for the bar to drink 
with the Irish laborers he had scorned. From within he 
shouts a toast: "Here's to our next President, Andy Jackson! 
Hurroo for Auld Hickory, God bless himl" Melody was now, 
like the rest, an Irish Catholic Democrat — at peace with a 
world that would have it no other way. 



fading. "Sweet Rosie O'Grady" has become simply one of 
the old songs about the old-fashioned American girl. If any 
recognize the wild notes of "Garryowen," it is most likely 
as the charging call of the U.S. Seventh Cavalry, and the 
association is more with the battle of the Little Big Horn 
River than with the gay times of old on the banks of the 

Unquestionably, however, an Irish identity 
persists. It would seem that it now identifies someone as 
plain as against fancy American. In an urban culture, Irish- 
ness has come to represent some of the qualities the honest 
yeoman stood for in an earlier age, notably in the under- 
tone of toughness and practicality. "Be more Irish than 
Harvard," Robert Frost told the young President in 1961. 

Ethnic identity being mostly a matter of 
where one came from, it loses much of its content in the 
Middle and Far West where most persons came from the 
Eastern Seaboard in the character of Yankees, or Southern- 
ers, or whatever. New York being the first stop in America, 
however, most white New Yorkers continue to identify them- 
selves as originating somewhere in Europe. Asked, "What 
are you?" a New Yorker replies, "Italian," or "Greek," or 
"Jewish." Most Irish still answer, "Irish." For one thing, 
it is probably an advantage to do so. The more amiable 
qualities of the stage Irishman have persisted in tradition. 
The Irish are commonly thought to be a friendly, witty, 
generous people, physically courageous and fond of drink. 
There is a distinct tendency among many to try to live up 
to this image. 



The problem with perpetuating this Irish 
type is that it is essentially proletarian and does not jibe 
with middle-class reality. Like Southern hospitality, the 
Irish temperament has become a tradition — valid enough, 
perhaps, but requiring constant reinforcement. Hence 
names acquire importance. The Maguires and O'Tooles and 
O'Shanes are continually reminded by others that they are 
Irish and are therefore less likely to forget (it normally 
being a pleasant thing to tell a man he is Irish). But the vast 
numbers of Irish Blacks and Whites, Longs and Shorts, 
Smiths and Joneses, not to mention the Comiskeys, Nagles, 
and Costellos, seem to lose their Irish identity more easily. 
In addition, there is a fairly strict rule of patrimonial de- 
scent: to be an Irish-American writer, an Irish last name is 
required. A kind of cultural rule also obtains: Henry James 
was pure New York Celt, but is hardly regarded as an Irish- 
American author. 

The three additional factors working toward 
a decline of Irish identity in America are the decline of 
immigration, the fading of Irish nationalism, and the rela- 
tive absence of Irish cultural influence from abroad on the .^'* 
majority of American Irish. 

The native Irish continue to emigrate (the 
population today is not half the prefamine level), but most 
of the immigrants settle in England. A trickle of Irishmen 
arrives in New York, but it is barely sufficient to keep the 
County associations alive and to provide talent for and 
interest in the sporting events that are centered at Gaelic 
Park in the Bronx. A handful of declining Irish papers 
continues to be published, and the Ancient Order of Hiber- 
nians manages to keep an organization together, if only to 
arrange the St. Patrick's Day parade. But the first-generation 
immigrants are a declining, rather isolated group. A fair 
indication is the disparate course of development between 
the Jewish and Irish summer resorts in the Catskills. As the 
Jews have become more prosperous, their recreation centers 
in Sullivan County have developed into fabulous pleasure 
domes. By contrast, the Irish colonies in Greene County to 
the north seem to be dying out. 

In truth, most of the recent immigrants are 
rather a disappointment to the American Irish, just as is 



Ireland itself to many Americans who go back. Neither the 
people nor the land fits the stereotype. Few sights are more 
revealing than that of a second- or third-generation Irish- 
American tourist sitting down to his first meal, boiled in 
one iron pot over the open peat fire, in his grandparents' 
cottage. Embarrassment hangs just as heavy over the Fifth 
Avenue reviewing stand of the St. Patrick's Day parade. The 
sleek, porcine judges and contractors, all uneasy bravado, 
simply don't know what to make of the smallish, dour Irish 
officials and emissaries gathered for the occasion. Neither do 
the guests from Eire seem to know quite what to make of the 
"O'Donnell Abu," Fighting 69th, "Top O'the Marnin" 
goings-on. In Dublin, March 17th is a holy day, the parade 
is like as not devoted to the theme of industrial progress; 
and until recently the bars were closed. 

Modern-day Ireland has little to commend 
itself to the average Irish-American. Where the American 
granddaughters of Calabrian peasants are blossoming forth 
in Roman chic, there is no contemporary Irish manner to 
emulate. Even the most visible Irish contribution to the 
New York scene, the Irish saloon, is vanishing, decimated 
by prohibition and now unable to compete with the attrac- 
tions of television and the fact that Italians can cook. A 
very considerable body of Irish traits and speech habits has 
become so thoroughly absorbed in New York culture as no 
longer to be regarded as Irish. No one, for example, any 
longer thinks of Halloween as another of those curious days 
on which all the Irish in town get drunk. The result is fewer 
and fewer opportunities for Irish-Americans to associate 
themselves with their past. 

Fewer and fewer need to do so in order to 
sustain their own identity. This is nowhere more evident 
than in the plight of the American Irish Historical Society. 
This group was founded in New York in 1897 "to make 
better known the Irish chapter in American history." There 
was certainly a case to be made that the Irish had been 
slighted, and the Society set out to right this imbalance with 
some vigor. But little came of it. The membership was 
basically not interested in history; it was the imbalance of 
the present, not the past, that concerned them. When this 



was righted, the purpose of the Society vanished. Its Journal, 
which had inclined to articles by aspiring judges beginning 
"While we know that an Irishman was in Columbus' crew 
on his first voyage to the New World . . . ," has long ceased 
publication. The Society continues to occupy a great tomb/\ 
of a mansion on Fifth Avenue, with a fine library that few 
seem interested in using, and splendid meeting rooms 
where no one evidently wants to meet. 

The establishment of the Irish Free State 
and later the Republic of Eire, despite the Ulster issue, has 
substantially put an end to the agitation for Irish independ- 
ence which contributed so much to the maintenance of 
Irish identity in America. As Whitehead said of Protestant- 
ism, so of Irish-American nationalism; "Its dogmas no longer 
dominate; its divisions no longer interest; its institutions 
no longer direct the patterns of life." ™ On the contrary, 
the more militantly Irish circles in America have become 
alarmed about the unorthodox behavior of the Irish govern- 
ment on issues such as admission of Red China to the 
United Nations. The American Mercury has published an 
article on the imminent possibility of a Communist take- 
over in Ireland. The Brooklyn Tablet carries long pleas 
from Irish- Americans for ideological aid to "an Ireland 
subject to the seductive siren call of the Left and the dom- 
ination of an alien and atheistic ideology." '^^ 

Ironically, it is precisely those persons who 
were most attached to the Irish cause and the Irish culture 
of the nineteenth century who are having the most difficulty 
maintaining such attachments in the present time. Ireland 
has not ceased to influence America. Contemporary Ameri- 
can literature can hardly be understood save in the context 
of Shaw, Wilde, Yeats, O'Casey, Joyce, and the like. Con- 
temporary Irish authors appear almost weekly in The New 
Yorker. But those who would most value their Irishness 
seem least able to respond to such achievements. Irish writ- 
ers have been Irish indeed. Protestants, agnostics, atheists, 
socialists, communists, homosexuals, drunkards, and mock- 
ers, they have had but few traits that commend themselves 
to the Catholic middle class. "A common drunk," Honor- 
able James A. Comerford of the Court of Special Sessions ex- 



claimed in announcing that the playwright Brendan Behan 
would not be marching in the 1961 St. Patrick's Day parade 
in New York. 

In the coming generation it is likely that 
those persons who have the fewest conventional Irish attach- 
ments will become the most conscious of their Irish heritage. 
This is already evident in writers such as Mary McCarthy 
and John O'Hara: things Irish are to be found throughout 
their work. It would seem that any heightened self-conscious- 
ness tends to raise the question of racial origin and to stir 
some form of racial pride. Irish authors abound in the 
bookstores around Fordham. In Greenwich Village there is 
a distinct Irish strain, compounded of the literary and polit- 
ical traditions. Songs of the Irish Revolution have taken 
their place in the repertoire of the balladeers and are lis- 
tened to rapturously by emancipated young Irish-Americans. 

Irish consciousness would seem to be hold- 
ing its own in the upper reaches of the business as well as 
the intellectual sphere. The Society of the Friendly Sons of 
Saint Patrick can hardly ever have been more prosperous 
than today, as it approaches the third century of its exist- 
ence. The annual dinners, strictly adhering to a format that 
seems to have been fixed about the time Victor Herbert was 
president, are splendid affairs, moving in ponderous array 
from the Boned Diamondback Terrapin a la Travers with 
Bobadillia Amontillado, through the Chicken Forestiere and 
Heidsieck Brut, to the demitasse, H. Upman Belvederes, 
and brandy. They leave no doubt that even if the Protes- 
tants have rather disappeared, the Society remains, as it 
began, an organization of well-fed merchants. Perhaps the 
principal innovation of the past century is a middle course 
of boiled bacon, Irish potatoes, and kale, a wistful reminder 
of those far-off cabins in Roscommon. No one touches it. 

Indications are that the Irish are now about 
the most evenly distributed group in New York in terms of 
economic and social position. (See Table 8.) They are per- 
haps a bit heavy on the extremes: rather more than their 
share of the men on the Bowery and on Wall Street, but 
generally about the right proportions. In this respect they 
are unique among the major ethnic groups in New York. 



Their distribution within class strata is not 
nearly so even. O'Faolain has reminded us that the ancient 
Irish had a powerful distaste for commerce; through history 
the Irish were by preference lawyers and soldiers and priests, 
and the pattern rather persists in the New World. The Irish 
are well represented in Wall Street law firms. In one of the 
largest the Irish partners were recently considering whether 
a quota should be imposed. But they have shown relatively 
little talent as merchants, and most of those that did so 
have been quite overwhelmed by Jewish competition. 

The principal Irish businesses in the city 
still tend to be family affairs, founded by working men and 
involving the organization of manual labor in forms that 
may begin small and grow larger. Thus in 1850, Michael 
Moran, just off the boat, began as a mule driver on the 
Erie Canal at 50^ a day. Ten years later he put down $2,700 
for half-interest in a towboat hauling barges from New 
York to Albany. Today his descendants operate the largest 
tugboat fleet in the world, with only two competitors left 
in New York Harbor. The Sheila, and Moira, and Kevirij 
and Kathleen Moran' s greet one and all as the great ships 
move in and out of the harbor. "^^2 

The Irish, in a sense, have never strayed far 
from the docks, where they established a singularly dispirit- 
ing regime of political, business, and trade-union corrup- 
tion. They quickly enough got into the businesses of digging 
ditches and hauling freight, and Irish contractors have 
eviscerated, built up, knocked down, and again built up a 
good deal of New York City. Whether their firms will sur- 
vive the rationalization process that appears to be going on 
in this industry remains to be seen. Considerable Irish for- 
tunes were made in real estate speculation — a peasant at- 
tachment for land which O'Neill describes in his portrait of 
the elder Tyrone — but these seem not to have produced 
much in the way of continuing enterprise. 

The Irish have done well in businesses such 
as banking, where there is stress on personal qualities and 
the accommodation of conflicting interests, and not a little 
involvement in politics. In 1850, at Bishop Hughes' sug- 
gestion, the directors of the Irish Emigrant Society, founded 



in 1841, established the Emigrant Industrial Savings Bank. 
As time passed, the bank became more active, and the 
charitable society less so until, in 1936, the Society went out 
of existence. But the bank remains, on its original site 
behind City Hall, the fourth-largest savings bank in the 
nation and still very much an Irish affair. The Irish have 
also done well on Wall Street. James V. Forrestal, the son 
of an immigrant, was president of Dillon, Read & Co. before 
he entered the Roosevelt Administration. 

The Irish talent for political bureaucracy 
seems to have carried over into the world of business organ- 
ization. The Irish have been content to get in the long lines 
of the giant corporations and for some time have been pop- 
ping up in the front ranks as their turn came. In the long 
run, their patience may prove as important a commercial 
asset as Jewish daring or Yankee rigor. 

For the moment, however, the relevant ques- 
tion is not how the Irish have succeeded, but why they have 
not succeeded more. The English and Dutch who preceded 
them in New York are now almost entirely middle- and 
upper-class. The Germans who accompanied them are pre- 
dominantly middle-class. The Jews who followed them are 
already predominantly middle-class and soon will be ex- 
clusively so. If the majority of the Irish have climbed out of 
the working class, it has been only to settle on the next 
rung. Oscar Handlin has put it candidly that, just as the 
movement of Jews out of the ranks of unskilled labor was 
exceptionally rapid, that of the Irish was "exceptionally 
slow." '^^ 

A clue might be found in a cover story of 
Life magazine in 1947 on the "Peoples of New York." The 
Irish were not included among the major groups in the city 
but were relegated to a small block between the Rumanians 
and the Arabs. The picture was that of a cop, and the cap- 
tion read "Once the victims of a violent prejudice. New 
York's many Irish are now thoroughly assimilated. Many of 
them become politicians or members of the city's police 
force." "^^ Instead of profiting by their success in the all-but- 
despised roles of ward heeler and policeman, the Irish seem 
to have been trapped by it. As with the elder Tyrone, they 



seem almost to have ruined their talent by playing one role 
over and over until they could do little else. 

For Tyrone, as for his sons, so also for the 
race: drink has been their curse. It is the principal fact of 
Irishness that they have not been able to shake. A good deal 
of competent enquiry has still not produced much under- 
standing of the Irish tendency to alcohol addiction. It would 
seem, in the words of Charles R. Snyder, that 

Irish country culture appears to be an "ideal type" case of a 
deeply embedded tradition of utilitarian drinking. There is 
also a tradition of convivial social drinking in which drunk- 
enness is common, but there is an extensive body of tradi- 
tion which tends to orient individuals toward drinking for 
the effect of alcohol as a generalized means of individual 

It seems to be agreed (but with less persuasiveness) that the 
Irish culture was "such as to create and maintain an im- 
mense amount of suppressed aggression and sexuality." ^^ 
The question may still be asked why drinking becomes 
addictive, and why the pattern persists in the New World. 
Aspects of the culture, particularly the suppressed sexuality, 
survive, of course. It may also be, as Roger J. Williams sug- 
gests, that the problem is at least in part heredity.'^'^ 

Whatever the explanation, the fact itself is 
indisputable. In a study of a group on the Bowery, Straus 
and McCarthy found 44 per cent of the whites to be Irish.'^^ 
A dominant social fact of the Irish community is the num- 
ber of good men who are destroyed by drink. In ways it is 
worse now than in the past: a stevedore could drink and 
do his work; a lawyer, a doctor, a legislator cannot. 

In New York the Irish are competing with 
groups whose alcoholism rates are as phenomenally low as 
theirs is high. Studies almost invariably find the Irish at one 
end of the spectrum and the Jews at the very opposite. 
Meyer found "alcoholism is 74 times as important a cause 
of psychoses among men of Irish descent as it is among 
those of Jewish descent." ^^ The Italians are well down on 
the scale. In 1947 Donald D. Glad reported the following 
incidence of inebriety in New York State based on first 



admission for alcohol psychoses per 100,000 population of 
each ethnic group: 













It is evident enough that Irish drunkenness 
has given competitors a margin in business and the profes- 
sions — it may even have tended to keep the Irish out of 
some of the professions. It is probably also true that it 
partially accounts for the disappearance of the Irish from 
organized crime. Gambling and related activities are among 
the largest business activities in New York and certainly 
among the most profitable. With their political power, even 
if declining, the Irish ought to have a share of control in 
them, but the Southern Italians, with Jewish connections, 
have completely taken over. Bookmaking, policy, and drugs 
are complex, serious, exacting trades. They are not jobs for 
heavy drinkers. 

The relative failure of the Irish to rise 
socially seems on the surface to be part of a general Catholic 
failure. This hypothesis, with regard to Catholics, was put 
by a Notre Dame sociologist, John J. Kane: 

There may be some kind of lower middle or lower class 
orientation among them to education and occupation which 
tends to anchor Catholics in the lower socio-economic 
groups and which limits those who do achieve higher educa- 
tion to certain fields which appear to offer more security 
albeit less prestige and income. It may also be that leader- 
ship, even outside the purely religious field, is still con- 
sidered a clerical prerogative, and the same seems equally 
true of scholarship. It seems that Catholics creep forward 
rather than stride forward in American society and the posi- 
tion of American Catholics in the mid-twentieth century is 
better, but not so much better than it was a century ago. 
Neither is it as high as one might expect from such a sizable 
minority with a large educational system and reputed 
equality of opportunity in a democracy.^^ 



Such evidence as is available supports this 
hypothesis. In Detroit Gerhard Lenski found white Catho- 
lics to have the least positive attitude toward work of any 
of the major groups (Jews, white Protestants, Negro Prot- 
estants and Catholics). Where Catholic attitudes were posi- 
tive, it was, in contrast with Protestants, toward the less 
demanding, and hence less rewarding, positions. Positive 
attitudes toward work came close to being nonexistent (6 
per cent of the sample) among middle-class Catholics with 
Catholic education. In striking contrast, 28 per cent of the 
middle-class Catholic males with a public education had a 
positive attitude.^2 xhe evidence also underlines the con- 
centration of Catholics in certain activities. Kane found that 
in a sample of American Catholics in Who's Who in Amer- 
ica 48.6 per cent were lawyers or priests. Bosco D. Cestello 
found in a sample of Catholic businessmen in the same 
directory that 25 per cent were in finance, two-thirds more 
than the national proportion, while only 7.7 per cent, 
barely a quarter the national average, were in trade.^^ 

The curious distribution of even successful 
Catholics — getting ahead as bankers before making much 
progress as merchants — raises the question whether the rela- 
tive poor showing of Catholics in the business world is not 
primarily a poor Irish showing. The Italians and Poles and 
Puerto Ricans have not really been settled long enough to 
make it clear what their performance in normal circum- 
stances will be. In time they may produce a Catholic busi- 
ness class that is quite up to average. But clearly, the Irish 
have not done so. 

In New York this failure may well be related 
to the Irish success in politics. It is perilous to speculate in 
such matters, but a case can be made that contrary to the 
general impression politics is not a lucrative calling. This 
case is more confirmed than contradicted by the periodic 
scandals that reveal the large amounts of graft and benefac- 
tions passed between politicians and various legitimate and 
illegitimate businessmen: the politicians are often as not 
on their way to jail. The secret of the long tenure of many 
of the better known Irish politicians is that they were 
honest men by any standards, and certainly by the Amer- 
ican standards of their time. 



The equally relevant fact in a city like New 
York, with constantly changing neighborhoods, is the ex- 
treme difficulty of passing on political power from one 
generation to the next and in that way establishing pros- 
perous family dynasties. The problem of Tammany leaders 
is not much different in this respect from that of champion 
prize fighters. A few Irish district leaders today are sons of 
old leaders, but they are rarely of the old breed. The New 
York Times recently ran a striking photograph of "The 
Clan Finn," the rulers of Greenwich Village from the 1870's 
to 1943. On the wall of the Huron Club, a three-story brick 
and stone edifice ("Pitched it up in an afternoon himself, 
he did.") hung a portrait of old "Battery Dan" Finn. Back 
stiff as a North River pile, and a head that must have been 
fashioned of cast iron. His eyes look straight ahead. Standing 
before the portrait is his son, "Sheriff Dan." Homburg and 
high collar, with the vast jowls of a prosperous official in 
an age when Luchow's and Tammany Hall shared Union 
Square. His eyes are glazed rather. Next to him is his son, 
"Bashful Dan." Gray flannels, hair and chin receding. Eyes 
downcast. "Bashful Dan" inherited his post in 1935. Eight 
years later Carmine G. DeSapio took it away from him. 

The small potatoes of political success have 
become even less nourishing over the years. Swarms of Irish 
descended on the city government after the Civil War and 
began successions of low-grade civil servants. Here, as with 
the top-rank politicians, there was little cumulative improve- 
ment from one generation to the next. The economic re- 
wards in America over the past century have gone to entre- 
preneurs, not to fonctionnaires, and hence, in that measure, 
not to the Irish of New York. 

Even were the Irish rising faster socially and 
economically than seems to be the case, the first impression 
would be one of decline. People disappear into the lower- 
middle class, to emerge, if ever, only years or generations 
later, in the upper reaches of achievement. In the interval, 
they are outdistanced in the areas of popular achievement, 
which are particularly visible in an age of mass media. This 
has been painfully obvious for the Irish in New York, which 
is the center of the nation's entertainment industry and 
thereby the center of most of the popular arts. The past 



thirty years have been a time of steady decline for the Irish. 
The Irish fighters and ballplayers have gone down before 
Negroes and Italians. The Irish crooners have been driven 
out by Italians. Most of the popular comedians are Jewish. 
The best of the musicians are Negro. 

A similar, if more complex, process is at 
work in the trade-union movement. The most important 
of the working-class leaders of the city, from Gompers to 
Dubinsky, have emerged from the Jewish Socialist tradition 
(Peter McGuire and George Meany excepted). This tradi- 
tion, however, has about played out; the Jews have left the 
working class, and Jewish liberals have largely turned their 
interests elsewhere. During all this time the bulk of the 
trade-union leadership, notably in the craft unions, has been 
Irish. This leadership continues with a diminished, but by 
no means vanished ethnic base. Of late the leadership has 
even been revived by the influence of Catholic ideological 
movements, symbolized in New York by the Association of 
Catholic Trade Unionists and the various church-related 
labor schools. It is likely that Irish influence in this area 
will continue for some time. 

In their classic stronghold, the police force, 
the Irish have been forced to set up a society to protect 
their interests. For some time ethnic groups in the New 
York police, as in many of the city bureaucracies — as in 
the life of the city generally — have maintained fraternal 
organizations. The Italians were first to organize on an 
ethnic basis within the Police Department. In the 1930's 
they were followed by Jews, the white Protestants, the black 
Protestants, the Puerto Ricans, and the Poles. For a long 
while, the Irish were so dominant that it would have seemed 
ludicrous for them to organize. But by 1952 it was obvious 
that those days were passing; the Irish still had a majority 
of the force, but no longer a majority of the police academy, 
and so they set up the Emerald Society and took their place 
among the other minorities. 

Turning lower-middle class is a painful proc- 
ess for a group such as the Irish who, as stevedores and 
truck drivers, made such a grand thing of Saturday night. 
Most prize fighters and a good many saloon fighters die in 
the gutter — but they have moments of glory unknown to 



accountants. Most Irish laborers died penniless, but they 
had been rich one night a week much of their lives, whereas 
their white-collar children never know a moment of finan- 
cial peace, much less affluence. A good deal of color goes 
out of life when a group begins to rise. A good deal of re- 
sentment enters. 

The cumulative effect of this process has 
been to produce among a great many Irish a powerful sense 
of displacement. It is summed up in a phrase they will use 
on hearing an Irish name or being introduced to another 
Irishman. "There are some of us left," they say. One could 
be in Connaught in the seventeenth century. 



in politics. 

The basic cause of the decline of the politi- 
cal power of the Irish has been their decline as a proportion 
of the population. Where they accounted for a third of the 
population of the city in 1890, they are probably no more 
than one-tenth today. In i960 there were 312,000 first- or 
second-generation Irish in the city, and a considerably larger 
number of older stock.^^ But like their English and Scotch 
predecessors, much of the old Irish stock has moved to the 
suburbs. Some, of course, have dispersed throughout the 
country. Many of the Irish who remain in the city have 
become Republicans, thus splitting the Irish vote, and of 
those who remain Democrats, a great many have been at 
odds with the prevailing ideology within their party. The 
result, inevitably, has been the rapid waning of Irish politi- 
cal power. 

At first glance the Irish appear to be doing 
well enough, but only because they are passing out of politi- 
cal power. They have most of the very top jobs. But they 
have fewer and fewer of the bottom ones, a fact which 
means that in time they will lose the top ones. Seven of the 
last nine mayors of New York have been Irish, if one counts 
the latest, Robert F. Wagner, who is half Irish. Recently 
an Irish-Catholic Democrat from Brooklyn was chief judge 
of the Court of Appeals, the highest judicial post of the 
state. (He was succeeded by an Irish-Catholic Democrat 



from Buffalo.) A Manhattan Irish Democrat retired recently 
as Chancellor of the State Board of Regents. A third of the 
New York delegation to the i960 Democratic convention 
was Irish. In the city itself, as of 1961, the chief justice of 
the City Court and the Chief City Magistrate were Irish, 
but Italians and Jews predominated in the city courts. In 
1959, of sixty-three State Supreme Court judges from New 
York, less than a quarter were Irish. During the Harriman 
administration in Albany, 1955-1958, New York City Jews 
received two jobs for every one given the Irish. 

Nine of the nineteen Congressmen elected 
from New York City in 1962 were Irish, but only a fifth of 
the sixty-five Assemblymen were. Al Smith was the last 
Irish officeholder who could command a large vote in New 
York politics. Since he left office in 1928, only one Irish 
Catholic, James M. Mead of Buffalo, has been elected Sena- 
tor or Governor. A series of Irish candidates were put up 
against Dewey with no success. It was not until 1954, when 
for the first time in memory the Democrats nominated a 
state ticket with no Irishman on it, that they won back the 
governorship. In 1962 James B. Donovan, the Democratic 
candidate for Senator, managed even to lose his home 
borough of Brooklyn to the Republican Jacob K. Javits. 

Within the Democratic party the death of 
Edward J. Flynn of the Bronx in 1953 marked the end of 
Irish political leadership. Although the Irish continued with 
a majority of the county leaders, the initiative and leader- 
ship of the party passed almost entirely to the Italian leader 
Carmine DeSapio. In the great primary contest of 1961 
over the mayoralty nomination, DeSapio was beaten, and 
with him most of the Irish that had survived. By 1963 the 
county leader in Manhattan was Armenian, Brooklyn and 
Queens had Jewish leaders, with only the Bronx and Staten 
Island lingering in Irish hands. 

As stated, the principal cause of the decline 
of Irish political power in New York City is the decline of 
Irish population. In the suburbs, to which many Irish have 
moved, they retain a good deal of power. Westchester, Nas- 
sau, and Suffolk all had Irish Democratic county leaders as 
of 1963. In the city, where the Irish established a system of 
popular rule, they no longer rule now that they account 



for only some lo or 12 per cent of the populace. But this is 
not the whole story. The ideological displacement of the 
Irish in the Democratic party has also been a major cause of 
their decline in New York. 

The emergence of Irish political conserva- 
tism in recent years may seem to call for more explanation 
than is needed. The main thrust of Irish political activity 
has always been moderate or conservative in New York, 
but until recently it has not been articulately so. There is a 
well-known story about the Tammany Fourth of July fete 
at which a reporter asked why "Mister" Murphy had not 
joined in singing "The Star-Spangled Banner." "Maybe," 
came the reply, "he didn't want to commit himself." The 
functioning urban politician does not commit himself; he 
negotiates with the commitments of others. This came nat- 
urally to the Irish, who were the least encumbered with 
abstract notions about municipal ownership and trade- 
union rights. 

Tammany conservatism has been greatly 
reinforced by the political developments which from the 
beginning of the Irish era to the present have kept the New 
York Democratic party isolated from that party in the rest 
of the country. Tammany stood for sin in a party wedded to 
virtue. This was never better expressed than by the Mid- 
westerner speaking for Grover Cleveland at the Democratic 
convention in 1884. "They love Cleveland for his charac- 
ter," said the speaker, turning to the New York City delega- 
tion, "but they love him also for the enemies he has made." 
Tammany did not support the original nomination of a 
single successful Democratic Presidential candidate between 
the Civil War and the Second World War. The ideas behind 
the programs of Cleveland and Wilson and Roosevelt largely 
passed them by. 

Indifference began to turn to opposition 
about the time of the First World War. A great many New 
York Irish were bitter about Wilson's refusal to give Ameri- 
can support to Irish independence, and the election returns 
showed it. Wilson's league became for them a symbol of 
American toadying to British imperialism. Cohalan organ- 
ized five hours of testimony by the Friends of Irish Freedom 
before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in the hear- 



ings on the Treaty of Versailles. The League was denounced ^ 
as "an abomination," "a perversion of American ideals." ^^ 
Many New York Irish Democrats entered the 1920's alien- 
ated from their party on what was then the fundamental 
issue of foreign policy. 

The rejection of Al Smith, first by his coun- 
try and then by his party, was the breaking point for many. 
The New York Irish gave their hearts to Smith, who was an 
Irish figure whatever his ancestry. He was in no sense a 
product of the slum, but rather a representative of a distinct 
New York urban culture that to this day asserts its own 
manner of speech and dress in a society otherwise over- 
whelmed by Brooks Brothers. Smith had not the slightest 
qualms about the adequacy of his education: it was hyper- 
bole, and perhaps a sense of mockery, that led him to tell 
the New York State Assembly that he was a graduate, not 
of Yale, but of the Fulton Fish Market. He was the greatest 
state governor of his generation, perhaps of the century, but 
he was such without the pomposity of Good Government. 
He talked out of the side of his mouth, and mispronounced 
words. When he declared, "No matter how you slice it, it's 
still baloney," he seemed to strip the establishment of all the 
pretense and posture designed to keep the Irish and such in 
their places. 

The bitter anti-Catholicism and the crushing 
defeat of the 1928 campaign came as a blow. The New York 
Irish had been running their city for a long time, or so it 
seemed. They did not think of themselves as immigrants 
and interlopers with an alien religion; it was a shock to find 
that so much of the country did. Worse yet, in 1932, when 
the chance came to redress this wrong, the Democrats, in- 
stead of renominating Smith, turned instead to a Hudson 
Valley aristocrat with a Harvard accent who had established 
his reputation by blocking Murphy's nomination of "Blue- 
eyed Billy" Sheehan for the U.S. Senate, and was soon to 
enhance it by getting rid of Jimmy Walker. 

The main effect of the New Deal in the 
upper reaches of the Irish community in New York was to 
reveal to its members that while they had been rising 
socially and economically, the Democratic party as a whole 
remained an organization of the masses. It rarely occurred 



to the Irish to stop being Democrats because they had be- 
come bankers, or whatever. The party was an ethnic and re- 
ligious alliance, as much as an economic one. (In DeSapio's 
day, for example, the chairman of the board of the New 
York Stock exchange, a distinguished broker, son of an Irish 
policeman, regularly attended the Tammany Dinner.) Irish 
businessmen hated Roosevelt much as did other businessmen 
but with the special twist that they felt it was their own 
political party, overcome by alien influences, that was caus- 
ing the trouble. 

A distinctive quality of the anti-New Deal 
Irish during the 1930's is that they tended to identify the 
subversive influences in the nation with the old Protestant 
establishment. The well-to-do Irish felt it was Harvard, as 
much or more than Union Square, that was out to socialize 
America. The lower ranks of the New York Irish were 
powerfully attracted by Father Coughlin and his notions 
about social justice, Jews, and Wall Street bankers. 

. Al Smith openly endorsed the Republican 

candidate for the Presidency in 1936. In a major address to 
an enthusiastic New York City audience he accused Roose- 
velt of preparing the way for a Communist-controlled Amer- 
ica. The feeling of displacement is painfully evident. He 
told a Chicago audience that Jeffersonian Democrats were 
"out on a limb today, holding the bag, driven out of the 
party, because some new bunch that nobody ever heard of 
in their life before came in and took charge of things and 
started planning everything." ^^ 

When Jim Farley broke with Roosevelt in 
1940, the Irish conservatives became even more united 
in opposition. Farley had hoped to succeed Roosevelt, only 
in the end to be pushed aside. For the Irish conservatives 
the Third Term became a racial insult as well as a constitu- 
tional affront. Farley's account of those years is bitter: 

What few people realize is that the relationship between 
Roosevelt and me had been basically political and seldom 
social. Strange as it may seem, the President never took me 
into the bosom of the family, although everyone agreed I 
was more responsible than any other single man for his 
being in the White House.- Never was I invited to spend the 
night in the historic mansion. Only twice did I ever make 



a cruise on the presidential yacht. Both cruises were politi- 
cal. Never was I invited to join informal White House 
gatherings. My appearances there were for official social 
functions or for informal dinners followed by exploration 
of political and patronage problems. Mrs. Eleanor Roose- 
velt once said, "Franklin finds it hard to relax with people 
who aren't his social equals." I took this remark to explain 
my being out of the infield.^^ 

Apart from his great talent, Farley was, after 
all, a man of honor and decorum in private life as in 
politics. He broke with Roosevelt on what he regarded as an 
issue of principle — only to find it interpreted as the inevi- 
table incompatibility of landlord and tenant. He later 

What particularly irked me were the background articles 
emphasizing my quote humble unquote beginnings. I am 
an American of Irish descent. I have known many people of 
Irish descent. Fat, thin, tall, short — loquacious, taciturn, 
ebullient, and morose — but never in my life have I met a 
"humble" one. It just doesn't run in the strain. The fact 
is that I have met few men of Irish descent who were not 
their own figurative secretaries of state. Whatever else they 
may lack, it isn't opinions or the willingness to fight for 
them. As to authenticity as Americans, while the Mayflower 
passenger list will be combed in vain for their names, six- 
teen Kelleys, seventeen Murphys, and hundreds of others of 
old sod ancestry have won the Congressional Medal of 
Honor — enough to assure even the unfairminded that the 
credentials of Americans of Irish descent are in order.^^ 

The record would certainly support Far- 
ley's contention, but, if so, why bring it up? It was one 
thing to make a fuss over Irish performance in the Mexican 
War, when they were still new to the country and the nation 
for the first time faced a Catholic enemy. But a century later 
to carry on in the same way about, for example, the flyer 
Colin Kelly betrayed a curious defensiveness on the part of 
the Irish themselves. 

Mixed with this defensiveness was a measure 
of aggression on the subject of Communism. The Irish revo- 
lutionary tradition contributed its portion of recruits to 
American radicalism. William Z. Foster, who organized the 



great steel strike of 1919, turned from the IWW to the 
Communist party, ran as the Communist candidate for 
President in 1924, 1928, and 1932, and then became head of 
the Communist party, was the son of Irish revolutionary 
exiles. The chairman of the Communist party in America 
as of 1961 was Elizabeth Gurley Flynn. But none of these 
counted as Irish so far as the Irish were concerned because 
they had ceased to be Catholic. For the mass of the Irish 
who stayed within the Church, the reaction to the Russian 
revolution was as uniform as it was intense. In June 1919 
the Catholic World declared: 

The excesses of the Bolshevik revolution are . . . not the 
exaggeration of otherwise worldly tendencies. They are the 
absolute subversion of all moral principles, the destruction 
of religion, and the overthrow of civilization. 

The Catholic reaction was notably different 
from that of the New York Jews. In September, 1920, The 
American Hebrew declared: 

The Bolshevik Revolution eliminated the most brutal dic- 
tatorship in history. This great achievement, destined to 
figure in history as one of the overshadowing results of the 
World War, was largely the product of Jewish thinking, 
Jewish discontent, Jewish effort to reconstruct.^^ 

In the years that followed, the gulf, if anything, widened. 
On the issues of recognition of the Soviet Union, the 
Spanish Civil War, wartime collaboration with Russia, and 
postwar cooperation, the New York Catholics were pro- 
foundly at odds with a significant portion of the New York 
Jews. The Catholics kept seeming to get the worst of it. 
Russia was recognized, became our wartime ally, and seemed 
destined to be our postwar friend. The Communist in- 
fluence in New York, in politics, in education, and in the 
trade-union movement, was abundantly evident. 

This was not an easy period for the Catholic 
Irish. Disdained on the left as reactionaries, they were not 
really welcomed by the Protestant establishment, whose in- 
terests they sought to preserve. Even today if Catholics are 
admitted to have been profoundly right about Russian 
Communism, the suspicion is widely shared among non- 


Catholics that they were right for the wrong reasons. Two 
decades ago it was not even clear they were right. 

The fact seems to be that non-Catholics did 
not pay very much attention to speeches of the kind in 
which Monsignor Fulton J. Sheen, in 1941, denounced "the 
colossal wastage of taxes to pay professors who would destroy 
America by teaching Russian Bolshevism/' and went on to 
tell the Friendly Sons of St. Patrick: 

It is not to the point to say, as some newspapers do, that 
only 3 per cent of the professors, and 20 per cent of the 
students are disloyal to their country. Why is it you will not 
find a single Communist teaching in Manhattan College? 
Why none in Fordham? Why none in St. Patrick's Parochial 

This climaxed with the announcement that "The profes- 
sors in certain universities and colleges in New York City 
are the most learned professors in the world — because they 
are the 'best red.' " ^^ 

This kind of anti-Communism for a long 
period suffered from a characteristic Irish-Catholic failing. 
It was felt to be enough to know and to say that Com- 
munism was morally wrong. But nothing much was offered 
by way of specific advice to those who struggled in the world 
of day-to-day events. 

The crisis came in the years immediately 
after the Second World War when evidence began to ac- 
cumulate about the true nature of the Communist con- 
spiracy — only to have the evidence, seemingly, ignored. 
Alger Hiss and William Remington and the Rosenbergs 
seemed proof enough for anybody — but not for a good num- 
ber of persons in the Protestant-Jewish intellectual elite. To 
many Irish Catholics these innocents seemed to grow more 
arrogant as their failings proved more serious. The country 
seemed filled with persons who, in Irving Kristol's descrip- 
tion, "prefer to regard Whittaker Chambers and Elizabeth 
Bentley as pathological liars, and who believe that to plead 
the privilege of the Fifth Amendment is the first refuge of 
a scholar and a gentleman. . . ." ^^ This is the context in 
which the New York Irish turned overwhelmingly to the 
support of Senator McCarthy. 



A clue to the nature of McCarthy's influence 
on the New York Irish is that he did not bring out the 
worst in them. New York Communism was primarily a 
Jewish affair, but Irish anti-Communism in the postwar 
period never became anti-Semitism. Even when it looked 
like anti-Semitism, and Jewish groups became disturbed — 
42 of the 47 employees suspended or refused clearance at 
Fort Monmouth after the McCarthy hearings, were Jewish 
— this was not the Irish-Catholic reaction. At best, the Irish 
position at this time rested on profoundly responsible re- 
ligious convictions. At its worst, Irish anti-Communism was 
not directed at Communism at all. From start to finish, 
McCarthy got his largest response from the New York Irish 
when he attacked the institutions of the white Anglo-Saxon 
Protestant establishment. It was Harvard University and the 
State Department and the United States Army that seemed 
to be subverting the country. The faculty of Franklin 
Delano Roosevelt's college was riddled with Reds. Dean 
Gooderham Acheson would not turn his back on spies in 
the Foreign Service. George Catlett Marshall was a front 
man for traitors. Eventually McCarthy's aides began propos- 
ing that the biggest threat of Communism to the nation 
came from the Protestant clergy, and the Senator himself 
intervened to put an end to the "real threat" to American 
security, the British blood trade with Red China. The Irish 
Catholics, and they had many supporters, could not believe 
the men running the country could be blind to the Com- 
munist threat that seemed so clear to them. There had to be 
a more sinister explanation. No action was too drastic to 
uncover it. 

The Catholic hierarchy in New York left 
little doubt that it supported McCarthy. In 1954, despite the 
opposition of the Democratic city administration, the Sena- 
tor was invited to address the annual communion break- 
fast of the Police Department Holy Name Society of the 
New York Diocese. He received a tumultuous reception as 
he explained that an educator under Communist discipline 
with a "captive audience" was "ten times as dangerous" as 
even a traitor in an atomic plant.^^ Among some liberals 
there was a reaction almost of terror: the Fascists had won 



over the police! Preparations were actually discussed for an 
underground opposition in the event of a coup d'etat. 

McCarthy let the Irish down. He ended up 
a stumblebum lurching about the corridors of the Senate 
where it had been decided he was no gentleman. This left 
the Irish to defend a reputation that had become, in prac- 
tical terms, indefensible. Yet the Irish achieved a strong 
temporary advantage from the McCarthy period that may 
or may not prove of permanent value. In the era of security 
clearances, to be an Irish Catholic became prima facie evi- 
dence of loyalty. Harvard men were to be checked; Fordham 
men would do the checking. The disadvantage of this is that 
it put the Irish back on the force. It encouraged their 
tendency to be regular rather than creative. 

The agitation against Communists in gov- 
ernment produced valuable results. But once the issue of 
Communist subversion at home was settled, the problem re- 
mained of what to do about Communist aggression abroad. 
Here the Irish had little to contribute. They had so com- 
mitted themselves to the issue of internal conspiracy that 
they seemed to have no resources left for positive thinking. 
They remained with the FBI while Harvard men continued 
to run foreign policy — with an increasingly evident assist 
from the sons of Lower East Side radicals. When the 
"twenty years of treason" came to an end and Eisenhower in- 
stalled his cabinet of "nine millionaires and a plumber," 
the plumber (appointed Secretary of Labor) was the Irish 
Catholic. Apart from a few persons such as Thomas B. 
Murray of the Atomic Energy Commission, the principal 
area of foreign affairs in which Irish Catholics have so far 
played a creative anti-Communist role has been in the in- 
ternational labor movement under the leadership of an 
Irish plumber from the Bronx, George Meany of the AFL- 
CIO, and even here the influence of the State Department 
and Jewish intellectuals has been much in evidence. 

During the New Deal and, later, the Mc- 
Carthy period, a great many New York Irish began voting 
Republican. Certainly a majority voted for Eisenhower. 
They were easily convinced that Stevenson was soft on Com- 
munism. It was Farley who said that "to send Governor 



Stevenson to negotiate with Mr. Khrushchev is to send the 
cabbage patch to the goat." ^^ 

The crisis for the conservative Irish came 
in i960, when, for the second time, an Irish Catholic ran 
for President. It turned out that for many the estrangement 
from the Democratic party had gone too deep to be over- 
come by more primitive appeals. Alfred E. Smith, Jr., an- 
nounced he was voting for Nixon. In fashionable Green- 
wich, Connecticut, the grandson of John H. McCooey of 
Brooklyn turned up ringing doorbells for the straight Re- 
publican ticket. Kennedy probably got little more than a 
bare majority of the Irish vote in New York City. The stu- 
dents at Fordham gave him as much, but it appears it was 
the Jewish students in the College of Pharmacy who saved 
that ancient Jesuit institution from going on record as 
opfK)sed to the election of the first Catholic President of the 
United States. 

For some time a considerable number of 
New York Irish have been enrolling as well as voting Re- 
publican, but they have not made much progress in the Re- 
publican party organization. Reversing earlier roles, the 
Jews and Italians are keeping the Irish out of things. Barely 
an eighth of the New York delegation to the i960 Republi- 
can convention was Irish. 

Contrary to appearances, within the New 
York Democratic party, Irish fortunes probably took a turn 
for the better during the cataclysmic events of the 1961 
mayoralty primary and election campaigns. The estrange- 
ment between the Irish organization leaders and the grow- 
ing Jewish and Protestant liberal middle class, which in- 
tensified during the McCarthy period, became open war- 
fare after Stevenson's defeat in 1952, which turned the atten- 
tion of the latter group to local politics. Manhattan erupted 
in a series of Democratic primary fights in which the liberals 
set out to unseat the old guard Irish incumbents. 

One by one the Irish district leaders were 
defeated. When this process had about run its course, the 
reformers turned on the leader of Tammany itself. Carmine 
DeSapio, accusing him of being a boss, which was of course 
his proper function in the traditional system. The Tam- 
many leader's position was, as always, ideologically inde- 



fensible. Unfortunately for DeSapio, it was also ecologically 
untenable: middle-class voters were pouring into his district 
and had begun to operate within the regular party system. 
Forced to choose between increasingly hostile forces, Mayor 
Robert F. Wagner came down on the side of the reformers, 
whereupon DeSapio in the classic manner set out to deny 
him renomination. As agreed by all involved, the essential 
power of the Democratic party organization was not to elect 
its candidates, but to choose them. Historically, no one 
could get the Democratic nomination without the support 
of the organization. The issue was of such central im- 
portance that the Irish county leaders of Brooklyn and the 
Bronx, along with the lesser figures in Queens and Rich- 
mond, joined DeSapio in a solid organization front. 

Except for the Negro areas of the city, the 
primary contest that followed was bitter and pitiless in 
contrasting the appeals of the traditional, neighborhood- 
oriented party organization with the modern, mass-media- 
oriented, liberal establishment. "If Wagner wins," said one 
party leader, "you can close down every clubhouse in the 
city." Wagner won overwhelmingly. 

It may be that the Wagner victory put arr 
end to the Irish political system itself in New York, just as 
La Guardia in the 1930's had broken the hold of the Irish on 
the system. Wagner's victory was a triumph of middle- and 
upper-class political initiative, organization, and leadership 
over the traditional, conservative, working-class party. It was 
uniquely a victory of public opinion experts, communica- 
tion specialists, and theoreticians allied with a haute bour- 
geoisie whose liberalism and genuine concern for the poor 
of the city were nonetheless combined with something very 
like old-fashioned Tory will-to-power. Tammany disciplined 
the masses and enabled them to rule. With that discipline 
broken, it is likely New York will revert to the normal 
municipal condition of rule by the centers of economic 
power in alliance with the communications media. Organ- 
ized crime is likely to persist as one such center and may 
even grow more important. There are indications that the 
powerful political machines of the Tammany variety were 
the one social force capable of controlling organized crime 
— certainly the decline of Tammany was accompanied by the 



rise of Costello and the like — and it may well be that the 
future will see the liberal middle class and the criminal 
syndicates sharing power in a pattern that was already to be 
perceived during La Guardia's ascendancy. 

If this should happen, the Irish have a role 
to play, for they have in significant numbers joined the 
middle and upper classes. A number of new Irish faces ap- 
peared in the ranks of the reformers, indistinguishable in 
most respects from their Jewish and Protestant counterparts, 
and helped perhaps by a tradition of being "politicians." 
Sharing the honors of primary day with Robert F. Wagner 
of Yale was James S. Lanigan of Harvard, who defeated 
DeSapio for district leader in Greenwich Village. The Irish 
liberals lack, for the moment at least, an ethnic constitu- 
ency, but they are not less sensitive to the changed style of 
politics. "The old-line political club," said one reformer, "is 
concerned with individuals, getting a job for this one or 
doing a favor for that one. In our modern society, poli- 
ticians have to deal with the problems of whole groups of 
people, and we reformers are concerned more with groups 
than with individuals." This was said by Peter P. Meagher, 
running for district leader on the West Side of Manhattan 
against the son of The McManus. 



profoundly affected by events within the Catholic Church, 
which is, and for a generation at the very least, will remain, 
essentially an Irish Catholic Church. If New York, like 
Washington or Paris, had no great cathedral on a main 
thoroughfare, it is not likely that 120,000 marchers and 
more would turn out on St. Patrick's Day. The great parade 
is no longer an Irish affair; it is even questionable whether 
a majority of the marchers are, in fact, Irish. The parade is 
rather an annual display of the size of the New York 
Catholic Church, whose priests and hierarchy on the whole 
are quite conscious of their Irish origins. The center of 
interest on the line of march is not the reviewing stand at 
66th Street so much as the steps of St. Patrick's Cathedral, 
where Cardinal Spellman accepts the homage of his flock. 
This Catholic Church is now entering a new phase both for 



the clerics and the laity. Two items will evoke the period 
that is passing. 

Some time prior to the 1928 campaign the 
Atlantic Monthly published a statement by an Episcopalian 
layman directed to Al Smith which, citing papal encyclicals 
and canon law, challenged the compatibility o£ Smith's re- 
ligion with his loyalty to the United States Constitution. It 
was clear to Smith's advisers, who gathered to discuss it, 
that the Governor would have to answer this challenge, but 
Smith himself was most reluctant. Hurt and dismayed, he 
said to Judge Joseph M. Proskauer (as reported by his 
daughter) : 

Joe, ... to tell you the truth ... I don't know what the 
words mean. I've been a Catholic all my life — a devout 
Catholic, I believe — and I never heard of these encyclicals 
and papal bulls and books that he writes about. They have 
nothing to do with being a Catholic, and I just don't know 
how to answer such a thing.^* 

According to Reinhold Niebuhr's version of the meeting, 
which may be more accurate in spirit. Smith simply entered 
the room and asked all present, "Will someone tell me what 
the hell a Papal Encyclical is?" ^^ 

On the clerical side, a Catholic sociologist 
recently looked into Cardinal Cushing's remarks about the 
social origins of the parents of American Catholic hierarchy. 
He found the Cardinal was substantially correct about the 
absence of college graduates, but not so much in his im- 
pression that the American Bishops are the sons of work- 
ing men and working men's wives. Only 5 per cent of the 
fathers of some 133 prelates studied in 1957 had graduated 
from college, and 65 per cent had not even gone to high 
school. But only 17 per cent of these men remained un- 
skilled laborers. The largest single group, 27 per cent, be- 
came the owners of small businesses. Over half were either 
small businessmen, clerks, salesmen, foremen, or minor 

All this is passing. It is hard to conceive an 
American Catholic of the future becoming a candidate for 
President of the United States without having acquired a 
fairly sophisticated understanding of Catholic dogma on the 



subject of relations of church to state. Nor is it likely that 
henceforth the prelates of the American Church will be 
drawn so preponderately from the lower-middle class. But 
the one social characteristic of the present New York Church 
which does not seem likely to change during the next gen- 
eration is its Irishness. Of the eighteen bishops in the New 
York area, in 1961, one was Chinese, one was Italian, and the 
rest were Irish.^^ And in contrast to the police academy and 
the legislature, in the seminaries the Irish are holding their 

The Catholic Church in New York during 
the remainder of this century will be characterized by an 
increasingly articulate and inquiring laity, ministered to by 
a steadily more sophisticated, predominantly Irish clergy. 
But the role of the Church in the life of the city is as yet 
uncertain. It will be determined by two sets of events: first, 
the course of Catholic education and intellectual life; sec- 
ond, the attitude of the Church toward social change. 

There is nothing in the history of organized 
religion comparable with the effort of the American Catho- 
lic Church to maintain a complete, comprehensive educa- 
tional system ranging from the most elementary tutelage 
to the most advanced disciplines. The effort absorbs so 
much of the energies and resources of the faithful as to 
prompt the remark of a New York Jesuit that a Catholic 
diocese is a school system here and there associated with a 
church. Lately, however, the strain on resources has become 
all but intolerable while serious misgivings have arisen as 
to the value of the end product. 

Encouraged by the growing proportion of 
educated Catholics and much stimulated by the renaissance 
of Catholic thought in Europe, American Catholic intel- 
lectual life is going through, in the words of one nun, "an 
orgy of self-criticism." ^^ (Fortunately, as Reverend Gustav 
Weigel, S.J., writes, "non-Catholics have politely and wisely 
kept out of the debate. ")^9 The most widely discussed state- 
ment of the issue appeared in 1955 in the Fordham quar- 
terly Thought. It was written by Monsignor John Tracy 
EUis.i^o Msgr. Ellis began with Denis Brogan's statement 
that . . . "In no Western society is the intellectual prestige 
of Catholicism lower than in the country where, in such 



respects as wealth, numbers, and strength of organization, it 
is so powerful." ^^^ "No well informed Catholic," said Mon- 
signor Ellis, "will attempt to challenge that statement." He 
listed as causes: First, the deep anti-Catholic bias inherited 
Irom seventeenth-century England, which has discouraged 
Catholic intellectuals and fostered "an overeagerness in 
Catholic circles for apologetics rather than pure scholar- 
ship." Second, the fierce problem of settling the immigrants 
which has preoccupied the Church until this generation. 
Third, the native American anti-intellectualism: "In that 
— as in so many other ways — the Catholics are, and have 
been thoroughly American. . . ." With no encouragement 
at home, and no well-established intellectual tradition to 
draw on from Ireland and Germany abroad, the American 
seminaries became unintellectual, and so also their products. 
Even the revival of scholastic philosophy was the work of 
non-Catholic institutions such as the University of Chicago. 
Monsignor Ellis was particularly concerned 
with the studies that showed the abysmal performance of 
Catholics and Catholic institutions in scientific work. Two 
years earlier. Reverend Joseph P. Fitzpatrick, S.J., of Ford- 
ham, in the presidential address of the American Catholic 
Sociological Society, had said, on the same subject, "If this 
is true for the physical sciences, I would not hesitate to 
assert that it is more true of the social sciences." He sug- 
gested this was more than simply a matter of pedagogy; it 
had to do with the Catholic mind in a much wider sense: 

. . . there is one state of mind, fairly common, that is con- 
fident in the possession of the ultimate answers to life's 
mysteries and does not see the need of seeking anxiously for 
the proximate answers also. There is another state of mind, 
also common enough, which is convinced that God saved 
the world without science; therefore prayer, sacrament and 
sacrifice are the things to be concerned about. ^<^2 

Father Weigel has put the matter even more succinctly. In 
a paper presented to the Catholic Commission on Intel- 
lectual and Cultural Affairs, the group that has stimulated 
much of this discussion, he declared: "The postulate of all 
scholarly investigation is the nagging existence of mystery. 
The training of not a few young Catholics makes them be- 



lieve that there is no mystery." ^^^ While at Fordham, 
Thomas F. O'Dea spoke out severely on the matter of the 
Catholic preoccupation with apologetics: 

The great Protestant and secular thinkers of America are 
not just men who made mistakes, like the "adversaries" of 
the scholastic manual. They have positive things to say to 
those American Catholics who have neglected the search it- 
self. The partial segregation of Catholic life from that of 
the general community adds difficulties in that respect, but 
further defensiveness concealed under lethargic self-satis- 
faction is hardly an adequate response to the situation. We 
repeat: to be an intellectual means to be engaged in a quest, 
and if to be a Christian has come to mean to have the whole 
truth that matters — albeit in capsule form — in advance (to 
know, for example, that 'Tlato had an erroneous theory of 
human nature," that "Comte held God knows what, which 
is absurd") without ever having been introduced to a gen- 
uine philosophical experience, then we are hopelessly lost-^^"* 

To be sure, not every professor at Fordham 
holds this view, but the proposition fits the observed facts. 
Apart from a spate of half-apologetic articles on "Great 
Catholic Intellectuals" there has been surprisingly little 
dissent. On the other hand, this is an argument that dis- 
proves itself: the act of asserting the lack of Catholic in- 
tellectual standards is the first step of establishing them. 
The Catholic world is in fact astir with intellectual aspira- 
tion that carries with it the possibility of great achievement. 

It is possible, even likely, that such a de- 
velopment will come quickly. Over the past half century 
there has been no lack of artists and intellectuals born and 
raised in Catholic, especially Irish-Catholic, environments, 
but the greater part of them have rejected this environment 
as one hostile to their aspirations to scholarly or aesthetic 
excellence. If this atmosphere were to change, as it is now 
changing, it is possible to envision an almost sudden emer- 
gence of a Catholic intellectual class, encouraged by the 
Church and sustained by the increasing relevance of reli- 
gious doctrine to the intellectual concerns of the present 

Whether this happens will depend largely 
on the quality of the education Catholics receive in the 



coming generation. The criticism of Catholic intellectual 
standards inevitably involved the quality of Catholic ele- 
mentary and secondary schools as well as the colleges and 
universities. Despite evidence that parochial schools get a 
good quality student, the end results have simply not been 
good enough. Moreover, evidence exists that some of the 
better Catholic students have been avoiding competition 
in the tougher non-Catholic schools, with a resulting isola- 
tion that feeds on itself. In a study of New York City high 
school students who applied for state scholarships, it was 
found that while 34 per cent of the Jews and 28 per cent 
of the Protestants in the group were seeking admission to 
Ivy League schools, only 8 per cent of the Catholics had sub- 
mitted similar applications. ^^^ Without question. Catholic 
education came to a moment of crisis by the early 1960's. 

There are three elements to this crisis. First, 
the Catholics have a large and rapidly growing population. 
Second, it is the teaching of the Church and the wish of 
most of the laity that Catholic children should be educated 
in Catholic schools. Third, if this education is to meet their 
rising intellectual and social requirements, the already 
crushing cost will grow much greater; this leads to an in- 
creasingly adamant demand that in one form or another 
there be an end to the double taxation of the Catholic 
population for the cost of education. 

The best available estimate of religious , 
backgrounds in New York City identifies 48.6 per cent of 
the total population in 1952 as Roman Catholic. Only 27.1 
per cent of the population was actually affiliated with a 
Catholic Church — but this figure, according to Leland Gar- 
trell, the author of the study, would account for more than 
half the persons with religious affiliation in the city (some 
50 per cent having no affiliation). ^^^ It is unquestionably 
a growing group. Dr. Ronald A. Barrett, a Catholic soci- 
ologist, has recently shown that in the 1950-1959 decade 
American Catholic population increased twice as fast as the 
general population, accounting for 41.1 per cent of the total 
United States population growth during that period. 1^" 

The cost of the Catholic school system in 
New York City is by any standards staggering. In i960 in 
the dioceses of Brooklyn and New York (excluding those 



parts outside the city) there were some 360,000 students in 
CathoKc elementary and secondary schools. This was 37 
per cent of the enrollment of the public schools: a propor- 
tion hardly changed from the days of Bishop Hughes. On 
top of this the dioceses maintain eighteen colleges and uni- 
versities, with some 30,000 students. The operating expenses 
of the city public schools came to $650,000,000 in i960, on 
top of which was the cost of the city colleges. The Catholic 
population of the city, barely a median income group, pay 
their share of the taxes that support the public schools in 
addition to the full cost of the Catholic education system. 

The Catholics manage this by sacrifice and 
by what appears to be a high level of managerial efficiency. 
(The cost per pupil of Catholic elementary schools in New 
York is not one-third that of the public schools.) But there 
is a limit to such possibilities, and when that limit is 
reached, as it almost surely has been in some respects, the 
disparity in costs creates a difference in quality as well. In a 
period of rising intellectual expectations, this fact has led 
inevitably to active dissatisfaction with the existing arrange- 
ment under which Catholic schools are denied all but mar- 
ginal public assistance. 

Ironically, the crisis was precipitated by the 
election of President John F. Kennedy, which created a 
serious possibility that a program of federal aid to education 
would be enacted. For the President there was no apparent 
constitutional or political way to include aid to Catholic 
elementary or secondary schools in his program. But the 
New York Catholic Church, having been left out at the 
beginning of the era of state aid in the 1840's, was deter- 
mined not to be excluded from the era of federal aid which 
seemed about to begin. Cardinal Spellman did not even 
wait for the new President to be inaugurated before de- 
nouncing in the strongest terms a proposal for federal aid 
prepared by advisers to the President-Elect, and later 
adopted by him. ". . . It is unthinkable," said His Emi- 
nence, "that any American child be denied the federal funds 
allotted to other children which are necessary for his mental 
development because his parents choose for him God-cen- 
tered education." ^^^ Months later the vote of Democratic 
Congressman James J. Delaney of Queens killed the admin- 



istration proposal in the House Rules Committee. There- 
after a stalemate ensued, with the Cardinal becoming if 
anything more adamant. In 1962, at the 18th annual Arch- 
diocesan Teachers Institute, he declared that it would be a 
"terrible crime" to exclude parents, children, and supporters 
of Catholic schools from the benefits of help from the na- 
tional government. To do so, he said, would mean the 
''eventual end" of parochial schools: "we cannot compete 
with the federal government support and subsidy of the 
public schools alone." ^^^ 

In the early 1960's elements of the New 
York Catholic Church seemed to be entering electoral poli- 
tics for the second time in its history — but on the same issue. 
A series of Democratic congressional primary contests oc- 
curred in which the school aid issue was raised by militant 
Catholic groups. The New York State Federation of Citizens 
for Educational Freedom, a nonsectarian group but over- 
whelmingly Catholic, began endorsing candidates for office. 
In the 1962 elections this organization came out strongly for 
the Republican candidate for Governor and the Democratic 
candidate for United States Senator.^^^ 

The prospects for the Church are at best 
doubtful. The basic problem is that Catholics have failed 
to persuade any significant number of non-Catholic opinion 
leaders of the justice of their case. The history of the 1840's 
has vanished for Catholic and non-Catholic alike. In New 
York Catholic spokesmen have not yet been able to couch 
the issue in terms that have appeal, even perhaps meaning, 
for many Jewish or Protestant leaders, nor have they 
succeeded in providing Catholics in public and party office 
with any very coherent understanding of the problem. This 
is itself a measure of Catholic isolation from the liberal, 
secular tradition of the city that is epitomized by the New 
York Times, but this isolation is breaking down. At the 
same time Catholics appear to be making some progress with 
their case among the public generally, and increasingly 
opinion leaders such as Walter Lippmann have been con- 
cluding that the national deadlock over federal aid to educa- 
tion can be broken only by including Catholic schools. 

If an accommodation is reached on the 
school issue, there is likely to be some diminishment of 



Catholic defensiveness of the kind that led Heywood Broun 
to call the New York Irish "the cry babies of the Western 
world." This defensiveness takes the most painful and de- 
structive forms, as in the continuing controversy over dis- 
crimination against Catholic scholars at Queens College. 

Catholic defensiveness can be particularly 
destructive on the issue of Communist subversion and Amer- 
ican loyalty. New York Catholics have been prone to think 
they have learned something when the leader of Tammany 
Hall informs a communion breakfast of the Sanitation De- 
partment Holy Name Society that "there is no Mother's Day 
behind the Iron Curtain." ^^^ When a number of the lead- 
ing universities of the nation announced their opposition 
to the loyalty oath provisions of the National Defense Edu- 
cation Act of 1958 all over the country, as one disgusted 
Catholic scientist put it, "Catholic newspapers . . . proudly 
displayed front-page stories in which they told how Catholic 
students in Catholic colleges virtually demanded loyalty 
oaths. . . ." 112 This is at best a curious posture for mem- 
bers of a church whose principal effort in American society 
is to limit the role of the state in education. 

The announcement in 1961 by the head of 
the John Birch Society that half his membership was Catho- 
lic — whether true or not — caused a stir in Catholic circles, 
as did in general the rise of the radical right in the post- 
Eisenhower period. Elements within the Church appeared 
to realize how uncritical and remote from reality large sec- 
tions of lay opinion had become. There followed a series of 
lucid and eloquent statements denouncing extremist organ- 
izations and expounding the bases of effective anti-Com- 
munism, but whether the minds of those concerned had 
been conditioned beyond the reach of appeals to reason 
remained to be seen. 

The excesses of Catholic militancy are pro- 
ducing a reaction among the laity as well. There is a sug- 
gestion of anticlericalism in the New York air. A student 
writer for The Fordham Ram recently devoted his column 
to ridiculing the Brooklyn Tablet, the official weekly of the 
Brooklyn Diocese, with this description of a typical issue: 

Well then you come to the editorial page and look at the 
cartoon. Usually you got some guy in a dark suit with 'Out- 



sider' written on him. Then there's a mountain with a build- 
ing on it, and there's light coming out from behind it. This 
is generally a church or Truth or something. Then you got 
a rowboat between the man and the building, and it's 
marked Tenance' or 'Hard Work' or something and the 
oars have 'Guidance' written on them. Well all this is too 
deep for me. I like straight from the shoulder talk. None of 
this symbolism. 

I look at the letters section and see that people who write 
in are all against something. Generally it's Queens College. 
Once in a while a college kid complains about the 'Tablet's' 
editorials or point of view. And they pull him apart like a 
broken accordion. Usually the poor sap says, 'How can an 
adult newspaper be so stupid?' Well they never answer his 
question, but they knock him because he spelled a word 
wrong or mentioned Shakespeare or somebody.^^^ 

Although New York has for long been a 
center of clerical conservatism in the Catholic Church, it is 
also a center of Catholic intellecual activity that tends to 
"liberal" views in about the same proportion and along the 
same lines as intellectual opinion generally. The isolation 
of the Catholic community is rapidly breaking down as the 
great issues of the 1930's and 1940's recede. The passing of 
the Franco regime in Spain, already an object of strong 
criticism by the Spanish Catholic Church, will remove a 
time-honored source of misunderstanding, bitterness, and 
bona fide hostility. The expulsion of Communism from the 
power centers of American life has been acknowledged in 
most Catholic circles, while the appearance of Communism 
in Latin America must give Catholics pause in their assump- 
tions about the process of Marxist subversion: no Protes- 
tant country has yet gone Communist. Increasingly, the 
prospect is that the various elements of Catholic opinion — 
liberal, conservative, radical — will merge with correspond- 
ing elements in non-Catholic groups, at one and the same 
time expanding the area of Catholic influence while dimin- 
ishing the influence of the Catholic bloc. 

The strong likelihood, therefore, is that the 
future will see Catholic opinion become increasingly varie- 
gated, reflecting the widely divergent views of a community 



that spans a broad social and ethnic spectrum. The de- 
velopment of Catholic social policy will almost certainly 
strengthen and hasten this process. 

In 1962, some seven years after his widely 
read assessment of Catholic intellectual life, Monsignor 
John Tracy Ellis turned his attention to a potentially more 
dangerous situation: that the emergence of an intellectually 
trained and vigorous Catholic laity would bring with it "the 
curse of anti-clericalism." Already there was to be encoun- 
tered "severe criticism of bishops and priests among the in- 
tellectuals and professional people." 

This represented, of course, an almost en- 
tirely new situation for the American Catholic Church, re- 
flecting the increased numbers of highly educated Catholics, 
but also the increasing intellectual stature of the Church 
itself. Whereas in the past a disgruntled Catholic intel- 
lectual, in Protestant-secular America, at a certain point 
would simply leave the Church, there now emerged the pos- 
sibility of remaining Catholic but becoming an anticlerical! 

Monsignor Ellis spoke with great feeling of 
the only solution he could envisage: 

. . . the laymen must be freed to speak and to act without 
hindrance on the vital problems that press for solution out- 
side the realm of doctrine. If they are not given such free- 
dom the superior training and education of which they are 
the recipients in rapidly mounting numbers will have been 
— insofar as the Church is concerned — largely wasted, and 
the Church itself will be exposed to the very real threat 
of having the laymen's repressed zeal and frustrated ambi- 
tions for the Mystical Body turned into a disillusionment 
and embitterment that will breed in our land the kind 
of spirit that has poisoned the relations of clergy and laity 
in so much of western Europe and in Latin America.^^^ 

The prospects for dissension within the 
Catholic community are strongest in the area of social 
policy, although here the structure most likely will be that 
of liberal clergy and laity alike combining in opposition to 
their conservative counterparts. Since the time of Rerum 
Novarum (1891) Catholic social doctrine has been opposed 
to many of the most cherished economic doctrines of Amer- 
ican conservatism. However, this fact has, as it were, only 



gradually emerged. (It may be speculated that semantics is 
in part to blame: Catholic spokesmen have used the term 
"liberal" to refer to laissez-faire economics of the Man- 
chester school, and have generously denounced same. How- 
ever, Catholic and non-Catholic audiences alike would seem 
generally to have understood the term in its contemporary 
American reference to essentially non-laissez-faire views.) 
With the promulgation of the papal encyclical Quadrage- 
simo Anno (1931), and more drastically, with Mater et 
Magistra, the American Catholic Church found itself com- 
mitted to a systematic social doctrine that was almost cer- 
tainly far to the left of the social thinking of most American 
Catholics, clergy and laity alike. 

Mater et Magistra came as a distinct sur- 
prise to many. Reinhold Niebuhr, in a perhaps patronizing 
but authentic tone, noted in an editorial in Christianity and 
Crisis that the reaction of non-Catholics, secular and Prot- 
estant, had "been generally one of amazement that a church 
which they considered 'reactionary' should come out so 
clearly for such modern liberal' policies as social insurance, 
the whole philosophy of the 'welfare state' and aid to un- 
derdeveloped countries." The reaction of some conservative 
Catholics was disbelief bordering perilously (for a Catholic) 
on irreverence, as in the celebrated gibe "Mater si, Magistra 
no" which appeared in the conservative National Review. 
The first reaction to the later encyclical of John XXIII, 
Pacem in Terris, was even more unusual. The Common- 
weal described the general attitude as follows: "Of all of 
the responses that Pope John's encyclical, Pacem in Terris, 
could have been expected to arouse, perhaps none has been 
more startling than the general paralysis which has gripped 
American Catholics in the face of its implicit 'opening to 
the left.' For once it seems impossible to find any significant 
support for an important part of a major encyclical." 

It is almost inevitable that American Cathol- 
icism will face a crisis of commitment as a result of the 
social doctrine set forth by Pope John XXIII. American 
Catholics, notably in areas such as New York, have not much 
thought of their religious obligations in terms of social 
action. A 1959 study of a Bronx parish, for example, found 
parishioners regarded the roles of Civic Leader, Social 



Leader, Recreational Leader, and Reformer to be the least 
important functions of a priest. The role of Administrator, 
for one, ranked well ahead. ^^^ More seriously, even were 
the Catholic community to commit itself fully to the social 
objectives of Catholic doctrine, the question remains as to 
how successful would be the outcome. 

The function of Catholic education has 
been primarily pastoral (or has been widely regarded as 
such). Educators such as Professor John J. O'Brien have 
presented the thesis "that the present social result of past 
American Catholic decisions in the field of education has 
been to establish a system of schools which have, . . . 
tended to encourage the development in their students of 
certain qualities which render them more or less ineffective 
in any effort to reconstruct American society along lines 
consonant with Catholic principles." He described these 
qualities as "negativism, a faulty operational perception of 
the order of virtues, provincialism, and a certain moral-in- 
tellectual arrogance." ^^^ Strong meat, but hardly to be 
avoided in a conservative communion suddenly confronted 
with a radical and not particularly congenial mission. What 
is here reflected, of course, is not simply the difficulties which 
Catholics must face, but also the sense of urgency and pur- 
pose which such a mission can arouse. Clearly, such conflict 
can produce much good as well as much anguish. 

Although the bulk of Catholic intellectuals 
will almost certainly associate themselves with the main 
body of American liberal opinion, Catholics are likely to 
have their most significant impact on conservative thought. 
American conservatism has for a century been notably in- 
articulate. Whatever Catholic doctrine might be, the genera- 
tion of Irish Catholics now being educated has been steeped 
in conservative social feeling both at home and in their 
formal education. This sets them apart from any large 
group in America outside the South, save possibly the less 
numerous German Catholics. If the education of these Cath- 
olics is good enough, they will have the opportunity to 
create a sustained and comprehensive body of conservative 
opinion in the United States based on the Catholic doctrine 
of the rights and responsibilities of the individual, the 
limitations on the power of the state, and the transcendent 



purpose of the social order, combined with a scholastic 
respect for intellect. 

Had John Fitzgerald Kennedy lived out his 
time he might profoundly have altered the course of the 
Irish-American world. Among his incomparable powers was 
an ability to bring together the sacred and profane streams 
of American public life that have somehow, for example, 
made foreign affairs genteel but domestic politics coarse. 
Out of such a consummation might have emerged a new 
American style, combining as did he himself the tribal vigor 
of ward politics with the deft perceptions of the chancel- 

But he is gone, and there is none like him. 
Although he may yet emerge as the first of a new breed, all 
that is certain is that he was the last of an old one. The era 
of the Irish politician culminated in Kennedy. He was born 
to the work and was at every stage in his life a "pro." He 
rose on the willing backs of three generations of district 
leaders and county chairmen who, like Barabbas himself, 
may in the end have been saved for their one moment of 
recognition that something special had appeared among 
them. That moment was in i960 when the Irish party 
chieftains of the great Eastern and Midwestern cities, for 
reasons they could probably even now not fully explain, 
came together to nominate for President the grandson of 
Honey Fitz. 

It was the last hurrah. He, the youngest and 
newest, served in a final moment of ascendancy. On the day 
he died, the President of the United States, the Speaker of 
the House of Representatives, the Majority Leader of the 
United States Senate, the Chairman of the National Com- 
mittee were all Irish, all Catholic, all Democrats. It will 
not come again. 


the Melting Pot 

HE idea o£ the melting pot 
is as old as the Republic. "I could point out to you a 
family," wrote the naturalized New Yorker, M-G. Jean de 
Crevecoeur, in 1782, "v/hose grandfather was an English- 
man, whose wife was Dutch, whose son married a French 
woman, and whose present four sons have now four wives 
of different nations. He is an American, who leaving behind 
him all his ancient prejudices and manners, receives new 
ones from the new mode of life he has embraced. . . . Here 
individuals of all nations are melted into a new race of 
men. ..." 1 It was an idea close to the heart of the Ameri- 
can self-image. But as a century passed, and the number of 
individuals and nations involved grew, the confidence that 



they could be fused together waned, and so also the convic- 
tion that it would be a good thing if they were to be. In 
1882 the Chinese were excluded, and the first general immi- 
gration law was enacted. In a steady succession thereafter, 
new and more selective barriers were raised until, by the 
National Origins Act of 1924, the nation formally adopted 
the policy of using immigration to reinforce, rather than 
further to dilute, the racial stock of the early America. 

This latter process was well underway, had 
become in ways inexorable, when Israel Zangwill's play 
The Melting Pot was first performed in 1908. The play 
(quite a bad one) was an instant success. It ran for months 
on Broadway; its title was seized upon as a concise evocation 
of a profoundly significant American fact. 

Behold David Quixano, the Russian Jewish 
immigrant — a "pogrom orphan" — escaped to New York 
City, exulting in the glory of his new country: 

. . . America is God's Crucible, the great Melting Pot where 
all the races of Europe are melting and reforming! Here 
you stand, good folk, think I, when I see them at Ellis Is- 
land, here you stand in your fifty groups with your fifty 
languages and histories, and your fifty blood hatreds and 
rivalries, but you won't be long like that brothers, for 
these are the fires of God you've come to — these are the 
fires of God. A fig for your feuds and vendettasi German 
and Frenchman, Irishman and Englishman, Jews and Rus- 
sians — into the Crucible with you all! God is making the 

. . . The real American has not yet arrived. He is only in 
the Crucible, I tell you — he will be the fusion of all the 
races, the coming superman.^ 

Yet looking back, it is possible to speculate 
that the response to The Melting Pot was as much one of 
relief as of affirmation: more a matter of reassurance that 
what had already taken place would turn out all right, 
rather than encouragement to carry on in the same direc- 

Zangwill's hero throws himself into the 
amalgam process with the utmost energy; by curtainfall 



he has written his American symphony and won his Mus- 
covite aristocrat: almost all concerned have been reconciled 
to the homogeneous future. Yet the play seems but little 
involved with American reality. It is a drama about Jewish 
separatism and Russian anti-Semitism, with a German con- 
certmaster and an Irish maid thrown in for comic relief. 
Both protagonists are New Model Europeans of the time. 
Free thinkers and revolutionaries, it was doubtless in the 
power of such to merge. But neither of these doctrines was 
dominant among the ethnic groups of New York City in 
the 1 goo's, and in significant ways this became less so as 
time passed. Individuals, in very considerable numbers to 
be sure, broke out of their mold, but the groups remained. 
The experience of Zangwill's hero and heroine was not 
general. The point about the melting pot is that it did not 

Significantly, Zangwill was himself much 
involved in one of the more significant deterrents to the 
melting pot process. He was a Zionist. He gave more and 
more of his energy to this cause as time passed, and re- 
treated from his earlier position on racial and religious 
mixture. Only eight years after the opening of The Melting 
Pot he was writing "It was vain for Paul to declare that 
there should be neither Jew nor Greek. Nature will return 
even if driven out with a pitchfork, still more if driven out 
with a dogma." ^ 

We may argue whether it was "nature" that 
returned to frustrate continually the imminent creation of 
a single American nationality. The fact is that in every 
generation, throughout the history of the American repub- 
lic, the merging of the varying streams of population dif- 
ferentiated from one another by origin, religion, outlook 
has seemed to lie just ahead — a generation, perhaps, in the 
future. This continual deferral of the final smelting of the 
different ingredients (or at least the different white ingredi- 
ents) into a seamless national web as is to be found in the 
major national states of Europe suggests that we must search 
for some systematic and general causes for this American 
pattern of subnationalities; that it is not the temporary 
upsetting inflow of new and unassimilated immigrants that 
creates a pattern of ethnic groups within the nation, but 



rather some central tendency in the national ethos which 
structures people, whether those coming in afresh or the 
descendants of those who have been here for generations, 
into groups of different status and character. 

It is striking that in 1963, almost forty years 
after mass immigration from Europe to this country ended, 
the ethnic pattern is still so strong in New York City. It is 
true we can point to specific causes that have served to 
maintain the pattern. But we know that it was not created 
by the great new migrations of Southern Negroes and Puerto 
Ricans into the city; nor by the "new" immigration, which 
added the great communities of East European Jews and 
Italians to the city; it was not even created by the great 
migration of Irish and Germans in the 1840's. Even in the 
1830's, while the migration from Europe was still mild, and 
still consisted for the most part of English-speaking groups, 
one still finds in the politics of New York State, and of the 
city, the strong impress of group differentiation. In a fas- 
cinating study of the politics of the Jacksonian period in 
New York State, Lee Benson concludes: "At least since the 
1820's, when manhood suffrage became widespread, ethnic 
and religious differences have tended to be relatively the 
most widespread sources of political differences." ^ 

There were ways of making distinctions 
among Welshmen and Englishmen, Yorkers and New Eng- 
landers, long before people speaking strange tongues and 
practicing strange religions came upon the scene. The 
group-forming characteristics of American social life — more 
concretely, the general expectation among those of new and 
old groups that group membership is significant and forma- 
tive for opinion and behavior — are as old as the city. The 
tendency is fixed deep in American life generally; the spe- 
cific pattern of ethnic differentiation, however, in every 
generation is created by specific events. 

We can distinguish four major events or 
processes that have structured this pattern in New York dur- 
ing the past generation and whose effects will remain to 
maintain this pattern for some time to come — to be replaced 
by others we can scarcely now discern. These four formative 
events are the following: 



First, the shaping of the Jewish community 
under the impact of the Nazi persecution of the Jews in 
Europe and the estabHshment of the state of Israel; second, 
the parallel, if less marked, shaping of a Catholic community 
by the reemergence of the Catholic school controversy; 
third, the migration of Southern Negroes to New York 
following World War I and continuing through the fifties; 
fourth, the influx of Puerto Ricans during the fifteen years 
following World War II. 



the most immediate significance. A fourth of the city is 
Jewish; very much more than a fourth of its wealth, energy, 
talent, and style is derived from the Jews. Over the past 
thirty years this community has undergone profound emo- 
tional experiences, centered almost entirely on the fact of 
Jewishness, has been measurably strengthened by immigra- 
tion, and has become involved in vast Zionist enterprises, 
the rationale of which is exclusively Jewish. There are two 
aspects of these developments as they affect melting pot 
tendencies, one negative, the other positive. 

The negative aspect has prevented a change 
that might otherwise have occurred. Prior to the 1930's 
Jews contributed significantly to the ethnic pattern of New 
York politics by virtue of their radicalism. This kept them 
apart from the Catholic establishment in the Democratic 
party and the Protestant regime within the Republican 
party but did give them a distinct role of their own. At the 
time of The Melting Pot there were, to be sure, a great many 
Democratic and Republican Jewish merchants and business- 
men. Most East Side Jews probably voted the Tammany 
ticket. But indigenous Jewish politics, the politics of the 
Jewish Daily Forward, of the Workmen's Circle, and the 
needle-trades unions were predominantly socialist. The 
Russian Revolution, in which Russian Jews played a promi- 
nent role, had a strong attraction for a small but important 
number of their kinsmen in New York. It would appear, for 
example, that during the 1930's most Communist party 
members in New York City were Jewish.^ It must be stressed 
that the vast majority of New York Jews had nothing what- 



ever to do with Communism. Some of the strongest centers 
of anti-Communist activity were and are to be found within 
the New York Jewish community. Nonetheless there was an 
ethnic cast to this form of political radicalism in New York, 
as there had been to the earlier Socialist movement. 

Both Socialism and Communism are now 
considerably diminished and both have lost almost entirely 
any etlmic base. But just at the moment when the last dis- 
tinctly Jewish political activity might have disappeared, a 
transcendent Jewish political interest was created by the 
ghastly persecutions of the Nazis, the vast dislocations of 
World War II, and the establishment of the State of Israel. 
These were matters that no Jew or Christian could ignore. 
They were equally matters about which little could be 
done except through politics. From the beginnings of the 
Zionist movement a certain number of New York Jews have 
been involved on that account with the high politics of the 
nation. Since the mid-1930's, however, this involvement has 
reached deeper and deeper into the New York Jewish com- 
munity. They are the one group in the city (apart from the 
white Protestant financial establishment) of which it may 
fairly be said that among the leadership echelons there is 
a lively, active, and effective interest in who will be the 
next U.S. Secretary of State but one ... or two, or three. 

In a positive sense, events of the Nazi era 
and its aftermath have produced an intense group con- 
sciousness among New York Jews that binds together per- 
sons of widely disparate situations and beliefs. A pronounced 
religious revival has occurred. Among those without formal 
religious ties there is a heightened sense of the defensive 
importance of organized Jewish activity. Among intellec- 
tuals, the feeling of Jewishness is never far from the surface. 

Now, as in the past, the Jewish community 
in New York is the one most actively committed to the 
principles of racial integration and group tolerance. But 
open housing is something different from the melting pot. 
There is no reason to think that any considerable portion 
of the Jewish community of New York ever subscribed to 
Israel Zangwill's vision of a nonreligious, intermarried, 
homogeneous population, but it surely does not do so today. 
To the contrary, much of the visible activity of the 



community is aimed in directions that will intensify Jewish 
identity: Jewish elementary and secondary schools, Jewish 
colleges and universities, Jewish periodicals, Jewish invest- 
ments in Israel, and the like. In the meantime, Jewish poli- 
ticians make more (or at least not less) of the "Jewish" vote. 
This is not to say the Jewish community of 
New York has been created or maintained by these events 
of the thirties or forties: that would be too narrow a view of 
Jewish history, and would ignore the group-making char- 
acteristics of American civilization. But the Jewish com- 
munity was shaped by these events. Moving rapidly from 
working-class to middle-class occupations and styles of life, 
many alternative courses of development were possible. 
Within the frame set by these large social movements, the 
historical drama shaped a community intensely conscious 
of its Jewishness. Religion plays in many ways the smallest 
part of the story of American Jews. In New York City in 
particular the religious definition of the group explains 
least. Here the formal religious groups are weakest, the de- 
gree of affiliation to synagogues and temples smallest. In a 
city with 2,000,000 Jews, Jews need make no excuses to ex- 
plain Jewishness and Jewish interests. On the one hand, 
there is the social and economic structure of the community; 
on the other, ideologies and emotions molded by the specific 
history of recent decades. Together they have shaped a com- 
munity that itself shapes New York and will for generations 
to come.^ 



Catholics, notably the Irish Catholics, ever closer to the 
centers of power and doctrine in American life. But follow- 
ing a pattern common in human affairs, the process of clos- 
ing the gap has heightened resentment, among some at all 
events, that a gap should exist. Here, as in much else con- 
cerning this general subject, it is hardly possible to isolate 
New York events from those of the nation generally, but 
because New York t^nds to be the center of Catholic think- 
ing and publishing, the distinction is not crucial. The great 
division between the Catholic Church and the leftist and 
liberal groups in the city during the period from the Spanish 



Civil War to the era of McCarthy has been narrowed, with 
most elements of city politics converging on center positions. 
However issues of church-state relations have become con- 
siderably more difficult, and the issue of government aid 
to Catholic schools has become acute. 

Controversy over church-state relations is 
nothing new to the American Catholic Church. What is 
new, however, and what is increasingly avowed, is the extent 
to which the current controversy derives from Catholic- 
Jewish disagreements rather than from traditional CatJiolic- 
Protestant differences. Relations between the two latter 
groups have steadily improved: to the point that after three 
centuries of separation Catholics in the 1960's began increas- 
ingly to talk of the prospects of reestablishing Christian 
unity. In general (there are, of course, many individual 
exceptions) the dominant view within Protestant and Catho- 
lic circles is that the United States is and ought to be a 
Christian commonwealth, to the point at very least of pro- 
claiming "In God We Trust" on the currency and celebrat- 
ing Christmas in the public schools. However, as this rap- 
prochement has proceeded, within the Jewish community 
a contrary view has arisen which asserts that the separation 
of church and state ought to be even more complete than 
it has been, and that the "Post-Protestant era" means Post- 
Christian as well, insofar as government relations with reli- 
gion are concerned. 

The most dramatic episode of this develop- 
ment was the decision of the United States Supreme Court 
on June 25, 1962, that the recitation of an official prayer 
in the New York school system was unconstitutional. The 
case was brought by five parents of children in the public 
schools of the New York City suburb of New Hyde Park. 
Two of the parents were Jewish, one a member of the 
Ethical Culture Society, one a Unitarian, and one a non- 
believer. Before it concluded, however, the principal pro- 
tagonists of the Catholic-Jewish controversy in New York 
City were involved. The attorney for the Archdiocese of 
New York, for example, argued in the Supreme Court for 
a group of parents who supported the prayer. The response 
to the decision could hardly have been more diametrical. 
Cardinal Spellman declared, "I am shocked and fright- 



ened. . . ." The New York Board of Rabbis, on the other 
hand, hailed the decision: "The recitation of prayers in 
the pubHc schools, which is tantamount to the teaching of 
prayer, is not in conformity with the spirit of the American 
concept of the separation of church and state. All the reli- 
gious groups in this country will best advance their respec- 
tive faiths by adherence to this principle." The American 
Jewish Committee, the American Jewish Congress, and the 
Anti-Defamation League of B'nai B'rith strongly supported 
the Court. Only among the Orthodox was there mild dis- 
agreement with the Supreme Court decision. 

Although the argument could certainly be 
made that the American Catholic Church ought to be the 
first to object to the spectacle of civil servants composing 
government prayers, and although many Catholic commen- 
tators noted that the decision strengthened the case for 
private Church-sponsored schools, the general Catholic reac- 
tion was most hostile. The Jesuit publication America, in 
an editorial "To our Jewish Friends," declared that Jewish 
efforts to assert an ever more strict separation of church 
and state were painting the Jewish community into a 
comer, where it would be isolated from the rest of Ameri- 

Significantly, Protestant reaction to the deci- 
sion was mixed. The Brooklyn Tablet took the cue, stating 
that the crucial question raised by the decision was "What 
are the Protestants going to do about it? For, although this 
is a national problem, it is particularly a Protestant prob- 
lem, given the large Protestant enrollment in the public 
schools. Catholics have been fighting long — and sometimes 
alone — against the Church-State extremists. May we count 
on Protestants to supply more leadership in this case? If so, 
we pledge our support to join efforts against the common 
enemy: secularism." '^ 

The subject of aid to Catholic schools is 
only one aspect of the more general issue of church-state re- 
lations, and here again the ethnic composition of New York 
City tends to produce the same alignment of opposing 
groups. There are elements within the Jewish community, 
again the Orthodox, that favor public assistance for reli- 
gious schools, but the dominant view is opposed. In 1961 



the New York Republican party at the state level made a 
tentative move toward the Catholic position by proposing 
a Constitutional amendment that would have permitted 
state construction loans to private institutions of higher 
learning, sectarian as well as secular. Opposition from 
Jewish (as well as some Protestant) groups was pronounced, 
and the measure was beaten at the polls. 

The situation developing in this area could 
soberly be termed dangerous. An element of interfaith com- 
petition has entered the controversy. As the costs of educa- 
tion mount, it becomes increasingly difficult to maintain 
the quality of the education provided by private schools 
deprived of public assistance. It is not uncommon to hear 
it stated in Catholic circles that the results of national 
scholarship competitions already point to the weakness of 
Catholic education in fields such as the physical sciences. 
The specter is raised that a parochial education will involve 
sacrifice for the students as well as for their parents. 

There is understandably much resentment 
within Catholic educational circles at the relative crudity 
of most such observations. At the same time this resentment 
is often accompanied by an unmistakable withdrawal. In a 
thoughtful address calling for more meticulous assessment 
of the qualities of Catholic education. Bishop McEntegart 
of the Diocese of Brooklyn went on to state that "J^^^g^C'^t 
on the effectiveness of an educational system should be some- 
thing more profound and more subtle than counting heads 
of so-called intellectuals who happen to be named in Who's 
Who or the 'Social Register.' " ^ 

Whether the course of the controversy will 
lead Catholics further into separatist views of this kind is 
not clear. But it is abundantly evident that so long as Catho- 
lics maintain a separate education system and the rest of 
the community refuses to help support it by tax funds or 
tax relief, a basic divisive issue will exist. This will be an 
ethnic issue in measure that the Catholic community con- 
tinues to include the bulk of the Irish, Italian, and Polish 
population in the city, at least the bulk of those affiliated 
with organizations taking a position on the issue. If, as may 
very well happen, the Catholics abandon elementary and 
even secondary education to concentrate on their colleges 



and universities, the larger issue of church-state relations 
will no doubt subside. 

But it is not the single issue of school aid, 
no matter how important and long-lived it is, that alone 
shapes the polarization between the Jewish and the emerg- 
ing Catholic community. There have been other issues in/^ 
the past — for example, the struggle over the legitimacy of 
city hospitals giving advice on birth control, which put 
Jews and liberal Protestants on one side and Catholics on 
the other. There are the recurrent disputes over government 
censorship of books and movies and magazines that have be- 
come freer and freer in their handling of sex and sexual 
perversion. This again ranges Jewish and Protestant sup- 
porters of the widest possible freedom of speech against 
Catholics who are more anxious about the impact of such 
material on young people and family life. One can see 
emerging such issues as the rigid state laws on divorce and 

Many of these issues involve Catholic reli- 
gions doctrine. But there exists here a situation that is 
broader than a conflict over doctrines and the degree to 
which government should recognize them. What is involved 
is the emergence of two subcultures, two value systems, 
shaped and defined certainly in part by religious practice 
and experience and organization but by now supported by 
the existence of two communities. If the bishops and the 
rabbis were to disappear tomorrow, the subcultures and 
subcommunities would remain. One is secular in its atti- 
tudes, liberal in its outlook on sexual life and divorce, posi- 
tive about science and social science. The other is religious 
in its outlook, resists the growing liberalization in sexual 
mores and its reflection in cultural and family life, feels 
strongly the tension between moral values and modern 
science and technology. The conflict may be seen in many 
ways — not least in the fact that the new disciplines such as 
psychoanalysis, particularly in New York, are so largely 
staffed by Jews. 

Thus a Jewish ethos and a Catholic ethos 
emerge: they are more strongly affected by a specific reli- 
gious doctrine in the Catholic case than in the Jewish, but 
neither is purely the expression of the spirit of a religion. 



Each is the result of the interplay of religion, ethnic group, 
American setting, and specific issues. The important fact 
is that the differences in values and attitudes between the 
two groups do not, in general, become smaller with time. 
On the contrary: there is probably a wider gap between 
Jews and Catholics in New York today than in the days of 



reveal some of the tendency of ethnic relations in New York 
to be a form of class relations as well. However, the tendency 
is unmistakably clear with regard to the Negroes and Puerto 
Ricans. Some 22 per cent of the population of the city is 
now Negro or Puerto Rican, and the proportion will in- 
crease. (Thirty-six per cent of the births in 1961 were 
Negro or Puerto Rican.) To a degree that cannot fail to 
startle anyone who encounters the reality for the first time, 
the overwhelming portion of both groups constitutes a 
submerged, exploited, and very possibly permanent prole- 

New York is properly regarded as the 
wealthiest city in the nation. Its more affluent suburbs enjoy 
some of the highest standards of living on earth. In the city 
itself white-collar wages are high, and skilled labor through 
aggressive trade union activity has obtained almost unprec- 
edented standards. Bricklayers earn $5.35 an hour, plus 
52^ for pension, vacation, and insurance benefits. Elec- 
tricians have a nominal twenty-five hour week and a base 
pay of $4.96 an hour plus fringe benefits. ^^ But amidst such 
plenty, unbelievable squalor persists: the line of demar- 
cation is a color line in the case of Negroes, a less definite 
but equally real ethnic line in the case of Puerto Ricans. 

The relationship between the rise of the 
Negro-Puerto Rican labor supply and the decline of indus- 
trial wages is unmistakable. In 1950 there were 246,000 
Puerto Ricans in the city. By i960 this number had in- 
creased by two and one-half times to 613,000, or 8 per cent. 
In 1950 the average hourly earnings of manufacturing pro- 
duction workers in New York City ranked tenth in the 
nation. By i960 they ranked thirtieth. In the same period 



comparable wages in Birmingham, Alabama, rose from 
thirty-third to tenth. In 1959 median family income for 
Puerto Ricans was $3,811 as against $6,091 for all the city's 
families (and $8,052 for suburbs of Westchester). In 1962 
average weekly earnings of manufacturing production 
workers were 19 per cent higher in Birmingham than in 
New York City, 15 per cent higher in New Orleans, and 
almost 10 per cent higher in the nation as a whole. 

These economic conditions vastly reinforce 
the ethnic distinctions that serve to separate the Negro 
community and the Puerto Rican community from the rest 
of the city. The Negro separation is strengthened by the 
fact that the colored community is on the whole Protestant, 
and much of its leadership comes from Protestant clergy. 
Ihus the Negroes provide the missing element of the Prot- 
estant-Catholic-Jew triad. 

Housing segregation, otherwise an intoler- 
able offense to the persons affected, serves nonetheless to 
ensure the Negroes a share of seats on the City Council and 
in the State Legislature and Congress. This power, as well 
as their voting power generally, has brought Negro political 
leaders to positions of considerable prominence. Following 
the 1961 mayoralty election. Mayor Wagner appointed the 
talented Harlem leader, J. Raymond Jones, as a political 
secretary through whom he would deal with all the Demo- 
cratic party organizations of the city. Puerto Ricans have 
only begun to make their influence felt, but they are clearly 
on the way to doing so. 

Their fate gives them an interest in the same 
issues: the housing of the poor in a city of perpetual hous- 
ing shortage; the raising of the wages of the poorly paid 
service semiskilled occupations in which most of them work; 
the development of new approaches to raising motivation 
and capacity by means of education and training in the 
depressed areas of the city. They live adjacent to each other 
in vast neighborhoods. And they cooperate on many specific 
issues — for example, in fighting urban renewal programs 
that would displace them. But there are deeply felt differ- 
ences between them. The more Americanized group is also 
more deeply marked by color. The furtive hope of the new 
group that it may move ahead as other immigrants have 



without the barrier of color, and the powerful links of lan- 
guage and culture that mark off the Puerto Ricans, suggest 
that, despite the fact that the two groups increasingly com- 
prise the proletariat of the city, their history will be distinct. 
Thus the cast of major characters for the 
next decades is complete: the Jews; the Catholics, subdivided 
at least into Irish and Italian components; the Negroes; the 
Puerto Ricans; and, of course, the white Anglo-Saxon Protes- 
tants. These latter, ranging from the Rockefeller brothers to 
reform district leaders in the Democratic party are, man for 
man, among the most influential and powerful persons in the 
city, and will continue to play a conspicuous and creative 
role in almost every aspect of the life of the metropolis. 



to reinforce the role of the ethnic groups in the city have 
been accompanied by new developments in political life 
which similarly strengthen ethnic identities. This is a com- 
plicated matter, but we can point to a number of elements. 
First, there is some tendency (encouraged by the develop- 
ment of genuine ethnic-class combinations) to substitute 
ethnic issues in politics for class issues. Second, there has 
been a decline in the vigor and creativity of politics in New 
York City, which seems to make New York politicians prefer 
to deal in terms of premelting pot verities rather than to 
cope with the chaotic present. Third, the development of 
public opinion polling would seem to have significantly 
strengthened the historic tendency of New York political 
parties to occupy the same middle ground on substantive 
issues, and indirectly has the effect of strengthening the 
ethnic component in political campaigns. As competing 
parties and factions use substantially the same polling tech- 
niques, they get substantially the same information about 
the likes and dislikes of the electorate. Hence they tend to 
adopt similar positions on political issues. (In much the 
same way, the development of marketing survey techniques 
in business has produced standardized commercial products 
such as cigarettes, automobiles, detergents, and so forth.) 
For the time being at least, this seems to have increased the 
importance of racial and ethnic distinctions that, like ad- 



vertising, can still create distinctions in appearance even 
if little or none exist in fact. Everything we say in this field 
is highly speculative, but the impression that the political " 
patterns of the city strengthen the roles of ethnic groups is 

It is not easy to illustrate the substitution 
of ethnic appeals for class appeals. To the extent it occurs, 
those involved would hope to conceal it, always assuming 
the practice is deliberate. The basic fact is that for the first 
half of the twentieth century New York was a center of 
political radicalism. Faced with fierce opposition, some at 
least of the left wing discovered that their best tactic was 
to couch class appeals in ethnic terms. In such manner Vito 
Marcantonio, a notorious fellow traveler, flourished in the 
United States Congress as an Italian representative of the 
Italians and Puerto Ricans of East Harlem. In response to 
such tactics, the traditional parties have themselves em- 
ployed the ethnic shorthand to deal with what are essentially 
class problems. Thus much was made in terms of its ethnic 
significance of the appointment of a Puerto Rican as a City 
Commissioner responsible for the relocation of families af- 
fected by urban renewal projects, but behind this signifi- 
cance was the more basic one that the slum-dwelling pro- 
letariat of the city was being given some control over its 
housing. In much the same way the balanced ticket makes 
it possible to offer a slate of candidates ranging across the 
social spectrum — rich man, poor man, beggar man, thief — 
but to do so in terms of the ethnic groups represented 
rather than the classes. In a democratic culture that has 
never much liked to identify individuals in terms of social 
classes, and does so less in the aftermath of the radical 1930's 
and 1940's, the ethnic shorthand is a considerable advan- 

This is of course possible only because of 
the splintering of traditional economic classes along ethnic 
lines, which tends to create class-ethnic combinations that 
have considerable significance at the present time in New 
York. The sharp division and increasing conflict between 
the well-paid Jewish cutters in the International Ladies' 
Garment Workers' Union and the low-paid Negro and 
Puerto Rican majority in the union have been widely pub- 




licized. One Negro cutter hailed the union before the State 
Commission for Human Rights and obtained a favorable 
decision. Similar distinctions between skilled and unskilled 
workers are common enough throughout the trade unions 
of the city. At a higher level, not dissimilar patterns can be 
found among the large law firms and banks, where Prot- 
estant-Catholic-Jew distinctions exist and are important, 
even if somewhat less so than in past times. 

From time to time the most significant 
issues of class relations assume ethnic form. Reform move- 
ments in New York City politics have invariably been class 
movements as well. Citing a study of Theodore Lowi, show- 
ing that reform in New York City has always meant a 
change in the class and ethnic background of top city 
appointees, James Q. Wilson summarized the phenomenon 
as follows: 

The three "reform" mayors preceding Wag- 
ner favored upper-middle-class Yankee Protestants six to 
one over the Irish as appointees. Almost 40 per cent of the 
appointees of Seth Low were listed in the Social Register. 
Further, all four reform mayors — Low, Mitchel, La Guar- 
dia, and Wagner — have appointed a much larger percentage 
of Jews to their cabinets than their regular organization 

In fact, of course, the problem posed by 
the amateur Democrats is not simply one of ethnic succes- 
sion. Militant reform leaders in Manhattan get angry when 
they hear this "explanation" of their motives, for they re- 
ject the idea that ethnicity or religion ought to be con- 
sidered at all in politics. Although most amateur Democrats 
are either Jewish or Anglo-Saxon and practically none are 
Catholic, it is not their entry into politics so much as it 
is their desire to see a certain political ethic (which middle- 
class Jews and Yankees happen to share) implemented in 
local politics.i2 

The 1961 Democratic primary fight, which 
ended with the defeat of Carmine DeSapio and the regular 
Democratic organization, was a mixture of class and ethnic 
conflict that produced the utmost bitterness. In the mayor- 
alty election that followed, the Democratic State Chairman, 
Michael H. Prendergast, in an unprecedented move, came 



out in support of an independent candidate, a conservative 
Italian Catholic, Lawrence E. Gerosa, against Mayor Wag- 
ner, who was running for reelection with the support of the 
middle-class reform elements within the Democratic party. 
In a bitter cri de coeur, almost inevitably his last statement 
as an acknowledged political leader, Prendergast lashed out 
at what he regarded as a leftwing conspiracy to take over 
the Democratic party and merge it with the Liberal party 
of David Dubinsky and Alex Rose, in the process excluding 
the traditional Catholic leadership of the city democracy. 
He declared: 

The New York Post lays the whole plot bare 
in a signed column entitled "One Big Party?" in its Sep- 
temper 27 issue. Every Democrat should read it. "The first 
prerequisite of the new coalition," James A. Wechsler 
writes, "is that Mayor Wagner win the election." He goes 
on to say that the new "troops" which Messrs. Dubinsky 
and Rose will bring to this alliance will have to fight a 
"rear-guard action" on the part of "Catholics of Irish de- 
scent" who, Mr. Wechsler declares, "take their temporal 
guidance from Patrick Scanlan and his Brooklyn Tablet 
propaganda sheet. 

It's time to call a spade a spade. The party 
of Al Smith's time was big enough for Democrats of all 
descent. The Democratic party of today is big enough for 
Americans of every race, creed, color or national origin. 

Although much larger issues were at stake, 
it was natural enough for a traditionalist in politics such 
as Prendergast to describe the conflict in ethnic terms. And 
in justice it must be said that the ethnic elements of the 
controversy were probably much more significant than 
Prendergast's opponents would likely admit. 

Apart from the reform movement repre- 
sented by the Committee for Democratic Voters (which has 
yet to wield any decisive power over city — or statewide 
political nominations), the level of political creativity in 
New York politics has not been high over the past several 
decades. The almost pathetic tendency to follow established 
patterns has been reinforced by the growing practice of 



nominating sons and grandsons of prominent public per- 
sons. The cast of such men as Roosevek, Rockefeller, Har- 
riman, Wagner, and Morgenthau seems almost bent on 
recreating the gaslight era. In this context the balanced 
ticket and the balanced distribution of patronage along 
ethnic lines have assumed an almost fervid sanctity — to the 
point indeed of caricature, as in the 1961 mayoralty contest 
in which the Republican team of Lefkowitz, Gilhooley, and 
Fino faced Democrats Wagner, Screvane, and Beame, the 
latter victors in a primary contest with Levitt, Mackell, 
and Di Fede. It will be noted that each ticket consisted of 
a Jew, an Italian Catholic, and an Irish Catholic, or Ger- 
man-Irish Catholic in the case of Wagner. 

The development of polling techniques has 
greatly facilitated the calculations — and perhaps also the 
illusions — that go into the construction of a balanced ticket. 
It should be noted that these techniques would apply 
equally well, or badly, to all manner of social and economic 
classifications, but that so far it is the ethnic information 
that has attracted the interest of the political leaders and 
persons of influence in politics. Here, for example, is the 
key passage of the poll on the basis of which Robert M. 
Morgenthau was nominated as the Democratic candidate 
for governor in 1962: 

The optimum way to look at the anatomy of the New 
York State electorate is to take three symbolic races for 
Governor and two for the Senate and compare them group 
by group. The three we will select for Governor are Scre- 
vane, Morgenthau, and Burke.* We select these because 
each represents a different fundamental assumption. Scre- 
vane makes sense as a candidate, if the election should be 
cast in terms of an extension of the Wagner-Rockefeller 
fight. This could have the advantage of potentially firming 
up a strong New York City vote, where, in fact, the election 
must be won by the Democrats. On the other hand, a Rocke- 
feller-Screvane battle would make it more difficult to cast 
the election in national terms of Rockefeller vs. Kennedy, 
which, as we shall also see, is a critical dimension to pursue. 

A Morgenthau-Rockefeller race is run mainly because it 

* Paul R. Screvane, President of the City Council, an Italian Catho- 
lic; Robert M. Morgenthau, United States Attorney for the Southern 
District of New York, a Jew; Adrian P. Burke, Judge of the Court of 
Appeals, an Irish Catholic. 



represents meeting the Rockefeller-Javits ticket on its own 
grounds of maximum strength: among Jewish and liberal- 
minded voters, especially in New York City. Morgenthau is 
the kind of name that stands with Lehman, and, as we shall 
see, has undoubted appeal with Jewish voters. The question 
of running a moderately liberal Jewish candidate for 
Governor is whether this would in turn lose the Democrats 
some conservative Catholic voters who are not enchanted 
with Rockefeller and Javits to begin with, but who might 
normally vote Republican. 

The third tack that might be taken on the Governorship 
is to put up an outstanding Irish Catholic candidate on the 
assumption that with liberal Republicans Rockefeller and 
Javits running, the Catholic vote can be moved appreciably 
over to the Democratic column, especially in view of Rocke- 
feller's divorce as a silent but powerful issue. Here, Court 
of Appeals Judge Adrian Burke, who far outstripped the 
statewide ticket in 1954 might be considered typical of this 
type of candidate. 

Let us then look at each of these alternatives and see how 
the pattern of the vote varies by each. For it is certain that 
the key Democratic decision in 1962 must be over the candi- 
date for Governor first, and then followed by the candidate 
for U.S. Senate. We also include the breakdowns by key 
groups for Bunche and Murrow against Javits.* 

Here some fascinating and revealing patterns emerge 
which point the way sharply toward the kind of choice the 
Democrats can make optimally in their selection of Guber- 
natorial and Senatorial candidates for 1962 in New York: 

— By area, it appears that the recent Democratic gains in 
the suburbs are quite solid, and a range of from 40 to 43 
per cent of the vote seems wholly obtainable. 

— By race and religion, we find equally revealing results. 
The Protestant vote is as low as it was for Kennedy in i960, 
when the religious issue was running strong. 

— By contrast, the Catholic vote remains relatively stable, 
with a slight play for Burke above the rest, and with Bunche 
and Murrow showing some weaknesses here. (The relative 

* Ralph J. Bunche, United Nations official, a Negro; Edward R. 
Murrow, Director, United States Information Agency, a white Protes- 
tant; Jacob K. Javits, United States Senator, a Jew. 

f Each figure gives the percentage of total vote that the proposed 
candidate received in the specified category. -Thus, 35 per cent of the 
business and professional vote were recorded as saying they would 
vote for Screvane against Rockefeller. 



Democratic Candidates for 

Democratic Candi- 

Governor Pitted Against 

dates for U.S. Senate 



t Javits 
















By Area 

New York City 







Suburbs (16%) 






Upstate (41%) 






By Occupation 

Business and Pro- 

fessional (14%) 






White Collar (19%,) 






Sales and Service 







Labor (34%) 






Small Business, 

Shopkeeper (5%) 






Retired and other 







By Ethnic Groups 

White USA (29%) 






Irish (9%) 






English-Scotch (7%) 






German (167o) 






Italian (13%,) 






By Religion and 


White Protestant 







White Catholic 







White Jewish (18%) 






Negro (8%) 






Sex by Age 

Men (49%) 






21-34 (15%) 






35-49 (16%) 






50 and over (18%) 






Wojnen (517^) 






21-34 (15%) 






35-49 (18%) 






50 and over (18%) 






By Union Member- 


Union Member 







Union Family 







Nonunion (64%) 






By Income Groups 

Upper Middle 







Lower Middle 







Low (14%) 







percentages, however, for a James A. Farley* race against 
Javits show Farley with 30 percent Protestant, a relatively 
lower standing; 58 percent of the Catholics, a very good 
showing, but with only 36 percent of the Jewish vote, a 
very poor result; and 67 percent of the Negro vote, only a 
fair showing). 

The really volatile votes in this election clearly are going 
to be the Jewish and Negro votes. The Jewish vote ranges 
from a low of 56 percent (for Burke); 61 percent for Murrow 
(against Javits); 70 percent for Screvane (against Rocke- 
feller); a very good 71 percent for Bunche (against Javits); 
and a thumping 82 percent for Morgenthau (against Rocke- 
feller). Here the conclusion is perfectly obvious: by running 
a Lehman type of Jewish candidate against Rockefeller, 
the Jewish vote can be anchored well up into the high 70's 
and even into the 8o's. By running an Irish Catholic candi- 
date against Rockefeller, the Jewish vote comes tumbling 
precipitously down into the 50's. What is more, with Javits 
on the ticket, with strong appeal among Jews, any weakness 
among Jews with the Gubernatorial candidate, and the 
defection of the Jewish vote can be large enough to reduce 
the city vote to disastrously low proportions for the Demo- 

The Negro vote is only slightly less volatile. It ranges from 
a low of 55 percent (for Burke, again); to 68 percent for 
Morgenthau, not too good (an indication that Negroes will 
not automatically vote for a Jewish candidate, there being 
friction between the two groups); 70 percent for Screvane 
(who carried over some of the strong Wagner appeal among 
Negroes); 74 percent for Murrow, a good showing; and an 
incredibly high 93 percent for Bunche. 

Observation: The conclusion for Governor seems self- 
evident from these results. A candidate who would run 
in the Wagner image, such as Screvane, would poll a 
powerful New York City vote, but would fade more up- 
state and would not pull in a full measure of the 
Jewish swing vote. An Irish Catholic candidate would 
not do appreciably better than Screvane upstate (a 
pattern that has been repeated throughout New York's 
modern political history, with Kennedy the sole excep- 
tion in i960), but with good appeal in the suburbs, yet 
with a disastrous showing among Jews and Negroes in 
New York City. A Lehman-type Jewish candidate, such 

* James A. Farley, former Postmaster General, an Irish Catholic. 


as Morgenthau, by contrast, would appeal to a number 
of Protestants upstate (as, indeed, Lehman always did 
in his runs), would hold well in the suburbs, and 
could bring in solidly the pivotal Jewish vote in New 
York City. 

The first choice must be a Jewish candidate for Gov- 
ernor of the highest caliber, (sic.) 

There are two things to note about this 
poll. In the first place, the New York Jews did not vote 
solidly for Morgenthau, who lost by half a million votes. A 
week before the election Morgenthau headquarters re- 
ceived a report that a follow-up poll showed that 50 per 
cent of New York City Jews who had voted for the Demo- 
cratic candidate Averell Harriman in 1958 were undecided 
about voting for Morgenthau four years later. An analysis 
of the vote cast in predominately Jewish election districts 
shows that Rockefeller significantly improved his perform- 
ance over 1958, when he had run against Averell Harriman, 
another white Protestant. In important areas such as Long 
Beach, Rockefeller went from 37.2 per cent in 1958 to 62.7 
per cent in 1962, which is sufficient evidence that a Jewish 
name alone does not pull many votes. It could also confirm 
the preelection fears of the Democrats that the notoriety 
of their search for a "Lehman type of Jewish candidate" 
had produced a strong resentment within the Jewish com- 
munity. The following are returns from predominantly 
Jewish districts: 

Rockefeller Javits 

1962 1958 Dif. 1962 1956 Dif. 

Bronx AD 2, School 90 





















Queens AD 7 School 








Jericho (part) 







Long Beach (part) 







Harrison (part) 







New Rochelle Ward 4 57.8 58.8 -1.0 57.1 55.8 +1.3 



These returns, which are typical enough, re- 
veal an important fact about ethnic voting. Class interests , 
and geographical location are the dominant influences in 
voting behavior, whatever the ethnic group involved. In ur- 
ban, Democratic Bronx, the great majority of Jews vote 
Democratic. In suburban, Republican Westchester, the next 
county, the great majority of Jews vote Republican. But 
within that over-all pattern a definite ethnic swing does oc- 
cur. Thus Rockefeller got barely a fifth of the vote in the 
third Assembly district of Democratic Bronx, while he got 
almost three-quarters in Harrison in Republican Westches- 
ter, but he improved his performance in both areas despite 
the fact that his 1962 plurality was lower, statewide, than 
1948. Similarly, Rockefeller got as little as 8.8 per cent of 
the vote in the predominately Negro third ward of Demo- 
cratic Albany, and as much as 76 per cent in upper-middle- 
class. Republican Rye in Westchester, but generally speak- 
ing. Rockefeller appears to have lost Negro votes in 1962 
over 1958. 

A second point to note is that while the poll 
provided detailed information on the response to the vari- 
ous potential candidates classified by sex, occupational sta- 
tus, and similar characteristics of the persons interviewed, 
the candidates proposed were all essentially ethnic proto- 
types, and the responses analyzed in the commentary were 
those on the ethnic line. These are terms, howsoever mis- 
leading, which are familiar to New York politics, and with 
which New York politicians prefer to deal. \ 



nicity is impressed on the life of the city. Ethnicity is more 1 
than an influence on events; it is commonly the source of \ 
events. Social and political institutions do not merely re- 
spond to ethnic interests; a great number of institutions 
exist for the specific purpose of serving ethnic interests. This 
in turn tends to perpetuate them. In many ways, the atmos- 
phere of New York City is hospitable to ethnic groupings: 
it recognizes them, and rewards them, and to that extent 
encourages them. 



This is not to say that no individual group 
will disappear. This, on the contrary, is a recurring phe- 
nomenon. The disappearance of the Germans is a particu- 
larly revealing case. 

In terms of size or the achievements of its 
members, the Germans ought certainly to be included 
among the principal ethnic groups of the city. If never 
quite as numerous as the Irish, they were indisputably the 
second largest group in the late nineteenth century, ac- 
counting for perhaps a third of the population and enjoy- 
ing the highest reputation. But today, while German influ- 
ence is to be seen in virtually every aspect of the city's life, 
the Germans as a group are vanished. No appeals are made 
to the German vote, there are no German politicians in the 
sense that there are Irish or Italian politicians, there are in 
fact few Germans in political life and, generally speaking, 
no German component in the structure of the ethnic inter- 
ests of the city. 

The logical explanation of this develop- 
ment, in terms of the presumed course of American social 
evolution, is simply that the Germans have been "assimi- 
lated" by the Anglo-Saxon center. To some extent this has 
happened. The German immigrants of the nineteenth cen- 
tury were certainly much closer to the old Americans than 
were the Irish who arrived in the same period. Many were 
Protestants, many were skilled workers or even members of 
the professions, and their level of education in general was 
high. Despite the language difference, they did not seem 
nearly so alien to the New York mercantile establishment 
as did the Irish. At the time of their arrival German sym- 
pathies were high in New York. (George Templeton Strong 
was violent in his support of doughty Prussia in its struggle 
with imperial, tyrannical France.) All of this greatly facili- 
tated German assimilation. 

In any event, there were obstacles to the 
Germans' becoming a distinct ethnic bloc. Each of the five 
groups we have discussed arrived with a high degree of 
homogeneity: in matters of education, skills, and religion 
the members of the group were for the most part alike. 
This homogeneity, as we have tried to show, invested eth- 



nicity with meaning and importance that it would not other- 
wise have had. But this was not so with the Germans, who 
were split between Catholics and Protestants, liberals and 
conservatives, craftsmen and businessmen and laborers. 
They reflected, as it were, an entire modern society, not 
simply an element of one. The only things all had in com- 
mon were the outward manifestations of German culture: 
language for a generation or two, and after that a fondness 
for certain types of food and drink and a consciousness of 
the German fatherland. This was a powerful enough bond 
and would very likely be visible today, except for the im- 
pact of the World Wars. The Germanophobia of America 
during the First World War is, of course, notorious. It had 
limits in New York where, for instance, German was not 
driven from the public school curriculum, but the attrac- 
tion of things German was marred. This period was fol- 
lowed, in hardly more than a decade, by the Nazi era, dur- 
ing which German fascism made its appearance in Jewish 
New York, with what results one can imagine. The German 
American Bund was never a major force in the city, but it 
did exist. The revulsion against Nazism extended indis- 
criminately to things German. Thereafter, German Ameri- 
cans, as shocked by the Nazis as any, were disinclined to 
make overmuch of their national origins. 

Even so, it is not clear that consciousness 
of German nationality has entirely ceased to exist among 
German- Americans in the city, or elsewhere. There is evi- 
dence that for many it has simply been submerged. In New 
York City, which ought logically to be producing a series 
of Italian and Jewish mayors, the political phenomenon of 
the postwar period has been Robert F. Wagner. 

It is even possible that the future will see a 
certain resurgence of German identity in New York, al- 
though we expect it will be mild. The enemy of two world 
wars has become an increasingly powerful and important 
ally in the Cold War. Berlin has become a symbol of resist- 
ance to totalitarianism; Germany has become an integral 
part of the New Europe. Significantly, the German Ameri- 
cans of the city have recently begun an annual Steuben Day 
Parade, adding for the politicians of the city yet another 
command performance at an ethnic outing. 



Despite this mild German resurgence, it is 
a good general rule that except where color is involved as 
well the specifically national aspect of most ethnic groups 
rarely survives the third generation in any significant terms. 
The intermarriage which de Crevecoeur described con- 
tinues apace, so that even the strongest national traditions 
are steadily diluted. The groups do not disappear, however, 
because of their religious aspect which serves as the basis of 
a subcommunity, and a subculture. Doctrines and practices 
are modified to some extent to conform to an American 
norm, but a distinctive set of values is nurtured in the social 
groupings defined by religious affiliation. This is quite con- 
trary to early expectations. It appeared to de Crevecoeur, 
for example, that religious as well as national identity was 
being melted into one by the process of mixed neighbor- 
hoods and marriage: 

. . . This mixed neighborhood will exhibit a strange re- 
ligious medley, that will be neither pure Catholicism nor 
pure Calvinism. A very perceptible indifference even in the 
first generation, will become apparent; and it may happen 
that the daughter of the Catholic will marry the son of the 
seceder, and settle by themselves at a distance from their 
parents. What religious education will they give their chil- 
dren? A very imperfect one. If there happens to be in the 
neighborhood any place of worship, we will suppose a 
Quaker's meeting; rather than not shew their fine clothes, 
they will go to it, and some of them may attach themselves 
to that society. Others will remain in a perfect state of in- 
difference; the children of these zealous parents will not be 
able to tell what their religious principles are, and their 
grandchildren still less. 

Thus all sects are mixed as well as all na- 
tions; thus religious indifference is imperceptibly dissem- 
inated from one end of the continent to the other; which is 
at present one of the strongest characteristics of the Ameri- 

If this was the case in the late eighteenth century, it is no 
longer. Religious identities are strongly held by New York- 
ers, and Americans generally, and they are for the most 
part transmitted by blood line from the original immigrant 
group. A great deal of intermarriage occurs among national- 



ity groups of the three great religious groups, of the kind 
Ruby Jo Kennedy described in New Haven, Connecticut 
under the general term of the Triple Melting Pot,i^ but this 
does not weaken religious identity. When marriages occur 
between different religions, often one is dominant, and the 
result among the children is not indifference, but an in- 
crease in the numbers of one of the groups. 

Religion and race seem to define the major 
groups into which American society is evolving as the 
specifically national aspect of ethnicity declines. In our 
large American cities, four major groups emerge: Catho- 
lics, Jews, white Protestants, and Negroes, each making up 
the city in different proportions. This evolution is by no 
means complete. And yet we can discern that the next stage 
of the evolution of the immigrant groups will involve a 
Catholic group in which the distinctions between Irish, 
Italian, Polish, and German Catholic are steadily reduced 
by intermarriage; a Jewish group, in which the line between 
East European, German, and Near Eastern Jews is already 
weak; the Negro group; and a white Protestant group, 
which adds to its Anglo-Saxon and Dutch old-stock elements 
German and Scandinavian Protestants, as well as, more typi- 
cally, the white Protestant immigrants to the city from the 

The white Protestants are a distinct ethnic 
group in New York, one that has probably passed its low 
point and will now begin to grow in numbers and probably 
also in influence. It has its special occupations, with the 
customary freemasonry. This involves the banks, corpora- 
tion front offices, educational and philanthropic institu- 
tions, and the law offices who serve them. It has its own 
social world (epitomized by, but by no means confined to, 
the Social Register), its own churches, schools, voluntary or- 
ganizations and all the varied institutions of a New York 
minority. These are accompanied by the characteristic styles 
in food, clothing, and drink, special family patterns, special 
psychological problems and ailments. For a long while polit- 
ical conservatism, as well as social aloofness, tended to keep 
the white Protestants out of the main stream of New York 
politics, much in the way that political radicalism tended to 
isolate the Jews in the early parts of the century. Theodore 



Roosevelt, when cautioned that none of his friends would 
touch New York politics, had a point in replying that it 
must follow that none of his friends were members of the 
governing classes. 

There has been a resurgence of liberalism 
within the white Protestant group, in part based on its 
growth through vigorous young migrants from outside the 
city, who are conspicuous in the communications industry, 
law firms, and corporation offices of New York. These are 
the young people that supported Adlai Stevenson and 
helped lead and staff the Democratic reform movement. 
The influence of the white Protestant group on this city, it 
appears, must now grow as its numbers grow. 

In this large array of the four major religio- 
racial groups, where do the Puerto Ricans stand? Ultimately 
perhaps they are to be absorbed into the Catholic group. 
But that is a long time away. The Puerto Ricans are sepa- 
rated from the Catholics as well as the Negroes by color and 
culture. One cannot even guess how this large element will 
ultimately relate itself to the other elements of the city; 
perhaps it will serve, in line with its own nature and genius, 
to soften the sharp lines that divide them. 

Protestants will enjoy immunities in politics 
even in New York. When the Irish era came to an end in 
the Brooklyn Democratic party in 1961, Joseph T. Sharkey 
was succeeded by a troika (as it was called) of an Irish 
Catholic, a Jew, and a Negro Protestant. The last was a 
distinguished clergyman, who was at the same time head of 
the New York City Council of Protestant Churches. It 
would have been unlikely for a rabbi, unheard of for a 
priest, to hold such a position. 

Religion and race define the next stage in 
the evolution of the American peoples. But the American 
nationality is still forming: its processes are mysterious, and 
the final form, if there is ever to be a final form, is as yet 






(All figures are in thousands) 


Total: Foreign Stock 3,785 Total: Foreign Stock 3,785 

United Kingdom 175 U.S.S.R. 564 

Ireland (Eire) 312 Lithuania 31 

Norway 37 Finland 10 

Sweden 28 Rumania 62 

Denmark 10 Greece 56 

Netherlands 9 Italy 859 

Switzerland 11 Portugal 5 

France 35 Other Europe 59 

Germany 324 Asia 103 

Poland 389 Canada 66 

Czechoslovakia 58 Mexico 

Austria 220 Other America 204 

Hungary 97 All other 10 

Yugoslavia 20 Not reported 23 

source: United States Census of Population, 1960, New York, Table 79. 




(All figures are in thousands; all percentages of total city population) 

1900 1920 1940 1960 

Total population 3,437 5,620 7,455 7,783 

Foreign-born white 
Per cent 






Native white of 
mixed parentage 
Per cent 

foreign and 






Native white of native parentage 
Per cent 







Puerto Rican-born and children, 


Per cent 


Per cent 






Other races 
Per cent 






Foreign white stock, by country (foreign 
foreign and mixed parentage) 

•born, plus 

J native 

white of 

England, Scotland, and Wales 
Per cent 









Per cent 







Per cent 







Per cent 








Per cent 




Per cent 








Total Population Negro Population 

(In thousands) (In thousands) Per cent 

1960 7,782 1,088 14 

























1900 3,437 61 2 

source: "Negroes in the City of New York: Their Number and Propor- 
tion in Relation to the Total Population, 1790-1960," Florence M. 
Cromien, Commission on Intergroup Relations, City of New York, 1961. 

* We have deducted for native-born white for the year 1960 the Puerto 
Rican white group, and placed the latter in a separate category, in 
order to permit the major elements of the population in 1960 to emerge 
more clearly. 

t Foreign white stock from Russia and Poland, in New York City, is 
largely Jewish. 

sources: Walter Laidlaw, Population of the City of New York, 1890- 
1930, New York: Cities Census Committee, 1932, pp. 247, 263, 268; 
Census Tract Data on Population and Housing, New York: Welfare 
Council Committee on 1940 Census Tract Tabulations, 1942, p. 5; 
United States Census of Population, 1960, New York, Tables 21, 72, 79; 
Census Tract Statistics, New York City, 1960. 




Male (Per cent) 
1940 1960 

Female (Per cent) 
1940 1960 


technical, and kin- 

Managers, officials, proprietors 





Clerical, sales, and kindred 





Craftsmen, foremen, and kindred 





Operatives and kindred 





Private household workers 





Service workers, excluding pri- 
vate household workers 










Occupation not reported 





Total employed, in thousands 





sources: United States Census of Population, 1940, Vol. Ill, The Labor 
Force — New York, Table 13; and United States Census of Population, 
1960, New York, Table 122. 

note: The best comparison one can make for these two years is between 
New York City in 1960 and the New York Standard Metropolitan 
Statistical Area in 1960. While figures for occupation for nonwhites are 
available for 1960 for New York City, they reflect by the peculiarly 
heavy concentration of nonwhites aside from Negroes in professional, 
technical, and managerial occupations. Note too the large percentages 
in occupation not reported for 1960, and these also affect the com- 
parability of occupation figures for 1944 and 1960. 






Male (Per cent) Female (Per cent) 
Professional, technical, and kindred 3 5 

Managers, officials, and proprietors 



Clerical, sales, and kindred 



Craftsmen, foremen, and kindred 



Operatives and kindred 



Private household workers 



Service workers, excluding private 
household workers 






Occupation not reported 



Total employed, in thousands 50 35 

source: United States Census of Population, 1950, Puerto Ricans in 
Continental United States, Table 5. 




Male (Per cent) Female (Per cent) 

Children of Children of 

Immigrants Immigrants Immigrants Immigrants 

Professional, techni- 
cal, and kindred 3 6 2 5 

Managers, officials, 
and proprietors 





Clerical, sales, and 





Craftsmen, foremen, 
and kindred 





Operatives and kin- 





Private household 





Service workers, ex- 
cluding private 14 
household workers 

Laborers 14 

Occupation not re- 

Total employed, in 

thousands 197 370 52 177 

source: United States Census of Population, 1950, Nativity and Parent- 
age, Table 22. 







Male (Per cent) Female (Per cent) 

ChUdren of Children of 

Immigrants Immigrants Immigrants Imjnigrants 

Professional, techni- 
cal, and kindred 9 19 8 16 

Managers, officials, 
and proprietors 





Clerical, sales, and 





Craftsmen, foremen, 
and kindred 





Operatives and kin- 





Private household 





Service workers, ex- 
cluding private 
household workers 










Occupation not re- 





Total employed, in 

thousands 130 217 30 81 

source: United States Census of Population, 1950, Nativity and Parent- 
age, Table 22. 





Male (Per cent) Female (Per cent) 

Children of Children of 

Immigrants Immigrants Immigrants Immigrants 

Professional, techni- 
cal, and kindred 3 10 9 15 

Managers, officials, 
and proprietors 





Clerical, sales, and 





Craftsmen, foremen, 
and kindred 





Operatives and kin- 





Private household 





Service, excluding 
private household 










Occupation not re- 





Total employed, in 

thousands 59 139 31 76 

source: United States Census of Population, 1950, Nativity and Parent- 
age, Table 22. 




1. David M. Ellis, James A. Frost, Harold C. Syrett, and 
Harry J. Carman, A Short History of New York State, Ithaca: Cornell 
University Press, 1957, p. 338. 

2. Ellis et al., ibid., p. 64. 

3. Robert Ernst, Immigrant Life in New York City, 
182^-186^, New York: King's Crown Press, 1949. 

4. Eleventh Census: 1890, Part I, pp. clvii, clxix. 

5. Huthmacher describes the formation of the "old 
stock" element in Massachusetts as follows: "Some types of newcomers 
assimilated rapidly with the descendants of the state's original inhabit- 
ants. This was the case especially with hundreds of thousands of Eng- 
lishmen from Great Britain and Canada who came to settle during the 
nineteenth century. Like the natives in cultural traditions, they found 
adjustment to their new surroundings comparatively easy. ... By the 
First World War, moreover, they had advanced far up the economic 
scale. By that time, indeed, British and Canadian immigrants and their 
sons were hardly distinguishable from the remaining Yankees in social, 
occupational, or neighborhood status, and they were generally consid- 
ered old-stock inhabitants of the Commonwealth." Pp. 5-6, Massachu- 
setts People and Politics, igi^i^^^, by J. Joseph Huthmacher, Cam- 
bridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1959. 



6. For the best estimate, though now more than ten 
years old, see Neva R, Deardorff, "The Religio-Cultural Composition of 
the New York City Population," Milhank Memorial Fund Quarterly, 
Vol. 33, No. 2, April, 1955, pp. 152-160. 


1. Bulletin, Department of City Planning, New York 
City, November 22, 1954 and September 1958. 

2. U.S. Census of Population, New York, Table 98. 

3. This sketch of the history of Negroes in New York 
City draws from many sources, but the principal ones are Oscar Han- 
dlin. The Newcomers, Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1959; 
James Weldon Johnson, Black Manhattan, New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 
1930; and Claude McKay, Harlem: Negro Metropolis, New York: E. P. 
Button, 1940. See, too, the memoirs of James Weldon Johnson, Along 
My Way, New York: Viking Press, 1933. 

4. Johnson, Black Manhattan, pp. 146, 158. 

5. McKay, op. cit., p. 63. 

6. The discussion on changes in income and occupation 
in this and subsequent paragraphs is based on "Family Income and 
Expenditure in New York City, 1935-6 Vol. I, Family Income," Wash- 
ington: 1941, Study of Consumer Purchases: Urban Series, Bulletin 
#643, p. 20; Discrimination and Low Incomes, Studies under the direc- 
tion of the New York State Commission Against Discrimination by the 
New School for Social Research, Aaron Antonovsky and Lewis L. 
Lorwin, Eds., State of New York Interdepartment Committee on Low 
Incomes, 1959 (multigraphed). Chap. Ill, "Minority Groups and Eco- 
nomic Status in New York State," by Gladys Engel Lang; and U.S. 
Census of Population, i960. New York, Tables 124 and 139. On occa- 
sion our discussion is based on figures for the New York Metropolitan 
Area, if New York City figures are not available; or on figures for non- 
whites, instead of Negroes, if figures by race are not available. However, 
New York's nonwhites are more than 95 per cent Negro, so there is 
hardly any possibility of serious error. 

7. These unemployment figures are from a National 
Urban League Report, New York Times, March 5, 1961. 

8. L'^.5. Census of Population, i960. New York, Tables 

73» 77- 

9. U.S. Census of Population, i960. New York, Table 


10. Claude McKay wrote twenty years ago: 99 per cent 
of the community commerce in the Puerto Rican section of the Negro 
quarter is "done by Puerto Ricans and other members of the Spanish- 
speaking community. Yet they started moving into Harlem in consider- 
able numbers only about 1925, twenty years after the Negroes had 
established themselves there." {Harlem, op. cit., pp. 89-90.) 

11. See, for a good discussion of this entire problem, 
Robert H. Kinzer and Edward Sagarin, The Negro in American Busi- 
ness, New York: Greenberg, 1950. 

12. See, for example, New York Amsterdam News, No- 
vember 5, i960, p. 2, "All-Negro Financed Apt. Building Planned." 

13. See, on the slave background, E. Franklin Frazier, 



Black Bourgeoisie, Glencoe, 111.: The Free Press, 1957, p. 165 and else- 

14. McKay tells the following interesting story: Negroes 
opened up many small stores, candy and cigar stores, as fronts for the 
numbers. At one point, there was a police crackdown, and the owners 
of these stores began to use them for their legitimate purpose. "The ex- 
perience has taught many that it is even more advantageous to run 
such stores legitimately, without the numbers business." {Op. cit., 
p. 90.) 

15. New York Citizen-Call, August 6, i960. 

16. Ira De Augustine Reid, The Negro Immigrant, His 
Background Characteristics, and Social Adjustment, iSpp-ip^j, New 
York: Columbia University Press, 1949, pp. 235 and 247. 

17. Ibid., p. 111; McKay, op. cit., p. 252. 

18. Johnson, Black Manhattan, op. cit., p. 153. 

19. McKay, op. cit., pp. 127, 132, 143 ff. 

20. Reid, op. cit., p. 121. 

21. Paule Marshall, Broiun Girl, Brownstones, New York: 
Random House, 1959, p. 173. 

22. Kinzer and Sagarin, op. cit., p. 11. 

23. G. Franklin Edwards, The Negro Professional Class, 
Glencoe, 111.: The Free Press, 1959, p. 25; Gary S. Becker, The Eco- 
nomics of Discrimination, Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1957, 

P- 73- 

24. Less than 3 per cent of the metropolitan area's doc- 
tors and less than 1 per cent of its lawyers were Negro in i960 {U.S. 
Ceyisus of Population, ip6o. New York, Table 129). 

25. Jobs, ipSo-ipyo: The Changing Pattern, New York 
State Department of Labor, i960. 

26. James B. Conant, Slums and Schools, New York: 
McGraw-Hill, 1961. 

27. The Negro Wage-Earner and Apprenticeship Train- 
ing Programs, National Association for the Advancement of Colored 
People, i960; and Apprentices, Skilled Crafts^nen and the Negro: An 
Analysis, New York State Commission Against Discrimination, i960. 

28. See, for example. The Employment of Negroes as 
Driver Salesmen in the Baking Industry, New York State Commission 
Against Discrimination, i960; and (in Discrimination and Low Incomes, 
op. cit.), Chap. VII, "Discrimination in the Hiring Hall," by Gladys 
Engel Lang. 

29. The Negro Wage-Earner and Apprenticeship Train- 
ing Programs, p. 15. 

30. The Banking Industry: Verified Complaints and In- 
formal Investigations, New York State Commission Against Discrimina- 
tion, 1958. 

31. Employment in the Hotel Industry, New York State 
Commission Against Discrimination, 1958. 

32. See Non-white Employment in the U.S. ip^y-ip^S, 
New York State Commission Against Discrimination, 1958. 

33. Figures supplied by the Board of Education, New 
York City. 

34. U.S. Census of Population, i960. New York, Tables 

73. 77- 

35. See Aaron Antonovsky and Melvin J. Lerner, "Negro 
and White Youth in Elmira," Chap. V in Discrimination and Low In- 



comes, op. cit., and in particular their review of the literature, pp. 145- 
146; and Aaron Antonovsky, "Looking Ahead at Life: A Study of the 
Occupational Aspirations of New York City Tenth Graders," New York 
State Commission Against Discrimination, i960 (mimeographed), which 
somewhat contradicts the general findings of high aspirations among 
Negro youth. 

36. Richard L. Plant, "Increasing the Quantity and 
Quality of Negro Enrollment in College," Harvard Educational Re- 
view, 30:3, Summer, i96o, p. 273. 

37. Personal interview. 

_ 38. Frederick D. Patterson, "Negro Youth on Democ- 
racy's Edge," Reference Papers on Children and Youth, Golden Anni- 
versary White House Conference on Children and Youth, p. 103. On 
the general difficulty of finding qualified Negro candidates for medical 
schools, see Dietrich C. Reitzes, Negroes and Medicine, Cambridge, 
Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1950. "... leaders in the field of 
medical education have indicated it would be possible to place im- 
mediately at least 200 more Negroes in white medical schools, if quali- 
fied applicants could be found." P. 9 

39. See Toward Greater Opportunity: A Progress Re- 
port . . . dealing with . . . recommendations of the Commission on 
Education, Board of Education in the City of New York, i960; and 
Nathan Glazer, "Is Integration Possible in New York Schools?" Com- 
mentary, 30:3, September, i960, pp. 185-193; "Special Census of School 
Population, October 31, i960," Board of Education of the City of New 

40. Speech by Harold Siegel, executive director of the 
United Parents Associations, as reported in the New York Times, 
May 16, 1961. We are indebted to Will Maslow of the American Jewish 
Congress for a special tabulation of school population, and an analysis 
of the Board of Education's integration efforts. 

41. "The Open Enrollment Program in the Elementary 
Schools, Progress Report, School Year 1960-61," Board of Education of 
the City of New York. 

42. U.S. Census of Population, i960. New York, Table 

43. Fact Book on Youth in New York City, Community 
Council of Greater New York, 1956, p. 62. For comparable figures from 
other cities (New York seems to be one of the very highest), see Ille- 
gitimacy and its Impact on the Aid to Dependent Children Program, 
Bureau of Public Assistance, U.S. Department of Health, Education 
and Welfare, i960, p. 13. 

44. Babies Who Wait, Citizens' Committee for Children 
of New York, Inc., i960, p. 7. 

45. U.S. Census of Population, i960. New York, Tables 
106, 107. For the general background of Negro family life, see the classic 
work of E. Franklin Frazier, The Negro Family in the United States, 
Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1946; for a recent perceptive re- 
view, see Hylan Lewis, "The Changing Negro Family," in Eli Ginsberg, 
Ed., The Nation's Children, New York: Columbia University Press, i960, 
Vol. I. 

46. Indeed, one must seriously consider to what extent 
even the Negro middle class escapes the burden of these problems. See 
on the matter of Negro middle-class personality Abram Kardiner and 
Lionel Ovesey, The Mark of Oppression, New York: Norton, 1951. 



47. Martin Deutsch, Minority Group and Class Status as 
Related to Social and Personality Factors in Scholastic Achievement, 
Monograph No. 2, Society for Applied Anthopology, i960. See, too, 
Antonovsky, "Looking Ahead at Life," op. cit., on problems created by 
absent or inadequate male figures. 

48. Annual Report, 1958, Department of Correction, 
City of New York, Appendix, xxxvii. 

49. See the valuable material on growth of New York 
Negro sections, and degree of segregation, in Davis McEntire, Residence 
and Race, Berkeley, Calif.: University of California Press, i960. See, 
too, on the general patterns affecting the housing of Negroes, other 
books in this series: Nathan Glazer and Davis McEntire, Eds., Studies 
in Housing and Minority Groups; Eunice and George Grier, Privately 
Developed Interracial Housing; Chester Rapkin and William G. 
Grigsby, The Demand for Housing in Racially Mixed Areas (same place, 
publisher, year). 

50. "Negroes in The City of New York," Commission on 
Intergroup Relations, City of New York, 1961. 

51. Populations of New York State: i960, Report No. 1. 
New York State Commission Against Discrimination, 1961. 

52. Howard Brotz, "The Black Jews of Harlem," unpub- 
lished Master's thesis. University of Chicago, 1949. 

53. I accept here the argument of Will Herberg in 
Protestant, Catholic, Jew, New York: Doubleday, 1955. The discussion 
of the Negro problem in Protestant churches is often carried on under 
the general heading of the inner-city church, the urban church. See 
Frank S. Loescher, The Protestant Church and the Negro, New York: 
Association Press, 1948. There is need for a more up-to-date survey of 
this problem. 

54. See Bernard Roshco, "The Integration Problem and 
Public Housing," The New Leader, July 4-11, i960, pp. 10-13; ^^^ 
statements on this question by the New York City Housing Authority. 

55. John Albert Morsell, The Political Behavior of Ne- 
groes in New York City, unpublished doctoral dissertation, Columbia 
University, 1950, is a good history and analysis of Negroes in New York 
politics to the mid-forties; see pp. 90 ff . for figures on registering and 

A most valuable study of contemporary Negro politics 
in Northern cities, concentrating on Chicago, is James Q. Wilson's 
Negro Politics, Glencoe, 111.: The Free Press, i960. 

On the character of Negro participation in politics in 
New York as contrasted with Chicago, Wilson writes: 

In New York, Negroes are more evidently aggressive 
than in Chicago. In New York, the Negro press and civic leaders level 
a steady stream of criticism against the city regarding school segregation, 
inadequate school facilities, alleged police brutality, slum conditions 
in Harlem and various discriminatory acts. Legal suits against the city 
seeking the correction of alleged racial injustices are more common in 
New York than Chicago. The number and strength of voluntary as- 
sociations dealing with race issues are higher in New York. Negroes 
holding public offices in New York are more likely to take strong — and 
often public — stands on race issues. (Pp. 98-99.) 

56. The First Ten Years, 1949-^9, Committee on Civil 
Rights in Manhattan, New York; and "Restaurant Bias Held Over- 
stated," New York Times, June 9, i960. 



57. "Powell Says City Limits Negro Jobs," New York 
Times, April 5, i960. Wilson points out that Negroes have been much 
more successful in getting appointments in New York than in Chi- 

58. Wilson, op. cit., p. 46. 

59. Once again, the Chicago contrast is interesting: 

In New York City, in contrast to Chicago, a large num- 
ber of voluntary organizations have a vested interest in liberal causes. 
Most often these groups reflect the existence of a sizeable bloc of Jewish 
citizens who' tend to proliferate well-staffed organizations with a com- 
mitment to social equality and integration goals. New York is a city 
with a large number of Jews, and hence has a strong group of such 
associations as the Anti-Defamation League, the American Jewish Com- 
mittee, the Jewish Labor Committee, the American Jewish Congress, 
and so on. It is also a city which is the site of the national headquarters 
of a host of liberal associations of all kinds. . . . (Wilson, op. cit., p. 

60. See "Negro-Jewish Relations in the North," by Will 
Maslow (a paper read at the annual meeting of the Association of 
Jewish Community Workers, January 11, i960); the Negro press since 
then has given many other indications of this feeling. 

61. "The Harlem Ghetto: Winter 1948," James Bald- 
win, Commentary, 5:2, February, 1948, pp. 165-170; "Candor about 
Negro-Jewish Relations," Kenneth Clark, Coimnentary, 1:4, February, 
1946, pp. 8-14. 

62. Richard Simpson, "Negro-Jewish Prejudice: Au- 
thoritarianism and Some Social Variables as Correlates," Social Prob- 
lems, Vol. 7: No. 2, Fall, 1959, pp. 138-146. 

63. Wilson, op. cit., pp. 152-153. 

64. Indeed, these things might again, in a curious if 
understandable psychological reaction, be held against the Post. Its 
liberalism becomes suspect just because it is making an effort — what 
is it trying to get from us? The New York World Telegram and the 
Journal- American, tending to appeal to white Protestant and Catholic 
readerships more than the more Jewish-oriented Post, and making no 
effort to be liberal, are also less suspected or attacked. As an extreme 
form of this attack on the Post: "Even the self-consciously liberal Neiu 
York Post has only two Negro reporters," John Aigner writes in a col- 
umn in the Citizen-Call, May 21, i960. Aigner is white, but represented 
as well as he could the Negro militant mood. 

65. It scarcely mattered what one said to defend him, 
even if one was a minister: "Calling Negroes the 'most ruthless' judges 
of our own race, Rev. X pointed out that he 'admires Jack' for 'stick- 
ing to his guns.' " New York Amsterdam News, "Jack Repeats Charge 
Before More Ministers," January 30, i960. 

66. Note how "American" is the listing of ethnic and 
racial groups by order of preference among Negro college students — 
Jews are far below "American white (North)," below French, English, 
and Italian, and just above such inferior breeds in the American out- 
look as Hindus, Chinese, Japanese. See Alvin Eboine and Max Meenes, 
"Ethnic and Class Preferences Among College Negroes," Journal of Ne- 
gro Education, Vol. 29, No. 2, pp. 128-132, i960. This study is based on 
a Howard University sample. 

67. See James Baldwin, Notes of a Native Son, Boston: 
Beacon Press, 1955; James Baldwin, "A Negro Assays the Negro 



Mood," Neiv York Times Magazine, March 12, 1961; The Fire Next 
Time, New York: Dial, 1963; and letter of Lorraine Hansberry to the 
Neiv York Times Magazine, March 26, 1961. 

68. The Newcomers, Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard Univer- 
sity Press, 1961, p. 105. His chapter, "Forms of Social Action," is a fine 
discussion of the whole problem of leadership and social action in the 
Negro and Puerto Rican groups. 

69. Ibid., p. 1 14. 

70. "A Challenge to Negro Leadership," an address by 
John H. Johnson, to the National Urban League, New York, Septem- 
ber 7, 1960. 

7L "Are Negroes Ready for Equality?" Saturday Eve- 
ning Post, October 22, i960. 


L See the interesting paper by Cesar Garcia, "Spirits, 
Mediums, and Social Workers," student project ^4570, 1956, New 
York School of Social Work. 

2. Joseph R. Fitzpatrick, "Mexican and Puerto Ricans 
Build a Bridge," America, December 31, 1955, p. 374. 

3. The material on the Puerto Rican family is very 
extensive. See: Paul K. Hatt, Backgrounds of Human Fertility in Puerto 
Rico, Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1952; Julian M. 
Steward, et al., The People of Puerto Rico, Champaign, 111.: Univer- 
sity of Illinois Press, 1956; Reuben Hill, Mayone Stycos, and Kurt W. 
Back, The Family and Population Control, Chapel Hill, N.C.: Univer- 
sity of North Carolina Press, 1959; Sidney W. Mintz, Worker in the 
Cane, New Haven: Yale University Press, i960; Dorothy Dohen, "Thie 
Background of Consensual Union in Puerto Rico," unpublished Mas- 
ter's thesis, Fordham University, 1959. 

4. Hatt, op. cit., p. 129. 

5. In Clarence Senior, "Puerto Rican Emigration," 
Social Science Research Center, University of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras, 
Puerto Rico, 1947 (mimeographed), p. 13. 

6. Lawrence R. Chenault, The Puerto Rican Migrant 
in New York, New York: Columbia University Press, 1938, pp. 82-84. 

7. Earl Parker Hanson, Puerto Rico: Land of Wonders, 
New York: Knopf, i960; Ralph Hancock, Puerto Rico: Success Story, 
Princeton, N.J.: Van Nostrand, i960. 

8. For this description of the early Puerto Rican 
community in New York, we draw principally on Chenault, op. cit. 

9. Ibid., p. 99. 

10. Clarence Senior, "The Puerto Ricans of New York 
City," Bureau of Applied Social Research, Columbia University, no 
date (mimeographed), p. 62. 

11. Chenault, op. cit., pp. 82, 150-151. 

12. On the relations of Puerto Rican and Italian youths, 
see Agustin Gonzalez, "Problems of Adjustment of Puerto Rican 
Boys. . . . ," student project #4593, 1956, pp. 6-7; and Janet N. 
Reville and Alfonso Rivera, "The Psychosocial Adjustment of Puerto 
Rican Boys. . . . ," student project #4623, 1956, p. 65 — both New York 
School of Social Work; and "The Leisure-Time Problems of Puerto 



Rican Youth in New York City," Catholic Youth Organization, Arch- 
diocese of New York, 1953, pp. 39-40. 

13. One explanation must be that many more Puerto 
Ricans coming to New York were leaving for other cities. But it is 
also not unlikely that there was considerable underenumeration among 
Puerto Ricans. 

14. Morris Eagle, "The Puerto Ricans in New York," 
in Nathan Glazer and Davis McEntire, Eds., Studies in Housing and 
Minority Groups, Berkeley, Calif.: University of California Press, i960, 
p. 145; and press release, Migration Division, Department of Labor, 
Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, August 11, 1961. 

15. For the spread of Puerto Ricans through the city, 
see Eagle, op. cit., pp. 144-177. 

16. Hancock, op. cit., p. 164. The boom in Puerto 
Rico's industrial production was steady through the early 1960's. The 
president of the Planning Board announced in San Juan on August 
26, 1961, that by 1962 there would be 750 plants and 94,000 jobs as a 
result of the industrialization drive {New York Times, August 27, 1961). 
A New York Times report of September 2, 1962, raised this to 900 

17. For a comparison of migrants and the general 
Puerto Rican population, see "A Summary in Facts and Figures," 
January 1, 1959, Migration Division, Department of Labor, Common- 
wealth of Puerto Rico, New York, p. 19. 

18. Ibid., p. 12. 

19. Ibid., p. 8. 

20. Ibid., p. 3. 

21. Hill, Sty cos, and Back, op. cit., pp. 14-15. 

22. Beatrice Bishop Berle, Eighty Puerto Rican Fam- 
ilies in Sickness and in Health, New York: Columbia University Press, 

1958, PP- 138-139- 

23. Hill, Stycos, and Back, op. cit., pp. 129-130. 

24. There is a large literature on this subject, best 
summarized in Hill, Stycos, and Back, op. cit.; and in Evelyn Katz 
Furman, "Factors Influencing Choice of Population Control Methods 
in Puerto Rico," student project 9^4923, 1959, New York School of 
Social Work. 

25. "West Side Notes Big Pupil Shift," June 1, i960. 
New York Times. 

26. "City Spanish Vote at Record High," New York 
Times, November 2, i960; "Puerto Rican Fights State Literacy Law," 
ibid., August 7, i960; "Wagner Primary Cost Half Million," ibid., Sep- 
tember 21, 1961. 

27. Roy B. Helfgott, "Puerto Rican Integration in the 
Skirt Industry in New York City," in Discrimination and Low In- 
comes, op. cit. (Note 6, "The Negroes," this volume), p. 268. 

28. See letter by Monsignor James J. Wilson, in New 
York Herald Tribune, May 20, i960. 

29. Hatt, op cit., p. 38. 

30. C. Wright Mills, Clarence Senior, and Rose Kohn 
Goldsen, Puerto Rican Journey, New York: Harper, 1950, p. 110. 

31. "A Report on the Protestant Spanish Community in 
New York City," Department of Church Planning, Protestant Council 
of the City of New York, i960, pp. 47-50. 

32. "The Puerto Rican Opportunity," an address by 



Meryl Ruoss to the Division of Home Missions, National Council of 
Churches of Christ in the U.S.A., December 14, 1953, gives a picture 
of this Puerto Rican religious energy. 

33. "A Report on the Protestant Spanish Commu- 
nity. . . . ," op. cit., p. 35. 

34. Renato Poblete and Thomas F. O'Dea, "Anomie 
and the 'Quest for Community' among the Puerto Ricans of New 
York," American Catholic Sociological Review, Spring i960. Vol. 21, 
No. 1, pp. 18-36. 

35. The best account of Spiritualism among New York 
Puerto Ricans and its relation to the major religious tendencies is 
Dan Wakefield, Island in the City, Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1959, pp. 
49-84. _^ 

36. Mills, Senior and Goldsen, op. cit., p. 105. 1 

37. Clarence Senior, "The Puerto Rican Migrant in St. 
Croix," Social Science Research Center, University of Puerto Rico, 
Rio Piedras, P.R., 1947 (mimeographed), p. 18. 

38. Mills, Senior, Goldsen, op. cit., p. 220. 

39. Another example of the closeness of the two labor 
markets: "Many of the bootstrap industries have opened employment 
offices in New York and Chicago, in an attempt to lure back to the 
island those Puerto Ricans who have acquired English and some skill." 
Hancock, op. cit., p. 154, 

40. "Complaints Alleging Discrimination Because of 
Puerto Rican National Origin, July 1, 1945-Sept. 1, 1958," New York 
State Commission Against Discrimination. 

41. A. J. Jaffe, Ed., "The Puerto Rican Population of 
New York," Bureau of Applied Social Research, Columbia University, 
January 1954, p. 61. 

42. Discrimination and Low Incomes, op. cit., pp. 338- 

339^ 351-353- 

43. Bulletin, New York City Department of City Plan- 
ning, November 22, 1954. 

44. Ibid. 

45. Jaffe, op. cit., pp. 11, 34, 

46. Rita Ortiz, "A Study of Well-Adjusted Puerto Rican 
Families in New York City. . . . ," student project #3173, 1947; and 
Wilson Gonzalez, "A Study of Ten Self-Sufficient Puerto Rican Fam- 
ilies in New York City," student project #4595, 1956; both New York 
School of Social Work. 

47. "Public Assistance Recipients in New York State, 
January-February 1957. . • . ," by Eleanor M. Snyder, State of New 
York, Interdepartmental Committee on Low Incomes, 1958, pp. 9, 35, 
97; James R. Dumpson, Commissioner of Welfare, City of New York, 
address on June 6, i960; speech by City Administrator, "Crime Data 
Cited on Puerto Ricans," New York Times, October 11, i960. 

48. Berle, op. cit., pp. 202-203, 205-208. 

49. Paul J. Reiss, "Backgrounds of Puerto Rican De- 
linquency in New York City," unpublished Master's thesis, Fordham 
University, 1954, p. 95; Ruth Narita, "The Puerto Rican Delinquent 
Girl in New York City," unpublished Master's thesis, Fordham Uni- 
versity, 1954, p. 43. In the speech cited in Note 45, Preusse said: "The 
delinquency rate among Puerto Rican children is not the highest in 
the city, but it is high. Even more disturbing than the rate is the 
savagery of some recent incidents." 



50. Benjamin Malzberg, "Mental Disease Among Puerto 
Ricans in New York City," Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease, 
Vol, 123, March, 1956, pp. 263-269. 

51. Leo Srole et al., Mental Health in the Metropolis, 
New York: McGraw-Hill, 1962, pp. 291-293. 

52. Manuel Alers-Montalvo, "The Puerto Rican Mi- 
grants of New York City, A Study of Anomie," unpublished Master's 
thesis, Columbia University, 1951, pp. 107-108. 

53. This discussion of the Puerto Rican family in New 
York City is drawn principally from Berle, op. cit., and Elena Padilla, 
Up From Puerto Rico, New York: Columbia University Press, 1958. 

54. There is a good discussion of this problem in Vera 
M. Green, "Courtship Patterns in Eastville," unpublished Master's 
thesis, Columbia University, 1955. 

55. See Elsie Cespedas, "A Study of Concerns and In- 
terests Revealed by a Puerto Rican group in a New York Settlement," 
student project 9^4190, New York School of Social Work, 1953; and 
Padilla, op. cit., p. 182, and elsewhere. 

56. See Dorothy P. Wolf, "The Mother-Son Relationship 
in 12 Puerto Rican Families. . . . ," Student project #3747, 1950, New 
York School of Social Work. 

57. Leona Thompson, "Problems of Puerto Rican Ado- 
lescent Girls. . . . ," student project #4880, 1950, New York School 
of Social Work, p. 49. 

58. Joan Mencher, "Child Rearing and Family Organ- 
ization Among Puerto Ricans in Eastville," unpublished doctoral 
dissertation, Columbia University, 1958. 

59. Toward Greater Opportunity, Board of Education 
of the City of New York, i960, p. 16. 

60. "West Side Notes Big Pupil Shifts," New York 
Times, June 1, i960. 

61. There are as yet only handfuls of Puerto Rican 
graduates from the free city colleges. Maria Morales, a teacher, as- 
serted at the Third Annual Puerto Rican Youth Conference that of 
2,500 Regents' Scholarships offered in New York City, only 10 were 
held by Puerto Ricans; of 12,755 students in the four specialized 
academic high schools, only 83 were Puerto Ricans ("Counselling Hit 
by Puerto Rican," New York Times, April 30, 1961). 

62. Renzo Sereno, "Crypto-Melanism: A Study of Color 
Relations and Personal Insecurity in Puerto Rico," Psychiatry, 1947, 
Vol. 10, No. 3, pp. 261-269. 

63. Frederick P. Thieme, The Puerto Rican Popula- 
tion: A Study in Human Biology, Anthropological Papers, Ann Ar- 
bor, Mich.: University of Michigan, 1954, pp. 47-48. 

64. Joseph P. Fitzpatrick, "Attitudes of Puerto Ricans 
Toward Color," American Catholic Sociological Review, Vol. 20, No. 3, 
Fall, 1959, pp. 219-233. 

65. Mills, Senior, Goldsen, op. cit., pp. 133-134. 

66. Berle, op. cit., p. 49. 


1. The population figures in this chapter are from 
C. Morris Horowitz and Lawrence J. Kaplan, The Jewish Population 



of the Neic York Area, igoo-iQ'j^, Federation of Jewish Philanthro- 
pies of New York, 1959. 

2. An analysis of three surveys in 1957 and 1958 con- 
trasted synagogue attendance among New York City Jews and Jews 
in the rest of the country. Among the former, 19 per cent never went 
to a synagogue, 53 per cent only a few times a year; nationally, 12 per 
cent never went, 50 per cent only a few times a year. See Bernard 
Lazerwitz, "Jews In and Out of New York City," The Jewish Journal 
of Sociology, 111:2, December, i96i, pp. 254-260. This study, as others, 
indicates that only a small proportion of Americans answer "no re- 
ligion" when asked what their religion is. The proportions are roughly 
the same in the United States (1.7 per cent) and in New York City 
(2 per cent). The great majority of nonobserving Jews thus report 
their religion as Jewish. 

3. The first part of this chapter reflects the concep- 
tion of the Jewish group developed by Nathan Glazer in American Juda- 
ism, Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1957. Economic and social 
materials are drawn in part from his "Social Characteristics of American 
Jews," in The Jews, Louis Finklestein, Ed., 3rd ed.. New York: Harper, 
i960, pp. 1694-1735. 

4. Lazerwitz {op. cit) reports on income figures in his 
study. His Jewish samples, as is true of all national samples for pub- 
lic opinion surveys, are tiny and include only 82 New York City Jews, 
and 105 non-New York City Jews, and his figures on income must be 
treated with caution, but they nonetheless are suggestive: 










or more 

U.S. Protestants 






U.S. Catholics 






New York City Catholics 






New York City Jews 






Non-New York City Jews 






5. The employment figures in this chapter are from a 
special tabulation made from the 1952 Health Insurance Plan Survey 
by Fortune magazine, as part of the background research for the 
article by Sam Welles, "The Jewish Elan," February, i960. We are in- 
debted to Fortune and to Eleanor Carruth, researcher for this article, 
for permission to consult this material. 

Lazerwitz, op cit., has later information on occupational 
breakdown. Once again, while his samples are small, the same pat- 
tern emerges as in the 1952 study. Here are comparisons for New 
York City Jews and Catholics, and non-New York City Jews: 







and Sales 

New York City 





New York City 





Non-New York 

City Jews 







Without an 
















6. Roy B. Helfgott (see Note 27, "The Puerto Ricans," 
this volume). 

7. Interview in New York Post, February 11, i960. 

8. Katherine Hamill, "Junior Executive in Manhattan," 
Fortune, February, i960, pp. 77 fE. 

9. "Jews Charge Bias in Executive Jobs," New York 
Times, April 22, i960; "Manpower Waste Charged to Bias," New York 
Times, October 25, i960. 

10. Rights (published by the Anti-Defamation League 
of B'nai B'rith), Vol. 2, No. 8, November-December, 1959. 

11. "Equal Employment Opportunity Hearings, "Special 
Subcommittee on Labor of the Committee on Education and Labor, 
House of Representatives, 87:1, Part I, pp. 582-583. 

12. I am indebted to Lawrence Bloomgarden of the 
American Jewish Committee for an unpublished tabulation by re- 
ligion of a study of values of college students conducted by Rose K. 
Goldsen, Morris Rosenberg, Robin M. Williams, and Edward Suchman. 

13. Lawrence Bloomgarden, "Harvard Looks at the 
Executive Suite," American Jewish Committee Reporter, Vol. 17, No. 
4, October, i960, p. 29. 

14. "The Unequal Treatment of Equals," an address by 
John Slawson, 1959, New York, American Jewish Committee: 
"... Among the twenty-eight University Clubs throughout the country 
[not to be confused with the alumni clubs of individual colleges and 
universities] only two have any Jewish members. In New York City, 
out of the top ten social clubs, only one has Jewish members." See 
also his "Social Discrimination, The Last Frontier," 1955. 

15. Judith R. Kramer and Seymour Leventman, Chil- 
dren of the Gilded Ghetto, New Haven: Yale University Press, 1961. 

16. On Zeckendorf, see "Man in a $ioo-Million Jam," 
Fortune, July, i960, pp. 104 ff.; on his earlier career, see Fortune, 
March, 1954. On the office-building boom, see John McDonald, "The 
$2-Billion Building Boom," Fortune, February, i960, pp. ii9ff.; Daniel 
M. Friendenberg, "Real Estate Confidential," Dissent, Vol. 8, No. 3, 
Summer, i960, pp. 260-276. The career of the Tisch brothers, who 
began with a small loan from their garment-manufacturing father 
after the Second World War and have built up a fortune estimated at 
$65,000,000 in the renting, management, and most recently, building of 
hotels, neatly sums up the relations, in size and source, of two Jewish 
generations to wealth and business; see "The Tisches Eye Their Next 
65 Million," Fortune, January, i960, pp. 132 ff. 

17. "The Company That Started with a Gold Whisker," 
Fortune, August, 1959, pp. 98 ff.; "The Egghead Millionaires," Fortune, 
September, i960, pp. 172 ff. 

18. John Higham, "Social Discrimination Against Jews 
in America, 1830-1930," Publications of the American Jewish His- 
torical Society, Vol. 18, No. 1, September, 1957, P- ^^• 

19. Robert J. Shosteck, The Jewish College Student, 
Washington: B'nai B'rith Vocational Service, 1957. 



20. Lawrence Bloomgarden, "Medical School Quotas 
and National Health," Commentary, Vol. 15, No. 1, January, 1953; and 
"Who Shall Be Our Doctors?," Commentary, Vol. 23, No. 1, January, 

1957. PP- 506-515- 

21. Rights, Vol. 4, No. 2, February, 1961. Will Maslow 
of the American Jewish Congress has made available to us useful 
material of his organization on this question. 

22. Again, we are indebted to Will Maslow for an un- 
published survey of the experience of a cross section of New York State 
high school graduates of 1958 in gaining admission to colleges. 

23. Lawrence Bloomgarden, "Our Changing Elite Col- 
leges," Commentary , Vol. 29, No. 2, February, i960, pp. 150-154. 

24. "Policy to Change at Bard College," New York 
Times, October 15, i960. 

25. Higham, op. cit.; John Higham, "Anti-Semitism in 
the Gilded Age: A Reinterpretation," Mississippi Valley Historical Re- 
view, March, 1957. We have also benefited from an unpublished manu- 
script by Digby Baltzell on this question. 

26. "East Side Coops Still Show Bias," New York Times, 
June 19, 1961. A hearing before the Connecticut Commission on Civil 
Rights gives evidence on the existing suburban discrimination: "Realty 
Broker Conceded Writing Anti- Jewish Note in Greenwich," New York 
Times, September 15, 1961. 

27. Bureau of the Census, "Religion Reported by the 
Civilian Population of the United States," Current Population Re- 
ports: Population Characteristics, Series P-20, No. 79, February 2, 1958. 

28. Ruby Jo Reeves Kennedy, "Single or Triple Melt- 
ing Pot: Intermarriage in New Haven," American Journal of Sociology, 
Vol. 58, No. 1, July, 1952, pp. 56-66. 

29. On the dynamics of this process, see Alan Wood, "I 
Sell My House," Commentary, Vol. 26, No. 5, November, 1958, pp. 383- 

30. John Slawson, "Integration and Identity," New 
York, American Jewish Committee, 1959, pp. 11-12; see also "The 
Riverton Study," by Marshall Sklare and Marc Vosk, New York, Amer- 
ican Jewish Committee, 1957, pp. 32-42. 

31. A good sample in the East Midtown area of Man- 
hattan (the same sample that served as the basis for Mental Health in 
the Metropolis, by Leo Srole and others. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1962) 
showed a rather high rate (for Jews) of intermarriage — 10 per cent of 
all Jews who were married were married to non-Jews. See "Premarital 
Characteristics of the Religiously Intermarried in an Urban Area," by 
Jerold S. Heiss, American Sociological Review, 25:1, February, i960, 
pp. 9-21. 

32. Jewish Education Committee Bulletin, January, i960, 
pp. 1-12. 

33. Alexander M. Dushkin and Uriah Z. Engleman, 
"Jewish Education in the United States," Jewish Education, Vol. 30, 
No. 1, Fall, 1959, p. 7. 

34. Erich Rosenthal, "Acculturation Without Assimila- 
tion," American Journal of Sociology, Vol. 66, No. 3, November, i960, 
pp. 285, 287. 

35. See, for example, Thomas P. Monahan and William 
M. Kephart, "Divorce and Desertion by Religious and Mixed Religious 



Groups," American Journal of Sociology, Vol. 59, No. 5, March, 1954, 

PP- 454-465- 

36. This was the conclusion of August B. Hollingshead 
and Frederic C. Redlich, in their careful study of prevalence of treat- 
ment for mental illness in New Haven, Social Class and Mental Illness, 
New York: Wiley, 1958. Srole et al. in Mental Health in the Metropolis 
(op. cit.) came to the same conclusion. In their East Midtown area 
somewhat less Jews than Catholics or Protestants were well, but also 
somewhat less were impaired. A higher proportion showed mild or 
moderate symptom formation. Srole suggested as one possible hypothe- 

Midtown respondents of Jewish parentage tend to reflect some kind of 
impairment-limiting mechanism that operates to counteract, or in some 
degree contain, the more extreme pathogenic life stresses during child- 
hood. This hypothesis appears to be consistent with the repeatedly 
confirmed relative immunity of Jews to such self-impairing types of 
reactions as alcoholism and suicide. . . . One factor often hypothe- 
sized by psychiatrists* as potentially pathogenic is the strong Jewish 
family structure. However, this factor may conceivably be eugenic on 
balance, in the specific sense that powerful homeostatic supports are 
brought into play at danger points of crisis and stress that in other 
groups may be unbalancing for the family and impairing for the 
individual. (P. 306.) 

37. Charles P. Synder, Alcohol and the Jews, Glencoe, 
111.: Free Press and Yale Center for Alcohol Studies, 1958. 

38. Library of Jewish Information, American Jewish 
Committee, "The Ethnic Religious Factor in the 1956 Elections," by 
Moses Rischin, September, 1957. All the Yiddish newspapers supported 
Mayor Wagner (Catholic) against Javits (p. 26). 

39. Lawrence H. Fuchs, Political Behavior of American 
Jews, Glencoe, 111.: Free Press, 1956, p. 71. 

40. William Spinrad, "New Yorkers Cast Their Ballots," 
unpublished doctoral dissertation, Columbia University, 1955, pp. 109 
ff., on Jewish voting in the O'Dwyer elections, and on its ideological 
and nonparty character. 

41. From an unpublished paper, "Political Behavior of 
Ethnic Groups," delivered at the Conference on Group Life in America 
conducted under the auspices of the American Jewish Committee at 
Arden House, November 9-12, 1956. 

42. For most of the preceding history, see Fuchs, op. 
cit., passim. 

43. Kurt List, "Jerome Kern and American Operetta," 
Commentary, Vol. 3, No. 5, May, 1947, pp. 433-441. 

44. Mental Health in the Metropolis, op. cit., asked the 
question: "Let's suppose some friends of yours have a serious problem 
with their child. I mean a problem with the child's behavior. . . . 
The parents ask your advice. . . . What would you probably tell them 
to do . . . ?" One-half of the Jewish respondents suggested a psycho- 
therapist; 31 per cent of the Protestants; only 24 per cent of the 
Catholics. The responses were standardized for socioeconomic status 
(p. 317). A study based on the Midtown material concludes: ". . . Jews 
as a whole were more likely than Catholics to be familiar with some 
type of child guidance resources; and both Jews and Protestants mani- 
fested greater knowledge of community resources available for help 
with marriage problems." (Margaret Burton Bailey, "Community 



Orientations Toward Social Casework and Other Professional Re- 
sources," unpublished doctoral dissertation, New York School of Social 
Work, 1958, p. 86.) 

45. See Paul Jacobs, "David Dubinsky: Why His Throne 
Is Wobbling," Harper's Magazine, December, 1962, pp. 75-84; Daniel 
Bell, "Reflections on the Negro and Labor," The New Leader, January 
21, 1963, pp. 18-20. 

46. See "The Rebuilding of the West Side," in A City 
Planning Primer, by Nathan Glazer, to be published by Random 
House, 1963. 

47. "Jewishness and the Younger Jewish Intellectuals: 
A Symposium," Commentary, Vol. 31, No. 4, April, 1961, pp. 306-359. 


1. The great work on Italian emigration to all coun- 
tries is Robert F. Foerster, The Italian Emigration of our Times, 
Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1919. For Italians in early 
New York, see Lawrence Frank Pisani, The Italian in America, New 
York: Exposition Press, 1957; Federal Writers Project, The Italians of 
New York, New York: Random House, 1938; Robert Ernst, Iminigrant 
Life in New York City, New York: King's Crown Press, 1949. 

2. Foerster, op. cit., pp. 223-310; The Immigration and 
Naturalization Systems of the United States, U.S. Senate, Committee on 
the Judiciary, 1950, 81st Congress, 2nd Session, Report No. 1515, p. 813. 

3. Leonard Covello, The Social Background of the 
Italo- American School Child, unpublished doctoral dissertation, New 
York University, 1944, p. 42. Scientific arguments, based on race, were 
made by Italian scholars to explain the inferiority of South Italians, 

PP- 35-36- 

4. Ibid., p. 240. 

5. Abstracts of the Reports of the Immigration Com- 
mission, U.S. Senate, 64th Congress, 3rd Session, Document No. 747, 
1911, Vol. I, p. 97. 

6. Ibid., pp. 101, 103, 175. 

7. Ibid., p. 97. For 1899-1910, 21 per cent of the Italian 
immigrants were women, compared with 41 per cent of the German, 
43 per cent of the Hebrew, 52 per cent of the Irish, 30 per cent of the 
Polish, 29 per cent of the Lithuanian. On the other hand, some new 
immigrant groups — Greek, South Slavs, Bulgarian, Russian — had even 
smaller proportions of women. 

8. Census figures, and Immigration and NaturaHza- 
tion Bureau reports. 

9. John H. Mariano, The Second Generation of Italians 
in New York City, Boston: Christopher, 1921, pp. 12-13, 24. On the 
high Italian birth rate, see William B. Shedd, "Italian Population in 
New York," Casa Italiana Educational Bureau, Columbia University, 
New York; also in Atlantica, September, 1934. 

10. In 1950 Italian immigrants and their children made 
up 13 per cent of the population of the city; with the third genera- 
tion included, a sixth seems a modest estimate. United States Census 
of Population, 19^0, Nativity and Parentage, 3A-80. 

11. Herbert Gans, Glencoe, 111.: The Free Press, 1962. 



12. Robert E. Park, and Herbert A. Miller, Old World 
Traits Transplanted, New York: 1921, pp. 146-151; Mariano, op. cit., 
pp. 19-22. For a somewhat romanticized picture of such a village com- 
munity in a New Jersey town, see Pietro Di Donato, Three Circles of 
Light, New York: Messner, i960. 

13. For a statistical demonstration of this slow move- 
ment of Italians out of original areas of settlement, see Leo Grebler, 
Housing Market Behavior in a Declining Area, New York: Columbia 
University Press, 1952, Chap. X. 

14. For example, the economic level of the remaining 
Italian community in East Harlem is much higher than one might 
expect from the age of the housing. See Irving Abraham Spergel, 
Types of Delinquent Groups, unpublished doctoral dissertation. New 
York School of Social Work, i960, p. 76. 

15. Nat J. Ferber, A New American, New York: Farrar 
and Rinehart, 1938, p. 31. 

16. W. H. Whyte, Street Corner Society, Chicago: Uni- 
versity of Chicago Press, 1943. 

17. We lean on Cans' brilliant description of this "peer- 
group" society, op. cit. 

18. See, for example, for East Harlem, Leonard Covello, 
The Heart is the Teacher, New York: McGraw-Hill, 1958, p. 223. For 
a report of tension between an Italian-American neighborhood in 
Jersey City and the Negro residents of a housing project, see the Neio 
York Post, June 22, 1961, p. 3. 

19. Edwin Fenton, Immigrants and Unions, A Case 
Study: Italians and American Labor, j8yo-jp20, unpublished doctoral 
dissertation. Harvard University, 1957, pp. 378, 209, 92. 

20. As Fenton (op. cit.) sums it up in his excellent study: 
"They were village-minded, fatalistic, and self-reliant, three qualities 
which made them poor labor union members." P. 30. 

21. Ibid., pp. 406-407. 

22. Ibid., pp. 221-238. 

23. Ibid., pp. 491 ff. 

24. Ibid., pp. 60, 484. 

25. Ibid., p. 106. Fifty years after the event, Luigi 
Criscuolo, in his interesting personal newsletter of Italian-American 
life. The Rubicon, recalled bitterly Barsotti's skill in extracting "the 
pennies and dollars of the Italian working people," while necessary 
civic activities were starved. The Rubicon, Vol. 2, No. 2, 1942, and 
Vol. 5, No. 5, 1956. 

26. John H. Mariano, The Italian Immigrant in Our 
Courts, Boston: Christopher, 1925, p. 22. 

27. Foerster, op. cit., p. 435. 

28. Fenton, op. cit., p. 50. 

29. Edward Banfield, The Moral Basis of a Backward 
Society, Glencoe, 111.: The Free Press, 1958. 

30. Covello, The Social Background of the Italo- Ameri- 
can School Child, op. cit., p. 276. 

31. Ibid., p. 263. 

32. See Norman Thomas Di Giovanni, "Tenements and 
Cadillacs," The Nation, 187: 443-445, December 13, 1958. 

33. New York Post, March 10, i960, p. 23. "-- 

34. On the Italian family, see Covello, The Social Back- 



ground of the Italo-American School Child, op. cit.; Fred L. Strodtbeck, 
"Family Interaction, Values, and Achievement," pp. 135-194, in Talent 
and Society, by David C. McClelland et al., New York: Van Nostrand, 
1958; Paul Barrabee and Otto Van Mering, "Ethnic Variations in 
Mental Stress in Families with Psychotic Children," Social Problems, 
1:1, October, 1953, pp. 48-53; Ezra Vogel, "The Marital Relationship 
of Parents and the Emotionally Disturbed Child," unpublished doc- 
toral dissertation, Harvard University, 1958. 

35. On Italians and education, we draw on Covello, 
op. cit. 

36. Federal Writers Project, op. cit., p. 18. 

37. Henry J. Browne, "The 'Italian Problem' in the 
Catholic Church of the United States," Catholic Historical Society, 
Historical Studies and Records, Vol. 35, 1946, pp. 46-72. 

38. Pisani, op. cit., p. 169. On Protestant work see also 
Antonio Mangano, Sons of Italy, New York Missionary Education Move- 
ment of the United States and Canada, 1917; William Payne Striver, 
Adventure in Missions, Board of National Missions of the Presbyterian 
Church in the United States of America, New York, 1946. 

39. Newbold Morris writes of the selection of Impel- 
litteri in 1945 (though the story must be highly colored): 

O'Dwyer . . . had difficulties putting together a ticket. When Lazarus 
Joseph, a Jewish candidate from the Bronx, was selected for comp- 
troller, it became desirable according to tradition [here Morris is wrong 
— this became a "tradition" only in this election] to place on the 
ticket a candidate of Italian extraction from Manhattan. . . . The 
hard pressed politicians picked up . . . the Official Directory of the 
City of New York . . . and thumbed through the listing of city officers 
and employees until they stopped at the name of Vincent Impellitteri, 
secretary to Supreme Court Justice Gavagan. He was drafted as Presi- 
dent of the City Council. (Let the Chips Fall, New York: Appleton- 
Century-Crofts, 1955, pp. 208-209.) 

40. Daniel Bell, The End of Ideology, Glencoe, 111.: 
The Free Press, i960, pp. 115-136. 

41. Ed Reid, The Shame of New York, New York: 
Random House, 1953, pp. 111-112. 

42. Theodore J. Lowi, "At the Pleasure of the Mayor," 
unpublished doctoral dissertation, Yale University, i960, p. 54. 

43. Arthur Mann, La Guardia: Philadelphia and New 
York, J. B. Lippincott, 1959, pp. 317-319- 

44. William Spinrad, New Yorkers Cast Their Ballots, 
unpublished doctoral dissertation, Columbia University, 1955, pp. 56- 

45. Ibid. 

46. Luigi Criscuolo, in The Rubicon, the newsletter he 
published during the forties, took cruel delight in showing that every 
Italian American political leader, regardless of his outlook, had at some 
point or another said something favorable about Mussolini, or ac- 
cepted a medal, or appeared at some function conducted by the Fascist 
Italian government. 

47. See V. R. Tortosa, "Italian-Americans, Their Swing 
to the G.O.P.," The Nation, 177: 330-332, October 24, 1953. 




1. Dictionary of American Biography, New York: 
Charles Scribner's Sons, 1934, Vol. XIII, p. 621. 

2. Allan Nevins and Milton Halsey Thomas, Eds., The 
Diary of George Templeton Strong, Vol. IV, New York: Macmillan, 1952, 
p. 236. 

3. Ibid., p. 342. 

4. Ibid., p. 368. 

5. Florence E. Gibson, The Attitudes of the New 
York Irish Toward State and National Affairs, 1848-1892, Studies in 
History, Economics, and Public Law, No. 563, New York: Columbia 
University, 1951, pp. 17-18. 

6. Eleventh Census: 1890, Part I, pp. cixii, cixix. New 
York City did not then include Kings, Queens, or Richmond Counties. 
However, the proportion generally carried over. In 1890 three-quarters 
of the Brooklyn Assemblymen were Irish, as against slightly less than 
half those from Manhattan. 

7. E. Wilder Spaulding, The State Government Under 
the First Constitution, Vol. IV, History of the State of New York, 
Alexander C. Flick, Ed., New York: Columbia University Press, 1933, 
p. 158. 

8. Frederick J. Zwierlein, The Catholic Church in 
New York State, Vol. IX, ibid., p. 167. 

9. John Tracy Ellis, Docu7nents of American Catholic 
History, Milwaukee: Bruce, 1956, pp. 238-242. 

10. Dictionary of American Biography. 

11. Dixon Ryan Fox, New York Becomes a Democracy , 
Vol. VI, History of the State of New York, Alexander C. Flick, Ed., New 
York: Columbia University Press, 1934, p. 28. 

12. Quoted in George W. Potter, To the Golden Door, 
The Story of the Irish in Ireland and America, Boston: Little, Brown 
and Co., i960, p. 229. 

13. Gibson, op. cit., p. 390. 

14. Thomas N. Brown, Social Discrimination Against 
the Irish in the United States, The American Jewish Committee, No- 
vember, 1958 (mimeographed), p. 30. 

15. Charles Frankel, The Democratic Prospect, New 
York: Harper & Row, 1962, p. 11. 

16. In his autobiography, George B. McClellan, Jr., 
states that Cleveland told him the story was apocryphal. George B. 
McClellan, Jr., The Gentleman and the Tiger, Harold C. Syrett, Ed., 
Philadelphia: J. B. Lippincott Co., 1956, p. 311. 

17. Potter, op. cit., pp. 67-68. 

18. Conrad M. Arsenberg, The Irish Countryman, 
London: The Macmillan Company, 1937: p. 178. 

19. Cecil Woodham-Smith, The Great Hunger, New 
York: Harper & Row, 1962, pp. 27 ff. 

20. Potter, op. cit., p. 105. 

21. Peel describes this as a predominant role, but he 
would appear to be at least two generations early in this respect. Roy V. 
Peel, The Political Clubs of New York City, New York: G. P. Putnam's 
Sons, 1935, p. 32. 



22. Arensberg, op. cit., p. 93. 

23. Lincoln Steffens, Autobiography, New York: Har- 
court, Brace and Co., 1931, p. 236. 

24. Arensberg, op. cit., p. 107. 

25. Ibid., p. 179. 

26. Peel, op. cit., p. 38. 

27. William L. Riordon, Plunkitt of Tammany Hall, 
New York: Knopf, 1948, pp. 107-108. 

28. Thomas Beer, The Mauve Decade, New York: 
Knopf, 1926, p. 143. 

29. Thomas F. O'Dea, American Catholic Dilemma, 
New York: Sheed and Ward, 1958, p. 152. 

30. Ibid., pp. 35-36. 

31. Quoted in John Tracy Ellis, "American Catholics 
and the Intellectual Life," Thought, Vol. XXX, No. 118, Autumn, 1955. 

32. Kevin Sullivan, Joyce Among the Jesuits, New 
York: Columbia University Press, 1958, p. 3. 

33. C. J. McNaspy, S.J., "Patriarch of Parishes," Amer- 
ica, Nov. 12, i960. 

34. John R. G. Hassard, Life of The Most Reverend 
John Hughes, D.D., New York: D. Appleton and Co., 1866, p. 276. 

35. John Tracy Ellis, Documents of American Catholic 
History, pp. 337-343. 

36. Diary of George Templeton Strong, Vol. Ill, pp. 

37. Robert D. Cross, The Emergence of Liberal Cathol- 
icism in America, Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1958, pp. 119- 

38. William Oland Bourne, A.M., History of the Public 
School Society of the City of New York, New York: 1870, p. 5. 

39. Ibid., p. 7. 

40. Quoted in "Report of the Secretary of State upon 
memorials from the city of New York, respecting the distribution of 
the common school monies in that city, . . ." Documents of the 
Senate of the State of New York, 64th Session, 1841, Document No. 86, 
Vol. III. 

41. Neiv York Register, 1840, pp. 337-338. 

42. New York Register, 1840, p. 336. 

43. Documents of the Assembly of the State of Neiv 
York, 63rd Session, 1840, Document No. 2, pp. 5-6. 

44. See Richard J. Purcell and Rev. John F. Poole, 
"Political Nativism in Brooklyn," Journal of the American Historical 
Society, Vol. XXXII, 1941. 

45. "Report of the Secretary of State," 1841, op. cit., 
p. 6. 

46. Ibid., p. 12. 

47. Edwin R. Van Kleek, "The Development of Free 
Common Schools in New York State — The Campaigns to Eliminate the 
Rate Bill and to Divert Public Funds from Sectarian Schools," unpub- 
lished doctoral dissertation, Yale University, 1937, p. 162. Quoted in 
William Kailer Dunn, What Happened to Religious Education? The 
Decline of Religious Teaching in the Public Elementary School, i']']6- 
1861, Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Press, 1958, p. 255. 

48. Quoted in Robert D. Cross, op. cit., p. 137. 



49. Quoted in John Traq^ Ellis, "American Catholics 
and the Intellectual Life," Thought, Vol. XXX, No. 118, Autumn, 
1955' P- 368. 

50. Thomas B. Macaulay, The History of England, 
New York: 1866 Vol. I, p. 72. 

51. Irish Quarterly Review, September, 1938. 

52. Thomas N. Brown, "The Origins and Character 
of Irish- American Nationalism," The Review of Politics, Vol. XVIII, 
No. 3, July, 1956, p. 331. 

53. Thomas N. Brown, Social Discrimination Against 
the Irish in the United States, op. cit., p. 23. 

54. Elizabeth Gurley Flynn, / Speak My Own Piece, 
New York: Masses & Mainstream, 1955, p. 13. 

55. Strong, op. cit.. Vol. 2, p. 276. 

56. Ibid., Vol. 2, p. 453. 

57. From the litany of St. Lawrence O'Toole. Philip 
H. Bagenal, The American Irish and the Influence on Irish Politics, 
Boston: Roberts Brothers, 1882, p. 137. 

58. George Templeton Strong, op. cit.. Vol. IV, pp. 

59. Carl Wittke, The Irish in America, Baton Rouge: 
Louisiana State University Press, 1956, p. 277. 

60. Charles Callan Tansill, America and the Fight for 
Irish Freedom, 1866-1922, New York: Devin-Adair Co., 1957, pp. 134- 
135. Italics added. 

61. Ibid., pp. 302-303. 

62. You're a Grand Old Flag, Copyright Richmond- 
Robbins, Inc. 

63. Thomas Beer, The Mauve Decade, p. 153. 

64. Morris R. Werner, Tammany Hall, New York: 
Doubleday, Doran, 1928, p. 290. 

65. Thomas Beer, op. cit., p. 152. 

66. Ibid., p. 152. 

67. Quoted in Tansill, op. cit., pp. 126-127. 

68. Eugene O'Neill, Long Day's Journey Into Night, 
New Haven: Yale University Press, 1956, p. 127. 

69. Eugene O'Neill, A Touch of the Poet, New Haven: 
Yale University Press, 1957, p. 168. 

70. A. N. Whitehead, Adventures of Ideas, New York: 
Macmillan, 1935, p. 205. 

71. The Tablet, December 10, i960. 

72. Eugene F. Moran and Louis Reid, Tugboat, the 
Moran Story, New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1956. 

73. Oscar Handlin, The Newcomers: Negroes and 
Puerto Ricans in a Changing Metropolis, Cambridge: Harvard Uni- 
versity Press, 1959, p. 26. 

74. Life, February 17, 1947. 

75. Charles R. Snyder, "Culture and Sobriety: Signs 
of Alcoholism," Quarterly Journal of Studies on Alcohol, Vol. XVII, No. 
1, March, 1956, p. 128. 

76. Robert Freed Bales, "Cultural Differences in Rates 
of Alcoholism," Quarterly Journal of Studies on Alcohol, Vol. VI, No. 
1, March, 1946, p. 485. 

77. Roger J. Williams, "The Etiology of Alcoholism: 
A Working . Hypothesis Involving the Interplay of Hereditary and 



Environmental Factors," Qiiarterly Journal of Studies on Alcohol, Vol. 
VII, No. 4, March, 1947, p. 583. 

78. Robert Straus and Raymond G. McCarthy, "Non- 
addictive Pathological Drinking Patterns of Homeless Men," Quarterly 
Journal of Studies on Alcohol, Vol. XII, No. 4, December, 1951. 

79. A. Meyer, "Alcohol as a Psychiatric Problem," in 
Alcohol and Man, H. Emerson, Ed., New York: Macmillan Co., 1932, 
Chap. 11. 

80. Donald Davison Glad, "Attitudes and Experience 
of American-Jewish and American-Irish Male Youth as related to Dif- 
ferences in Adult Rates of Inebriety," Quarterly Journal of Studies on 
Alcohol, Vol. VIII, No. 3, December, 1947, p. 408. 

81. John J. Kane, "The Social Structure of American 
Catholics," The American Catholic Sociological Review, Vol. XVI, No. 
1, March, 1955, p. 30. 

82. Gerhard Lenski, The Religious Factor, Garden 
City: Doubleday & Co., 1961, pp. 85-87, 247-248. 

83. Bosco D. Cestello, "Catholics in American Com- 
merce and Industry, 1925-45," American Catholic Sociological Review, 
Vol. XVII, No. 3, October, 1956. 

84. See Table 1. 

85. Neiu York Times, August 31, 1919. 

86. Syracuse Herald, October 23, 1936. See also the 
brilliant essay by Richard Hofstadter, "The Pseudo-Conservative Re- 
volt," The American Scholar, Vol. XXIV, No. 1, Winter, 1954-1955. 

87. James A. Farley, Jim Farley's Story, The Roosevelt 
Years, New York: Whittlesey House, 1948, p. 63. 

88. James A. Farley, "What I Believe," The Atlantic 
Monthly, June, 1959. 

89. Quoted in Milton Saul Gwirtzman, The Decline of 
the Democratic Party in New York State, 19^2 to 19^2, unpublished 
honors thesis. Harvard College, 1954. 

90. Friendly Sons of St. Patrick, 1941. 

91. Irving Kristol, Commentary , "The Web of Real- 
ism," Vol. XVII, June, 1954, p. 610. 

92. The New York Times, April 26, 1954. 

93. Address to the Rotary Club of Los Angeles, July 
8, i960. 

94. Emily Smith Warner with Hawthorne Daniel, The 
Happy Warrior Garden City: Doubleday, 1956, p. 183. 

95. Reinhold Niebuhr, "Catholics and the State," The 
New Republic, October 17, i960, p. 15. 

96. John D. Donovan, "The American Catholic Hier- 
archy: A Social Profile," The American Catholic Sociological Review, 
Vol. XIV, No. 2, June, 1958. 

97. I.e., the names are Irish. Some could also be Eng- 
lish, however. It should also be noted that Pope John has appointed 
a number of German-American cardinals. 

98. Sister Joan Bland, Letter to the Editor, The New 
Republic, October 10, i960. 

99. Gustave Weigel, S.J., Introduction, Thomas F. 
O'Dea, American Catholic Dilemma, p. xi. 

100. Thought, Vol. XXX, No. 118, Autumn, 1955, p. 



101. Denis W. Brogan, U.S.A., An Outline of the 
Country, Its People and Institutions, London: Oxford University Press, 
1941, p. 66. 

102. Joseph P. Fitzpatrick, S. J., "Catholics and Scientific 
Knowledge of Society," The American Catholic Sociological Review, 
Vol. XV, No. 1, March, 1954, p. 6. 

103. Gustave Weigel, S.J., "American Catholic Intel- 
lectualism — A Theologian's Reflections," The Review of Politics, Vol. 
XIX, No. 3, July, 1957, p. 305. 

104. O'Dea, op. cit., pp. 112-113. 

105. "A Survey of the Experience of 1235 New York 
State High School Graduates in Seeking Admission to College." Ameri- 
can Jewish Congress, September, 1958 (mimeographed). 

106. Leland Gartreil, "Religious Affiliation, New York 
City and Metropolitan Region," Department of Church Planning and 
Research, Protestant Council of the City of New York, November 1, 
1958, (mimeographed). 

107. New York Times, September 2, i960. 

108. The Catholic News, January 21, 1961. 

109. The Tablet, February 17, 1962. 

110. New York Times, October 18, 1962. 

111. New York Times, May 11, 1959. 

112. James B. Kelley, "Correspondence," America, 
October 1, i960. 

113. John R. Strack, "Between the Lines," The Fordham 
Ram, November 17, i960. 

114. Right Reverend Monsignor John Tracy Ellis, "The 
American Catholic Laity — 1962," Commencement address. Saint Mary's 
College of California, June 9, 1962 (mimeographed). 

115. Joseph B. Schuyler, S.J., Northern Parish, Chicago; 
Loyola University Press, i960, pp. 174-177. 

116. John J. O'Brien, "Catholic Schools and Americao 
Society," Social Order. Vol. 12, No. 2. February, 1962. 


1. J. Hector St. John Crevecoeur (Michel-Guillaume 
Jean de Crevecoeur), Letters from an American Farmer, New York: Fox, 
Duffield & Co., 1904, pp. 54-55. 

2. Israel Zangwill, The Melting Pot, New York: Mac- 
millan, 1909, pp. 37-38. 

3. Joseph Leftwich, Israel Zangwill, New York: Thomas 
Yoseloff, 1957, p. 255. 

4. Lee Benson, The Concept of Jacksonian Democracy, 
Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1961, p. 165. 

5. See Nathan Glazer, The Social Basis of American 
Communism, New York: Harcourt, Brace & World, 1961, Chap. IV. 

6. For the complex interplay of religious, ideological, 
and socioeconomic factors within the American Jewish community, see 
American Judaism by Nathan Glazer, Chicago: University of Chicago 
Press, 1957. 

7. Quoted in the New York Herald Tribune, July 2, 



8. The Tablet, February 17, 1962. In an address given 
in Washington on April 30, 1962, Very Reverend William F. Kelley, 
S.J., President of Marquette University, implicitly proposed a secondary 
role for Catholic education. As reported in The Washington Post, 
Father Kelley suggested that Catholic schools leave "research and the 
exploration for new knowledge" to "research institutes" like Hopkins, 
Harvard, and M.I.T., it being "perfectly respectable and professionally 
honorable" to concentrate on the transmission of the knowledge of the 

It is an entirely sound plan to be trailing along at a 
respectable distance with a trained and educated citizenry competent 
to appreciate and consume the discovery of the successful investigator. 
Let us remember that if there are no followers, there can be no leader. 

9. See A Tale of Ten Cities, Albert Vorspan and Eugene 
Lipman, New York: Union of American Hebrew Congregations, 1962, 
pp. 175 ff. 

10. Gerhard Lenski, The Religious Factor, New York: 
Doubleday, 1961, gives a great deal of evidence to the effect that value 
differences between Catholics and white Protestants and Jews (the 
latter two often linked, but not always) in Detroit have increased as 
the groups move from working-class and immigrant generation to 
middle-class and later generations. Parochial schooling plays some 
part in these differences. For an interesting evocation of the milieu 
in which Jewish-Catholic political cooperation flourished, see Al 
Smith, by Oscar Handlin, Boston: Little, Brown, 1958. 

11. U. S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data for October, 

12. James Q. Wilson, The Amateur Democrat, Chicago: 
University of Chicago Press, 1962, p. 304. 

13. de Cr^vecoeur, op. cit., pp. 65-66. 

14. Ruby Jo Reeves Kennedy, "Single or Triple Melting 
Pot: Intermarriage in New Haven," American Journal of Sociology, 
Vol. 58, No. 1, July, 1952, pp. 55-66. 



Abbey Theatre, 248 

Acheson, Dean Gooderham, 270 

Adams, John Quincy, 222 

AFL-CIO, 271 

Africans, 1 

new African states, 68, 78 

Alcoholism, 165, 197, 257, 258 

Algeria and Algerians, 10, 182 

Alien and Sedition Acts of 1798, 222 

Amalgamated Clothing Workers of 
America, 152 

America J 296 

American Catholic Sociological So- 
ciety, 277 

The American Hebrew, 268 

American Irish Historical Society, 
252, 253 

American Jewish Committee, 140, 
143, 148, 149, 161, 194, 296 

American Jewish Congress, 143, 194, 

American Journal of Sociology, 164 

American Labor Party, 166, 170 

American Mercury, 253 

American Negro Labor Council, 78 

Amsterdam News, 73, 74, 79, 85 

Ancient Order of Hibernians, 240, 
248, 251 

Anglo-Saxons, 7, 13, 20 

See also White Anglo-Saxon Prot- 

Anticlericalism, 282-285 

Anti-Defamation League of B'nai 
B'rith, 143, 148, 194, 296 

Antidiscrimination laws. See Dis- 

Anti-Negro attitude, 18, 19, 70, 71, 
75, 132, 134 

Antioch College, 158 

Anti-Semitism, 14, 71-73, 77, 139, 
141, 151, 158, 172, 176, 270 

Antonini, Luigi, 192 

Apalachin, N. Y., 196 

Archdiocesan Teachers Institute, 

Arensberg, Conrad M., 224, 227, 228 

Argentina, 141, 143, 172, 176, 182, 

Armenians, 37, 263 

Aspira, 128 

Assimilation, 13, 14, 20, 22, 100, 141, 
163, 164, 256 



Association of Catholic Trade Un- 
ionists, 261 
Assuan Dam (first), 182 
Atlantic Monthly, 275 
Atomic Energy Commission, 271 
Aurelio, Thomas A., 212 
Austria, 7, 139, 160 
Austria-Hungary, 139 

Bakalar brothers, 155 

Baldwin, James, 71, 78, 81 

Banfield, Edward C, 195 

Banks, 5, 30, 42, 147, 148, 154, 255 

Baptists, 61, 80, 81, 139 

Barbados and Barbadians, 35, 36 

Bard College, 158, 159 

Barrett, Ronald A., 279 

"El Barrio," 93, 94 

Baruch, Bernard, 169 

Batista, F., 9 

Bayside-Oakland Gardens area, 162 

Beame, Abraham D., 305 

Bedford-Stuyvesant area, 38, 48, 57, 

Beer, Thomas, 245, 247 
Behan, Brendan, 254 
Bell, Daniel, 210 
Bellanca, August, 192 
Benjamin Franklin High School, 

201, 203 
Bennett, James G., 237 
Bennington College, 158 
Benson, Lee, 291 
Bensonhurst, 161 
Bentley, Elizabeth, 269 
Berle, Beatrice Bishop, 119, 120, 128, 

Black Muslims, See Nation of Islam 
Blaine, James G., 222 
Bloom, Sol, 169 
B'nai B'rith, 143, 194, 296 
Board of Estimate, 70 
Board of Home Missions of the 

Congregational Christian 

Church, 82 
Bohemia (country), 139 
Bohemia, 129 
Booth, Charles, ii6 
Borough Park, 161 
Borsatti, Carlo, 192 
Brady, J. B. ("Diamond Jim"), 246 
Brandeis, Louis D., 140, 169 
Brazil, 88, 138, 183 
Brighton Beach, i6i 
British West Indies, 34, 35, 36 
Brogan, Denis, 276 
Bronfman, Samuel, 151 
Bronx, the, 28, 59, 66, 71, 93, 94, 

111, 121, 145, 161, 173, 187, 215, 

226, 251, 263, 271, 273, 285, 310 

Brooklyn, 8, 17, 24, 28, 35, 48, 59, 66, 
71, 81, 93, 94, 121, 145, 152, 161, 
169, 173, 190, 204, 220, 226, 262, 
263, 272, 273, 279 

Brooklyn College, 201 

Brooklyn Museum, 24 

Brooklyn Navy Yard, 24, 91 

Brooklyn Technical High School, 25 

Broun, Heywood, 282 

Brown, Thomas N., 241 

Brownsville, 161 

Bruce, Herbert R., 35 

Bryan, William Jennings, 168 

Buenos Aires, 172, 182 

Buffalo, N. Y., 263 

Building trades, 192, 210 

See also Construction business 

Buitoni Foods, 33 

Bunche, Ralph J., 306, 308 

Burchard, Samuel D., 222 

Burke, Adrian P., 305, 308 

Bush wick, 190 

Businessmen, small, 31-33, 35, 36, 
40, 91, 112, 113, 147, 149, 206, 
absence among Negroes, 30-34, 

Cagney, James, 247 

Cahan, Ab, 186 

California, 43, 153, 183 

Campagna, Anthony, 193 

Campbell, Timothy J., 224 

Canada, 7, 8, ii, 141, 172 

Carroll, John F., 228, 229 

Carroll Hall, 237 

Casa Italiana, 193 

Casals, Pablo, 129 

Casement, Sir Roger, 244 

Castro, Fidel, 9, 177 

Catholic Association, 225 

Catholic Big Brothers, 193 

Catholic Charities, 107 

Catholic Commission on Intellectual 

and Cultural Affairs, 277 
Catholic Emancipation movement, 

225, 238 
Catholic-Jewish controversy, 295- 

Catholic World, 268 
Catholicism, 103, 106, 107, 201, 202, 

203, 204 
American Catholicism, 202, 203 
See also chapter "The Irish," 217- 

Catholics, 14, 19, 60, 149, 157, 158, 

166, 212, 213, 218 
See also Irish Catholics, German 

Cavan, Ireland, 224 
Celler, Emanuel, 169 



Central Queens area, 162 

Cestello, Bosco D., 259 

Chalk, O. Ray, 103 

Chambers, Whittaker, 269 

Chaplin, Charles ("Charlie"), 247 

Chelsea, 94, 112 

Chenault, Lawrence R., 90, 92 

Chicago, 3, 4, 81, 164, 172, 173 
Negroes in, 25, 27, 29, 70, 131 

Chile, 106 

Chinese, 7, 31, 37, 181, 276 

Christ Stopped at Eboli, 195 

Christian Frontiers, 168 

Christianity and Crisis, 285 

Churches, influence of, 33, 80-83, 
See also Religious groups, sepa- 
rate denominations 

City College of New York, 46, 155, 
158, 172, 201, 202 

City Commission on Human Rights, 
55, 68, 71 

Ciudad Trujillo, 103 

Civil service, 18, 42, 146, 207, 260 

Claji-na-Gael, 243, 244 

Clark, Kenneth, 46, 71 

Cleveland, Grover, 224, 264 

Cleveland, Negroes in, 25, 29 

Cohalan, Daniel, 243, 244, 248, 264 

Cohan, George M., 244 

Columbia University, 3, 200, 213 

Comerford, James A., 253 

Commentary,'^!, 180 

Commercial and trading classes, 5, 
10, 14, 255 

Commission on Intergroup Rela- 
tions (COIR), See City Commis- 
sion on Human Rights 

Commissioner of Social Welfare, 73 

Committee for Democratic Voters, 

Committee on Civil Rights in Man- 
hattan, 68 
Committee on Racial Equality 

(CORE), 55, 78, 80, 176 
The Commonweal, 285 
Communists and Communism, 35, 

173, 268-271, 282, 283, 292, 293 
Conant, James Bryant, 38 
Coney Island, 161 
Congregationalists, 61 
Connoly, Richard B, ("Slippery 

Dick"), 219 
Construction business, 39, 210 
Contracting business, 18, 39, 206, 

Cornell University Medical School, 

156, 158 
Corporations, big, 5, 30, 147-149, 

207, 208 
Corrigan, Bishop, 234 

Corsi, Edward, 208, 209 

Costello, Frank, 209-212, 274 

Cotillo, Salvatore, 188, 200 

Coughlin, Father, 266 

Covello, Leonard, 184, 195, 200-203 

Criminal elements, 196, 197, 209- 

212, 258 

Croker, Richard (Boss), 219, 226- 

Crown Heights, 163 
Cuba and Cubans, 9, 74, 88, 102 
A Cup of the Sun, 198 
Gushing, Richard J., Cardinal, 238, 

Czechoslovakia and Czechs, 7, 8 

Daddy Grace, 33 

D'Allessandro, Dominic, 191 

da Ponte, Lorenzo, 182 

Dartmouth College, 158 

Davis, John W., 168 

Davitt, Michael, 242 

DeCapite, Michael, 195 

de Crevecoeur, M-G. Jean, 288, 313 

Delaney, James J., 280 

Democratic Financial Committee, 

Democratic party and Democrats, 5, 

12, 35, 69, 136, 166-170, 208- 

210, 215, 219, 221-229, 262, 263, 

See also Political leadership 
Demonstration Guidance project, 47 
DeSapio, Carmine G., 210, 212, 215, 

260, 263, 266, 272-274, 303 
Desegregation (of schools), 81 
Detroit, 6, 173, 259 

Negroes in, 25-30, 131 
de Valera, Eamon, 243 
Devoy, John, 243, 248 
Dewey, Thomas E., 167, 263 
DeWitt Clinton High School, 200 
// Diario, 103 
Diaspora, 177 
Dickstein, Nathaniel, 169 
Di Fede, Joseph, 305 
Dillon, Read & Co., 256 
DiMaggio, Joe, 218 
Discrimination, 32, 35, 39-43. 49' 52- 

54, 68, 74, 112-114, 134, 147-149. 

153. 156-159. 178. 207, 282 
See also Housing 
Domestic workers, 26, 27, 30, 37, 72, 

Dominica, 103 
Dongan, Thomas, 220 
Donovan, James B., 263 
Donovan, "Wild Bill," 244 
Douglaston-Little Neck-Bellerose 

area, 162 



Dreiser, Theodore, 241 
Dressmakers' Local 22, 144 
Dubinsky, David, 261, 304 
Du Bois, W. E. B., 32 
Dumpson, James, 73 
Dunn, Thomas J., 228 
Dutch, 1, 7, 8, 20, 256 

East Bronx, 92 

East Harlem, 28, 91-94, 99, 136, 187, 

188, 190, 200-203, 208, 213, 302 
East Midtown area, 122 
East New York, 161 
East Side, 68, 152, 169, 179, 292 
Easter Rebellion, 244 
Eastern Parkway, 163 
Eastman, Max, 172 
Ebony, 84 
Education, attitudes toward, 35, 39- 

52, 127-129, 155-159' 199. 201, 

202, 276-281, 285, 286, 297, 298 
See also Schools 
Educational Alliance, 192 
Eichler, Edward, 153 
Einstein, Albert, 156 
Eire, Republic of, 12, 252, 253 
Elite, the, 10, 11, 25 

elite institutions, 42 
Ellis, John Tracy, Msgr., 238, 276, 

277, 284 
Emerald Society, 261 
Emigrant Industrial Savings Bank, 

Emmet, Robert, 242 
Emmet, Thomas Addis, 221 
England and Englishmen, 2, 8, 141, 

143, 256, 262 
Entertainment business, 151, 154, 

Episcopalians, 60, 275 
Ethical Culture Society, 295 
Ettor, Joseph J., 192 

Fair employment practices, 74 
See also Discrimination 

Family structure, 14, 19, 33, 43, 4^ 
53» 89-91, 122-127, 154, 164, 
186, 194-202 

Far West, 5, 10 

Farley, James A., 266, 267, 271, 308 

Father Divine, 33, 82 

FBI, 271 

Federation of Jewish Charities, 140 

Federation of Jewish Philanthro- 
pies, 153, 176 

Fenians, 242, 243, 248 

Ferre, Luis, 100 

Finland and Finns, 1, 7 

Finn family ("Battery Dan," "Sher- 
iff Dan," "Bashful Dan"), 260 

Fino, Paul, 187, 305 

Fitzpatrick, Joseph P., S.J., of Ford- 
ham, 133, 135, 277 

Flatlands, 161 

Flynn, Edward J., 226, 263 

Flynn, Elizabeth Gurley, 241, 242, 

Foerster, Robert F., 193 

Fordham, 161 

Fordham Ram, 282 

Fordham University, 202, 231, 239, 
254, 271, 272, 276-278 

Foreign Conspiracy Against the Lib- 
erties of the United States, 240 

Foreign-language press. See Press 

Forest Hills-Rego Park area, 162 

Forrestal, James V., 256 

Fort Amsterdam, 1 

Fort Greene Houses, 24, 25 

Fortune, 147, 150, 151, 155 

Foster, William Z., 267, 268 

France and Frenchmen, 2, 8, 141, 

Frankel, Charles, 223 

Frazier, Franklin, 34, 52 

Free School Society, 234 

French Revolution, 232 

Freud, Sigmund, 175 

Friendly Sons of St. Patrick, 239, 
254, 269, 287 

Friends of Irish Freedom, 264 
See also Irish nationalism 

From the Terrace, 150 

Frost, Robert, 250 

The Gaelic-American, 243 

Galamison, Milton, 48, 80 

"Galveston Project," 109 

Gamso, Raphael, 73 

Garibaldi, Giuseppe, 182 

Garment industry, 18, 39, 43, 72, 

131, 140, 144, 145, 151, 154, 155, 

192, 210 
Gartrell, Leland, 279 
Garvey, Marcus, 35, 78, 82 
Genoa, 182 

George, Henry, 233, 234 
German American Bund, 312 
German Catholics, 202, 286 
German and Germans, 1, 7-10, 12, 

13, 15, 16, 18-20, 138, 139, 147, 

160, 182, 201, 243, 244, 256, 277, 

Gerosa, Laurence E., 214, 304 
Gilhooley, John J., 305 
Giovanitti, Arturo, 192 
Glad, Donald D., 257 
Go Tell It on the Mountain, 81 
Goff, John W., 219 
Goldsen, Rose Kohn, 105, 112 
Goldstein, Jonah, 213 
Gompers, Samuel, 261 



Goodman, matzoh makers, 33 
Grace, William R., 218, 221 
Graham, Billy, 107 
Great Britain, 7, 15 
See also England 
Great Neck, 59, 66, 67 
Greece and Greeks, 7, 10, 37, 140 
Greene Country, 251 
Greenpoint, 2, 169 
Greenwich, Conn., 272 
Greenwich Village, 20, 66, 172, 173, 

187, 254, 260, 274 
Gusweller, James, Father, 105 

Haiti, 88 

Hamilton, Alexander, 222 

Handlin, Oscar, 18, 22, 79, 80, 256 

Hansberry, Lorraine, 78 

Hansen, Marcus, 22 

Hargraves, J. Archie, 92 

Harlem, 27, 28, 32, 34, 38, 49, 57-59, 

65. 67, 74, 78, 92, 300 
Harlem Hospital, 73, 74 
Harriman, William Averell, 263, 

305. 309 

Harvard Business School, 148 

Harvard University, 158, 270, 271, 

Haskin, John B., 245 

Hawaii, 90 

The Heart is the Teacher, 200 

Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, 192 

Herbert, Victor, 246, 254 

Higham, John, 159 

Higher Horizon project, 47, 74 

Hill, Herbert, 178 

Hispanic-America, See Spain and 
Spanish culture 

Hiss, Alger, 269 

Hod Carriers, 191 

Holland, 7, 138, 160 

Home owning, 17, 18, 35, 70, 161, 

Hopkins, Ernest M., 158 

Horwitz, Julius, 120 

Hotel industry, 42, 43, 131 

The House by the Medlar Tree, 195 

Housing, 17, 18, 49, 51, 53-67, 69, 
92, 94, 95, 107, 152, 159 
co-op. See Housing projects 

Housing projects, See Public hous- 
ing projects, Morningside Gar- 
dens, Park West Village 

Houston, Tex., 3 

Hughes, John, Bishop, 232, 233, 235, 
240, 255, 280 

Hungary and Hungarians, 7, 8, 139, 

Hunter College, 201 

Hunts Point, i6i 

Huron Club, 260 

Hylan, John F., ("Red Mike"), 219 

Illegitimacy, 50-52, 89 

Illinois, 10 

Immigrant societies, 12, 18 

Immigration laws, 9, 36 

Impellitteri, Vincent R., 208, 209, 

Indianapolis, 10 
Indians, American, 16 
Indians, Puerto Rican, 88 
Indians, West, See West Indians 
Indonesians, 12 
The Inhabitants, 120 
Insurance companies, 5, 30, 147, 148, 

Integration, 47, 57, 61, 62, 65, 67, 

105, 159-166, 171 
See also Segregation 
Interest groups, 17-19 
Intergroup relations, 42, 43, 70-80, 

82, 91-93. 126, 128, 147, 190, 

203, 204 
Intermarriage, 13, 132, 133, 135, 160, 

162, 164, 204, 313 
International Ladies' Garment 

Workers' Union (ILGWU), 

102, 144, 145, 152, 178, 191, 218, 

Iowa, 10 

Ireland, 7, 103, 206 
Irish, character of, 238-250 
decline of, in NYC, 250-262 
decline of political influence, 262- 

numbers of, 219-222 
in politics, 220 
Irishmen in NYC, 1-19 passim, 70, 

71, 138, 147, 166, 169, 170, 178, 

185, 190, 197, 204-206, 210, 217- 

287, 291 
Irish Catholics, 5, 168, 201, 202, 204, 

294-299' 301 
Irish Emigrant Society, 255, 256 
Irish Free State, 253 
Irish nationalism, 240, 241, 244, 245, 

See also Friends of Irish Freedom 
Irish Republican Brotherhood 

(I.R.B.), 244 
Irish World, 243 
Israel and Israeli, 9, 12, 79, 141, 167, 

176, 180, 293 
Italian Child Welfare Committee, 

Italian Home, 192 
Italians and Italy, 1, 6-19 passim, 

70, 71, 106, 166, 169, 170, 178, 

181-216, 252, 258, 259, 261, 263, 

272, 276, 291 



Italians, community in NYC, 186- 


family influence, 194-202 

numbers of, 184-186 

occupations, 205-208 

politics, 208-216 

religion among, 202-205 
Ivy League schools, 157, 279 
I WW, 192, 268 

Jack, Hulan E., 76, 77, 81, 153 
Jackson, Andrew, 222, 246, 250 
Jackson, J. H., 81 
Jamaica, B.W.I., 34-36, 132, 133 
Jamaica race track, 152 
James, Henry, 251 
Japan and Japanese, 7, 14, 43, 44 
"Jardin Botanicas," 106 
See also Spiritualism 
Javits, Jacob K., 167, 263, 306, 307 
Jay, John, 220, 222 
Jefferson, Thomas, 222 
Jesuits, 1, 181 
Jet, 84 
Jewish Daily Forward, 129, 186, 192, 

Jewish Old Age Homes, 176 
Jews, 1-20 passim, 34, 43, 52, 57, 59, 
60, 71, 109, 137-181, 197, 207, 
208, 210, 213, 218, 246, 251-281 
passim, 301, 303 
"Brazilian," 138 

community, neighborhood, inte- 
gration, 159-166 
Conservative, 142, 165, 203 
cultural factors, 171-180 
"Dutch," 138 

East European, 16, 17, 102, 139, 
140, 143, 145, 154, 155, 168, 169, 
172, 175, 291 
economic base of, 143-155 
education, 155-159, 164 
German, 6, 16, 17, 102, 139, 140, 

151, 168, 169, 172, 174, 175 ^ 
Hasidic, 163 
Orthodox, 139, 141, 142, 163, 165, 

203, 296 
politics, 166-171 
shaping of their community, 292- 


Reform, 139, 142, 165, 203 

Russian, 292 

"Sephardic," 138, 140, 141, 145 

Socialist, 139 
Jogues, Isaac, 1 
John XXIII, Pope, 285 
John Birch Society, 282 
Johnson, James Weldon, 27, 35 
Johnson, John H., 84 
Johnson, Philip, 151 
Jones, J. Raymond, 300 

Joyce, James, 253 

Judges and judicial oflficers, 263 

Juvenile delinquents, 26, 52, 90 

Kane, John J., 258, 259 

Kaplan, Mordecai, 179 

Kansas City, 10 

Kazan, Abraham, 152 

Kefauver investigations, 211 

Kelly, Colin, 267 

Kelly, John ("Honest John"), 218, 

221, 226 
Kennedy, John F., 167, 168, 272, 280 
Kennedy, Ruby Jo, 314 
Khrushchev, 177, 272 
Kieft, William, 1 
King, Martin Luther, 81 
Knopf, Alfred A., 174 
Know-Nothing party, 240 
Koenig, Samuel, 169 
Kossuth, Lajos, 233, 238 
Kristol, Irving, 269 

Labor leaders, 35, 78, 144, 145 

See also Unions 
Laborers, 30, 37 
La Guardia, Fiorello H., 168, 170, 

187, 192, 202, 209-218 passim, 

273, 274, 303 
Lakeview, Long Island, 58 
Languages, different, 11, 13, 17, 18, 

19, 22, 34, 87, 200 
Italian, 101 
Portuguese, 138 
Spanish, 92, 101, 102, 104, 105, 129, 

Yiddish, 101, 139, 141, 146, 162 
Lanigan, James S., 274 
Lanzetta, James J., 213 
La Rosa, V., and Sons, 33 
Latin American and Latin Ameri- 
cans, 11, 17, 74, 102, 103, 107, 

114, 183,283 
Laundry industry, 72, 131 
Laurelton, 58 
Law firms, 147, 148, 255 
Lawrence (Mass.) strike, 192 
League of Nations, 265 
Lefkowitz, Louis J., 305 
Lehman, Herbert, 167, 168 
Lehman family, 151 
Lenox Terrace, 49 
Lenski, Gerhard, 259 
Leventman, Seymour and Judith, 

150, 151 
Levi, Carlo, 195 
Levinson, Frances, 66 
Levitt, William J., 305 
Levitt family, 152, 153 
Levittowns, 152 
Lexow Committee, 219 



Liberal Party and liberalism, 77, 81, 
165, 166, 167, 168, 170, 176, 177, 

Life, 130, 256 
Limerick, Earl of. See Dongan, 

Lippmann, Walter, 281 
List, Kurt, 174 
Long Day's Journey Into Night, 248, 

Long Island, 66, i6i, 203 
Low, Seth, 303 

Lowell, Abbott Lawrence, 158 
Lower East Side, 66, 94, 145, 160, 

180, 246, 271 
Lowi, Theodore, 303 
Lubell, Samuel, 168 
Luchow's, 260 
Luz, See Sexology 

Macaulay, Thomas B., 238 
McCarran-Walter immigration law, 

McCarthy, Joseph, 269, 270, 271, 272 
McCarthy, Mary, 254 
McCarthy, Raymond G., 257 
McCooey, John H., 226, 272 
MacCool, Finn, 221 
MacDonald, George, 287 
McEntegart, Bishop of Brooklyn, 

McGlynn, Edward, Father, 233 
McGoldrick, Joseph D., 209 
McGuire, Peter J., 219, 261 
Mackay, Claude, 28, 35 
McKim, Mead & White, 24 
McLaughlin, Hugh, 226 
McManus, Thomas J. ("The"), 225, 

McNaspy, C. J., Father, 232 
MacNeven, William J., 221 
Mackell, Thomas J., 305 
Mancuso, Francis X., 211 
Manhattan, 28, 39, 48, 54, 56, 57, 58, 

60, 65, 70, 71, 91, 152, 153, 160, 

162, 165, 169, 179, 188, 263 
Manhattan Beach, 161 
Manhattan College, 269 
Manhattan town, 152 
Manischewitz, M., and Company, 33 
Marcantonio, Vito, 187, 302 
Maria, 195 

Mariano, John H., 193 
Marshall, George Catlett, 270 
Marshall, Louis, 140 
Marshall, Paule, 35 
The Masses, 172 
Mater et Magistra, 285 
Maynard, Aubrey, 73, 74 
Mead, James M., 263 
Meagher, Peter P., 274 

Meagher, Thomas F., 242 

Meany, George, 261, 271 

Medalie, George Z., 167 

Medical Fellowships, Inc., 45 

Melbourne, Viscount (William 
Lamb), 23 

Mellon family, 4 

Melrose area, 94 

The Melting Pot, 289, 290, 292 

Mendelsund, Henoch, 145 

Merchandising, 151, 210 

Merchants, See Commercial and 
trading classes 

Methodists, 60 

Mexico and Mexicans, 7, 16, 52, 74, 
88, 102, 208 

Meyer, A., 257 

Midtown study, 122 

Midwest, 30, 173 

Mies, van Der Robe, 151 

Migration Division of the Depart- 
ment of Labor of the Com- 
monwealth of Puerto Rico, 

109, 201 

Milgram, Morris, 153 

Mills, C. Wright, 105, 112, 134 

Mitchel, John Purroy, 213, 219, 303 

Modern Community Developers, 153 

Monserrat, Joseph, 109 

Montreal, 172 

Mooney, William, 229 

Moran, Michael, 255 

Morgenthau, Henry, Sr., 169 

Morgenthau, Robert M., 305, 309 

Morningside Gardens co-ops, 65, 66 

Morris, Newbold, 209, 213 

Morrisania, 2, 94, 161 

Morrissey, John, 245 

Morse, Samuel F. B., 240 

Moses, Robert, 3, 4, 24 

Mt. Sinai Hospital, 73, 74 

Mount Vernon, N. Y., 67 

Muhammed, Elijah, 34, 82, 83 
See also Nation of Islam 

Munoz Marin, Luis, 91, 95, 98 

Murphy, Charles F., 226, 228, 229, 

Murray, Thomas B., 271 

Muslims, Negro or Black, See Na- 
tion of Islam 

Mussolini, Benito, 214 

Mutual Aid Societies, 194 

NAACP (National Association for 
the Advancement of Colored 
People), 39, 41, 78, 79, 80, 109, 
110, 176, 178, 194 

Nassau and Suffolk Lighting Com- 
pany, 287 

Nassau County, 59, 157, 263 



Nation of Islam, 33, 78, 82, 83 
See also Muhammed, Elijah 
National Baptist Convention, 81 
National Conference of Catholic 

Charities, 91 
National Defense Education Act of 

National Order of the Sons of Italy, 

National Review, 285 
National Scholarship Service and 
Fund for Negro Students 
(NSSFNS), 45 
National Urban League (NUL), 

29, 40, 78, 80, 84, 109, 110 
Native American Ticket, 240 
The Native Moment, 248 
Nazarene Congregational Church 

(Brooklyn), 82 
Negro Protestants, 25, 60, 259, 315 
Negroes, 4-11, 14, 17-21, 24-85, 147, 
159, 163, 166, 177-179, 187, 196, 
201, 207, 211, 261, 273, 302, 303 
jobs, 29-44, 51, 68, 69. 299, 300 
numbers of, 25-29, 112 
political leadership, 67-70, 84, 85 
Southern, 12, 27, 291 
West Indian, 17, 27, 34, 35, 36 
Netherlands, See Holland 
The New American, 208 
New England, 2, 6, 7 
New Haven, Conn., 160, 314 
New Hyde Park, 295 
New Jersey, 66, 94, 203 
The New Masses, 172 
New Netherland, 1 
New Rochelle, N. Y., 67 
New York City Board of Education, 
46-49, 68, 80, 109, 127, 146, 200, 


New York City Department of Wel- 
fare, 118 

New York City Housing Authority, 
61, 63, 65 

New York Constitutional Conven- 
tion of 1777, 220 

New York County Democratic Com- 
mittee, 218 

New York Post, 76, 196 

New York State Committee Against 
Discrimination in Housing 
(NYSCDH), 67, 75 

New York State Crime Commission, 

New York State Federation of Citi- 
zens for Educational Freedom, 

New York State Medical School, 156 

New York Times, 76, 260, 281 

New York University School of 
Education, 201 

The New Yorker, 253 
Newark, N. J., 26, 59, 94 
Newspapers, See Press 
Niebuhr, Reinhold, 275, 285 
Ninfo, Salvatore, 192 
Nixon, Richard M., 272 
North Africa, 182, 183 
North Bronx, 17, 187 
Northwestern Europe, settlers from, 

Notre Dame (University), 258 
Nunez, Emilio, 102 
N.Y.U. Hall of Fame, 24 

Oakland, Cahf., 16 

O'Brien, John J., 286 

O'Brien, Pat, 246 

The Observer, 240 

O'Casey, Sean, 253 

O'Connell, Daniel, 225, 243 

O 'Conor, Charles, 217, 221 

O'Dea, Thomas F., 231, 278 

O'Dwyer, William, 168, 208, 209, 213 

O'Faolain, Sean, 239, 255 

OfiBce of the Commonwealth of 

Puerto Rico, 109 
O'Hara, John, 254 
Oklahoma, 10 
"Old stock," See White Anglo-Saxon 

Protestants (WASP) 
O'Neill, Eugene, 248, 249, 255 
Order of the Garter, 23 
The Organization Man, 150 
O'SuUivan, John, 247 

Pacem in Terris, 285 

Park West Village, 65, 152 

Parker, Alton, 168 

Parnell, Charles, 242 

Partisan Review, 172 

Paterno brothers, 193 

Pecora, Ferdinand, 202, 208, 209 

Pelham Parkway, 161 

Pennsylvania Station, 24 

Pentecostalists, 105, 106 

Pernicone, Joseph M., 204 

Peru, 88 

Philadelphia, 2, 25, 131, 153, 232 

Pittsburgh, 3, 4 

Plant, Richard, 45 

Plater o and I, 129 

Playboy of the Western World, 248 

Plunkitt, George Washington, 228, 

Poland and Poles, 7, 103, 259, 261 

Poletti, Charles, 202, 216 

Police Department Holy Name So- 
ciety of the New York Diocese, 

Political leadership, 27, 35, 42, 67- 
70, 136, 262-274 



Politics, 4, 5, 18, 19, 20, 60, 166-171, 

208-216, 226, 259, 301-310 
See also 217-287 
Poll, opinion, in 1962 results, 305- 

Pope, Fortune, 103 
Pope, Generoso, 192, 210, 212 
Portugal, 7, 138 
Poston, Ted, 196 
Potter, George, 224, 225 
Powell, Adam Clayton, 69, 76, 79, 

80, 196 
Power, Father, 232 
Prendergast, Michael H., 303, 304 
La Prensa, 102, 103 
Presbyterian Church of the Master, 

Presbyterians, 81, 239 
Press, 12, 17, 62, 67, 75, 80, 81, 84, 

102, 103, 129, 130, 146, 172, 186, 

192, 243, 244 
See also Languages 
Princeton, N. J., 153 
Progress and Poverty, 234 
II Progresso Italo- Americano, 192 
Proskauer, Joseph M., 275 
Protestant Council of New York, 82, 

Protestant Episcopal Church, 105, 

158, 208 
Protestantism, 82, 104, 105, 107, 234, 

237, 253, 283, 296, 297 
Protestants, 1, 8, 16, 19, 25, 61, 88, 

104, 105, 166, 200, 202, 212, 213, 

217, 221, 240, 243, 254, 268, 269, 

272, 274, 279, 281 
See also Negro Protestants, White 

Psychoanalysis and the Jews, 175, 

Public Education Association, 46 
Public Housing projects, 24, 25, 54, 

61, 94, 107, 152 
Public School Society, 234, 236, 237 
Public utility companies, 5, 147, 148, 

Publishing houses, 174 
Puerto Rican Educational Alliance, 

Puerto Ricans, 5, 7, 9, 10, 11, 17, 19, 

24, 26, 86-136, 147, 163, 166, 

178, 179, 187, 196, 201, 207, 211, 

attitude toward education, 127- 

color problem, 132-136 
culture and contributions, 129- 

family structure, 122-127 
low incomes, 116-122, 299, 300 
migration, 91-99, 100 

mobile element, 110-116 
Puerto Rico, Commonwealth of, 

109, 110, 124 
Puerto Rico: Land of Wonders, 91 
Puerto Rico: Success Story, 91 

Quadragesimo Anno, 285 
Queens College, 201, 282, 283 
Queens County, 17, 28, 58, 59, 66, 

71, 94, 111, 152, 161, 187, 273, 

Quinn, John, 248 

Radicalism, among Irish, 267 
among Italians, 192 
among Jews, 172, 180, 292, 293, 

among Negroes, 35 
Raisin in the Sun, 78 
Randolph, A. Philip, 78 
Random House, 174 
Reader's Digest, 130 
Real estate business, 32, 151, 152, 

153, 154, 155, 255 
Reform Democrats, 55, 167, 170, 

171, 176 
Reform movements, 213, 219, 223, 

227, 274, 303 
Regents' Scholarships, 157 
Reilly and the 400, 248 
Religions, variety of, 14, 18, 19, 22, 

Religious groups and factors, 8, 11, 
25. 56* 59. 60, 62, 88, 140, 141, 
161, 172, 202-205, 279, 280, 313, 

See also Catholics, Jews, White 
Anglo-Saxon Protestants 

Remington, William, 269 

"The Remnant of Israel," See 
Shearith Israel 

Republican party and Republicans, 
12, 166, 169, 208, 215, 222, 223, 
240, 262, 263, 266, 271, 272, 281, 
292, 297 

Rerum Novarum, 284 

Richmond County, 273 

Riders to the Sea, 248 

Riverton, 49 

Robinson, James H., 81 

Rockefeller, Nelson A., 305 

Rockefeller family, 4 

Rockwell, George, 176 

Roman Catholic Church, 88, 98, 
104, 140, 204, 205, 208, 230-238, 
274, 287 

Roman Catholic Free Schools, 234 

Roman Catholicism, See Catholi- 

Roosevelt, Eleanor, 267 



Roosevelt, Franklin D., 167, 168, 214, 

218, 264, 265, 266, 270, 305 
Roosevelt, Franklin D., Jr., 167 
Roosevelt, Theodore, 313, 314 
Rose, Alex, 304 
Rosedale, 58 

Rosenberg, Ethel and Julius, 269 
Rosenthal, Erich, 164 
Rosh Hashana, 146 
Rossa, O 'Donovan, 242 
Roth, Emery, 151 
Rothstein, Arnold, 210 
Rowan, Carl T., 85 
Rudin Management Company, 151 
Rumania, 7, 139, 256 
Russia and Russians, 10, 12, 14, 139 

See also U.S.S.R. 
Ryan, Thomas Fortune, 219 
Ryan, William Fitts, 167 

St. Croix, Island of, Puerto Ricans 

on, 110, 111, 112, 117 
St. Patrick's Cathedral, 274 
St. Peter's Church, 232, 238 
San Francisco, 3, 4 
Santangelo, Alfred E., 187 
Saturday Evening Post, 85 
Scandinavians, 8 
Scanlan, Patrick, 304 
Scarsdale, N. Y., 67 
Schapiro's Wine Company, 33 
Scheuer, James H., 153 
Schiff, Jacob, 140 
Schiff, family, 151 

Schools, parochial, 26, 48, 56, 104, 
163, 202, 204, 234, 235, 237, 238, 
269, 279, 280, 281 

private, 26, 48, 56, 234, 237 

public, 26, 48, 56, 100, 104, 200, 
203, 235, 236, 237, 280, 281 
Schreiber, Daniel, 74 
Scotch-Irish, 20 
Scots, 7, 8, 262 
Screvane, Paul R., 215, 305 
Seagram's Building, 151, 152 
Segregation, 26, 27, 46, 49, 56, 300 

See also Housing 
Senior, Clarence, 105, 109, 110, 112 
"Seven Sisters" colleges, 157 
Seward, William H., 235 
Sexology, 130 
Sharkey, Joseph T., 315 
Shaw, George Bernard, 253 
Shearith Israel, 138 
Sheen, Fulton J., Msgr., 269 
Shopkeeper, 17, 30, 31, 71, 112, 113 

See also Businessman, small 
Sicily, 183, 184 

Siloam Presbyterian Church, 48 
Sinatra, Frank, 194, 218 

Sinn Fein, 243 

Skirtmakers' Union, 102, 145 

Slawson, John, 148, 161 

Sloan, John, 248 

Slums, See Negroes, housing 

Smith, Alfred E., 167, 168, 169, 218, 

229, 230, 246, 263, 265, 266, 275 
Smith, Alfred E., Jr., 272 
Snyder, Charles R., 257 
The Social Background of the Italo- 

American School Child, 195 
Socialism and Socialists, 141, 169, 

172, 173, 192, 202, 241, 261, 293 
Society of the Friendly Sons of Saint 

Patrick, See Friendly Sons of St. 

Sons of St. Patrick, See Friendly 

Sons of St. Patrick 
Sons of St. Tammany, 221 
See also Tammany Hall 
South Africa, 141, 143 
South American and South Amer- 
ica, 102, 183 
South Brooklyn, 91 
South Village, 187 
Southerners and the South, 2, q, 68, 


Southwest, 5, 52 

Southwest Washington, 153 

Spain and Spanish culture, 17, 88, 
102, 129, 138, 283 

Spanish Catholic Church, 283 

Spellman, Francis J., Cardinal, 274, 
280, 281, 295, 296 

Spencer, John C, 235-237 

Spiritualism and Spiritualists, 88, 
105, 106 

Springfield Gardens, 58 

State Board of Regents, 263 

State Commission for Human 
Rights, 68, 303 

State Committee Against Discrimi- 
nation (SCAD), 39-42, 62, 71,- 

Staten Island, 17, 187, 263 
Steffens, Lincoln, 227, 229 
Steinbrink, Meier, 169 
Stevenson, Adlai, 168, 271, 272, 315 
Story, Joseph, Justice, 221 
Straus, Oscar, 140 
Straus, Robert, 257 
Street Corner Society, 189 
The Stricken Land, 86 
Strong, George Templeton, 218, 242, 

243. 311 
Stuyvesant Town, 75 
Suburbia, 5, 28, 57, 60, 64, 66, 67, 

157, 160-166 passim, 187, 203 
Suffolk County, 59, 157, 263 
Sullivan, Timothy, 228, 229 
Sullivan County, 251 



Sulzer, William, 228 
"Superettes," 113 
Sweden and Swedes, 1, 10 
Sweeney, "Brains," 219 
Switzerland, 7, 182 
Swope, Herbert Bayard, 230 
Sydenham Hospital, 80 
Synagogues, influence of, 59, 60 
See also Religious groups 

Tablet, 253, 282, 283, 296, 304 

Tammany Hall, 213, 218-228 pas- 
sim, 243, 245, 260, 264, 266, 272, 
273, 282, 292 

Taylor, Gardner, 80-82 

Teaneck, N. J., 58 

Teller, Ludwig, 167 

Temples of Islam, See Nation of 

Thomas, Norman, 202 

Thought, 276 

Time, 231 

Tishman Realty and Construction, 

Tocqueville, Alexis de, 220, 232, 235 
Tokyo, 10, 11 
Tone, Wolfe, 242 
A Touch of the Poet, 249 
Trade Unions, See Unions 
Transitron Company, 155 
Tresca, Carlo, 192 
Tri-Community Council, 58 
Trucking business, 18, 206, 210 
Truman, Harry S, 167, 168 
Tugwell. Rexford, 86, 95 
Tunis, 182 
Turkey, 140 
Tweed, William March (Boss), 217, 

218, 219, 245 
Tyrone family, 248, 256, 257 
See O'Neill, Eugene 

"Ulster Irish," 240, 253 
Unger, Sidney, 77, 153 
Unions, 6, 40, 68, 72, 140, 144, 178, 
191, 192, 204, 261, 264, 302, 303 

See also Labor leaders 
Unitarians, 139, 295 
United Jewish Appeal, 140, 153, 176 
United Nations, 152 
United Parents Association, 48 
University Club, 24 
University of Chicago, 3, 277 
University of Puerto Rico, 134 
University of San Juan, 1 14 
Upper East Side, 160 
Upper West Side, 152 
Urban renewal, 179 

See also Public housing projects 
The Urban Villagers, 186 
Uris Brothers, 151 

Uruguay, 183 
U.S.S.R., 7, 206, 268 

Valente, Louis, 212 
Vegetable business, 1^ 
Venice, 182 
Verga, Giovanni, 195 
Viereck, Peter, 231 
Virgin Islands, 110 

Wagner, Robert F., Sr., 167 

Wagner, Robert F., 4, 5, 101, 167, 
214, 215, 262, 273, 274, 300, 303, 

Waldo, Octavia, 198 

Walker, James J. (Jimmy), 210, 217, 
218, 246, 265 

Wallace, Henry, 167, 168 

Warburg family, 151 

Washington, Booker T., 32 

Washington, George, 241 

Washington, D. C, 68 

Washington Heights, 94, 111, 160, 

Webb and Knapp, 151, 152 
See also Zeckendorf, William 

Wechsler, James A., 304 

Weigel, Gustav, S.J., 276, 277 

Werner, Morris R., 245 

West, Anthony, 248 

West Bronx, 161 

West Indians, 92 

See also Negroes, West Indian 

West Side, 2, 65, 94, 108, 112, 113, 
121, 127, 179, 274 

West Side Church of St. Matthew 
and St. Timothy, 105 

West Side Urban Renewal Project, 

Westchester County, 59, 66, 157, 263, 

White Anglo-Saxon Protestants, 6, 
8, 10, 15, 16, 19, 20, 105, 139, 
147, 149, 154, 157-159' 166, 170, 
i73» i94> 213, 220, 238, 259, 261, 
270,301, 303, 311,314,315 

White Protestants, 5, 8, 9, 19, 60, 
See also White Anglo-Saxon Prot- 

Whitehead, Alfred North, 247, 253 

Whyte, William F., 147, 189 

Wickham, William H., 245 

Wilde, Oscar, 253 

Williams, Roger J., 257 

Williamsburg area, 161, 163 

Wilson, James Q., 70, 75, 303 

Wilson, Woodrow, 168, 169, 241, 244, 



Wise, Stephen S., 179 Yeshiva University Medical School, 

Wittke, Carl, 244 156 

Wolfson, Erwin, 151 Yeshivas, 163 

Woodham-Smith, Cecil, 225 Yom Kippur, 146, 177 

The Workmen's Circle, 146, 292 Yugoslavia, 7 

Wright, Frank Lloyd, 174 

Zangwill, Israel, 289, 290, 293 
Zeckendorf, William, 151, 152 

Yale University, 274 See also Webb and Knapp 

Yankees, 2 Zionism, 79, 140, 141, 290, 292 

Yeats, William B., 253 Zuber, Paul, 48 


University of 


HO BV .* 

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